Student comedy group grabs attention

The members of Good Neighbor comedy group credit USC with bringing them together.

Beck Bennett (‘07), Kyle Mooney (‘07) and Nick Rutherford (‘06) met while working together on Commedus Interruptus, the on-campus sketch comedy group. Along with friend Dave McCary, the four decided to pursue their comedic dreams beyond college and now have taken to the stage and the Internet with their eccentric comedy.

Funny foursome · USC grads Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney and Nick Rutherford teamed up with friend Dave McCary to form their comedy group. - Photo courtesy of Good Neighbor

“We were relatively successful in college, and had gotten good feedback from our audiences, so we said let’s try and do this for real,” Mooney said.

With the help of McCary, who acts as editor and director, Good Neighbor decided to widen its fanbase by sharing their comedy through YouTube.

“We were performing regularly, and then at the end of every semester we would do a big sketch show. Naturally [Beck, Nick and I] gelled really well together when we were performing,” Mooney said.

The team then decided to put together a nationwide tour and booked several shows throughout the United States.

“The plan was to get an old school bus, convert it to biodiesel and do a grassroots tour across the country and then it boiled down to us borrowing our friends car on the east coast and doing shows at four different schools,” Rutherford said.

The tour proved challenging, but the group started to gain traction with their online presence.

“We started making videos for the sketch show and that became our springboard,” McCary said.

Good Neighbor tends to find comedy in everyday life, but more recently have found new sources of humor.

“We watch a lot of internet videos made by kids in random places that put up videos that only have 100 views. [The videos] are really captivating and weird and I think very influential for us … I’m a firm believer that the Internet and YouTube specifically is a goldmine of really funny and cool things,” Mooney said.

According to Bennett, the fuel for great comedy sketches can be found in the real and the ridiculous.

“Bill Murray’s character in Caddyshack, he got that from a street traffic director in Chicago that actually talked liked that and he would just go watch him,” Bennet said. “But with YouTube going the way it is, you don’t have to just stumble across those people.”

Taking cues from some of their favorite TV shows and actors, including Tim and Eric, Mr. Show, Family Matters and Bill Murray, the troupe has been able to develop a unique style of screwball comedy that has been noticed by many.

“I don’t think we’ve ever set a limit or a boundary [to our comedy],” McCary said. “We usually stay away from pop-culture and parody stuff just because naturally that’s not what we gravitate toward as comedians.”

Creating clips and doing shows has become the main focus of their lives.

They have found a niche and are working seriously to break into new audiences.

“We all come up with ideas individually or sometimes together if people are just riffing on something,” Bennett said. “We try to meet regularly and have pitch meetings just for ourselves.”

According to McCary, the group typically functions as a unit, meaning that any one of the foursome can help conceive a brilliant idea and turn it into something hilarious to further develop.

Now living together in Silverlake, the comedy team is working on creating new videos and playing new shows, while also writing and producing for prominent YouTube personas. And with a recent acknowledgment from Steven Spielberg, Good Neighbor seems to be taking off.

“When we started it was such a struggle to get people to listen to us,” Mooney said. “Just now are we beginning to get popular enough where people are seeking us out.”

Good Neighbor will be playing two shows at the UCB Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 10 and 24.

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