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The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains - Interview with Director Bob Pipe

The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains – Interview with Director Bob Pipe
John Dredge
  • On May 14, 2013

[Image courtesy of Dave Herd]

The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains is a hilarious web series which can be downloaded for free on The Multiverse Channel (YouTube), and stars a veritable Who’s Who of the current comedy circuit:

I spoke to the creator, director, producer and co-writer, Bob Pipe:

For those yet to see The Day They Came To Suck Out Our Brains, can you give them an idea of what’s it’s all about?

‘Brains’ is a sci-fi comedy sketch show – I think the first ever. Do let me know if I am wrong – set in the fifties during an alien invasion. It’s the Towering Inferno of the UK comedy scene with a cast of thousands (well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration). The cast includes Warwick Davis, Colin Hoult, Adam Richies, Phil NicholTerry AldertonRicky GroverRob Rouse, Nick Helm, James Redmond, Richard Sandling, Gemma Whelan, Lizzie Roper, Richard Glover, Toby Williams (AKA George Ryegold), Ruth Bratt, Andre Vincent, Lee Kern, Alex Kirk, Gareth Tunley, Holly Burn, Waen Shepherd (AKA Gary Le Strange) – who also wrote the music –  plus web-sensations Crabstickz and Ashens.

What is The Multiverse?

The Multiverse is an exclusive YouTube Channel dedicated to all things geeky and Sci-Fiy.

What made you want to make the series?

I love comedy and I love sci-fi. I thought up the idea over fourteen years ago and made a version of it when I was doing a HND in Media Production as my end of year project. As you can imagine it wasn’t great but the idea stuck and I’ve been trying to get it made properly ever since.

What were the best and worst moments of making the series?

The best?  Making something I’m passionate about with my very talented friends. Worst? That it came to an end!

What has the reaction been like so far?

Very good. Been getting some lovely comments on YouTube and the hits are going up all the time.

Who are your main influences?

Gosh… er, Monty Python, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Jim Henson, Blackadder, Captain Beefheart, Spielberg, Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, The Beatles, and the work of Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker.

Has the internet opened things up for filmmakers like yourself?

Most definitely. What we lack in TV sized budgets we make up for in passion. YouTube is now commissioning production companies to make content and in turn the production companies are commissioning guys like me (who have been making stuff on the web for years – mostly for free!) to produce content. The internet is an awesome platform for people starting out to show off their talents.

What was the silliest thing that happened during the making of the film?

Working in comedy means I’m blessed to live a very silly life. But I guess one of the silliest moments on this shoot was on the first day of filming I asked the art department to make the brain sucker. When asked what a brain sucker looked like I said “a toilet plunger on the end of a hoover tube”. That’s exactly what I got and it fitted together perfectly. In fact it became the star of the show!

Can you tell us a bit about your previous work?

I started in comedy as In-House Producer/Director at Warners’ ComedyBox, (which later became MySpace Comedy). I had been working my way up the TV ladder for many years but ComedyBox was my first directing gig (bar a few music videos and short studenty films). I got to cut my comedy teeth working with legends like John Lloyd, Geoff Posner, Rhys Darby, Ricky Grover, Phil Clarke (now head of comedy at Channel 4), Susan Calman, Adam Riches and rising stars like Terry Mynott, Nathaniel Tapley, Gareth Richards, Idiots of Ants, Richard Glover… the list goes on. We were contracted/scheduled to release a new sketch a day – it was hard work but a heck of a lot of fun.

I was Associate Producer on ‘Big Fat Gypsy Gangster’ a feature film starring Ricky Grover as ‘Bulla’, Rufus Hound, Omid Djalilli, Steven Berkoff and Peter Capaldi. I directed a pilot for Scottish production company The Comedy Unit last year, written by and starring Cariad Lloyd, Mike Wozniak, Sara Pascoe and Henry Paker – but it didn’t get picked up by any networks (the swines!). Errr…. a short film I directed, which was written by and starred Miriam Elia, was shown on Channel 4 as part of their Random Acts strand recently.I also recently directed an episode of ‘Marshal’s Law’, which was nominated in the best new sitcom category in the British Comedy Guide Awards. It was broadcast on Loaded TV. Errrrr… I have worked on quite a few BBC Productions, including ‘Dick & Dom’s Funny Business’, ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’, ‘The Matt Lucas Awards’ and ‘Epic Win’ and I once produced and shot an official Elton John music video…

What plans do you have next and what would you like to achieve in the future?

I have a  few more web shows in development (two of which are sci-fi comedy again) and a TV show. All very hush hush you understand. I have aspired to be a film director ever since I can remember and I hope – fingers cross, touch wood – to one day fulfill my ambition. But there’s lots more web shows to make first!

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Can I plug my comedy night? Well here goes anyway… it’s called The Forgery Club. It’s been going for over 3 years now. Every Forgery Club night is different, they are themed like Apocalypse, War, Olympics, Horror, Films, 60s, May Day -the next one is 80s themed and it’s at the Udderbelly on the Southbank on May 17th. It’s a labour of love and I commission artists to design the posters. It’s very audience friendly – everyone gets involved. There’s free sweets for everyone and a NO stand up policy – it’s strictly sketch, character and musical comedy. Some of the events even have a story running through them plus it always ends with a disco. Here’s the

Interview by comedian John Dredge whose madly strange podcasts can be heard on the 404 Funny website here

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