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Brief Encounter With ... Comedy duo The Pajama Men

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The Pajama Men (aka Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez) have been entertaining audiences with their unique brand of physical comedy for over ten years. Now they're bringing their latest show, Edinburgh Fringe sell-out In the Middle of No One, to London's Charing Cross Theatre, where it runs from tonight (9 January 2012) until 3 March.

Whatsonstage.com recently caught up with them to find out a bit more about the men behind the PJs.

For the uninitiated, what/who are The Pajama Men?
Shenoah Allen: We tell jokes, we’ve together story lines and play a ton of characters. It’s a bizarre flight of fancy pants.

How did you get together?
Mark Chavez: We met in high school at an audition for an improv group, we knew who each other were but we'd never actually met. We did the audition together and we both got cast. The La Cueva High School Improv Team did one show at an officer's wives' club on an airbase in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It didn't go well. We, however, got on very well and have been doing stupid things together ever sense.

Why do you wear pajamas?
SA: We shift between characters and situations very quickly. We didn’t want to get bogged down with sets and costumes or even much lighting. We keep it simple so we can improvise and change things up. It’s more about what’s taking place inside your head while you’re watching the show and less about what we’re wearing.

What can we expect from your latest show?
MC: Like all of our shows, we play quite a few characters, introducing them in seemingly unrelated sketches that slowly begin to interweave and blend together forming a cohesive little story.

Who are your biggest comedy influences?
SA: People. Everyone we meet. People are funny and strange and demented and so many other things. I never stop getting a kick out of Average Joe Human.

Which other acts do you admire at the moment?
MC: Daniel Kitson is amazing to watch, he's incredibly funny and totally inspiring. Alexis Dubos French character Marcel is hilarious, he's so patient and methodical in his delivery.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
SA: When I was about 19 my friend Rich told me that if I wanted to be successful I just had to keep showing up. Don't worry about the final product just show up. He was right. You just keep doing it.

And the worst?
MC: At one point we were encouraged to not gig all that much so we wouldn't get lost in the mix and not seem as special when we did a show or something like that. Really all it did was keep us rusty, broke, and disconnected from the community.

What have you got lined up next?
SA: We have some film and TV projects we’re writing. Hopefully we can get those off the ground so we can the heroin habits we’re both planning to start in 2012.


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