Like Franks and Beans, BE IN FRANKS AND BEANS

Jeff Lauren Franks and BeansHere’s a nice shot from an upcoming episode (yes, we still make them) of Franks and Beans.  Despite what many of you are thinking, Larry has not yet had his much-discussed sex change.  Instead, we’ve got a new guest star in the form of Franks and Beans fan Lauren.  In between shots, Lauren and I took a surprisingly intimate picture that seems to intimate (yes, this word has two different pronunciations and meanings…look it up) that the two of us are dating, which was never the case despite what my private journal may “allegedly” divulge.

Sharp-minded viewers will remember that the name “Lauren” was used for a character in an early episode of Franks and Beans.  I will confirm now (ONCE AND FOR ALL) that the character was named after our good friend Lauren here, with the idea that she would never actually show up in Pennsylvania and ask to be on the show.  This means that we will have to come up with a different character name for Lauren, which should be difficult because there just aren’t that many names for girls to choose from in existence.  We’ll see what we can do.

Look for this new episode to air as soon as Larry and I edit the damn thing.


Blog 42 – 666

666 screen shot

Hey, everyone.  Who here likes the devil?  Now, I don’t mean you LIKE him like him, but just that you see him as more of an abstract concept, or a silly cartoon character, like a skinny guy with a goatee, painted red skin and silly horns, and you think, “hey, I like the Devil.  He’s funny and I bet he’s pretty misunderstood!”  Well, according to beloved author C.S. Lewis, you’re going to Hell.  No two ways about it!  Really, just punch your ticket now, bucco.  You should probably be ashamed of yourself, but since you’re already on a one-way trip to eternal fire and torment, I suppose there’s really no use in it.

While you’re there, taking part in having your teeth smashed in with a lava rock, please ask the Devil (he’ll be the guy in charge) what he thinks about episode 40 of Franks and Beans, the aptly-named “666”.  I’ll bet he just looks at you and spits snakes into your eyes or something, but what if he was like “Franks and Beans?  That’s a great episode!  I love the chaos montage!  They’re performing over in subsection five, right before we force them to eat their own intestines stuffed with razor blades.”  And then you could both laugh and laugh, and maybe Hell would be just a tiny bit more tolerable at that point.  But probably not, because, you know, Hell and all.

666 is a higher-concept episode than usual, with a lot of buildup and an immediate callback that, on a lot of levels, really works for me.  It does take a moderate-sized leap of faith in that we’re apparently professing that just saying the phrase “666” brings forth demonic possession and wild spasms of uncontrollable rage, but once you’re there, everything else falls into place.

If I had to change one thing about this episode, it’d be to add just a little more buildup.  I think that we would have benefited in taking things a bit more slowly; specifically, I wouldn’t jump right into the gravely “666!!” line right away.  Instead, I’d add up the numbers and say something like “and that comes to…six hundred and sixty-six dollars even.  Six…sixty six.”  And then pause for effect, look up to Larry, and THEN launch into the “SIX SIXTY SIX!” tirade.  I think that would have sold the joke better than what actually transpired, but overall I think it worked out fine, and hindsight is a tough sonofagun in any case.

666 screen shot 03

Here’s an amusing anecdote that should possibly make you sad and a little ashamed to know or even know OF your pals at Franks and Beans: it took both Larry and I several times to figure out how to subtract $6.66 from $10.00.  At first I embarrassed myself by saying $4.44.  In the editing process, Larry’s Mom (“got some mail for you”) pointed out the obvious flaw.  Contrite, we re-filmed the scene and I instead said “$3.44.”  This is ALSO incorrect, but we were lucky enough that you never see me saying it – so I just recorded myself saying the correct numbers (whatever they are) and we slapped it in.  This is what an educational system that doesn’t put enough emphasis on science and math produces, world!  What a damn shame.

666 receiptA few months ago, I went to the store and bough, apparently, three squeeze pops.  The price of three squeeze pops, plus 6% sales tax, some out to exactly $6.66.  This was a fun coincidence, and I took full advantage of it by looking at the cashier and saying “666!” in a gravely voice before gesticulating wildly.  The cashier didn’t enjoy the reference, as she perhaps hadn’t yet watched Franks and Beans, but I’m sure that has been rectified in the time since the encounter, because who ignores a sign like that?

666 Lion-O screen shotOur “NO!” ending features another of Larry’s many costume changes.  Since we’ve slowed down in filming episodes lately, it seems that all of the endings are just Larry in various Halloween costumes, but this one here is memorable for sure, as Larry had some fleeting Internet fame (that is, other fame than what is allotted to us from Franks and Beans, which is considerable) in the same outfit.

Around the time we filmed this episode, Larry and I went to the New York Comic-Con, where Wagon Wheel Comics had a booth for one of the first times ever.  On the Saturday of the show, Larry dressed as Lion-O, and everyone loved him.  LOVED him.  It was something to see.  In face, searching for “Lion-O NYCC” on Google shows that Larry is still well remembered:

Larry as Lion-O Google screen shotHe’s got the first five slots!  Wow.  It was like walking around with a celebrity, and I was just a hapless member of the entourage.

Larry as Lion-O at New York Comic-Con NYCC Hellboy Larry as Lion-O New York Comic Con NYCCLarry even campaigned for America’s Libraries…apparently.  While we were at the show, we actually sold a few Franks and Beans DVDs, which, of course, requires photographic evidence to be believed:

Franks and Beans - New York Comic-Con NYCC

Look at that exchange of money for goods!  After the show, we took the parade to the streets of New York:

Larry as Lion-O New York Comic-Con NYCC TImes SquareNice photobomb, kid.  Later that evening, Larry made the front page of IGN:

IGN ScreenshotAnd a fun time was had by all, until Larry had a terrible reaction to the cat-eye contacts he was wearing.  And by that time, everyone was cranky anyway.

This blog took a strange turn.  Perhaps the Devil made me do it.

Franks and Beans go to Comic-Con

The great state of California has an event so big that people there will even buy Franks and Beans memorabilia.  It is true!  I kind of have proof.

The big trip to the San Diego Comic-Con is now behind us and it’s time to get back to serious, adult things, like blogging about Franks and Beans.  But don’t worry, pictures are involved.

Larry and I made our way to the Golden State for Comic-Con 2012, and it did not disappoint.  While the primary mission was to sell comics like Teddy and the Yeti and FUBAR, we also took the time to run around the show floor (literally) once or twice and partake in some of the festivities.

Before the show, I made some new discs of F&B seasons one and two.  Previous versions were in a clamshell case and on a Lightscribe DVD.  This time around, I wanted to do something a little different and made painted DVDs such as the one above.  I’ll post more about these gems later.

If you look to the left of this picture, you might see the DVDs on sale.  Or you may not.  But they are there!  And at quite a reasonable price, too!  We sold a handful of these and handed out dozens of cards to both willing and unwilling attendees, so hopefully there’ll be some more traffic checking out our videos.  Also, if you are new to this site and found us because of Comic-Con, let me know and I’ll send you a dollar.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to dress up as Jet Boy and Jet Girl from the Venture Bros. cartoon.  And when you look good, people stand up and take notice.  The top picture features VB creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Public, and directly above, here we are with Matt Atchity, EIC of the Rotten Tomatoes website that we all love so very much.  What began as an innocent lunch of burritos from the nearby Taco Truck (TM) turned into an interview with Sirius/XM Radio.  We plugged comics and FRANKS AND BEANS OH YEAH WOO!  So at one golden moment, for but the briefest of moments, you could hear us talk about our stupid Internet sketch comedy show across the globe.  I’m sure the world stopped for a moment to recognize the occasion.

After the show, Larry and I toured the Warner Bros. studio and some stuff.  Along the Way, we visited the FRIENDS set, where we took this very intimidating picture.  Perhaps the WB would like to pick up a great series based on an Internet comedy show made by guys who probably aren’t that young anymore, at least in Hollywood terms?

Comic-Con was overwhelming and successful on many different levels.  There are things we could have done better, but overall I think it went well.

This blog wasn’t as funny as it should have been, and for that I apologize.  But what can you do?  I’m only one man.

Blog 13 – Message Board Live @ Laughrica

Originally posted 12.29.09

Acting in front of a live audience is, honestly, something that Larry and I are not used to doing.  Sure, we’ve been in the occasional high school play (and I still have the nightmares to prove it), but I would venture that we are both more comfortable with a camera and the promise of multiple takes if something goes wrong.  For this reason if no other, performing our Internet-tastic eleventh episode, “Message Board”, live on stage was a good idea.

The origins of this event had nothing to do with either Larry or myself, but with some friends I knew from grad school.  As an aside, you may be surprised that I went to graduate school AND I have friends – and I still make time to produce the wonder that is Franks and Beans.  How about that?  Anyway, a friend from Youngstown, Ohio, home of the murder sandwich, invited us to be a part of a benefit for his wife, who, with another student from Youngstown State University, would be traveling on a medical mission trip to the far reaches of Africa, Earth.  I don’t imagine that they will be delivering supplies and holding clinics for ALL of Africa, but then again, I don’t know that they AREN’T.  So, we’ll see.  The event was to be called “Laughrica”, which, despite not being named by me, was the first indicator that this would be a fun evening.

I hastily agreed to take part in the festivities, and Larry agreed.  Perhaps we both said ‘yes’ without truly considering the reality of having to stand in front of people and act, because we spent much of the next weeks both procrastinating on practicing and fretting our decision.  I, for one, did actually lose sleep as I tried to come up with ideas that would work on stage and take up more than thirty seconds – it’s possible to have a really short episode work, but saying two lines and signaling for the next act to come up wouldn’t work nearly as well.

In the end, Larry and I decided that it would be best if we could simply adapt one of our episodes into a live action performance.  If we were to do something like this again, I might be tempted to write new material, but for our first time out, an adaptation was exactly the right call.  We had a known quantity in “Message Board” in that it was something we had done before and could gauge the reaction based on the episode.  We both had a general understanding of the timing of the piece, and while we did have to adjust some of the episode for the stage, we both knew what we were getting into.  And, dammit, the episode is our longest at nearly seven minutes, so if nothing else, if we weren’t funny, we were sure to fit the time parameters.  Franks and Beans, if not funny, at least won’t take up too much or too little of your time.  We should make that into a slogan!

Speaking of episode edits, most of them are obvious if you’ve seen the original episode filmed in Larry’s basement.  That is to say, you don’t have to go to Larry’s basement to watch the episode…that’s just where it was filmed.  Was that unclear?  Man, I wish there was a ‘delete’ button on this keyboard or something.  Oh well, we soldier on.

Not having the character known as “Larry’s Mom” for this new edition – it didn’t seem right to ask her to travel two hours for the line “Got some mail for you, Jeff”, as great as the overall joke was – might be the biggest difference between the two versions.  Thus, Larry was the one to deliver the mail-based joke.  I know that this might turn the world of Franks and Beans upside down, but if you think back to the infancy of the show and episode three, “The Change”, you’ll remember that Larry had his own mail joke in that one, too.  So eat it, faithful viewers!  There’s precedence to this action.  My reaction of “Oh, the new one’s out!” seems to be a little bizarre – the new what, you may ask – to which I reply, I’ve always wanted to use that line, and it’s my show so it doesn’t have to make a whole lot of sense.

“Message Board” takes place over the course of an entire day, which is difficult to pull off in front of a live crowd.  We considered ways to work around this – ways to visually show the progression of time with elaborate lighting schemes and verbal cues.  In the end, we just had someone should “LATER!” into a microphone and leave it at that, which was really all that was necessary.  We were lucky to grab someone from another act – new friend of the show Jason Howell – to provide the voice acting, which was very much appreciated.

Overall, I think that it’s easy to tell that some nerves did crop up at the beginning of the skit.  You may notice this because Larry decides to say the word “house” about fifty times in the first minute, and we stumble through our opening lines.  Larry says something to the effect of “what are you doing at my house?” (there’s that word again…), to which I respond, “I mean, I’m not always here.”  Larry is supposed to move to the part about getting my mail at his house, but instead he continues along the lines of “yes, you are always here.  Why?”

At this point, I pretty much died, and had accepted my death as preferable to the humiliation that was sure to follow.  Fortunately, both Larry and I really pulled it together after that point, and I think that the results begin to show soon after.  Our first laugh doesn’t come until we were nearly done with the first act of our performance, and those few seconds were long and worrisome for me, but the audience begins to respond more and more frequently as we worked our way toward the end.  Things really got moving with the line “because you have a disease that makes you pee in your pants” – which proves that there’s nothing like a joke about medical incontinence to really liven up a room.  Try it the next time you’re in public and I think you’ll agree!

By the end of our performance, things were going so well that I had the confidence to stand in front of the audience of fifty or so and talk about pornography.  When you are comfortable enough to do this, you know you’ve had a good night – and by most all accounts, it was a very good night.  Franks and Beans was able to broaden its audience a little bit; Larry and I mingled with some new fans after our act ended, and the response was nothing but positive…and for once, we weren’t just getting positive reviews from parents or other loved ones.

I think that if the right situation came along (i.e., someone asks) once again, both Larry and I would be happy to go out and perform again in front of an audience.  We were both excited for the experience and happy that we didn’t have to kill ourselves afterwards from the shame.  Any time an evening doesn’t result in my death is a good time, but Laughrica was a special evening in any regard.  Our thanks to all involved, from organizers to audience members.  Let’s do it again some time!

“Double Delivery” photo shoot & production still

One of the requirements for the Comic-Con film festival submission was a production still from our film (or as I like to call it, “episode”), “Double Delivery”.  The episode itself is coming together and is now completely edited – all that’s left to do is burn the DVDs, stick everything in an envelope and ship it off to the folks in San Diego – and it’s as complete a package as anything we’ve done here at F&B headquarters (Larry’s house) since its inception, so we’re both pretty excited.

Above you see the finalized production still that is heading off with our submission.  We snapped a number of pictures a few nights ago and this seemed to be the best one.  A few other takes can be seen below, though…including one of Larry kicking me in the groin, proving that we’re all class at Franks and Beans.  On a completely unrelated note, “Double Delivery” includes both a long burp and a fart in it.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen…