A web series that was rejected by both the ABC’s Fresh Blood and SBS’s Comedy Runway, but did obtain money from a state funding body, is either going to be really good or really bad. We Are Darren and Riley is neither.
Made by Darren Low and Riley Nottingham, an up-and-coming comedy duo from Queensland, We Are Darren and Riley is a 10-part web series which sees the 22 year olds make various (largely unsuccessful) attempts to make it in the comedy world and hit it off with girls.
This is comedic territory that’s already been well explored – over explored, possibly – but funding body Screen Queensland obviously felt the pair had something as they gave them $7,500 to make this series. That money has given videos that might otherwise have been shot on a mate’s camera a professional gloss, but it does nothing to make them funnier.
The problem is largely with the script, which is a slightly odd mix of hoary old gags, plot and character clichés, and whimsy that doesn’t quite work. A lesser problem, but still a significant one, is the acting. As with a lot of semi-professional productions, there are few experienced performers in the cast and many off the jokes fall flat due to poorly timing or wooden delivery.
Having said that the pair do show some promise, and based on the assumption that some of the plots in We Are Darren and Riley were inspired by real life, they’re clearly driven and enthusiastic. Perhaps sitcom isn’t quite the right medium for them? Sketch comedy or working as a live double act might suit them better. Either way, future projects from them should be interesting.
Oh, and don’t ask us why they were rejected from Fresh Blood – We Are Darren and Riley was better than some of what did get made, and we’ll be surprised if that isn’t true of Comedy Runway too.