Every other day is a holiday somewhere. Even today is a holiday (Veterans Day). So the guys behind Crappy Holidays have a lot to play around with. For the 8-month old web series, no holiday—Labor Day, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, not even Veterans Day, is off limits.
Woven throughout the series is comedian Har Mar Superstar, who stands as the main recurring character amidst a cadre of celebrity guest stars like Juno star Ellen Page, Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin. We caught up with creator-director Ryan Rickett to find out where this series came from and what he really thinks of the modern holiday circuit.
Tubefilter: Where did you come up with this idea and how did it become a web series?
Ryan Rickett: Har Mar Superstar (aka Sean Tillmann) and I made a video greeting card for Christmas to send out to all our friends and fans (of Har Mar). We called it Crappy Holidays. We had so much fun making it and we got such an awesome response online, that we decided to make one for every holiday. Har Mar and I had previously shot a few shorts with our friend John Ringhoff, who is a brilliant comedy writer, so bringing him on was an obvious choice. I have a background directing music videos so I have been able to bring a lot to the table production-wise. With our three combined talents we are able to pull of some really cool stuff.
Tubefilter: So do you think we have too many holidays?
Rickett: There are 53 public holidays listed on Wikipedia for the United States alone. That’s a holiday a week! Beside the fact that we thrive on holidays for the show, I don’t think you can ever have too many holidays. I mean, if someone in your family was an American Pioneer, there’s a day for you! And we’re going to honor that.
Tubefilter: Are there any holidays that aren’t crappy?
Rickett: When it comes to holidays nothing is sacred. It’s probably harder with the Jewish ones (because, you know), but if it’s a holiday we’ll find a way to make it crappy. This is all obviously in good fun (although I think that John really has it in for Labor Day).
Tubefilter: Do you have a favorite holiday?
Rickett: I can’t speak for the other two guys, but my favorite holiday is Christmas. No holiday has inspired more Christmas movies than Christmas.
Tubefilter: What’s next for Crappy? Are there plans to take the series further in terms of distribution?
Rickett: We are very interested in developing the show into further horizons. We use all of our own resources and money to make each episode, but the response we get from doing it is enough to keep us going, for now at least. Actually getting paid to do this would be even better!
Tubefilter: Was it hard at all getting the impressive talent (Ellen Page, Justin Long, etc.) to appear in the series?
Rickett: Getting impressive talent wasn’t hard at all. It helps that Har Mar has a lot of celebrity friends. People who work a lot are hard to pin down, but when a friend is available to shoot something fun and cool, they’ll do it just to do it. It’s flattering to think that Ellen trusts us enough to make an appearance in our silly little web show. I am very grateful that Justin agreed to do Valentine’s Day, our second episode, because I’m sure that opened a lot of doors down the road.
Tubefilter: Is that Jay Johnston as the Drill Sergeant in the Veterans Day ep?
Rickett: We are all huge fans of Jay Johnston, ever since Mr. Show was on HBO (which Jay wrote as well as acted in), so getting to work with him has been a career highlight for all three of us. Jay has also worked on Arrested Development and has a starring role on the Sarah Silverman Program. He also made another Crappy Holidays appearance in Crappy St. Patrick’s Day.
Bottom photo: Har Mar Superstar, John Ringhoff, Ryan Rickett, Kathryn Aagasen, Justin Long, and Ellen Page in the pot.
(And just to be clear, we don’t think Veterans Day is crappy. This is worth reading.)