Pretty Awful is Premiering at the Highball

February 11, 2015

What do you get when you mix to friends who hap­pen to be come­di­ans with a video direc­tor with an eye for com­e­dy? You get a web series called Pret­ty Awful, and it’s pret­ty amazing.

From a Skit to a Show

You may not know Dustin Svehlak, but I can almost promise you that if you’ve been to any com­e­dy show­case, you’ve seen him. He’s the tall dude with a goa­tee and cam­era. Svehlak owns and oper­ates Volta­ic Video. It start­ed in 2005 when Svehlak began shoot­ing wed­dings and cor­po­rate events. In 2012, it became all about com­e­dy as he began record­ing local com­e­dy sets, and cre­at­ing unique short videos and clips fea­tur­ing local comedians.

The char­ac­ters have a few vices (cred­it: Erin Holsonback).

A while back he was chat­ting with local come­di­an Amber Bix­by about a small scene between two friends who were fight­ing. Svehlak and Bix­by felt they had some­thing more than just a cou­ple of min­utes of video. After talk­ing things over, they decid­ed to turn it into a web series and Pret­ty Awful was born. With­out think­ing twice about it, Bix­by brought in her friend and fel­low come­di­an Katie Pengra.

Beav­is and Butthead Meets Mean Girls

For Amber Bix­by, pick­ing Katie Pen­gra was a no-brain­er. While the two are real life friends, their char­ac­ters aren’t rep­re­sen­ta­tive of that rela­tion­ship. Bix­by explains, Yeah, she’s a very good friend of mine — but the series is very much a work of fic­tion. It’s a bit absurd. We’ve been com­par­ing it to Mean Girls meets Beav­is and Butthead. It’s not based on our real friend­ship — the friend­ship in the series is pret­ty unhealthy.”


From what I’ve seen, the two star char­ac­ters are going to be a glo­ri­ous train wreck; and Bixby’s allu­sion to Beav­is and Butthead meet­ing Mean Girls is a bulls­eye. Any­one who’s seen either of those shows knows what a per­fect storm of mis­ad­ven­ture is brew­ing for Amber Bixby’s and Katie Pen­gra’s characters.

The col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between Dustin Svehlak, Amber Bix­by, and Katie Pen­gra is on the ball. As of right now, Sea­son 1 is ready to go with 3 episodes and Sea­son 2 is in the works. While Svehlak han­dled the direc­tion and cam­era work, Bix­by took the role of head writer while Pen­gra helped and punched up the writ­ing a bit. But they weren’t alone, Dustin Svehlak recruit­ed his wife, Jen, for set design / pro­duc­ing, Ter­ance McDavid as pro­duc­tion assis­tant, and Chelsea Robin­son for audio record­ing and post mixing.

High­ball Premier

Pret­ty Awe­ful will pre­mier at the High­ball (cred­it: Erin Holsonback).

Svehlak, Bix­by and Pen­gra are excit­ed about their new project and they want Austin to cel­e­brate it’s pre­mier with them. Sun­day, Feb­ru­ary 15th, they will be throw­ing a Pret­ty Awful pre­mier par­ty (get it?) at the High­ball. The High­ball is locat­ed at 1120 South Lamar Blvd, and they will have swag for sale in the form of t‑shirts designed by David McQuary who also did the web­site art. This will be a good post-Valen­tine’s Day palate cleanser and I am per­son­al­ly look­ing for­ward to it.

If you want more infor­ma­tion click the links:

Pret­ty Awful Volta­ic Video Amber Bix­by Katie Pen­gra

As usu­al, fol­low me on Twit­ter, @ElDavidThomas