The month of November for Cleveland event-goers was markedly a month of comedy.
The Cleveland Comedy Festival had its 7th annual run from November 17th through the 23rd. It was appropriate, therefore, that Aldous Mustache—an underground Cleveland-based sketch comedy collective—chose the end of the month to premiere the second installment of their pet project “Public Axis” at the Bevy in Birdtown.
Aldous Mustache, a.k.a. “the ‘Stache,” is a group of boyishly handsome, intellectual astute individuals, who initially joined forces to compete in Cleveland’s 48 Hour Film Project back in 2008, despite having no significant movie production experience. Their film debut, “The Three Piecers,” focused on a fictitious subculture of high school teenagers who choose to rebel against the world around them by emulating middle-aged businessmen.
While “The Three Piecers” may not have won them any awards, what has grown out of that initial attempt has been very rewarding. Their primary focus since then has been on “Public Axis,” a half-hour sketch comedy show designed for TV. In the vein of “Upright Citizens Brigade” the show revolves around a pair of robots, a human intern, and their attempt to take over the world by means of warped television broadcasting, represented in a series of outlandish, comical vignettes.
It’s no surprise that as a self-produced DIY project, the current turnaround for an episode is about a year.
As I soon found out, the wait for “Public Axis 2” was definitely worth it. The night started off with a full screening of “Public Axis 1,” and was immediately followed by roughly two hours of total madness; part stand-up, with appearances from Cleveland comedy regulars Zachariah Durr, Jimmie Graham and Ramon Rivas, and part really bizarre game show-themed nonsense, like the impossible trivia contest, and a French bread pizza eating challenge.
After the live shenanigans, “Public Axis 2” finally premiered. The audience laughed unabashedly as dazzling images flashed at breakneck speed before their eyes. This time around, some of the insanity included a barbarian named Knorg, a blob-like alien having a rational break-up with his heartbroken but understanding human girlfriend, an infomercial for Man-Pads, and so much more, all brought to us by those two morbidly perverse robots and their snazzy, quick-witted, human intern.
In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before “Public Axis” gets picked up. After all, it was rumored that representatives from both Comedy Central and TBS would be in attendance. Yes, Aldous Mustache will be coming to a television set near you very soon. Either that, or they’ll probably win at least one award in every category at the next 48 Hour Film Project. Whatever happens, I know this much for sure: It will be hard to wait another whole year for Public Axis 3.