By Graeme Wiggins
From its humble beginnings as a short, satirical movie review podcast, Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) and Gregg Turkington’s (Neil Hamburger) On Cinema at the Cinema has evolved into something much bigger. There are now 100 episodes of its video series, Oscar specials, a spin-off action series (Decker), musical acts (Dekkar), a book, and more.
As it’s grown, it’s evolved. The lives of its hosts — the insufferable, aggressive, right-wing crank Tim and unknowledgeable film nerd Gregg — have taken twists and turns in ways the original podcast couldn’t have possibly foretold.
Given its breadth and multimedia nature, it’s not the easiest thing to explain to the uninitiated, but Heidecker’s attempt comes close.
“I say it’s a satirical movie review show about two disturbed individuals that has transformed into a sort of psychodrama soap opera that is funny and dry and exists in various media. I also say it’s not for everyone.”
That soap opera storyline has seen Heidecker charged with manslaughter (in a lengthy courtroom drama series called “The Trial”), set fire to Turkington’s VHS collection, and go through multiple health problems and marriages. It’s been a journey of world-building.
As Turkington explains, “That’s why I think the people at Marvel are really into this, because that’s what they specialize in too, creating these multifaceted worlds. I know we didn’t set out to do this but once we got rolling it’s the direction it went.”
Heidecker notes that despite the hours of back story and in-jokes the live show manages to make regular converts of first-time viewers. Part of that is the high level energy of the show.
“In a lot of ways it’s like a professional wrestling event because it’s very interactive with the fans. You have people coming in who are Greggheads and people who are Timheads and then the Dakkar set happens and you have people booing and people cheering.”
Heidecker suggests it could also be used as a barometer on a first date.
“If you’ve got a fan, you’ve got a winner,” says Heidecker. “And if someone recoils it’s good to know that at that point.”
Whether you’re a Timhead or a Gregghead, it’s almost guaranteed that the live experience of On Cinema at the Cinema will be a “five bags of popcorn” rated experience.
On Cinema at the Cinema Live! takes place on Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Playhouse (Vancouver)Gregg Turkington, On Cinema at the Cinema, Tim Heidecker