A common gripe amongst parents is feeling punished from having Peppa Pig or The Wiggles on repeat for hours, mind-numbing melodies getting stuck in the subconscious and “grandpa's little train goes toot toot toot” penetrating every thought for days.
David Collins, one half of The Umbilical Brothers, sympathised and set out with his creative partner Shane Dundas to create comedy for children with hidden laughs for mums and dads.
“Smart people understand that not just kids are watching these pre-school shows … you never leave a pre-schooler alone, you’re always around,” he said.
The pair were in their final year of acting school about 26 years ago when they started The Umbilical Brothers for some extra cash.
They’ve now ended up with a bigger fanbase in the US as a result of their kids comedy.
Speedmouse, which they’re performing at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre on June 23, was the show that kicked it off after the producers of Sesame Street saw it.
“It’s been about 10 years since Sesame came knocking and a lot of people had been asking us to do something for kids, especially television, and we kept saying no, no, no. But when Sesame asks you can’t say no to Sesame,” Collins said.
They created 13 episodes of the Upside Down Show which aired on American television for six years, twice a day.
“Around that time Telletubbies were around and blowing my f***ing mind off, I couldn’t stand it,” Collins said.
“We knew we had to make a show that wasn’t going to send the parents insane.”
They’ve since worked with other children’s entertainers in Australia and have recently completed a US series with Disney, The Book of Once Upon A Time (see video).
Ironically the duo’s latest DVD, Not Suitable For Children, is actually not for kids. It’s about The Umbilical Brothers trying to make a children’s show but everything goes horribly wrong.
However Collins assured children will be able to enjoy their upcoming Wollongong show, with jokes just for kids and others the adults will only understand.
The Umbilical Brothers “Speedmouse”, IPAC, June 23 8pm (kids at parental discression)
In Speedmouse the boys have upgraded their acting to digital. Using this technology they’re able to jump to any routine or fast-forward through the boring bits.
Unfortunately, the remote control has gone missing. Tensions arise when their newly hired roadie clashes with David — he points out that there’s no need for a roadie as there are no props or scenery to move. The situation gets worse when their show controller, Tina, starts playing mind games with Shane.