Michael Pierro: Tallboyz

Ahead of the season 2 premiere of Tallboyz, we spoke with DGC Ontario Picture Editor Michael Pierro about the upcoming season, the challenges of editing sketch comedy, and the incredible editing community in Toronto.

How did you become involved with Tallboyz

I’m not totally sure how Tallboyz found me. I had just wrapped work on the final season of Baroness Von Sketch Show, and New Eden had just premiered when they first reached out, so I have to assume those two credits had something to do with it! We were supposed to start up last April, but the pandemic put everything on hold (obviously). 

Can you speak more on your experience editing the series?

This was my first fully remote show, which was definitely an adjustment. As an editor, I’m pretty used to working alone in a dark room for long stretches of time, but I didn’t realize how much I took having a workspace with coworkers and a lunchroom and a water-cooler and a coffee-machine for granted. I really missed popping my head into another editor’s office for feedback on an edit or being able to screen our cuts together as a group––especially for a show like Tallboyz, which was a very collaborative one. That said, once we got the hang of collaborating virtually, the process worked a lot smoother than I had anticipated. Communication is key!

The cast of Tallboyz

What is the most challenging aspect of editing sketch comedy?

Sketch comedy––and comedy in general––is such a subjective medium. Everyone’s comedic taste is different. When you’re working with really great material, there are often a million options to choose from for a single beat; the challenge is finding and perfecting the version that will be as universally funny as possible. The other challenge is trusting in the jokes you’ve built. After assembling and tweaking and polishing a sketch through a dozen different versions, the things that used to be hilarious start to lose their lustre. Sometimes you have to trust the thing you found funny a couple of versions ago is still working even though you’re not laughing at it anymore.

What do you love most about working in Toronto?

The editing community in Toronto is an incredibly warm and supportive space. I’ve worked with some amazing friends and collaborators over the years and meet new great people on pretty much every show I’m on. There seems to be an understanding here that when one of us succeeds, we all do. It’s something that feels unique to this place.

Where do you turn for inspiration when you need to get the creative juices flowing?

I love to watch old interviews of writers/filmmakers/artists I admire. Especially when I’m writing, I like to look for people who have done something similar to whatever I’m working on and dig up as many of their interviews as I can (youtube is an incredible resource). Once in a while, I’ll stumble on a really great nugget of advice, but often, just listening to a master in the field talk about what they’re struggling with is enough to put my own artistic struggles into perspective.

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