The Big Lez Show boasts a cult following like no other
Explaining the Big Lez Show to someone you’ve just met is an enormous feat. Once you start throwing around terms like ‘sasquatch’, ‘drugs’ and ‘Microsoft Paint’, you’ll realise fairly quickly whether you made the right call or not.
A show that is somehow cruder than Family Guy and South Park combined, it’s seemingly captured the hearts of millions across the world, with almost half a million YouTube subscribers and millions of plays per video. The Big Lez Show follows Lez an alien living in Brown Town, Australia after his home planet is destroyed. It’s probably best to watch for yourself though.
The show’s creators - Tom Hollis, Jarrad Wright and Izak Whear - have just had a spin-off series commissioned for Comedy Central in Australia based on one of the show’s characters.
As well as that, they’ve just completed a tour of the UK and Ireland, selling out two dates in Dublin. Demand was so unprecedented for the shows that the guys sold out of merchandise on the first night, and were forced to sell hand-drawn pictures of the characters instead - “to pay for their flights home” apparently.
The Big Lez Show began its days during the lads’ time at Tweed River High school - lead character Lez became an inside joke between Wright and Whear.
“The thing about our characters is that they’re not just based on one person. They’re based on a collective of people that withhold the spirit of the character … They’re a spirit that’s spread out into a lot of Australians.”
In Wright’s own words, Lez embodies “every angry Australian c*nt that’s had enough of it”.
“You’ll be out having fun with your friends and this old guy will come out from his house down the road and call the cops or some sh*t,” he said.
Mike Nolan - the character who secured their run on Comedy Central - can be found on any construction site in Australia, according to Wright.
Another fan favourite is Sassy the Sasquatch, who acts as Lez’s drug pusher and the show’s comic relief. Several sasquatch characters feature in the show, after a friend’s near-death experience caused Wright and Hollis to question what happens after we die.
“We’ll end up on a f*cking sick island”, Wright said. “With sick surf and f*cking awesome beaches … All our family and friends are free to live there. So we were just like, ‘what will we have on this island?’
“When I was younger I was obsessed with Bigfoot. In Australia we call them [sasquatches] ‘yowees’, like hairy men. They’re in aboriginal cave drawings. The reason why we don’t see them anymore is because they don’t want to be f*cking seen.”
During two stop offs at the Generator Hostel in Dublin, they described their trip to the Guinness storehouse as “skitz”, but said they were disappointed at how non-Willy Wonka-esque it was.
“Where’s the Guinness river? If you want c*nts to come and pay 20 bucks, you’ve gotta have a Guinness river flowing through sh*t.”
Drug use remains the key narrative of The Big Lez Show, and it’s a consistent theme when it comes to the fan’s line of questioning. One attendee tells the animators that his friend watched the full three series on YouTube on an acid trip.
“Only way to do it”, is Wright’s semi-serious quip back. “That’s how it all makes sense. You’ve got to be in a higher state of mind … Tell your mate to take three tabs next time.” He follows this up with a shout-out to magic mushrooms. At the end of the session, a fan asks Hollis to sign a joint for him, which they proceed to smoke outside the venue.
Tom from Initiate, the promoters behind the tour, said the events were a labour of love and not a money-making scheme.
“It’s a very popular show. All of my friends were talking about it and they wanted them to come over here, so I messaged them [Wright, Hollis and Whear] on Facebook to come over.
“Initially, they thought I was talking sh*t”, he laughs. “But through the ticket sales, we were able to provide them with a free holiday and a lot of exposure. They’ve really enjoyed it.”
Similar to the Irish dates, interest in the UK was greater than anticipated but clubs that Tom had in mind for the events were skeptical about ticket sales given the show’s underground following. Overall, he found The Generator to be more receptive and of more faith when it came to putting on the show.
A preview of season four is also shown, which sees Big Lez about to reflect on what happened at the end of season three. The plot for season four has been written, but the animation - still done entirely in Microsoft Paint - is yet to be completed.
“You’ll find out a lot about all the characters though,” Wright confirmed.
Season three revealed a lot about one character in particular - the show’s anti-hero, Clarence. The local postman who seemingly Lez can’t stand, he saved the town following an invasion of yellow Choomahs - creatures with Clarence himself created which have been targeting Lez and co.
“Everyone hates Clarence because of his aura”, Wright says. “You know when you’re standing with someone and you’re talking with them and you’re like ‘oh yeah this is really nice’ because you’re feeling the vibe? Clarence doesn’t have that.”
Plans are already being put into place for a mid-season event, as well as a marathon recap of season four when it comes to an end.
“We’re trying to keep it intimate”, he said. “With these shows, we had to make a decision whether to go for a 1,000, 2,000 capacity venue. But these kind of shows, where it’s limited to a couple of hundred people, they work better. But the demand is obviously going to increase.”
With 2017 looking busier than ever for the boys, Wright told ABC News earlier this year he hoped their story will encourage other budding animators to persist with their passion.
"Just keep charging; doing what you want to do and what you're naturally drawn to is your passion, so keep doing it," Mr Wright said.
"Don't just do it for a bit and then drop it and go and get a job; keep doing it and something will happen."