By Eric Novak, Staff Writer
When my RA invited me to the Found Footage Festival at Hansen on Friday, Jan. 13, I naturally said yes, thinking it was about those silly films that use supposedly real archival footage to scare the unsuspecting person.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a prime example, where directors get to slap together a movie, relying on the “real” factor to attract an audience. I myself enjoy films like that simply because they are easy to make fun of.
To my surprise, as soon as I arrived at the event in the Hansen Student Center, I found out it was not celebrating sloppy filmmaking at all, but instead was the name of a duo of comedians who find old videos of public access television, bad TV shows, advertisement ad outtakes, etc. and mesh them together on one DVD. They then proceed to poke fun at the videos and their irrationalities.
Though this sounds like an interesting concept, as I took a look at the seats around me, I was surprised to find that most of the seats were empty. Including myself, I would say there were about 20 people present. I attribute this mainly to the extremely poor advertising promoting the event.
I myself hadn’t even heard of it. My RA is the one who informed me. As I looked around campus afterwards, I still couldn’t find a single sheet of paper promoting the event. This is unfortunate, because I believe that the comedians would have been given a more fair audience if they had been better advertised.
As the lights dimmed, and the presenting staff started to announce the event, I could see doubt in their eyes. They probably noticed the cosmically low attendance as I did and feared the worst.
After the skeptical introduction, the projector screen played a slew of clearly dated infomercials for completely ridiculous products until the duo of treasure hunters/comedians jumped enthusiastically on stage.
As they began their “routine,” my heart sank a bit. Not only were these guys poorly advertised, but they weren’t funny either. This would be a long show.
But when they rolled the first clip, a video about the importance of safety in absolutely trivial and ridiculous situations, I found myself in pain from laughing so hard. The videos were downright hilarious.
And the hilarity didn’t stop with each video seeming to be funnier than the last. Additionally, the duo of comedians would comment on the videos as they were rolling and actively makes fools of themselves.
As the show went on, I realized that these guys were not only to be commended for choosing this unintentionally brilliant selection of videos, but they were funny in a way that is absent in most comedians today: they were like real people. The duo of comedians was very down to earth and relatable.
They played off of each other like brothers and were uncompromisingly silly, whether they were acting out some of the products in the videos, or engaging in playful banter with each other. They didn’t need to rely on perverse jokes or repeating offensive language to get laughs, which is a refreshing change from the usual lewdness expected of comedians.
I was surprisingly pleased upon my departure from Hansen, but I do hope the Found Footage Festival gets a better audience with their other shows. They deserve it.