Paul French was an average man from Canada with a simple website and a typical blog. As inspiration for new blog entries became scarce, however, he teamed up with friend and fellow Toronto native Garner Haines to make a two-man sketch comedy vlog, Hockey Strike, which they launched in August 2005. Haines plays “Scott,” French plays “Dave,” French’s television set plays “The TV,” and that’s about all the cast and props their budget will allow, a deficiency that they are proud enough of to proclaim in their tagline: “No rules! No limits! No budget…”
Scott, Dave, and The TV find themselves in debacles such as zombie invasions and police raids once a month for about five minutes of quickly resolved, zany sketch comedy. All episodes are as low-budget as you can get and often take place in someone’s house. Scott and Dave are two slackers who can’t get it together in spite of their many misadventures (sometimes they even die) and their slackerdom is played for laughs, though the laughs can be a little hokey. The show has gotten steadily better, though. In the beginning, their shows were standalone one-offs, but recent episodes have actual plot arcs and running jokes that accentuate the show’s absurdity. For example, when French moved to a new apartment between the first and the second season, the explanation for the displacement was that the aliens who abducted the two hosts in the season finale had changed everything about the Earth that Scott and Dave knew and loved in the two hosts’s absence – even The TV. Sprinkled through the archives are occasional podcasts and audio commentaries for various episodes, which are sometimes funnier than the sketches themselves. (When asked what friend and tertiary cast member Casey thought about the first episode of the second season in the webisode’s commentary, she says, “Well, you know, I wish I could have been in it more. You cut me out.”)
I’m partial to the episode where Dave and Scott realize that The TV has been shrunk by the aliens when they altered Earth, which depresses the men more than anything. (In reality, French’s old TV broke between seasons and he had to get a newer, smaller one.) Scott, who has a shrink ray, tries to reverse its function and enlarge the television, but winds up getting himself shrunk instead. By the way, the camera only moves three times during the whole episode. This is as low-budget as it gets, people.