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Peter N' Chris skewer the Hardy Boys in The Mystery of the Hungry Heart Hotel

Vancouver sketch duo brings its brand of irreverent humour to Maury Young



In today's fractured political climate, it can be easy for comedians to fall into a self-perpetuating cycle of cynicism.

Saturday Night Live is enjoying a resurgence mainly due to its Alec-Baldwin-helmed sketches skewering a certain orange-hued president, and countless comedians have abandoned the usual snappy one-liners populating their Twitter feeds in favour of venomous takedowns of the current administration.

But we could all use a break from the endless onslaught of negative news, and thankfully the world of comedy is big enough to accommodate the type of escapist humour that isn't the least bit concerned with the misadventures of a narcissist billionaire.

Take Peter N' Chris, an award-wining Vancouver sketch duo that have made their name through their brand of irreverent, genre-spoofing productions that you won't feel icky for laughing at.

"I think that critical mind takes away from what Chris and I get up to. We seek the positive laughs, and it's really hard to be topical and also get positive laughs," says Peter Carlone, one half of the group. "We could use a positive atmosphere right now — I think we can all agree on that. I can make Trump jokes that make everyone happy after the show."

The pair's latest travelling show, Peter N' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Hotel, is about as far from the palace intrigue of the White House as you can get.

"We're travelling somewhere undisclosed ... and break down on the side of the road and find this old rundown motel we decide to stay the night at. Through that, we meet a lot of different characters in the motel, especially the motel manager, and we find out there's a sinister murderer going around killing all the customers," Carlone explains.

It's essentially a lighthearted take on the Hardy Boys, with a dash of The Shining thrown in, adds Chris Wilson, marking the duo's first foray into the horror genre.

"It's not exactly a complicated plot other than a crappy motel and a murderer," Wilson notes.

Playing it fast and loose is part of the guys' charm; they are known to veer off script at a moment's notice.

"We kind of go with what the audience is feeling," says Carlone. "We wander on and off the script if it's fun because our goal is for everyone to come in and have a good time."

Alums of the University of Victoria's acting program, Peter N' Chris have done big things in the Canadian comedy scene, performing at the Just for Laughs Festival, writing for CBC Radio One's The Irrelevant Show, and earning three Canadian Comedy Awards in the process.

And although they both write on their own as well, they realized a long time ago that, like misery, comedy sure loves company.

"I honestly feel constrained writing alone with no one to bounce ideas off of," says Wilson.

"We genuinely like each other," Carlone interjects, "or at least we're not admitting that we don't!"

Peter N' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Hotel is scheduled for 8 p.m. on April 22 at the Maury Young Arts Centre. Tickets are $25, $22.50 for Arts Whistler members, and $10 for kids 12 and under, available at artswhistler.tix.com.


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