On this Patreon-supported podcast we do a commentary track for The Gothsicles 2006 scene-skewering classic “Nesferatu”. We run down the nature of parody, the substance of satire and big up everyone we ever met from Madison Wisconsin with some basic video game knowledge to boot. All on this month’s episode of We Have a Commentary! As always, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music and Stitcher, download directly, or stream from the widget down below.
This is the fucking BEST. Thanks guys!
My thoughts quickly overflowed what fits neatly into a handful of tweets.
So, yeah. The parody with substance under what could be a toss away joke is a lot like The Onion. Which is based in Chicago, like Brian and a lot of other artists with Wisconsin roots. Second City also has a history there. And the Upright Citizen’s Brigade were also based there for a while, though I’m not sure they still have an active presence there. My point is, we can meaningfully talk about a “Chicago school” of comedy that I think Brian fits into. And Matt has mentioned somewhere (Facebook?) that he’s done some improv comedy appearances. It wouldn’t surprise me if Brian has as well. And the sorta “Truth In Comedy” approach to improv often deals with exploring a premise deeply, in ways that can surface some dark or at least substantive stuff under even a horribly silly idea.
See also Dan Harmon’s origins in Milwaukee based comedy troupe The Dead Alewives. Who had a strong theme of table top role playing tropes that Dan continues in things like Harmonquest. D&D (and arguably the whole table top role playing thing) is also an original Wisconsin creation, coming out of Lake Geneva based TSR in the 70s. Brian’s video game stuff gets a lot of attention. But he’s proven his table top gaming bona fides with tracks like _Everyone Should Play V:TES_ and _True Tales of Made Up Adventure_.
I’ve probably done a really bad job of relating all this. So let me back up and untangle a bit of this. We’ve got table top role playing as a type of improvisational theater. Kids growing up in and around Wisconsin are going to be even more likely than the national norm to have some experiences with D&D due to shared origin. That can feed into some experiences with improvisational comedy, which likely hones some skills useful in fronting a band. And could help explain the presence of this “just because it’s funny doesn’t mean it can’t also be deep” theme.
We also have this weird feedback loop that happens with the entire state of Wisconsin, the city of Chicago, and the “coastal elite” cities that I think you guys may be able to relate to as Canadians.
I live in the far northern end of Wisconsin. But I didn’t grow up here. The local economy is driven by tourism. And a hell of a lot of those tourists live in metro Chicago. There’s a love/hate thing with the locals and tourists from “down south.” The locals love the money the tourists bring, but we’ve got a term for people visiting from Chicago: FIBs. The I stands for Illinois. Both the F and the B stand for words you can’t say on daytime TV. As they say in Letterkenny, figure it out.
Which brings in the parallels with Canada. We’ve got this impressive Wisconsin based scene which gets little to no respect locally. And if / when you relocate to somewhere more urban for the sake of your art there’s this mix of “local boy / girl done good” vs perceptions of selling out. That’s true if you move from a more rural area of the state into Madison or Milwaukee. It’s probably true if you move between either of those two cities. And it’s definitely true if you cross the state line into the Twin Cities or Chicago. Especially Chicago.
But then you’ve got this whole midwest excluded middle / fly over country thing. So on one hand you’ve got the folks “back home” who see you as snobby or a sell out. But will still brag about going to high school with you or whatever if it buys them a tiny slice of cool. And you’ve also got the people who think the fact that you aren’t in a “real” city like New York or LA proves that you couldn’t cut it there. And God forbid you actually relocate somewhere like New York or LA because now even the people in Chicago think you’re a snob.
If you’re gonna be caught in that sorta situation anyway, might as well embrace art with a built in popularity cap, like “our thing.” But that doesn’t mean you fail to take it seriously or somehow fight any less for the sake of your art.
And that reminds me of the sort of talent drain we see among Canadian actors, who end up being sucked into New York or Hollywood. And Canadian artists like The Tea Party or Sloan or Treble Charger who were just as good as anything on heavy rotation on MTV back in the 90s but were never really marketed or given a chance to catch on here.
I can’t wait to listen to this, love the album. I’ve been trying to find NesferaTWO for a while now. It used to be a free download, but the hosting is dead.
Hi guys, second time a friend has tipped me off that I’ve come up on this podcast. Claims that I made the first animated GIF you’d ever seen made me feel extremely old.
I got that right though, right? You did make the Leeb lightsaber gif?
hey guys, this is some pretty fun stuff. thanks for mentioning battery cage 🙂 pretty funny trip down memory lane, regarding that cut.rate.box show, that was a great time!
you’re right that battery cage is essentially no more. but i am still doing stuff (solidgreysky.com) if you care about that 😉
also, not my best remix work here, but i love gothsicles and had a good time on this one.
hope all is well.