It's true. My record is now 1-0, and I have a free t-shirt to show for it.
This video was not one I ended up using in said competition, but it should get you in the right frame of mind for what is to come after the jump:
Last Friday, my 2 week respite from work was winding down. Luckily, I had already crossed several things of that day's to-do list.
- I had slept till 11
- I had not showered
- I had surfed the web
- I had wallowed in the deep end of the schadenfreude pool, knowing that most of my friends were at work.
- Finally, I looked up how to spell schadenfreude and its definition.
By lunch time, I was exhausted.
But not too exhausted to see if there was interest in going to an free event at Johnny Brenda's that night. JB's is a relatively new bar/restaurant/concert venue in Fishtown run by the same guys who own Standard Tap. Both are highly recommended for things to put in your mouth and in the case of JB's, your ears.
So I emailed a bunch of city dwellers to see who was up/down for it. I then commenced preparing for that night's event. At this point, I should probably explain what exactly the competition entailed. Well, I'm still not entirely sure what it was, and the event is 5 days in my rear view mirror.
I would link to the description on their site, but it's not there anymore. Luckily, I still had an email newsletter from them with all the info. Here it is, unedited:
YouTube Smackdown- What the hell is it and why should you care? I hear the wheels spinning in your mind friend...
What? A night where you can come out with your friends and flaunt your knowledge of the hidden corners of YouTube on our big 12' projector screens upstairs at JB's. There will be a contest section where you can show your best set of videos from the 1980's (up to a maximum of 5 minutes of videos) and compete against others for the chance to be the ultimate YouTube geek (at least until the next Smackdown).
How? You will win by already having your list of 80s ads, showing them, being judged by an impartial judge-type person, and then making it to the final showdown where you will dominate the competition and be declared the victor by the biased and ill-informed jury of your peers in the audience! Woohoo!
Why? Well isn't that the question my friend? If you can explain to me why we all spend countless hours dawdling over YouTube videos then good for you, but as far as I'm concerned who cares WHY?
WTF would JBs and CityPaper have this night? Well for one thing it's FREE and people like FREE things, silly person. The night originated out of the experience we had at Johnny Brenda's on Election Night. That night while we had the news on one screen, we had YouTube videos on the other screen lined up and ready to entertain with vicious parodies of the nominees and Bill F***##g O'Reilly. And every 2 minutes someone else would come up and ask me "Have you ever seen blah blah blah? It's hilarious, you should play that!" and we at JBs thought about how impossible it is to ever watch YouTube without other people coming up and making video suggestions.
NOW HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO MAKE US ALL WATCH THE VIDEOS YOU THINK ARE THE BEST! It's not just Jim Bob in your office that you can pester with how many awesome videos you know...it's everyone here at the bar. Yessssssssss! And I just KNOW that you have the best ones, you just have to PROVE it to everyone else. Bring your friends so you can smack them down, too! It's fun!!!
Normally, the 5W/1H approach to announcing events is a solid one. It helps you boil things down to the bare essentials, and avoids long paragraphs which readers can get lost in. It's an approach I've used repeatedly.
Unfortunately, this approach did not exactly play out as they planned.
I read this as though they were looking for people to prepare playlists of videos from the 1980s whose total length was less than 5 minutes total in length. Since this limitation ruled out several longer ones, I decided to go with a bunch of smaller clips, most of which would be commercials. This would also presumably play to the short attention span that loud, drunken crowds tend to have.
So after several hours of searching random combinations of phrases like "weird 1980s", "bad 1980s commercial", and "wet pajamas Selleck". Goose some took precious time away from preparing his blog posts to help with the research. I could not have done it without him, though I certainly tried.
Here is the 11-video, 4:56 masterpiece that tells a story as old as time. It should go from one video to the next automatically. If not, you can see the list here.
How it Actually Went Down
We got there early enough to grab a bite and commandeer most of the floor in front of the stage (where 2 giant screens were projecting the videos). After an hour of people randomly shouting out videos to search for, the "competition" started.
Round 1 was my masterpiece pitted against a bunch of Krass Brother commercials which were universally awesome. I was tempted to vote for them until I realized that I'd be losing to some guy who spent 10 seconds writing down the phrase "Krass brothers". The collective brainpower of this blog spent the afternoon giving birth to something that will be studied for generations. I was like Nolte in New York Stories for crying out loud.
So after winning by the slimmest of applause margins, I figured it would be on to Round 2. And presumably the winners of each round would face off in some Finals.
No one else had prepared anything more than 1 or 2 videos to present. The rest of the night was just people yelling out more weird clips to watch. Don't get me wrong, it was entertaining. Some I had seen, some I hadn't. The clip of Bill O'Reilly flipping out, the Alabama leprechaun, dance mixes of both, Tracy Morgan, GI Joe PSA, are all funnier to watch at a bar with a crowd. As things wound down, I was awarded first place which was the aforementioned shirt.
So of course we then went to the 700 Club and got our freak on. This one guy sweated a lot. And life was good.
How Would You Do It?
As much fun as it was, it could have been better. It was the first time they tried this, so I'll cut them some slack. But the bottomless well of ridiculousness that YouTube affords means you could have these kind of competitions every night and never run out of material. And it makes a social activity out of something you normally do by yourself in the dark (or under fluorescent lights).
I talked to one of the co-owners who ran the competition. I suggested to him afterwards that he should be clearer about what format he was looking for and also to provide an email address for people to submit their playlists to ahead of time. A small fee to enter and cash prizes could also get some better entrants.
Goose and I (and a few others) have toyed with the idea of doing something like this at one of our local bars. Add any suggestions you might have (besides those that involve me fucking myself) Use the comments to add any suggestions to make this kind of event better.
Awesome Vids I Didn't Use
We watched all 8 squirm-inducing minutes of this at JBs. This aired in prime time circa 1983. And it's way dirtier than most of what's on the Internet now. Anyone wanna play Neptune, King of the Sea?
We also watched all 8 minutes of this which became funny after a while:
Did you know that Wayne Gretzky had a brother? Me neither.
Who wouldn't buy Schlitz Lite after seeing that James Coburn drinks it?
When you can't get Billy Dee, you go to Freddie W:
McNuggets dropping the sonic bomb:
This makes me sad, yet my mouth is minty fresh: