Billerica Comedy Duo Lands MTV2 Pilot Based on Online Skit Series ‘Fatawesome’
A year ago they were tricking unsuspecting people passing through Boston Common into tucking one of their feet into a miniature bed, claiming it fell asleep. Now, they’re waiting to hear back from executives at a major network about whether or not their online comedy series will air on national television in front of millions of viewers.
Billerica natives Jimmy Craig and Justin Parker, the duo behind the website and accompanying YouTube skits that make up “Fatawesome,” recently wrapped up filming a pilot episode for MTV2, a milestone in their pursuit for Internet fame that started with candid-camera gags and a video of a close acquaintance doing Kung-Fu tricks dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, all the while getting sprayed by a hose.
“This has been over a year in the works,” said Craig of the pilot, a combination of new and original material mixed with some of Fatawesome’s earlier, more popular shorts. “We have been trying to position ourselves to be ready for TV for a long time.”
With editing and filming in the rearview mirror, the Fatawesome pilot for MTV2 is currently being reviewed and critiqued by a focus group in New York City, who will serve as testing subjects and offer feedback to the comedic brains behind the concept.
“We feel confident about the finished product,” said Craig. “At this point they have enough material to say if we are good enough for a show. Anything could happen, and there are a lot of directions the show could go.”
MTV executives couldn’t comment on the status of the show, but Craig’s inclination seems to be in line with what producers are thinking in New York City. “The show is in development and we’re big fans of ‘Fatawesome’ at MTV2. There is no current update on the status of the pilot,” a spokesperson for the network said.
Whatever the direction, Parker and Craig want to stay on the track that has gotten them to this point in their careers. “We want to make content that’s going to reach the biggest audience we can, while staying true to our sensibilities,” said Parker.
Fatawesome got its start here in Massachusetts, when Craig and Parker met in high school in Billerica. They quickly rose to online fame, racking up millions of views on their YouTube page, with shorts like “Cat-Friend vs. Dog-Friend,” which was featured on the Today show and other national outlets.
The success amounted to their chance to work with writers on the Food Network, for a hidden-camera show that aired in the spring of 2013. It was there that Craig and Parker established a relationship with executive producers behind MTV’s Guy Code, who later plopped the project in front of MTV’s Senior Vice President of production and development, Paul Ricci.
“We went down there recently, and we were going into MTV headquarters in Times Square, and we were like, ‘wow, this is real,’” said Parker. “Everyone involved down there, they have been cool about letting us be us, they like what they see, and want us to stay true to where we are.”
During that trip to New York to talk with the figure heads who pull the strings behind the scenes of the network, Craig and Parker had their first brush with fame at an ideal moment, when standing alongside the executives.
“Right as we came out of the building, we were recognized by Fatawesome fans,” said Craig. “They thought it was cool, because they said people in New York are too cool to ever say anything. It was perfect timing.”
Whether or not that run-in helps convince the network to air their show remains to be seen, but Craig and Parker aren’t sweating too much as they wait for the call. With years of goofing off in front of the camera under their belt, and some established connections in several parts of the industry, the pair is slowly expanding their website, adding additional projects like cartoons and a web store with products featuring their logo, and not ruling out other opportunities that may crop up.
“There are a couple of different paths we could take at this point,” said Parker. “Whether it’s writing for TV, or producing our own independent film, we’re always trying to figure out an avenue to channel Fatawesome into.”