Interview: Miles Allen – One Man Breaking Bad

LA actor Miles Allen brings his ‘unauthorised parody’ of the emmy-winning Breaking Bad series to the UK this month, arriving at The Crucible in November. After receiving five star reviews for his sold-out performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer, garnering over a million views on YouTube and selling out the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the talented impressionist arrives with plenty of acclaim. We find out more.

How would you describe One Man Breaking Bad?
It’s a farcical love letter to all the people who went through the bloodbath and tears of Breaking Bad, and who are wanting to kind of go on a nostalgia trip and laugh at all the different things that made it so special to them. It follows roughly the same timeline and the same plot points, condensed into a much shorter time frame. There are jokes I play on different scenes, including the more serious moments where we have an interesting take on them that leaves the audience in stitches. Along the way there are other pop culture references. It’s like a fusion of solo theatre and stand-up.

Why did you feel Breaking Bad was ripe for parody?
When the show ended, as I’m sure it was for many other people, I felt there was this huge hole in my heart. It was like ‘What am I gonna watch now Breaking Bad, the greatest television show on earth, just ended?’ I realised there was this huge love and desire to see the characters re-enacted through the YouTube video of mine that went viral in September 2013.

Which characters from the show are featured in your parody?
All the main characters. There are a few secondary characters but mostly it’s the main ones: Walt, Jesse, Skyler, Walt Jr, Hank, Mike, Gustavo Fring, Marie, Todd, Uncle Jack, the Salamanca twins, and Saul of course.

Which character was the hardest to nail?
The most challenging – not in terms of doing the voice but more because of the social nature of it – was Walt Jr. He’s a character with cerebral palsy so it could be perceived that I am making fun of or being insensitive towards someone with cerebral palsy. My argument is that to not impersonate Walt Jr just because he’s a character with cerebral palsy and not treat him like any other character would be a greater act of discrimination.

It’s not the funniest show in TV history, so in what ways have you made it comedic?
That’s what’s so interesting. If I were to do a comedy about a comedic show I’m not sure it would be that funny. Because Breaking Bad was so serious in its nature, they had some comic relief on the show – they had to because the audience had to breathe at some point – and it’s because of that seriousness that the audience was more willing and ready to laugh to release the tension the show constantly built up. So I found it much easier to make a comedy out of a show that’s so serious.

What are the keys to a great parody and the common pitfalls?
You have to walk the line of respecting the integrity of the show whilst picking out the nuances that the audience members really enjoyed about the characters, like how Skyler is always overreacting and seems like a bitch in every single scene and how Walt Jr is always eating breakfast. You have Saul’s kind of sleazy nature and how he’s always checking his hair. It’s picking up on those nuances whilst always being ready to be adaptable.

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