UConn students present comedy pilot

Benjamin Piascik, an eighth-semester digital media and design student and Ryan McCarthy, an eighth-semester political science student, premiered their original comedy pilot Wed., April 19 in Laurel Hall. (Unsplash/Creative Commons)

Benjamin Piascik, an eighth-semester digital media and design student and Ryan McCarthy, an eighth-semester political science student, premiered their original comedy pilot Wed., April 19 in Laurel Hall. (Unsplash/Creative Commons)

Laurel Hall was occupied by a lively crowd on Wednesday evening, as two University of Connecticut students presented their original comedy pilot to an audience of family, friends and comedy lovers.

Benjamin Piascik, an eighth-semester digital media and design student and Ryan McCarthy, an eighth-semester political science student were joined by Eastern Connecticut State University student Ivan Carlson as they presented “BuyTown,” a 27-minute comedy sitcom pilot.

The trio has been friends for several years. About three years ago, they attempted to take their sense of humor and inside jokes and present it to the world in the form of television. With the help of an idea grant and theater studies professor Thomas Meacham, they were able to turn their ideas into a product in the last year.

The show follows Piascik, McCarthy, Carlson and Meacham and a few extras as they work in a small grocery store. Meacham was the store’s manager, Piascik and Carlson the veteran stock boys, and McCarthy the new cashier. Each employee had their own backstory, quirks and personality.

The producers filmed in a grocery store down the road in Willimantic over the course of three nights. The producers had to film when the grocery store was empty, so they worked from around 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

After the pilot concluded, the producers took comments and suggestions from the crowd. Because the majority of the audience was affiliated with Piascik, McCarthy and Carlson in some way, most of the comments were positive and complimentary.

“Now that the original nerves are gone, we’re so relieved to premiere the show,” Piascik said. “This is the first time that people outside of the production are seeing it.”

The pilot was full of a variety of jokes, including puns, stoner humor, dark humor and offensive humor. It seemed the producers were attempting to appeal to a wide audience. The pilot seemed to be geared for adult audiences, with multiple “F” words thrown around.

Piascik said that after graduation he will work for the Connecticut Sun’s WNBA team. He said that all three of them want to continue with television production.

“We’ll continue working on projects like this, whether they be our projects or other people’s projects,” Piascik said. “We’d obviously prefer working on our projects though.”

The trio said they took their inspiration from working in grocery stores, car washes and other customer service jobs. The rudeness and stupidity of the average customer found its way into the show.

The future of “BuyTown” seems unclear, mostly because of financial situations.

“We would love someone to watch this that has money,” Piascik said to a laughing audience.

“BuyTown” will premiere on the Internet on the website buytowngrocery.com around May 1 for all audiences.


Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus.   She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.