CoCo and popcorn

By Paul Wozniak
Photo by Paul Wozniak

Local foursome shoots sketch that makes it to late night TV

Thursday, Feb. 28 —A West Michigan couple recently appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” because $7,500 of the man’s porn was stolen, but earlier this month, a Lansing group made their own network television debut — under tamer circumstances.

Aspiring filmmaker Andy Shumaker, 22, and his friends shot a sketch that aired on the Feb. 1 episode of TBS’s “Conan,” hosted by Conan O’Brien. At the eight-minute mark of the show, their clip, “Conan Gets Enraged at Andy,” aired for a glorious 20 seconds. Theirs was among 199 other fan submissions, which, when assembled, recreated a previous “Conan” episode clip by clip.

Andy and Scott Screenshot (2)_1.jpegShumaker decided to enter the contest after O’Brien pitched the concept on the show last October. Shumaker posted a notice on his Facebook page. Lansing Community College classmate J. Othon Lerma responded and put the rest of the cast and crew together, including Ted Kindig and Nick Ohron. In early January, three days before the submission due date within a three-hour window, Shumaker and his crew conceptualized, filmed, edited and submitted their entry.

Lerma said that the Conan shorts were the first full-group effort between everyone involved, but that he, Kindig and Ohren completed an independent short film together last March. In addition, Kindig and Ohren list a growing portfolio of creative projects from local promotional commercials to original webisodes.

According to the show’s website, all 200 winning submissions will receive “an official Team Coco swag bag,” but Shumaker said they have yet to receive their prize. Submissions needed to follow particular parameters but otherwise allowed for flexibility.

“They had a lot of weird rules: you had to have some sort of wig and a tie, you had to try to look like (Conan and Andy)…you had to say the exact words, but the actions could be all your own,” he said. “I went for creative. I said, ‘I want there to be popcorn for this.’”

Their winning clip features Shumaker as co-host Andy Richter and Scott Laban as Conan O’Brien recreating a mock flashback as O’Brien charges into the office and yells at Richter for his supposed lack of preparation. For his hair, Shumaker cut cartoonish shapes out of card stock, held together with tape. In the video, Shumaker munches on a bowl of popcorn watching television before Laban kicks it onto the floor. After each take, Shumaker says they reused the same bag of popcorn, sweeping it up from his basement floor.

“I shouldn’t have eaten that popcorn,” Shumaker said. “My mom said, ‘The broom you used…we used to use that for cat litter.’ I was like, ‘Aw Mom.’ It was like, ‘You ate cat litter popcorn.’”