What would you risk for furry bikini briefs?
(Originally ran on March 24th, 2003)
The glut of so-called "reality programming" the networks are feeding these days is stupifying. On one channel we get to watch a bunch of dweebs sing bad karaoke in an attempt to claim the title of "most nauseating new pop star". On another we get ethically-bereft nimrods (supposedly) letting a TV audience decide who they will take to the altar. I keep waiting for the ghost of Andy Worhol to knock at the door of the Fox Network and declare, "sorry guys, your fifteen minutes are up."
As if it couldn't get any worse, next month will bring the debut of a new television series that is sure to raise a few eyebrows. It's called 'The Baboon Shavers,' and as the title suggests, it's premise is just a little bizarre. I managed to call in a few favors and secure the chance to interview the creators and stars of the show, Darren Berkowicz and Faberge, just to see if I could get to the bottom of what they were doing.
When I sat down with them, I had to physically hold back the laughter. Darren looks like a Mick "Crocodile" Dundee knockoff, with a khaki shirt and shorts, a bowie knife, and a half-cocked accent that seemed to change from Australian to German and back throughout the interview. Faberge, on the other hand, was dressed head to toe like a common street mime, in a black body suit and ghostly white face. For reasons I was soon to discover, he also has boxing gloves on.
JOSH: The press releases have told me a little about the show, but I think you'll understand if I say I'd like to hear it straight from the horses mouth. What on earth is this show about?
FABERGE: It's pretty self-explanatory, Josh.
JOSH: I'm sorry, guys, I'm just having a hard time believing the two of you are going to spend a half hour every week shaving baboons.
FABERGE: It's an hour-long show, actually.
DARREN: And there's a little more to it than that.
JOSH: Please, go on.
DARREN: For one thing, people are taking it for granted that we'll be shaving baboons all of the time. It's not that easy.
JOSH: I kind of figured that.
DARREN: What we want to do is obtain Baboon hair. The easiest and most humane way of doing that is to shave them.
FABERGE: Trouble is, not many Baboons like to be shaved.
JOSH: What's so great about Baboon fur?
DARREN: The fur of a good Baboon will make more comfortable underwear than that of any other primate. Or mammal, for that matter.
JOSH: I really don't have anything to say to that.
FABERGE: The show is also representative of mankind's primal desire to throw away the bonds of a commercialized urban pseudo-utopia and revert back to the base harmonic natural condition to which he was born.
DARREN: Here's how it works. Faberge approaches the baboon first, and presents the animal with some sort of pantomime routine.
JOSH: Like Marcel Marceau?
FABERGE: Marceau is a hack. I prefer the works of Eddie DeBoek, or Samuel Fink. Fink once did an incredible interpretation of the battle of Gettysburg. Stunning.
DARREN: If the pantomime routine is working, the baboon will become transfixed. Then I approach from behind with these here hair clippers. Ta-Da!
JOSH: What if the baboon doesn't go for it?
FABERGE: Then I employ these boxing gloves. I'll usually spar a bit with the baboon, and Darren will slip in and shave what he can.
JOSH: While you're fighting?
FABERGE: While we're fighting.
JOSH: How many baboons have you successfully shaved so far?
DARREN: To date zero.
JOSH: Haven't you finished filming the first season?
JOSH: So the public can look forward to twenty hour-long episodes of the two of you never actually shaving any baboons?
FABERGE: There are some good fight sequences.
DARREN: There's also a subplot about a nurse that Faberge falls in love with when he's in the hospital.
JOSH: Doesn't PETA have a problem with this show?
DARREN: They shouldn't. We don't want their whole pelts. We're not hurting anything. The baboons never come in contact with anything they wouldn't already have to face in the wild.
JOSH: Except for the clipping shears.
DARREN: Yeah, except for them.
JOSH: Are you concerned that people will just see your show as a 'Crocodile Hunter' knock-off?
DARREN: Not at all. The Crocodile Hunter is a sincere animal-lover. We're just in it for the fuzzy underwear.