Worms wriggle into Canadian hearts
By Mark Lewandowski
At a time when the nation is gripped in economic prosperity and a general light-heartedness, The Arrogant Worms, a comedy trio from the ghettos of Queen's University, battle daily to make sure we always remember the timeless truism "it's not how you handle it, it's how big it is that counts."
At least that is what they proclaim about Canada in their comic rendition of the Anthem. As a musical group with beginnings in sketch comedy, The Arrogant Worms are not short of big laughs as they combine the two arts into a very musical and visual extravaganza. Six years out of Queen's radio and four albums young, the troop is ready to conquer Canada.
The group's new guy, Chris Patterson, who loves his imaginary pal Lumpy and hates his pancreas points out that "it's tough to get inspired on the road" while travelling from gig to gig. He adds, "it's a long way between Canada's major centres." You can tell right away that Patterson, Trevor Strong and the crazy Mike McCormick have spent a lot of time together nestled in a car touring Canada because they feed off each other brilliantly.
What makes the group so fresh and funny is that they go through life with a smile. Their rapier wit is apparent in lines like "having fun is bad for you." They poke sobriety in the eyes with their very different brand of intellectual farce.
"Generally we get a wide variety in our crowds, from two to 92." Patterson accurately describes the diversity of people the group appeals to. But he admits, "if just kids come then we have a hard time doing a full show because it's their parents that will get most of the jokes."
With a little help from CBC and some old-fashioned touring, The Arrogant Worms' newest album Live Bait has become quite a hot item with an increasing cult following. With comedic influences that range from The Muppet Show and Warner Bros. cartoons to Monty Python, it's not surprising that these three can entertain.
To a first-time spectator at their live show last Saturday night at Central High, what surprises most is their musical harmony and vocal range. I had heard these guys were funny but they harmonized like Crosby Stills Nash and Young up there. Sorry, 'up there' is a loose term. At one point two of the guys were at the back of the theatre doing the 'two old critics in the balcony' bit from The Muppet Show.
To add to their artistic energy is The Arrogant Worms' ability to poke fun at anything. The group jeered "Sam, the guy from Quincy" who "only gets the girl if she's dead" and "Malcolm" who "solved his problems with a chainsaw," who not surprisingly "never had the same problem twice."
The loudest cheer of the group's two-hour performance came during the song "Proud to be Canadian." The line "at least we don't need microchips in our Hockey pucks" perfectly summarizes their refreshing nationalistic tendencies or as they put it "it's not that we are better; it's just that we're less worse."