KU students to debut 'Off the Wall' comedy pilot

"Mildly Off the Wall" repertory cast members include Sean Hall, left, Heather Hill, Ryan Hultgren, Brian Ervin, Dave Harvey and Rowdy Wichman.

"Mildly Off the Wall" repertory cast members include Sean Hall, left, Heather Hill, Ryan Hultgren, Brian Ervin, Dave Harvey and Rowdy Wichman.

Mildly Off the Wall

There's no shortage of comedic movies and TV shows aimed at the college crowd.

But according to Scott Winer, only a handful are actually created by college students.

Winer and a troupe primarily composed of Kansas University students have responded with the independent sketch comedy show "Mildly Off the Wall."

"We center on the kind of things you can relate to in a college town with college students," says Winer, director/producer of the program.

"When we had our earliest writing meetings I told everyone to draw on the kinds of things you encounter here in Lawrence, in college, and just extrapolate from there. That's what makes the show far more unique than people in their 30s or 40s or older trying to recreate this phase of life and make it connect with people our age."

"Mildly Off the Wall" will premiere at 8 p.m. today at The Granada, 1020 Mass. The half-hour TV pilot began filming in January.

Winer, a KU geography senior, says there is no unifying theme to the sketches. Rather he views the project as sketch comedy without the assistance of a live audience.

"It takes college humor but with a more professional and sort of classic sense. It's not 'Jackass' or the typical YouTube video. We approach it with what all of us know and bring to the table, whether it's a background in television, journalism, writing, theater or film," he says.

While Winer hopes the program has a broad national appeal to it - a la "Saturday Night Live" - he claims some material will take on special resonance for local audiences.

"There is one sketch in the first episode that involves the whole issue of concealed carry," he says. "I just remember coming back from spring break this year and every door on the KU campus had a 'no gun' sign on it. I understand the thought process behind it and the liability, but it seems like a bizarre thing to me. If someone really wanted to do something that terrible, a sign isn't going to stop them."

"Mildly Off the Wall" was shot in Lawrence with a cast of eight regulars. The director says the players and crew are already anticipating more shows.

He says, "We take it a lot more seriously than, 'Hey, let's go grab a camera and post it online.'"

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