The internet: there’s a lot of stuff on it! (In it?—Ed.) This much we know. We’re drowning in content these days and there’s far too many people making great stuff to spotlight at once, but it’s worth a shot. In that spirit: here’s a roundup of some of our favorite sketches and videos from May.
Joe Rumrill: “Joe Rumrill’s Little Poems”
This little treat from Alex Winfrey and comedian Joe Rumrill sees Rumrill reading brief four-line verses over intimate, candlelit visuals and melting shots of nature at its most serene. As with “The seven seas / The ocean blue / Watch out, fuckers / I’m sailin’ you,” each comes with the promise that the reason it’s funny will sneak up on you. If you miss the days of Jack Handey’s “Deep Thoughts,” this is a great extension of what can be explored with that tone, while capturing the mischievousness of Rumrill’s live comedy onscreen.
Erin R. Bowles: “Trying To Explain A Super Cool Nature Documentary…”
trying to explain a super cool nature documentary that was seriously out of my depth pic.twitter.com/HMwJHXocf5— erin® bowles (@erinrbowles) May 8, 2019
Erin R. Bowles has been consistently killing it on the Twitter video front, so it’s hard to pick just one this month. But if I had to, I’d go with “Trying to Explain A Super Cool Nature Documentary That Was Seriously Out of My Depth.” It’s 90 breathless seconds of unrestrained enthusiasm Bowles has for scientists provoking a kind of slime mold into doing different things. “When it’s anxious, it plays anxious music,” she notes. “When it’s happy, it plays happy music. Whomst thinks of this?” We’d ask Bowles to do this for a whole season of Planet Earth, but then we wouldn’t get any of the other videos she’s gifted us with since.
Carmen Christopher: “I’m Killing It!!!”
In this new short film from Carmen Christopher (The Chris Gethard Show), Christopher plays a clueless agent of chaos, loudly informing a crowded subway car that it’s his four year anniversary, and yet failing entirely to pick up on any clues from his disinterested girlfriend. “I’m Killing It!!!”—now a Vimeo staff pick—is screamingly spontaneous throughout as it chronicles Christopher’s reaction to the inevitable breakup, which escalates quickly, as you can imagine. Even in its gentlest moments, you’ll still be treated to shots of, like, Christopher painting watercolors while surrounded by half-a-dozen bottles of orange soda.
Vart Videos: “‘Rack ‘Em Up, Sit ‘Em Down!’ Tim Shaen’s Slow Pitch Softball Tips & Tools”
This throwback from Brad Howe, Sebastian DiNatale and Zach DiLanzo isn’t just a loving pastiche of 80s instructional videos, and doesn’t rest of the laurels of its ability to successfully parody that form and its utterly charming VHS aesthetic. It also has like eight jokes in it a second. I’m unwilling to do the math on what that means, but the numbers really rack up. You can watch it in one thirteen-minute go if you’re feeling eager, or in five installments if you’re looking to improve your game one step at a time.
Olive McGowen: “Hurtful Bros”
hurtful bros pic.twitter.com/mttp1QOwrj— olivemcgowen_writingsmple.pdf (@olivemcgowen) May 15, 2019
This wonderfully staccato video from writer and actor Olive McGowen packs a one-act-play’s worth of tentative male vulnerability into less than two minutes. Insecurities abound as the two bros come into conflict over comments from Damien, a third guy who presumably has his own issues. They work it out, but not after a lot of dirt gets dug up and a lot of feelings are hurt. McGowen has plenty of videos that are worth checking out, including one she made in the 6th grade that genuinely still holds up. Start with the bros, though. It’ll touch your heart.
Nick Ciarelli and Brad Evans: “Legion of Skanks”
The most heated discussion in the New York comedy scene right now revolves around the ongoing trash fire of a situation with the podcast Legion of Skanks, which recently booked alt-right commentator and famous racist Milo Yiannopoulos to joke around for a live recording at the Queens venue The Creek and the Cave [https://twitter.com/NYCAntifa/status/1132452967452487681]. You’d think this would have been an uncontroversially bad decision, but there are enough people who seem to think the podcast and the venue should be exempt from criticism that I guess not. Anyway, literally the only bright spot in this mess is this video from Brad Evans and Nick Ciarelli, which posits what they think the podcast sounds like, as they reasonably seem to have no intention of listening to it.
Jorja Hudson and Brittany Tomkin: “Myrtle & Willoughby”
Something is rotten in the neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, where two young detectives solve low-stakes cases as part of the “Millennial Crimes Unit.” That’s where Myrtle & Willoughby—a web series Jorja Hudson and Brittany Tomkin, now available online after bouncing around the festival circuit drumming up buzz—starts. However, the two are quickly thrust into a murder mystery that takes them above and beyond their jurisdiction. The show exists in the great tradition of heightened New York noir shows like Bored to Death and Search Party, but with a plucky, screwball bent of its own that makes Myrtle & Willoughby extremely compulsive viewing.
Chris Darden and Josh Tobin: “Standard British Dialects”
Things start relatively normal in Chris Darden and Josh Tobin’s instructional video for actors or anyone else who wants to learn how to do some basic British accents. They do a great job of briefing us on standard Received Pronunciation, but quickly level up to things like Medieval Jailer Dialect, No Nonsense Constable Dialect, Unscrupulous Ship Captain Dialect and Weakling Prince Dialect, all while keeping the lesson professional. In case you think these accents are gonna bleed together, they don’t. And Darden and Tobin are really, really good at all of them.
Graham Techler’s writing has been featured by McSweeney’s and The New Yorker, and he performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. You’d be doing him a real solid by following him on Twitter @gr8h8m_t3chl3r.