I had the honor of sitting down with local geek Tim Wick to talk about comedy, music, science fiction, and all things geek. Tim is a founding member of the Dregs, Vilification Tennis, the Geeks without God podcast, Fearless Comedy Productions, and the Pet Snake Reggie film blog. Here’s what he had to share.
Duck Washington (TCG): What does the word geek mean to you?
Tim Wick: We actually had a very long debate about this on a car ride to Duluth with some friends of ours, and we separated geek culture into three categories: geek, nerd, and dweeb. Geek being the highest and dweeb being the lowest. Dweeb being defined as people still living in their parents’ basement, playing war games, having a single unit representing one soldier in the Battle of the Bulge and playing it alone in their basement. To me, geek is anything someone gets kind of obsessed about. Not necessarily in an unhealthy way. Everybody’s a geek about something. Maybe it’s not Doctor Who. There are people who are geeks about baseball stats, knitting, there are people who are geeks about raising livestock. To me a geek is anyone who is obsessed with a thing.
TCG: What geekdoms are you into?
Tim: I’m a movie geek. I spend a lot of my time watching films classic and new. I’m a comedy geek. I think a lot about comedic theory, what makes a joke funny and what make people laugh. Comedians sit and talk about this stuff and its super serious the way they talk about comedy—I mean you wouldn’t think they take that stuff that seriously, but they really do. I really enjoy Doctor Who, Sherlock, but I really think that films are my primary geek culture.
TCG: Do you have an approximate top five favorite movies?
Tim: Well, my top two pretty much never change. My favorite movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is where the name of my blog Pet Snake Reggie actually comes from. My second favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption. After that, things change a lot, but Casablanca is always up near the top. Singin’ in the Rain is always near the top. Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy is probably up there somewhere, as I enjoyed that film a lot and find it has a considerable amount of re-watchability. So let’s call that my top five. Oh, and I have to add Lawrence of Arabia , which is frickin’ awesome.
TCG: Your band the Dregs seems to have a pretty geeky fan base. What influenced you to start that band?
Tim: The Dregs started at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I had this idea for an immersive music-slash-bar venue where the people that served the drinks would also be the people that performed onstage. It never quite worked the way I wanted it to, but from that beginning the band the Dregs started and over time we’ve come to the membership that we are now. As we progressed as a band, we’ve gotten a lot more geeky. We started performing at CONvergence and would write songs and learn songs for that audience. We learned the Firefly theme and the Jayne song. We wrote a Doctor Who song about David Tennant and other songs that appeal to that fan base and really helped solidify that fan base. It’s great. It is really nice that people enjoy that part of our music.
TCG: Do you listen to similar music when not performing?
Tim: No. I’m kind of all over the board. I listen the the Current, I listen to Cities 97. During the holidays I listen to all the Christmas tunes. It’s all over the place.
TCG: Do you have a favorite band?
Tim: REM was my favorite band for a really long time. I went to college in the eighties, I guess. These days I’m a big fan of Imagine Dragons. I’m a big fan of Queen, I was always a fan of U2. In the spring I like to listen to the GoGos. I view them as spring music.
TCG: Why do you think that comedy is important?
Tim: I think that the world is kind of a messed up place and that if you can’t laugh at how messed up it is, it’s just going to get to you. There is tragedy and horror and all these things that are pretty bloody awful and you have to be able to laugh at them or you can’t get past them. Doing inappropriate humor about a celebrity dying, to me, is a way of allowing yourself to process it and lightening the impact. Even doing them about a family member. It doesn’t mean it is always appropriate to do it in front of other people, but there is a need for comedy to provide catharsis for times when life really will get you down.
TCG: You seem really comfortable in your geekdom. Have you always embraced being a geek, or is that something you had to work through?
Tim: I don’t know that I ever had the chance. I’ve always been a geek/nerd as long as I can remember. It’s not so much embracing it as how do you pretend that you are not that? Now things have changed. In the seventies and eighties, there was a point where being a geek went from being something that’s outside to suddenly something that’s kind of cool. I think part of that comes from Star Wars because it was mainstream, but so many geek properties over the years have become mainstream. Let’s talk about Guardians of the Galaxy and how much money that movie made worldwide. That’s a comic-book property. That’s something geeks were into long before the mainstream, but now mainstream people are into it too. And you can resent that or you can go, “Hey, I knew this stuff was cool a long time ago. It’s great that more people think it’s cool because now I get more cool stuff.” You get The Flash, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham, Agent Carter, Sherlock—all these shows are on TV at the same time, totally in the sci-fi geek wheelhouse, and that happened because of things like Star Wars and The Matrix and the Lord of the Rings films that had a huge impact on a larger group of people, and now they produce it for everybody. How can that be bad?
TCG: If you could have one geek fantasy come true, what would be? What’s the geek “holy Grail” for Tim Wick?
Tim: Man, I’ve had a lot of really cool geek moments. I was just in a theater with Samuel L. Jackson a week ago, and that was kind of frickin’ awesome. I guess the ultimate geek fantasy for me would be [to have] the ultimate movie room in my house with the kick-butt projector and be able to watch any movie I wanted any time I wanted.
TCG: Do you have any favorite geek accomplishments?
Tim: Last year I got to write one-fifth of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and I wrote a musical with puppets based on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
TCG: Anything upcoming?
Tim: We are still really putting it together, but I’m working on a puppet show with Gordon Smuder called Vermin that I think is going to go into production in the spring. That’s been pretty fun. It’s been really fun putting together that team of writers. We’ve gone places that were not expected. We’ll see what happens when the puppeteers start working with it.
TCG: Last question. Who is your favorite captain?
Tim: Hmmm . . . Han Solo. He’s pretty bad ass. He’s captain of the Millennium Falcon. That counts, right?
TCG: Yes it does.