Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live: More Con Than Concert
Tuesday night, Aqua Teen Hunger Force co-creator and writer Dave Willis stopped by El Rey Theatre with comedian Dana Snyder, best known as the voice of Master Shake, as part of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live tour. Now you might be wondering how an eleven-minute cartoon can manage going on a cross-country tour. We were too. Aqua Teen live is more con than concert. The show relies heavily on fan participation with contests and a q/a session. There are sneak previews for both Aqua Teen and Squidbillies and there are freebies for those who are both close to the stage and good at catching things. At the L.A. show, select fans were able to attend an autograph signing afterwards. We broke down Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live below.
There were no cosplayers in the crowd on Tuesday night, but Willis and Snyder did bring out puppets in the forms of Shake, Meatwad, Carl and Squidbillies matriarch Granny Cuyler. The puppets, and the puppetmasters, hosted segments like "Carl's Regional Beef" and "Home Cookin' with Granny." You can't go wrong with puppets.
Carl Speaks the Truth?
At every stop, Carl Brutananadilewski takes up a beef with the town he's visiting. Viewers of the show will note that Carl is the gold chain-wearing, metal and porn-loving loudmouth who lives next door to the Aqua Teens. Don't let his personality fool you, in the midst of his rants, Carl reveals true wisdom. He lamented the demise of the Sunset Strip and said, "The problem with L.A. bands is that they suck because their band names suck." A band's name should be "animalistic and raw," for example, "Silversun Pickups, try Claw-splosion."
Then there are the L.A. mustaches. Carl went to Silver Lake, where he spotted the "three-day" facial hair variety. A mustache, he says, takes a "permanent commitment to excellence." Noted.
With Willis and Snyder on the road, the live show covers all of Aqua Teen's major characters except for resident smart guy Frylock. Actor Carey Means did appear "live via satellite" from a bathroom for a Q/A session. Questions included "Are the Aqua Teens still detectives?" and "Why doesn't Carl have a real South Jersey accent?" The answers were primarily of the yes and no variety.
Three Times the Carl
Joining Willis and Snyder on the tour is David Long, Jr., who won the open casting call to play Carl on last year's live action episode. Long gets a good amount of stage time, he even sat in front of the crowd eating hot wings during intermission, and is quite funny. What's bizarre, though, is when he's on stage with on-screen Carl and puppet Carl. It's one of the best moments of the show.
There's a lot of crowd interaction during the show, from the Meatwad sound-a-like contest to Willis and Snyder randomly calling audience members to the front. Our favorite moment, though, came from Billy, a good-looking, and good-humored, young man who struck the fancy of Granny Cuyler. He joined the randy squid on stage for her cooking segment, where he read a double entendre-filled recipe as she squirmed on his shoulders. It could have been awkward, but we met Billy after the show and he said it was "really fun."
For the Squidbillies fans, Willis and Snyder showed some behind-the-scenes footage and clips from the forthcoming season. The big treat, though, was that they screened the entire 100th episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. We won't give away any spoilers, but it's a good one, weird even by Aqua Teen standards.
There was, unfortunately, no merch booth at the show, but Willis and Snyder threw goodies into the crowd at the end of the night. Amongst the freebies were frisbees, Squidbillies trucker hats and Meatwad beachballs.
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