Comedians Jono Duffy and Kimi Tayler have cooked up a new video series to get us through these tough times.
If you’re done watching all the Tiger King episodes and looking through all of the memes related to it, you might be in the mood for some new comedic entertainment. These quaren-times have certainly shaken up the world of show biz, leaving many of us audience members watching our favorite stars and singers through Instagram live videos and concerts like One World Together at Home. Performers across Iceland are not different, creating new ingenious ways to reach their audiences.
Fresh on top of your newsfeed are Jono Duffy and Kimi Tayler, two foreign comedians living in Iceland, with their new project “Crapapella.” Their first video of the series premiered on Youtube April 20th and was an acapella cover of Daði Freyr’s Thinking About Things (in English), using only their two voices and a few microphones hitting thuds. After seeing the two in The Reykjavík Grapevine’s Love Ísland series, we had to check this out.
GayIceland sat down (via the interwebs, 2 meters away from each screen) to chat about the project.
When did you two meet and start collaborating?
“We met a few years ago through the open mic circuit here in Reykjavik. We didn’t start doing things together till last spring. We became close friends and spent a lot of time hanging out so it was a natural progression, especially as the non-romantic gay power couple of comedy.”
What’s this new video series you’re putting together?
“We both love music, Eurovision and all things camp and we had both done projects in the past where we created music with just our voices. Jono ended a show with something like this years ago in Australia and Kimi put together an audio tour experience for Reykjavik Fringe 2019 and for the completion of her masters in fine art called ‘The Orchestra of Kimis.’”
You were supposed to have a show together prior to distancing, is this based on that?
“Yes, we were supposed to do a big comedy show at Tjarnarbíó before COVID-19 canceled everything and this song was going to be our closing number. After the gathering ban went into effect and the devastating cancellation of Eurovision, we were having a chat about how we were so down about it all. We then thought about what we could do to still create things during this time and came up with the idea of forming this sort of joke band called “Crapapella.”
The whole point is that we do covers of songs we like but make all the music ourselves with our voices and body percussion (or just hitting the microphone). We’re comedians who love music, and not professional musicians (although Kimi used to play the trombone and Jono will belt out pretty much any tune if you pay him enough). We have started thinking though that if enough people like it, we might do a “Crapapella” show in the future when everything is back to normal.”
What do you hope people will get from the video series?
“It’s not supposed to make anyone drop their jaw with amazement at our technical skills, it’s just supposed to get them to laugh, smile or just sing. And we, of course, want some validation from Daði (which is pretty much Kimi’s sole purpose in life right now).”
How has COVID changed the way you perform/create content?
“Not at all. Everything is exactly as it was… (That is clearly sarcasm). Everything we both had planned for the next six months was basically canceled overnight, so we have both had to re-think the way we connect with our audiences. We have also both taken some time to let people just have their space to process what’s going on. We have both been of the opinion that the last two months it’s been good to sort of ‘read the room’ and not jump down people’s throats. Now things seem to be on the way up and we figured it would be a good time to release what we’ve been working on.”
What has been getting both of you through these times of social distancing?
“This project, food, and tiger king memes. It’s been a pretty weird time for everyone in the world so we’ve both been just taking it easy and taking each day as it comes. It’s hard for us both to have our families abroad, but we’re lucky that we have a non-biological family here in Iceland.”
What’s it like being the non-romantic gay power couple of comedy in Iceland?
“It’s pretty gay. We have no idea how to really answer that question. It only really becomes apparent around pride when we’re doing a show for ‘our people’. The rest of the year it’s mostly just another minority in the wheels of the comedy system.”
How do you begin the creative process working together, what do you usually start with to get the ball rolling?
“Often the ideas come when we’ve been having a few drinks or hanging out. We work pretty efficiently together. We catch up and laugh at the start, but when it comes to working on the project we pretty much just get into it and don’t stop till it’s done.”
How do you think Icelandic audiences compare to audiences in your home countries, what jokes go over well with Icelanders vs. foreigners?
“There’s less of a wall between you and the audience here because they are more likely to run into you while you’re shopping for groceries or in the waiting room at the doctors, so in a way it kind of makes it more like you’re hanging out with the audience when you’re on stage. Icelanders aren’t as shockable as a lot of other people which is a double-edged sword. You get used to going really far with things here, then you pop back home and realize in the middle of a set ‘Oh, I shouldn’t say some of these things on a stage.’
Also in the past 5 years, the audiences have become so mixed with Icelanders and foreigners there aren’t so many noticeable differences anymore. Having said that, Icelanders will always love it when you make fun of them and their ways, probably because they have been ignored by the comedy world for so long.”
Will you charge for content like this, will people buy access or donate?
“Well, it would be great to find a way to make money off this kind of content but neither of us are 17-year-olds on Tik Tok or makeup tutorial makers on YouTube, so, for now, we will just put it out there and hope people enjoy it.”
Bonus Round: Who do you really think killed Carole Baskin’s husband?
“Hands down Carole Baskin killed her husband. She covered him in sardine oil and fed him to the tigers, so get that straight all you cool cats and kittens. #freejoexotic”
Jono and Kimi’s new series will be rolling out as you’re reading this, so stay tuned after the first episode for more!
You can find this content and more at the links below to all of Kimi Tayler and Jono Duffy’s work: