‘Worst Promo Ever’: Web series brings together wrestling and comedyWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the world of wrestling, the bit where an announcer interviews a wrestler about something — an upcoming match, his current feud with another wrestler — is called a “promo.” The goal of every promo is to give those watching a reason to care about what’s happening, and hopefully spend their money to see that wrestler the next time he’s in town, on pay-per-view, or whatever.
Of course, some wrestlers are better than others at connecting to an audience while they’re talking. And when a performer is bad at cutting a promo — it can be painful. And hilarious.
That’s the basic idea behind “Worst Promo Ever,” a new comedy Web series produced by wrestler Colt Cabana and Chicago comic Marty DeRosa. Posted every Monday, each episode features Cabana portraying a clueless grappler who can’t help but give horrible, vague and nonsensical interviews, and DeRosa as the hapless announcer trying to guide him.
The duo have worked on several projects during the past few years to bring the worlds of comedy and wrestling together — a balance Cabana himself has mastered as an in-ring performer everywhere from Ring of Honor to CHIKARA to a stint in WWE as Smackdown wrestler Scotty Goldman.
“When I got fired from WWE, a great opportunity came about for me to do 20 minutes of stand-up comedy before Mick Foley. It was both Mick and I’s first time. It went really well and we started touring a little bit,” Cabana said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star.
Cabana was contacted by DeRosa, a lifelong wrestling fan who had seen him perform numerous times on the independent scene. “He was in some of our local magazines and stuff, and I wrote him and said, ‘Hey, if you ever want to do anything, as far as wrestling and comedy goes,’” DeRosa said. “And we kinda hit it off, and we’ve been doing a million things since then.”
The pair first united for a “Mystery Science Theater 3000”-esque project called “$5 Wrestling,” where they would improvise humorous commentary over bad matches. “I really wanted to involve comedians instead of another wrestler,” Cabana said. “The idea was to have myself and a different comedian every series. Marty was my first choice for Volume 1. We had such great chemistry that we stuck with that team for all of them and the rest is history!”
The duo then put together a series of short videos called “Creative Has Nothing for You,” which mocked the relationship between writers and the wrestlers they write for. “I think we were both kind of aware of what works comedically on YouTube and what doesn’t,” DeRosa said. “And you can’t have some kind of six-minute video; people are not going to tune in.”
But the pressures of writing, filming and editing a full series like “Creative” proved a considerable burden, not to mention finding a place to film on a regular basis. These difficulties led to the creation of “Worst Promo Ever” — not only is the new series completely improvised on the fly, but the show’s plain green backdrop means it can basically be filmed anywhere.
“I come with a list of my upcoming shows,” Cabana said. “I have the date, the location, the promotion and my opponent. That’s all the information we start with. That would kind of be like an improv group asking for a ‘suggestion’.
“From there we just mess around for about 10 to 20 minutes. From there I upload everything to my computer and start chopping it down to a two-minute promo. Editing is fun for me because not only can you find comedy in what we are saying, but there’s also a lot of comedy in the editing choices you make. It’s a fun creative process.”
The show’s production schedule not only means more creative freedom for DeRosa and Cabana, but also more room for potential guest stars — like a recent appearance by WWE star (and longtime Cabana friend) CM Punk.
“He obviously is down to help, whenever,” DeRosa said. “And he was just sitting around while we were filming, and he was like, ‘Well, I wanna be in it.’
“The thing with ‘Creative’ was, it would have been harder to get people scheduled when we would film it — it was hard enough for us to do it, to sort of secure the office and all that stuff. And we don’t have a studio or anything like that — it’s sort of guerrilla style.”
But no matter what form the pair’s work has taken, Cabana said he’s proud of how they have brought two different universes of pop culture together.
“Each one shows a different side to our humor and attitude. I can’t pick just one. I’d recommend all of ’em to anyone looking for some humor in wrestling. The thing I’m most proud of is you don’t have to be a die-hard wrestling fan or an ‘insider’ to enjoy any of these projects.”