“Two Chapters With One Stone”
I spent the Summer of 2001 begging my dearest Mother and Father to drive me to Mike Nauss’ house. A huge portion of those months were geared towards filming a new project for Brew Crew Productions, titled Help Wanted TV, a show that we made as a tribute to the Jackass/Tom Green craze that we all worshipped.
We would stroll into town with some random, vague idea of a skit, and film it, and see what reactions we would get from the general public. At 15 years old, there wasn’t much of a better way to spend my Summer vacation.
After a couple months, we were in our first year of high school at Park View Education Centre, and we had a good bundle of footage for the first episode of Help Wanted TV. Then news came in; there was going to be a film festival for the students of PVEC in late October. Episode 1 of Help Wanted TV was going to premiere in front of a live audience.
In an attempt to promote our involvement in the festival, we brought the camera to school, and filmed a skit there. It was a rainy day when we went to the hill behind the school and started sliding down the hill at very high speeds, resulting in guaranteed pain. A crowd gathered to watch us throw ourselves down the hill, and laugh at our idiocies. The cherry on top, was when Scott Bailey decided to take his shirt off, and then run and slide bare-chested down the hill. The crowd laughed and gasped at the “V” on Scott’s chest, where his flesh was formerly located.
Tough as nails.
We had business cards that we gave out, and a decent sizeable fan-base that we took in (much bigger than any previous Brew Crew related work). Therefore, Scott and Mike renamed Brew Crew Productions, to Garden Hoe Productions.
A couple of weeks of editing on Mike’s part, then it was time to show-off episode 1 of Help Wanted TV at the festival!
People lost their shit that night laughing at Help Wanted TV, which felt really good. Surrounded by family, friends, and a whole bunch of people who never seen us before, we were on top of our own little world. Naturally, we went outside and jumped into bushes to celebrate.
After that, it was back to the grind-stone, filming and producing new episodes in all of our spare time. In Lunenburg County, word travels quickly, therefore, we were soon featured on a program on Eastlink Television, a channel that is broadcasted across Nova Scotia… the big time.
We were also interviewed for the Lunenburg newspaper, the Progress Enterprise. Check it out…
Help Wanted TV went on to produce 4 episodes over the period of a few months, and then coming to an abrupt end when there were some creative differences (I hate that term, but that’s really what it was).
‘Help Wanted!’ may be a hit, but it’s not for everyone
Including the parents of most of its creators
January 2nd, 2002
LUNENBURG – Their wacky video website has developed quite a following, not just in Nova Scotia but as far away as Tampa Bay, Florida.
Still, the six young men behind internet-based Help Wanted! TV admit it’s not for everyone, nor usually their parents.
The site, which features shock-value stunts a la The Tom Green Show or the MTV segment known as Jackass, went online this past September and now gets up to 45 hits a day.
“That’s up from even a few weeks ago,” says the show’s technical mastermind, Mike Nauss.
Better still, fans are now asking for VHS copies of the show’s first episode, meaning the group could actually make money on the deal.
Mike explains the website-based show basically came about following two separate, though failed, attempts at similar shows in the past. The first being the original Help Wanted! TV, which lasted less than a day.
“It was basically a bunch of us sitting around watching Tom Green and deciding that we should make a show showing all the crazy things we do,” says one of the show’s most outrageous participants, Scott Bailey.
Armed with a video camcorder, he and his then Grade 7 classmates Taylor Daurie and Evan Mosher set out on a door-to-door quest during which they asked area residents for their personal views on a number of sexual fetishes.
At least one man did not find it funny. He telephoned Evan’s mother and she destroyed the tape.
Then two years ago, another group, this one headed by Mike, decided to create a television show using a webcam. At the time, Mike was already operating the most successful Tom Green fan site on the internet, getting in excess of 1,000 visits a day.
“That kind of weird, wacky humour just appealed to me. I never saw anything like it before,” he says. “So we decided it would be fun to make a show of the stuff we did.”
When technology failed them, the group settled for an internet radio show, known as The Brew Crew. The show has was the guys describe as moderate success, particularly once it picked up a couple of new members, namely Scott and friend Glen Matthews. It lasted until the next spring when infighting among group members caused it to fold.
A few months passed before Scott and Mike were at it again, devising an all-new Help Wanted! Site. It debuted in September with its current cast, including its aforementioned creators, original Help Wanted! Alumni Taylor and Evan, Glen and now Liam Frier.
Their first segment, filmed at Park View Education Centre where all six attend school, attracted instant attention, although it was the release of their first full episode at a school film festival in October that really gave the show a following. Before long, Mike’s computer server was incapable of handling the traffic. It’s since been upgraded.
The guys say the show involves “two-basic types of comedy” – pain and reaction.
The pain bits result from some semi-sadistic stunts the troupe has undertaken. These include everything from daring skateboard moves, that inevitably end in injury, to body surfing down a hill bare-chested. Scott claims he still has scars from the latter stunt, while Mike says one segment left him with a stiff neck for four days.
But what’s so funny about that?, we ask.
“I don’t know,” says Glen, “If I saw someone fall down and slam his face, it wouldn’t be funny. But if I saw Scott do it, it would.”
“People seem to like it,” adds Scott.
The show’s second tack is capturing the public’s reactions to their craziness. For instance, when a member recently ran across a street in Lunenburg with only a teddy bear to cover himself. That said, the group claims there are limitations on what they will do.
“Oh yeah, there are tons of segments that we talk about, then say we won’t do because we’d be arrested,” says Glen, who points to Mike as their collective conscience. Still, there are some things group members agree they will not tolerate, among them, any sort of vandalism.
When it comes to the rules surrounding good taste, however, the guys say they neither know, nor care for them. As a result, they’ve likely made as many enemies as fans. At Park View alone they say there are teachers who “really encourage” them, while others think what they do is immature and tasteless. The fact a certain sector of students enjoy Help Wanted!’s oddball humour adds to the latter group’s ire.
However members such as Scott, whose antics recently led one person to tell him he was “cracked,” say they don’t really care what people say about them. “Any attention is good attention,” he reasons. “And we’ve actually been pretty lucky to have had more good than bad.”
“All in all, it’s gone over a lot better than we ever thought,” adds Evan.
But what about their parents’ reactions? After all, it was Evan’s mom who destroyed the original Help Wanted! Tape. Most say it’s an area they just don’t discuss.
“I’d be scared to,” says Mike, to nods from most of his cohorts. The lone exception is Scott.
“My parents are different,” he says. They not only watch and support Help Wanted!, they often appear in segments, just like the parents of Ottawa-born Tom Green.
The site, which is preceded by a warning, can be viewed at http://helpwantedtv.cjb.net
Along with just about everything else in my past, I am severely embarrassed by some of the things I did in Help Wanted TV (pooping on my bathroom floor, for one), but I’m still really proud of it. It was the first taste of success, and giving people something that they wanted, that I had ever had.
It needs to be said that without Mike Nauss, Help Wanted TV would have never happened. Not a chance in hell. And without me having some form of involvement in Help Wanted or Brew Crew Productions, I might have never developed a taste for filmmaking and performing, therefore, thanks Mike.
That coming Summer saw the end of another chapter of my life, UWC. After three years, we went out with a bang, we had our first event with a crowd. Thirteen of our friends and a couple aunts and uncles came out to see UWC PPV “666”.
We were rapidly raising the bar in terms of our stunts and our “extreme antics”. It seemed our slogan of “Hardcore to the breaking bone” might soon come true. We were using thumbtacks, chairs, fire, cheese graders; it was getting dangerous.
At this point, my destiny in life was to become a professional wrestler, so I started weighing my options. I was busting up my body pretty bad, with no training whatsoever and it was getting more risky. I talked to Scott and we decided to end UWC after 14 glorious PPVs.
I now had no creative outlets whatsoever. Shit.
(Note: All footage and photos of Help Wanted TV are the property of Garden Hoe Productions and Mike Nauss who has them all backed up, and in storage. It’s sort of like the Disney Vault. Beg Mike to release the series online again for the masses to rejoice.)