Comedy is one of the most popular entertainment genres and short comedic films are especially popular on the internet. In December 2015, actor Mike Pfaff just released his first short narrative in what he hopes to be a long running series called “Pfaff Laugh.” The series will produce a video around most major holidays and features action-star Mike conducting at least one stunt.
Mike was on the poster for 3 different feature films this month at The American Film Market in LA and every one of them landed a distribution deal. In his most recent feature, “Better Criminal”, he had an opportunity to tap into his comedy chops as Eddie Porter, a loveable drug addict who can’t keep from screwing up. In addition, his starring role on the feature “Let It Bleed” could be pitched as a dark comedy as well as revenge thriller. Mike also played the leading man on the action feature “Lazarus Rising”, which recently won Best Action Feature at the Action On Film Festival and he was nominated for Best Breakout Action Star. Performing his own stunts in addition to flourishing within both comedic and dramatic genres has given Mike a unique edge. Some of Mike’s recent TV appearances include a principal role opposite Noah Wyle and Rebecca Romijn on TNT’s “The Librarians” as a rugged Eastern European soldier (requiring his stunt background and accent) and the CBS
People Choice winner “Two Broke Girls” as Brian, the “friendly” neighbor from across the hall.
He is a veteran stuntman who loves bringing multiple layers of physicality to his work and looks forward to highlighting his skills in his own series of comedic shorts. The first installment, “Crack Cane” is due for release on FunnyOrDie this December. Recently, Mike spoke with the Examiner about his experiences working as an actor and preparing for the launch of “Pfaff Laugh”:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to start the “Pfaff Laugh” series and why was that specific name chosen?
Mike Pfaff (M.P.): When I was writing “Crack Cane,” I was about to become a new dad, so wanted to create something with a positive message while keeping it light, interactive and fun for the holidays. A hilarious juxtaposition between what a drug addict thinks he looks like compared to what he actually looks like kept crossing my mind. How humorous would it be to see a drug induced hallucinated world compared to the reality? I also wanted to do something slightly interactive where viewers were challenged in some way, and in this case, it’s to count the number of drug puns. From there, I thought a fun way to present it could be kind of a rag time Christmas musical. I chose Pfaff Laugh because everyone gets the pronunciation of my last name wrong and I’m trying to make them laugh, so let’s kill two birds with one stone.
M.M.: What kind of projects does Pfaff Laugh favor and how do you acquire your scripts and cast?
M.P.: As the name implies, we favor comedy in the form of skits and sketches. So far I’ve been the one writing the skits, just finished another we’re shooting for Valentine’s Day. However, as we progress, I want to consider other sketch ideas from some of my imaginative friends. As far as casting, you can’t help but build a huge network of talented, inventive comrades after working in LA all these years. Since we’re ultimately doing it for fun (our equivalent to Sunday Football parties), having hard working people on set with a great attitude is #1.
M.M.: Pfaff Laugh is centered on holidays. How many holidays will be focused on each year? For example, are you only covering the big ones like Christmas and Valentine’s Day or will you focus on smaller ones too?
M.P.: We’re open to any and all holidays that we can put our unique comedic spin on from Christmas and Valentine’s to the lesser known ones like International Friendship Day and Doughnut Day. We really want to listen to what our viewers might enjoy and go from there.
M.M.: So far, how many shorts have you either finished or have clear ideas for?
M.P.: We’ve shot one and I have scripts written for two more… baby steps.
M.M.: You mentioned that all the stories in this series will be shorts. Approximately how long will they be? Do you plan to expand into longer features at some point?
M.P.: Typically these skits will be around 5 minutes and the only expectation is to have fun. A feature is a completely different kind of mountain to climb, but I am in the middle of writing a feature length script that’s been in my head for years which I’m extremely excited about.
M.M.: What have your experiences creating a comedic series been like?
M.P.: I’ve only done one so far and so I can only comment on “Crack Cane” which literally was non-stop laughter for all of us. The process created a situation where anyone heavily involved needed to connect with each other on a deeper, personal level.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working as an actor?
M.P.: Having an opportunity to connect with and understand all kinds of people while finding innovative ways to express myself.
M.M.: Where do you hope Pfaff Laugh will be in ten years?
M.P.: I don’t have any grand visions of where it will be even next year, but I do want it to serve as a creative springboard to inspire anyone involved to continue pursuing imagination, joy, and good intentions.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter the film industry?
M.P.: Make sure it’s something you really want to pursue. Getting on set and taking a close look at how everyone’s individual job comes together to bring a production to life could give you an early indicator if you have the fortitude to really dedicate yourself to the pursuit. In the end, you have to love it, find the joy in the work itself and have your own definition of what it means to be successful.
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The first video “Crack Cane” is largely a musical; running under 7 minutes, it manages to convey many puns and a bizarrely cheerful melody mixed with gallows humor imagery. To watch the short film, see here. Anyone who enjoys edgy adult-themed comedy will likely enjoy it. To learn more about “Pfaff Laugh” visit the official website and follow it on Facebook and Twitter via @PfaffLaugh