I’ve been working in the creative industries for too long, where everything and anything weird is out. Strangeness has vacated the scene. Not proven by ‘data’? Not allowed. Not a popular aesthetic? Not happening.
So in my spare time, the absurd becomes antidote. This comes in many shapes and forms, from the ad hoc ways my grandparents fix things around the house, to the odd things restaurants will write on their street side blackboard signs. One of the more obvious and contemporary homes for absurdity is the internet. Here we find three weirdo happenings to bring you a triple shot of absurdity for today.
#1: 2 Wet Crew
I discovered 2 Wet Crew after seeing DJ Dougpound performing a ‘live set’ at an edition of Soapbox at Virgil Normal in LA. Impressed, I sought more of what he’s up to. A lot of absurdity as it turns out.
2 Wet Crew is a web series of lo-fi absurdist humor and a mixed media variety show.
‘The Crew’ is Douggpound, Mikey Kampmann and Jay Weingarten, and the videos are directed by Tim Nackashi.
One commenter describes the videos as ‘…omg this is some YouTube 2008 kind of insanity! great job revitalising the original YouTube content!’. So if you’re an old school net vid type, you’re in for a treat.
What’s so enjoyable about 2 Wet Crew’s videos is how extremely wack they are. You’ll frequently find yourself asking how does somebody come up with this? Deep absurd. My personal favourite is River Crack (above) – which has a guest appearance by Mac de Marco. And once you see the connection between Mac and The Crew, it becomes clear what genre of culture we are looking at… ‘Slacker’. Mac de Marco has long reigned as one of the kings of so-called ‘slacker rock’. It’s a term that is kind of denigrating. It insinuates a lack of effort or talent, when the genius is certainly in full force. I like the humility and humour in Mac’s records, and 2 Wet Crew has the same tongue-in-cheekness all the way through it. If you’re an enjoyer of the weird, 2 Wet Crew will give you a satisfying hit of surreal.
Read the comments while you’re there too. They’re a deep dive into this corner of the online comedy scene.
Check out Dougpound’s Youtube channel for more ongoing weirdness, too.
#2: Kyle Mooney
Numero dos of our triple shot takes us to the YouTube channel of comedian Kyle Mooney, ‘Kyle’– the home of ‘before he was famous’ content. Before he got approached by Saturday Night Live. The original vids that Kyle was making himself and uploading way back in 2011 remain as freakish and funny as the day they arrived. Sure, some things might have changed since. Today his humour may be deemed too close to imitating developmental disorders. The main categories of his vids are interviews, which sees Mooney head to expos of subcultures like guitar or reptile enthusiasts, and proceed to semi-interview punters in his mumble style, and in-home vids filmed by ‘Dave’, capturing Kyle in small moments of ultimate weirdness.
When I revisited Kyle’s channel recently with a friend, he couldn’t handle the length of the videos. ‘How long are these? I’m a Reddit humour guy. Something needs to make me laugh in 10 seconds, max. Or I’m gone.’ Maybe Kyle’s vids are from an earlier time, of longer attention spans and slow burn humour. Nevertheless, if you’re into wacky shit, this might be parked down your alley.
*A note: Like much contemporary absurdo humour, Kyle’s videos could also be classed in the ‘slacker’ category.
#3: Wednesday Frog
No Triple Shot of Absurdity would be complete without Wednesday Frog. Wednesday Frog is a sweet child of the internet. A meme born in December 2014 and originated from a tumblr post by user ‘kidpix2’.
Until August 2018, each week ZimoNitrome would release a new mini-video on a Wednesday, featuring an low-fi animated Budgett’s frog who would scream over trap music and close the clip by saying “It’s Wednesday my dudes.” My friend Cameron who introduced me to WF gives his account on the phenomena;
I first came into contact with Wednesday Frog through ‘wednesday.os’. That was a 27 second video clip that came out in September 2017. I believe I came into contact with that on the Reddit subreddit YouTube Haiku, which is for short YouTube videos that are in their spirit a video Haiku – a short poem. Wednesday Frog was put on there and it exploded to the front page.
Why Wednesday Frog is special? It’s very polished. The absurdity of it = ubiquitous. Otherworldly, but at the same time…In a word, random. But really how polished it was in a 360 way – the music, the sound, the graphics. It’s basically a video that looks like it’s from Windows 95 with a trap song in the background. It’s just *does Italian Chef Kiss gesture*, delicious. It’s perfect. It was exactly the internet then.– Transcribed from a call with Cameron Foden, 22nd March 2020
It didn’t go for so long. Maybe a year. But it came out every Wednesday, and they all had different themes. But people like to be in on a joke, you know? And the core aspect of the joke is; the fact that it’s Wednesday. It has the slogan “it is Wednesday my dude”, it is a frog, and it has the screaming. Every week he would repackage those elements in a new way. And it was always a surprise. A treat. When it would come round, you would be like ‘Ooo what’s it going to be this week?’. And it would drop, and it wouldn’t matter what it was, you loved it. Because you were in on the joke. When he did his last video, there was sadness for sure. Because it was the end of an era.
The level was so good. Every week he put out a video. And some weeks you could see he didn’t have much time, or much creativity, but he always put out a video.– Cameron Foden
Despite being an insanely popular meme (learn more on it here), Wednesday Frog is remarkable in the world of internet laughs. Why? As well-worded by Reddit user ancientkillerx:
“You want to know why I love Wednesday frog? Wednesday frog is a completely self-made meme. So many other memes are based in nostalgic childrens shows, funny faces, relatable situations, or references. Not Wednesday frog. Wednesday frog is completely absurd.
It’s a low-res generic toad, and an arbitrary method of celebrating Wednesday. The first person to ever upvote Wednesday frog did not do so out of recognition. The first person to ever upvote Wednesday frog did not do so because a pre-existing meme format. The first person to ever upvote Wednesday frog upvoted a meme literally pulled from the ether by sheer human creativity and willpower.
Wednesday frog is evidence that humans can stare into the meaningless void of eternity and force their own meaning onto to it. I will always upvote Wednesday frog, my dudes!”