When the ACME Comedy Theatre in Los Angeles changed hands and underwent extensive renovation, technical director Mike Cernicky needed a new console that was powerful and flexible, yet at a price point that the theatre could afford. To Cernicky that meant a Zero 88 Fat Frog.
A friend of Cernicky’s, Travis Oates, bought the 15-year-old ACME Comedy Theatre and asked him to supervise the renovation of the theatre’s technical elements. Cernicky brought two second-hand High End Systems Technobeams to the theatre and realized that the existing control system was not up to the job. In order to provide the most flexibility and an upgrade path, Cernicky knew that the theatre needed a console that could run both conventional and moving lights.
"At the ACME Comedy Theatre, we have six-to-eight different shows a week, mostly on ten-week runs, as well as the occasional rental In the eight months since we’ve had the Frog, I have designed about 30 different shows on it. Everything from sketch and improv comedy to music videos, runway fashion shows, and musical acts," says Cernicky. Since getting the Fat Frog, Cernicky has added four more moving lights from American DJ and Pearl River to the theatre’s rig.
Cernicky normally shoehorns over eight different shows into the Fat Frog and shies away from conventional cues. Instead he chooses to run everything off the nine pages of twelve submasters. "I’m usually able to fit a show on one or two pages of submasters," remarks Cernicky. "You have to be able to go with the flow when working in comedy and having everything on submasters allows me to do that. The Fat Frog does a great job of handling everything I throw at it. I’m really pleased with what it does and the way it does it."
And it seems the Fat Frog is providing "the most bang for the buck" as Cernicky puts it: Jenelle Riley, writing for Backstage.com, commented in a review of a recent production, "Lighting and sound by Mike Cernicky are outstanding, with a production value far higher than any sketch show I've seen."