Talent on Tap – Hospital Show Will Leave You in Stitches

When is the last time you laughed so hard you woke up the baby… next door? If you have to think about it, you’re not alone. When you tune into the news these days, it seems to always be about carnage but on different levels. You begin to channel surf and can only find reruns of funny shows that you’ve already watched and the expectation of laughing has dried up like an old well due to fracturing from an oil rig ½ mile away. With the vast amount of channels to choose from these days and the onslaught of networks, you might get lucky and find a handful of shows but wait, you forgot to subscribe and will now have to revert back to the old well.  The TV world seems to have forgotten the importance of laughter and the endorphins it releases. It helps us forget about the negative baggage we all carry as we leave for work, get stuck in traffic, get blamed for something we didn’t do once we arrive at work and have to skip lunch to fix it. We need that laughter like a mosquito needs to drink.

 

Before you grab that old hanky… wait, there is a brand new comedy show to the rescue and it is so damn funny, you will wake the baby. The best thing about it is you can watch it on Youtube at your convenience. That means, on your cell phone on your lunch break at work, after work, before you go to bed, after the in-laws leave or before they arrive, after the fight with your 8 year old or just whenever you need a laugh. It’s totally your choice and your trapped endorphins will thank you. I’m talking about a new comedy called Hospital Show written and directed by Adam Greydon Reid. The cast is pure gold and hilarious as Trump’s hair. 

 

Having had the pleasure of watching two episodes in advance, I will warn you from holding a hot beverage, playing Jenga and knitting while watching, it’s that funny. Finally there is something to laugh about. Hospital Show has a terrific premise, in which there are actors portraying surgeons that get tongue-tied on their lines, they show you the inner workings of a network show while providing a window into an actors life. I should mention that it’s not just available on Youtube but can also be viewed on Amazon Plus and Highball.TV. 

 

I recently spoke with Adam and one of the very hilariously talented actors from the show, Enid-Raye Adams to find out how the show was conceived. Both Adam and Enid-Raye have 68 credits on imdb and have been local actors working in the industry for 20 plus years. They have definitely paid their dues and it is my hope that this show gets picked up by a major network because they and the rest of the cast and crew are deserving of it… and we need to laugh until we cry. 

 

I learned so many things in this interview from a comedic POV including the unsubstantiated rumor that men are more vane than women in the hair and make-up department and that women are entirely too fussy about their eyebrows. Did you know that micro-blading is on the rise? Now you do.

 

HNM: “This is insanely funny. How did you come up with the premise for the show?”

Adam: “I’ve been a child actor since the age of 12 and this is the world I know.  In fact I wrote a letter to the producer of the show, You Can’t Do That On Television at a very young age, asking if I could be on the show.”

Enid-Raye: “He’s always been a real go-getter, even as a young squirt. (laughter)  

Adam:  “As a young squirt I could do impersonations. My big sell was, anything Rich Little could do I can do (Adam breaks into hilarious impressions of famous people).  I’ve always had it in my blood and sometimes I wish I didn’t, it’s a bit of a curse. I’ve often wondered equally, why am I doing this?”

Enid-Raye: “I’ve wondered that many… many times.”

 

HNM: “Do you mean self doubt?”

Adam: “Why do we put ourselves through this?”

Enid-Raye: “We work in a community filled with so many incredibly talented, highly skilled actors and that doesn’t matter because the industry works in such a way that is so punishing that it takes any kernel of insecurities you might have and blossoms it.”

Adam: “Then there’s the addiction of, if the audience gives you an applause for something or a nice review, that’s affirmation. As an actor, that affirmation becomes your self-worth.”

Enid-Raye: “Sometimes I’ll ask my husband to applaud me as I’m walking from the kitchen to the living-room. I have needs too.”

 

Despite the kidding, they both confirm to me that it’s essential for your mental health that you separate the work from home life. They also share a harsh truth that given the incredibly skilled and talented actors in their community, the reality in the industry is that it takes 19 people to approve any casting choice. They say it’s really a Christmas miracle that anyone gets cast at all. They go onto say that the preparation and work leading up to an audition and landing the audition is most of the job. ‘It is punishing to keep working in order to get the work.’

 

Adam: “It’s a bit of a song and dance number every time you go to find work. It’s not really based on your resume to an extent. The real question for me was; I want to write about our world in a very realistic workplace kind of way. There’s this myth that it’s all glamorous but it’s not. Our workday starts at most times 6:30. I wanted to create something that was very normal and humanize the process while pulling back the glamour of it and present it as just a job, a workplace comedy. People go to work, they put on their white coats and pretend to be doctors, but it’s just a job.”

Enid-Raye: “The reality is, it is just a job but with some unique characteristics. The insecurities that we sometimes feel fuel the comedy.”

Adam: “In filling out that world, not a lot of people have seen the inside of a trailer but in our world, instead of our characters going home they go inside their trailer. Instead of going to the kitchen, they go to Craft Services. I wanted to build a world that was unique.”

 

HNM: “I found it very unique and I don’t know of anything on TV that compares. I truly hope that a large network will see the tremendous potential in the show because it really deserves to be on primetime. It is so funny and different.”

Adam: “That is the idea. When I was thinking of pitching this idea, I had decided; rather than using a script and approaching production company after production company, I thought why not make it. There’s the Bell Fund, there’s Telus, there’s the Independent Production Fund and there’s tax credits as well as friends that could help me do this.”

Enid-Raye: “That’s the other thing, show it don’t tell it. There are people in this town that are hysterically funny and you see that on the show. It’s a comedy with Vancouver actors.”

Adam: “I also didn’t want to be beholden to who I could cast and who I couldn’t. For me, it was also about hanging onto creative control. It’s also where the idea of doing the web-series came from. A, painting a world that we live in and B, doing it on our own without any creative interference.”

HNM: “Having watched the first 2 episodes, the cast work so well together. How long did it take to find them all?”

Adam: “The cast is made up partially of dramatic actors (which most actors do in town) and there’s a few funny people, like this one (referring to Enid-Raye Adams) but don’t tell her.”

Enid-Raye: “Don’t tell me, it will go straight to my head.”

Adam continues, “Someone like Enid-Raye, I’ve always wanted to work with. With Adrian Holmes who plays Rich, I asked if he ever wanted to do comedy, which he said, ‘of course’, so it really came together. My wife Kristin Lehman (Lisa) is also in it, so it came together quite naturally and quickly from the inner circle of the community of people we knew.”

Enid-Raye: “It’s also a testament to the skill of this community. Adrian Holmes is an Award winning actor for his dramatic roles. The man is so singularly funny that I’d often have to turn away from the camera as to not ruin the shot because he makes me laugh.”

Adam continues, “Jordan Conner (Vince), Sara Canning (Charlie/Dr. Samantha Grace), these are people that are not known for their comedy work but they’re absolutely hysterical. The reason why they’re hysterical is because they’re not trying to be funny, they’re treating it like a drama.”      

     

HNM: “Did you put out an open audition for any of the cast?”

Adam: “Only for the supporting roles. The main cast of doctors were people I knew in the community and wanted to work with that I thought would be perfect for the part.”

Enid-Raye adds, “By the way, Sara Canning who is the heart and soul of the show is screamingly funny. There isn’t a moment that she’s on camera where I’m not mesmerized by her. She’s so compelling and such a terrific actor.”

 

Although this is the first season of Hospital Show, they play it like it’s the fourth season within the show, Critical Condition. It’s a show on the bubble and they wanted to start it in the middle. Adam’s intention wasn’t to portray everyone meeting everyone for the first time but rather like a ‘remedy rez’ (legal Latin, Adam’s phrase) meaning, in the middle of. (Hilarious uses for the phrase being used in a sentence followed)

 

HNM: “Since you’re both seasoned actors and quite familiar with film sets, did you already know how the studio set needed to look or did you have to seek out a set designer?”

Adam: “We had a fabulous team and our production designer was Caitlin Byrnes. She and her team (Jodie, Lindsay) acted as an Art Department/Production Design group, so they handled the props as well as art direction. We filmed in two locations; Bridge Studios, where we rented a trailer and would swap out the décor to have it appear as different actors trailers.  We also needed a hospital set, so we ended up using Riverview, which is what many film sets use. We had the bones but we needed to fill it and that’s what Caitlin and her team was able to do so wonderfully. We didn’t have a huge budget, so they had to be very creative in order to fill that space with real machines and equipment to make it look like a hospital set.” 

 

Enid-Raye is suddenly mesmerized by a customers’ moustache as he orders a coffee.  I think we all started feeling slightly envious as I experienced a moment of nose itch before proceeding back to the topic of Hospital Show.

 

Enid-Raye to Adam, “I think your character really needs that moustache. It is magnificent.”

Adam: “The problem with that is, I can’t grow more than this side (refers to left side) so I’d have one side brown and the other white. Talk about your hair/makeup issues. (Laughter follows the explanation) 

 

HNM: “You’ve both been in so many productions (each holds 68 imdb credits), have either of you played a doctor/nurse before?”

Enid-Raye: “I’m going to be obnoxious for a moment. Yes I’ve played a doctor before. I can’t stop looking at that mans’ moustache. It’s really wonderful, I feel happy just looking at it. I’ve played a couple doctors, maybe two.”

Adam: “I’ve also played a couple doctors. One with Billy Ray Cyrus on his medical drama.”

Enid-Raye: “Such a name dropper. Is he a good egg?”

Adam: “He’s a super generous guy/super nice guy. Sara Canning actually has the most experience playing a doctor.  She was a regular on a show called Remedy. She would tell us about the things they’d do to literally train, such as suturing bananas. There’s a scene where my character is told that he’s no longer a good surgeon, so he has to practice up because he wants to prove them wrong.”

Enid-Raye: “There is a scene involving Adam’s character suturing a banana, which is possibly one of the funniest things I’ve seen. Adam’s descent is hysterical. There’s so much potential, given it’s a web series the episodes are maybe 5-6 min’s. long, there’s only so much that we can dive into. Having said that, the series is rich in character development and there’s so much potential to go longer form and really explore what’s driving these characters. For my character in particular, she’s a woman whose husband has died and is raising two kids. As a woman in her 40’s in a career in the industry that doesn’t really create environments where a woman of my age can thrive professionally. There’s so much there. What happens when you lose your best friend in the world? There’s an element of losing your mind and being disconnected. In some of the saddest experiences we go through, what saves you? Humor!”  

Adam: “My character is an insecure alcoholic who plays an alcoholic on TV. I was interested in finding what the ‘House of Mirrors’ was for each character. Charlie’s character is a med school dropout, she knows what she’s doing and she really should be a doctor on many levels but instead she’s pretending to be one. Rich, played by Adrian Holmes is the king of the set, he’s number 1 or is he? Deep down he’s very insecure and his co-star knows so much more than he does.”

Enid-Raye: “Jordan Connor’s character is instagram obsessed, trying to find success in a world where your success is basically determined by how many followers/likes you get. He’s trying to find his value from other people. The one person that doesn’t need to find their value from anyone else in the show is Valerie Tian. She plays a character named Astrid and she is straight up comedy gold.  The writing is spot on and so tight. To Adams credit, he creates that environment where we can thrive. He recognizes our skills and gives us the opportunity to take it off the page if it’s going to serve the scene.”

 

HNM: “How long does it take to shoot each episode?”

Enid-Raye: “It took 3 years out of my life.” 

 

Enid-Raye Adams is hilarious throughout the interview, as well as the comical antics of Adam Greydon Reid, they really never stop/turn it off. Of course, I love every minute of it.

 

Adam continues, “It took 7 days to shoot the entire series. We did what’s called ‘block shoot’, where we would concentrate the days on certain sets; that’s how we got through them. It was really important for me to stick to a 10 hr. day plus lunch.”

 

HNM: “Were there any episodes where you would use the show as a platform to address a social issue?”

Enid-Raye: “Interesting, that’s a great question.”

Adam: “I think it needed to be fairly weighted in humor and the pace of the show. I think we explore a little about how identity can be perceived. There are certainly themes of community and family.”

Enid-Raye: “The clown that breaks your heart is always going to be remembered because you didn’t see it coming.”

 

HNM: “If you had one day to choose either a mud wrestling competition or a stand-up routine, what would your preference be?”

Enid-Raye: “Stand-up comedy if it’s done in the privacy of my own home. It’s where I’m the funniest. I have a dog and plants, they have feelings too.”

Adam: “I do want to do stand-up but my immediate response would be mud wrestling, only because that would also be just as funny. As long as the other person is my size. (Looking at Enid-Raye) I think 2 improvisers mud wrestling would be more entertaining than any stand-up routine, guaranteed.”

Enid-Raye: “Suddenly I’m 6 ft. tall. I’d knee cap him. I’m not F’n around. I’m coming for you.”

 

HNM: “Considering the show does deal with medical procedures, do you have a medical expert you can use for procedures or scenarios?”

Adam: “A wife of a good friend of mine is a doctor in emerge at Vancouver General Hospital, so there was something she helped me with.”

Enid-Raye: “Did you mud wrestle her?”

Adam: “Not for the answers. I had to make up a lot and the Art Department and I would work together with different ideas. I did look up what a thoracotomy (incision in chest wall) was, so I knew what I was doing. Basically it’s inserting a tube into the lungs to pull fluid out. If we had a longer show, we’d definitely have a medical consultant.”

 

HNM: “Do you see your web series as an advantage to not making a half-hour pilot?”

Enid-Raye: “You have to have an opportunity to make a pilot. If you don’t then the web series can be your calling card.”

Adam: “I think a network receives approx. 500 scripts per pilot season and from that they green-light around 15 for development and actually shoot only 6 pilots. It’s very hard to get a pilot made and the ones that do are seasoned veterans. I’ve been directing some commercials and documentaries to build my skills.”

Enid-Raye: “I need to interject for a moment. Adam directed the new Air Canada commercial with Sandra Oh and it is so good. It’s a lovely Canadian story.”

 

HNM: “What’s the best part of working on this show?”

Enid-Raye: “The fact that we’re all local Vancouver actors and crew. We all got to gel together. It’s not always like that because when you are fortunate enough to get a job a lot of times you’re working with people from out of town, which is great and a huge blessing, you can learn a lot and grow as an actor. You’re also competing with all the other actors in town for the part that you ultimately play. On this project, there was no audition and we got to work with each other and it’s such a joy to work with the people in our community.”

Adam: “I don’t think I’ve worked with anyone on the project before. These are friends that we’ve always wanted to work with. For me it was being able to hand pick the ingredients and be the container for the show as well as the producer and hand pick not just the cast but the crew. It was an opportunity to share my voice and collaborate to say something really fun. It’s an opportunity to share artist’s voices that aren’t necessarily calling the shots in the TV world now but have incredible skill. It’s a great opportunity to put it out into the world and see how it does and to see how people respond to it. It’s a gift.” 

Enid-Raye: “What’s great is this could become something commercial, it could become our job and I think that’s important too. We have families to raise and bills to pay as well, so I think it’s important to monetize these kinds of opportunities whenever we can.”

 

HNM: “Trapeze circus training for a day or a painting class?”

Enid-Raye: “Painting. I’m afraid of heights I’d pee myself.”

Adam: “Painting. I like painting. I’m a horrible drawer so I’d want learn. Definitely not the trapeze.”

Enid-Raye: “I like finger painting and my material of choice is chocolate pudding. Two birds with one stone.”

 

The web series will have its big premiere on Oct. 24. They will be releasing 2 episodes on their Youtube channel and every week after they will release another episode.  If you’re a subscriber to Highball.TV you will be able to see the series. On Amazon Prime, the TV On Demand, you’ll be able to buy the series. Otherwise, you can watch them for free on Youtube. The series will also be made available to Telus VOD subscribers in its feature length format in mid-November.  It really is comedy gold and a large audience can show networks that it is worthy of a primetime slot. Please watch it and support Canadian comedy.

                   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *