AUSTIN — Friday marked the seventh day of comedy at SXSW 2013, but don’t be fooled – we’re not taking a breather over here in Austin. Let’s do the math: weekend + final days of SXSW + St. Patrick’s Day = pure pandemonium. It’s a perfect storm of mayhem and drunkenness.
So taking a break from the insanity on the streets at the SXSW Comedy venue, Esther’s Follies, was a pure godsend. The programming yesterday featured a podcast taping from Jake Fogelnest, The Fogelnest Files, featuring a panel of notable funny folks who shared and skewered some of the oddest videos available online. It’s no secret among my close friends that I live and die for oddball YouTube videos, so this premise was already right up my alley. But throwing Chris Gethard, Andrew W.K. and Doug Benson into the mix meant an already winning formula became especially flawless for yours truly.
The four gents spent an hour poring over some truly odd video productions, including a decidedly disturbing karaoke background video of the M*A*S*H theme song, “Suicide is Painless.” The video features a sadistic Dr. Death – that’s his moniker in the video, mind you, and he has a logo on his yellow van to prove it – putting folks out of their misery with a smile. At one point, the doctor plays with silly string after killing an older woman. That might seem like a departure from the norm of medical treatment, but I’m pretty sure that’s how medicine works now. Thanks, Obamacare. This is the death panel the Republicans warned us about.
Although we were all comfortable living in the fantasy that this was an authentic video played during moving, expressive karaoke performances (you know what I’m talking about), Andrew dropped a truth bomb in suggesting that the video was actually a parody. That seems more likely, but damn. Our collective dreams were crushed.
Another video highlight was a performance from an incredibly awkward gent who wrote a rap about how much he loves his reel-to-reel tape deck. Although we all enjoyed riffing on his musical and [probable] personal ineptitude, Gethard was more sympathetic. He admired the dude’s passion for reel-to-reel recording, naturally, but also hoped that the video was a wake-up call for the rapper to get his act together. The panel agreed when all was said and done: after all, as Doug Benson reminded us, “Chris’ glasses are for seeing the truth.” That’s some real talk, brosef.
And, by the way, although this clip doesn’t fit into the pantheon of more ancient video weirdness, we were lucky enough to see a quick segment from Doug Benson’s new film, The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled. A man in Omaha, Nebraska takes a monster hit of weed, blows the smoke into a didgeridoo by playing it, and then discusses Chewbacca from Star Wars. There’s nothing I can add to that premise to make it any more wonderful than it already is, so I’ll leave it at that and encourage you to check out the movie at chill.com.
Guys, we only have one more evening of comedy at SXSW to go. But never fear: we won’t go gentle into that good night.