The Jester Interview: Celeste Thorson
By Michael Shashoua / Jester Editor-In-Chief
Celeste Thorson is the creator of “Yogaphiles,” a new web series with its first episode, “Midas Touch,” now online. The show pokes fun at Southern California yoga culture, but does so with affection. Six more episodes will comprise the show’s first season and will be posted monthly. Thorson’s previous work includes another online show called “Destination X,” in which she performed stunts including sky-diving, rapelling and Jet Skiing, but also several sitcom guest spots on series including “How I Met Your Mother.” Thorson spoke with Jester about the challenging prospect of calling the shots on her own comedy series.
Jester: How did you get the idea for this series?
Celeste Thorson: I’ve grown up around funny yoga people my whole life, but it wasn’t until I became immersed in the L.A. yoga culture that I found it completely hilarious. Most people that do yoga have a good sense of humor, so that was the inspiration.
J: Do you practice yoga yourself?
CT: I’ve practiced but I’ve always been stuck in the beginner phase. Never could really kick it to the next level and go to crazy advanced poses. It gave me an admiration for it – so I really enjoy it and want to promote it. It’s great and amazing but I also saw the lighter side of it, and this lends itself to comedy and a little slapstick, so I thought this would be fun to play with.
J: How did you get the cast?
CT: It was a casting call, which was really interesting. I got so many yoginis who came in, who were really hardcore people, and some people who had never done yoga before. I still get emails from people saying they had never done yoga before our audition, but now they’re hardcore and going into teacher training. It was interesting experience casting for this. We really focused on a multi-cultural mode that allowed us to consider cultural influences. I feel it really gives “Yogaphiles” a wonderful dimension and an interesting quality – to have many different cultures rather than just focusing on the traditional Southeast Asian influence.
J: What’s your vision for this series, or what may play out in it?
CT: It’s a short-form situation comedy. It follows an ensemble of quirky beginner students and their lifestyles. It’s really a parody of their lifestyles more than yoga itself. As a writer, I was excited to bring these characters to life and watch them walk off the page. I find that part of the process especially fulfilling. I plan on exploring these characters on whatever platforms we can drive in and potentially continue on past the first season.
The first season introduces these students – Mo (Mario Locke), who is like a ladies man, who goes to yoga just to pick up on the chicks. We all maybe know one or two of those guys. He gives a great sense of comedy to the series and is incredibly talented. Then we have Felix (John Colley), a gay, vegan human-rights activist. He’s this great fun character. Then we have Priyanka (Hayden Shinger), who’s a Southeast Asian princess, a hard-nosed veterinarian, cold and sarcastic. She’s a great straight character and has a lot of attitude. She’s a little spicy, so it’s a lot of fun.
Then we have Nick (Zack Book), a hilarious little boy next door who has a foot fetish. So he loves coming to yoga because it’s a little slice of heaven for him. His love interest, Tara (Katherine Adams) is a college student. We see their lives unfold in this class and the comedy from the different guest stars that come in, from aura readers to a little gypsy caravan, to supermodel goddesses who come and strut their stuff. So it’s really fun to have an array of characters and a diverse cast.
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