Jul. 13—VALDOSTA — Dying's easy, the old adage goes, comedy is hard.
Zoom meetings make comedy even harder.
That's what Waco O'Guin faced while writing episodes of his latest animated Netflix show "Farzar" which premieres Friday, July 15.
Instead of meeting face to face in a writers room, O'Guin, creative partner Roger Black and the staff of writers wrote the "Farzar" episodes via Zoom during the pandemic. Part of the benefits of writing a comedy show together is having the immediate reaction to a joke or a funny bit of dialogue. In a room together, the reaction can be spontaneous, O'Guin said.
Not so much via Zoom.
"The lag time kills comedy," the South Georgia native said. "Comedy writers sitting around a room can get a sense of what's funny by seeing who laughs at a joke. That's harder to do on Zoom because the response time can be slow."
"Farzar" is the latest animated series by O'Guin and Black, who also created the animated series "Brickleberry" and "Paradise PD." Season four of "Paradise PD" is scheduled for release later this year on Netflix.
O'Guin and Roger Black became creative partners in 1999 while students at the University of Georgia. They developed a comedy routine which led to the MTV sketch comedy show "Stankervision."
"Farzar" is an animated, science-fiction comedy. The premise is about a prince whose dad is the leader. The prince thinks his dad and people are great heroes, O'Guin said, but he learns his dad and his people are the bad guys. The prince tries changing his father.
Though the pandemic made the process challenging, O'Guin and company had free rein in developing the series. In early 2021, O'Guin and Black inked an exclusive creative agreement with Netflix.
For O'Guin, who lives in Burbank, California, "Farzar" is the latest success in a career that started with his childhood in South Georgia. O'Guin graduated in 1993 from Lanier High School in Lakeland.
There, O'Guin participated in a national Butterfinger candy bar contest which requested drawings of Homer Simpson for a Father's Day card. O'Guin entered the contest. He won a big-screen TV and saw his cartoons published in a national magazine.
It was the start of his cartooning career.
Years later, he had the opportunity to meet Matt Groenig, creator of "The Simpsons." They both had series on Netflix and Groenig referred to O'Guin as the competition. But O'Guin said he couldn't resist geeking out and telling Groenig about the Butterfinger contest. Groenig, O'Guin said, had no recollection of the contest.
"I didn't want to come across as a super fan but I thought a little bit was OK," O'Guin said.
Given O'Guin and Black also have fans. They regularly do voiceover work on their shows.
"We hear from our fans mainly on social media," O'Guin said, adding with a joke, "nobody ever really sees our faces. If you know what I look like then you're not just a super fan but a scary fan."