TRAVERSE CITY — It was laugh at first sight for members of Falling Down Stairs Productions.
The friends met about 10 years ago at a Northwestern Michigan College theater class and bonded over humor, said co-founder David Graves. In 2011, after Graves returned home from a stint in the Army, they took up where they left off and formed their own comedy sketch group.
“It’s kind of weird; we can make each other laugh at any second,” said Graves, 28, a TV broadcast engineer. “We figured if we could make each other laugh, we should try making others laugh.”
Since then, the group has produced weekly comedy sketch videos for YouTube, learning the craft and building on their technical skills. A new video is uploaded every Friday.
They’ll show some of their favorites at 7 p.m. Friday, March 28, in a pre-open mic comedy show at InsideOut Gallery.
Graves said the videos have been viewed in 82 countries and have created a Falling Down Stairs following of 400 each on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
“We get notes from people: ‘Hey we saw your video. That made me laugh and I really needed it today.’ I think that’s our big motivating force,” he said. “We’ve seen how it’s impacted people. People need to laugh more. It’s important.”
He said they function as their own writers, actors, filmmakers and editors, and borrow props and settings — from apartments to coffee bars — from friends and businesses. Members work on scripts via a Facebook group, then come together from as far away as Frankfort and Marion to film up to six sketches at a time on two no-frills handycams.
The skits, with titles like “Brotats,” “Comic Sans” and “Chic Stuff,” fall in the ratings shades of grey between PG and PG-13, he said. Topics include everything from two “bros” discussing the merits male bonding to a couple at a coffee shop who break up over a font design.