Comedic writer/director/actress Tamara Bick recently relocated to Peterborough along with her husband/co-comedic partner in crime, Drew Antzis, and two children, Jaffe and Bailey, after spending a decade in Toronto and then more than a decade in Los Angeles where they developed a diverse résumé working with the Who's Who of Hollywood.
Tamara (born and raised in Peterborough, where she attended Adam Scott) and Drew (born in Queen's, New York but raised in Tucson, Arizona) worked in the entertainment scene there—primarily specializing under the BICK/ANTZIS handle as writers and directors for both branded and original comedy for the web. They've worked with the likes of HBO, Comedy Central and Second City.
They co-wrote a bunch of celebrity comedy shorts for Funny or Die, working with comedic actors such as Jim Parsons and Sean Hayes, and actress Natalie Portman. And Drew did this hilarious video, "The Landlord", with Will Ferrell that was a viral hit on Funny or Die. They also did a MoveOn.org PSA with Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde. The list goes on and on.
Dynamic Duo: Drew and Tamara (Photo by Miranda Hume)
The couple also acted a bit in Hollywood—in commercials and some guest starring roles. Tamara guest starred on Seinfeld, and worked with Kelsey Grammer from Frasier. They also did a bunch of Improv there, including Second City and Improv Olympic (Drew is a special guest in an upcoming Citiots Improv show at the Gordon Best Theatre).
So what made the couple leave LA, where, as Tamara says, "most people we met were super talented and super awesome." Her answer is both simple and complicated, and at times conflicted, all at once:
"Hollywood is great parties, meeting lots of famous people, working in television—it's really, really fun," she tells PTBOCanada. "The weather is the best, just gorgeous every day. California is a wonderful place. Living in Los Angeles, our family loved heading out to the beach every Sunday to surf and play in the sand. So we miss the beach and we miss our friends.
But LA is so huge—it's over 500 square miles, it's massive. It's about 4 million people living in that city... that's a lot of smell. But it's very diverse and exciting. At first, you're in awe of everything around you: the huge studios—Warner Brothers and Paramount—from the famous palm tree lined streets, Rodeo Drive and Sunset Blvd, and famous bars, the Chateau Marmont or the Brown Derby, to the clubs The Comedy Store or the Improv. It's the big league.
But then you do a set on the Improv stage and it's just another tiny stage in front of another brick wall except Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Poehler are in the audience that night and you suck. But after awhile, you realize all these famous people are just regular people who happen to be really talented, well dressed, beautiful and rich. Other than that, they're super ordinary people. And if you're willing to be in your car three to four hours day and pay 25 grand a year for pre-school, then it's the best city to live in!"
The couple is collaborating on Settle This Thing show (Photo by Miranda Hume)
But they weren't. And so, they now find themselves happily in Peterborough, where as Tamara says, there is "free health care, no guns, less traffic." They live in the north end near Trent University—"it's so beautiful up here, especially in the fall," says Bick.
And the couple continue to create as much as they ever have. They're just been selected for the Montreal Fringe Festival and have applied to many others including Toronto, New York, Chicago and Winnipeg.
Photo by Miranda Hume
They're workshopping a show in Peterborough called Settle This Thing that actually had its origins on YouTube way back in 2012. Their premise was simple: to have the internet provide a solution to an ongoing argument they couldn’t resolve on their own.
Tamara and Drew each laid out their argument and told viewers to vote for who they agreed with and that they would live with the results of the vote. After a week, the married couple tallied the votes and had a winner. Argument solved! "It’s crowdsourcing to solve our fights," says Antzis, "and it worked!"
Photo by miranda hume
The couple have decided to take their web show to the stage and do it live. They’ve written five different Settle This Thing shows and are performing them live at The Theatre On King (TTOK) in Peterborough every last Friday of the month at 8 p.m. from November 2017 to May 2018. They are excited to test the shows in front of Peterborough crowds.
Each show tackles a different topic (Marriage, Sex, In-Laws, Money and Parenting) and includes at least two videos that the audience gets to vote on. The content and videos always rotate so you can could see the show multiple times and never see the same show twice.
Don't miss this dynamic duo, who have chosen Peterborough as their testing grounds for this material that could eventually scale to theatres across Canada and beyond—perhaps taking them right back to LA (only as special guests this time).