“Aqua Teen” hits the Twin Cities

Get off the couch, Adult Swim kids, and see the people who make snack food programming a reality.

Co-creator Dave Willis and Master Shake animator Dana Snyder on stage.

Co-creator Dave Willis and Master Shake animator Dana Snyder on stage. PHOTO COURTESY ADULT SWIM/CARTOON NETWORK

by Jay Boller

WHAT: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live WHERE: Pantages Theater, 805 Hennepin Ave. WHEN: Thursday, April 29, 8 p.m. TICKETS: $26.50 Ten years ago, Dave Willis co-created a show about a milkshake, French fries and a glob of meat that live in suburban New Jersey and solve crimes. What sounded like the most obscenely stupid plot ever has since blossomed into a cartoon classic. The plots (or absence of) are inconsequential; crowds ate up the snack-based show mostly for its absurdist humor. Now, after seven seasons, itâÄôs all hittinâÄô the road as Willis and voice actor Dana Snyder take their beloved franchise across the country with Aqua Teen Hunger Force Live. So how will âÄúATHFâÄù translate from 12-minute animated entry to a full-fledged performance? Expect plenty of songs, puppets, jokes and never-before-seen clips, according to Willis and Snyder, who likened it to a variety show. A&E caught up with Willis and Snyder over the phone to discuss all things âÄúATHF,âÄù even Meatwad inspired scrotum art. You guys are playing Minneapolis the same night as âÄô80s hit-makers the Bangles. How would you persuade someone whoâÄôs on the fence about which show to attend? Willis: Man, if anyone is on the fence, then I would strongly urge them to go see the Bangles. If youâÄôre that confused culturally, maybe you should just go see the Bangles. Snyder: You want to go look at a bunch of washed-up old bags? [Shocked laughter all around] Snyder: Wait a minute, let me finish my statement: Then you should go see the Bangles cause then youâÄôll go see some beautiful women. I also want to say I donâÄôt think the Bangles has puppets, and we do. Since neither of you have been to Minneapolis, whatâÄôs your perception of the city? Willis: I always think back to when I used to work in a record store when I was a kid, and Hüsker Dü and The Replacements were huge. That, and that really awkward hotel scene in âÄúFargo.âÄù Snyder: I always equate Garrison Keillor to Minneapolis. I canâÄôt stand Keillor, but yeah, I guess heâÄôs our little treasure Willis: Our little treasure? Our little, wrinkled, gnarly-looking prune of a treasure. What made you guys want to do a live show? Willis: You work in a little dark room with a couple of dudes. It takes you months. You put it on TV and itâÄôs over. This is a fun way to actually get out to the fans, but to also get that return, get that crazy validation that youâÄôre not just shoveling this stuff into a vacuum. I enjoyed CarlâÄôs âÄúStone Cold Lock of the Century of the WeekâÄù NFL predictions last year. Does Carl have an early prediction for the Vikings? Willis (as Carl): I will say this, I predict the Vikings to go to eight of the next 10 Super Bowls and lose them all in tragic, crushing manner. Victory will be ever-so-slightly far from their grasp. I expect Brett Favre to play for you guys again this year, and I expect him to wear the purple, but itâÄôs gonna be on his skin, âÄôcause heâÄôs gonna be so frickinâÄô bruised up after someone kicks him in the nuts and wears his stomach as a shoe. ThatâÄôs what I think of your hometown team. And if youâÄôve got a problem with the Giants, you come down here and you tell me face-to-face, man-to-man. Uhh âĦ Willis (as Carl): No. I didnâÄôt. Willis: Yeah, we do a CarlâÄôs regional beef, where he basically comes to your hometown for one day, spends it in the hotel because he doesnâÄôt want to come out, then he comes out to the show that night and basically rips your city a new one. Snyder: HeâÄôs very hard to please. YouâÄôve got a really devoted following. WhatâÄôs the most rabid display of fandom you guys have encountered? Snyder: The most rabid display is a photo we received where someone had their scrotum tattooed with Meatwad on it, and it was just MeatwadâÄôs eyes, mouth and a couple of the little meat dots. Willis: And he may be the guy on the Internet thatâÄôs going âÄúI donâÄôt care so much for season eight, and let me tell you why: IâÄôve made the ultimate commitment for this show, and itâÄôs not living up to the standards of getting your nut-sack tattooed.âÄù If you guys gave a commencement address for this yearâÄôs graduating class, what would you tell them? Willis: We will talk down to you, then we will receive an honorary degree from your university, then IâÄôll put the Ph. D. in front of my name in the credits, just like [Bill] Cosby . Snyder: If you can get enough students, weâÄôll give a commencement address at the show. Willis: Follow your dreams, but more importantly follow us on Twitter.