I start my interview with online sketch comedy duo Alberta Poon and Cara Swift with a question about a shit pile. It appears in the first episode of their web series Scorpiono and—to me—it looks like real dog shit. “My late doggy shit in his little area and I didn’t pick it up for days,” sighs Poon.
“It still wasn’t that much,” Swift adds. “We put a plank over a rock so we could prop it up and we shot it from an angle to make the dog shit look huge.”
“Ever since—” they say in unison.
“The angle of looking up at something—” Swift continues.
“To make it appear monstrous,” Poon cuts in, “has been the Dog Shit Angle!”
“Every videographer that didn’t work on that first episode has to deal with it,” Swift says, before Poon cuts in again.
“We’re like, ‘Y’know. Make it look epic. Dog. Shit. Angle.’”
The interview continues this way: Poon and Swift finish each other’s sentences and frequently speak in unison, which fits with the concept of Scorpiono—a sketch comedy show about two women sharing a zodiac sign and an apartment that was inspired by the humor of their intense friendship.
That also makes it easy to compare Scorpiono to Comedy Central’s Broad City. Both shows have been around for about the same amount of time, but Swift and Poon didn’t see Broad City until their show was already out. “We didn’t know about Broad City,” Alberta says. “But as our first and second episodes came out, everyone kept asking, ‘Have you seen this show? It’s exactly like you guys.’ And we were like, ‘Nooooooooo. Whhhhhhy?’ It psyched me out a little. They have such a similar sense of humor. I’m afraid of accidentally writing the same joke as them.”
While you can tell Scorpiono is a show made by friends on a budget of nothing—“I would say every single episode uses a different camera,” Poon admits—there’s a strong attention to visual beauty (e.g., outfit game, use of pixelated zoom, etc.). Swift’s more stoic humor would be easy to overlook on a stage, but in the show her border-pushing creepiness and sly running gags get equal play. Scorpionoalso has a catchy theme song written by Poon and her bandmate Mike McKinnon of the groups Wet Confetti and Reporter. “Are you guys sick of your theme song?” I ask Poon and Swift.
“What? No way,” they say in unison.
“I’ll play that song at my funeral,” Poon adds.