Nickelodeon’s comedy duo Luke and Wyatt are grown-ups (not!) are they’re on a mission to incite gooey green madness
When children’s mega-channel Nickelodeon first discovered Aussie comedy duo Luke Joseph Ryan and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd, they were doing pretty much the same thing they do now, just with less slime and more naughty words. “We were doing a kind of high-energy idiocy anyway,” explains Ryan. “We can be a bit weirder and off the wall… and that’s what Nick is really good at.”
If you’ve ever had the mind-bending (some would say mildly disturbing) experience of watching zany cartoons like Ren and Stimpy or Rocko’s Modern Life, then you’ll know that ‘weird’ is Nickelodeon in a nutshell. Championing mess and madness over Disney sparkle, the entertainment empire now owns a Spongebob-themed water park inside SeaWorld. The park doubles as the site of Camp Orange, the hugely successful reality adventure show hosted by Luke and Wyatt.
Young, confident, yet always self-deprecating, the pair do look like the types you’d see on the comedy festival circuit. But get them in front of kids – or a camera – and their silly back-and-forth banter and wild-eyed grins betray a joy of kids' entertainment that can’t be faked. “I don’t want do ever be a proper grown-up!” says Ryan – and when you’re watching them on Nickelodeon wearing big Grandpa glasses, pulling their best ‘serious’ faces and sombrely rapping ‘Let’s clean, let’s renovate, let’s do our tax, let’s sit at home and cry’, you don’t question their Peter Pan attitudes for a second.
That said, the guys know how to work a 5000-strong crowd better than most ten-year-olds. They’re hosting Slimefest, the annual fan event oozing its way to Melbourne for the first time this year. As the updated version of the Kids Choice Awards, Slimefest is essentially a kid-friendly music festival featuring an outdoor carnival, loads of jokes, and a tween-friendly lineup of talent show stars Cody Simpson, Timomatic and Justice Crew. And the slime – oh, the slime. This year, they're attempting to break the world record for the most kids slimed, which means more gallons of the stuff blasting out of cannons and spraying from the ceiling than ever. Adults, we hate to disappoint you, but the front of the ‘mosh’ is a kids-only zone. Sorry.
“The kids go beserko,” says Wyatt, proudly. “It’s their chance to go off the chain for the night, and for many of the kids it’s their first experience of a live concert.”
But while the show might sound like a slimy Splendour, Luke and Wyatt aren’t about to let their fans grow up too fast. “I think it’s nice to encourage them to be kids, and to empower them at the same time,” says Ryan. Being a Nick host is an all-encompassing gig: the guys interact with their young fans through social media, where they encourage their creativity, take their suggestions on board, and even agree to perform bizarre dares. "One kid dared me to be a shark," says Nixon-Lloyd. "Another kid wanted Luke to shrink down and be small enough to crawl inside my bum. I was like 'Love the dare, but the science isn't ready!'" he says, recounting the story with real disappointment at the missed opportunity. Who needs reality, anyway?
Tickets are now available.