Me and Larry Labrat.
Working with animals is one thing. Working with imaginary animals is something else. That second scenario exactly describes my stint on Larry Labrat, the partially animated webisode detailing the comedic misadventures of little Larry—a hapless lab rat at GloboControl.
I play the Lead Scientist who experiments on Larry in two different episodes: in one episode, I grow a human ear on his back to use as a replacement for a little girl whose own ear has gone AWOL; in the other episode, I and a coworker provide Larry with “Tailagra”—a new drug to help grow his somewhat small appendage. Black humor, obviously, is the name of the game.
It’s a remarkably easy shoot, probably aided by the fact that the main character was animated and would be added in post. That meant we didn’t have to wait for him to arrive, deal with wardrobe, get into make-up, wait for the coffee to kick in, etc. He didn’t miss a mark, drop a cue, or throw a tantrum. Even better: he didn’t eat all the good stuff provided for munchies. In short: he was the perfect leading man.
So we all did our scenes, one after the other as smooth as could be. I mimed lifting Larry and carrying him around, measuring his tiny tail, checking his progress, etc. (Who knew all that mime in my younger days would ever come in handy again?) The episodes were shot in record time, Larry and his other animated buddies were added and then the webisodes were ready to be unleashed unto the world not long afterwards.
Unfortunately, the webhost found the two episodes I was in to be offensive and so the episodes had to be edited. One—even after editing—was still rejected entirely. I wondered who was in charge of this website? Did they not see everything else that was on the web? Some of what was out there made Larry Labrat look tamer than Barney.
And who did they think was their audience? Nothing but five year old Mormons?
Eventually, director/writer/animator Sam Reed stopped fighting the Boneheads That Be and put the episodes up on his own site. So there they are—unedited—for the world to see. Check 'em out. If they’re any worse than an episode of the Simpsons or Family Guy, I’ll eat my animated hat.