Justin Hawco on the success of The Outhouse of Horror film and what fans can expect for the upcoming Christmas season.
Justin Hawco was just a junior high school student growing up in Portugal Cove when he began filming goofy videos.
Creating humour from his surroundings has always been a part of Hawco’s life. He attributes a lot of his comedic influence to the town he was raised in and to growing up next to Markus Rose, co-creator of the Outhouse comedy group. Rose’s family is from St. Anthony – a place where Markus spent a lot of time and developed his Newfoundland cultural roots.
“Comedy is such a big part of my life,” said Hawco.
Being a self-proclaimed “movie nerd,” Hawco said he loved the idea of creating movies and began putting out video content at an early age. As time went on, Hawco and a few friends started the Newfoundlander Vs. Internet video series in 2010, which went viral.
“The support we’ve received has been unreal,” observed Hawco, noting the Outhouse has attracted thousands of fans and followers from across the province.
Making a mark
The Outhouse began in 2016 as a local comedy duo featuring Hawco and Rose. They approached local comedian Mike Lynch, and the three created a household name with their portrayals of iconic characters Troy Buckle, Randy Lee and Cecil O’Brien – inspired by Mike Lynch’s grandfather in Long Harbour.
The Outhouse crew has made its mark on social media by placing their characters at popular spots such as Raymond’s restaurant and alongside the likes of Chris Andrews, Donnie Dumphy, and even Premier Andrew Furey.
As the Outhouse brand began to take shape with the attention of a captive online audience, so did Hawco’s ambition to make a movie. This past May, Hawco, Rose, Lynch put together eight skits in five months to produce their very first horror/comedy film, The Outhouse of Horror. It screened at various venues such as Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s and Twin Cinemas in Clarenville, with rentals available online until Oct. 31 at The Outhouse TV.
When asked what makes The Outhouse comedy stand out, Hawco cited the frequency of video postings.
“The quantity of videos that we produced helped us get noticed,” said Hawco.” He also notes the importance of the “viral” effect, referencing comedians like Donnie Dumphy and the Gazebo Unit who all made a comedic splash on the local scene over the past decade.
Hawco emphasized that new and upcoming comedians hoping to emulate the success of the Outhouse need to capture online attention quickly. He says it is an important marker for the next generation of comedians in the province to measure themselves against.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen any new material go viral,” said Hawco.
On the road with Best Kind Productions
Brent McNamara runs the Best Kind Comedy Tour featuring Mike Lynch and local comedians Brian Aylward and Colin Hollett. The tour has sold out the majority of its shows, and ended on Oct. 30.
McNamara began helping the Outhouse expand across Canada and attributed much of its success to making the comedy relatable to a variety of audiences.
“A local reference in St. John’s or Gander will not be understood in Kelowna, but these guys cater to the audience,” said McNamara. “You don’t have to be a born and bred Newfoundlander to get it.”
Fans can expect to see more from the Outhouse crew in the next season. Lynch will embark on his Showmageddon tour in January, with talks of a Christmas special in the works.