Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is this what it's like for animators to watch "Bottom Biting Bug?"

Or any other cartoon that takes the medium and uses it for something else?

Lets start with the fact that this is on Youtube, under the poorly thought out linkline of "Are you funnier than Jay Mohr." Holy God, is that a set up for a waterfall of negative comments.

I've always gotten along with Jay. So, I'm not critiquing the comedy. Truth to tell, I haven't watched the clip. I'm commenting on the marketing of it all. Nothing else.

As a comic, there's nothing more infuriating than watching an actor get up on stage and do five minutes of horrid material, as a way to showcase themselves in front of a talent scouts who happen to be at comedy clubs.

It was a BIG thing in the '80s, when people were tossing out sitcom deals the way most people toss out aluminum cans. Yeah, you get five cents back, but who cares?

So here's this clip, produced by Turbotax, and "Tax Laugh.Com." Here's this clip that uses stand up comedy - the art form - but (I'm guessing) has green screened Jay and dropped him in front of a brick wall with the word "LAUGH" spraypainted behind him, as though the Joker's hunchmen were there.

So here's this clip, for a contest that didn't even have the courage to show Jay on a stage at, say, an Improv Comedy Club, doing this material in front of a live audience.

Ignoring the fact that I don't want my taxes to be funny, I want them to be accurate - this is a campaign that takes something I hold to be sacred and uses it in a way that's not so kind to the art form.

I see parallels there.

The flipside is this: The best comics came from somewhere else, as well. I know Lawyer comedians. Rodney Dangerfield sold vacuum cleaners. I was an editorial columnist for several papers before I moved into comedy. They were all people who came from some place else and then found their love of it later.

Maybe they studied the greats. Or, maybe they just became really, really good.

The combination of art and commerce - the melding of promoting creativity and pissing on the genre - Somewhere between Eddy Izzard and Taxlaugh.com or between The Incredible World of DIC and PIXAR, who doesn't need an adjective in front of it to promote it's inredible-ness... there's an answer there somewhere.

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