Jigsaw Fanclub, a comedy puppet show that premiered in May 2006, is the brainchild of John Brodrick Jones. Based in Durham, North Carolina, Jones previously ran his own retail comic bookstore, Jigsaw Comics – the inspiration behind the show and its main characters. On his forum, Jones writes, “Every single element of the Jigsaw video show owes a massive debt to the store, from Milton who emerged from the weekly mailings to Kranium whose face I saw in chipping paint outside the window to the name of the show itself.” On average about twice a month, Jones, who holds a degree in theater, gives us a peek inside his strangely creative mind through this one-man production that, considering its origins, has a surprising dearth of comic-book related content.
Milton the Robot, a cardboard cutout of a…robot, and Dr. Kranium, his mad scientist creator, have conversations about “utterly random topics,” including comical banter about political elections, heated discussions about modern jazz, and philosophical debates about faith v. science via a clever “coat allegory”. Dr. Kranium, with his silly, pseudo-British accent, is the more authoritative and short-fused of the two, while Milton is as happy-go-lucky as a robot can be. Occasionally, they are joined by other characters, like Lump – quite literally a grunting lump of brown fluff – and Jones himself will sometimes make cameos, like this singing segment at the end of “Lupercalia.” The roughly seven minutes-or-less episodes aren’t a fancy production by any means, as the bulk of the show is invested in quirky dialogue between two characters. Like Avenue Q, it’s a puppet show for teenagers and adults, so don’t be surprised to find a few gems of wisdom (and some curse words in disguise) floating amid the seeming digressions and randomness. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you if you want to appreciate Jigsaw Fan Club in all its fantastic weirdness.
Want to be part of the actual Jigsaw Fanclub and converse with “alcoholic, drug-addled, godless artsy-types”? Check out the forum and show how much you care.
While the dialogue and pacing in some of the episodes can be a little bit taxing, ironically enough, one of the best installments is actually about being bored. Milton is forced to talk about his dull life, and the result is adorably brilliant.