Thursday, May 27, 2010

Internet Spelunking: Derrick Comedy

Another week wraps up, and this guy's here again to babble at you again. (Great. Not again.) But hey, with my health gradually returning, I'm finally starting to get back to writing more. And it happens to be the case that my words cause tectonic shift. (That's what that was. Also, this is not necessarily the case with agents. This is something that can stand to change, and must for the good of the world.) Inane parentheticals.

At any rate, I plan on closing May early next week with another of my monthly short stories on here. In the meantime, have fun with the launch of another new Spiral Reverie feature - Internet Spelunking! These posts will, of course, entail the sharing of the fruits of my regular excursions into the depths of those forbidding, deathtrap-laden catacombs known collectively as the internet.
Internet Spelunking as a feature was originally conceived as "YouTube Spelunking," but I opted to change the name to widen the variety of content, websites, groups, and people highlighted by the feature. That said, videos from YouTube and other sites will be a regular content focus, addicted to embedding as I obviously am as of late.

Appropriately enough, our internet odyssey begins on YouTube with a sketch comedy group I discovered late in college - one known for their college-age following, that being pretty much the demographic internet comedy targets - comprised of a group of very funny people around my age.

Let's introduce them with one of their sketches, shall we? Their comedy speaks for itself.

Endings don't get any happier than that.

Now, on to the group's members.

If anyone from that sketch is most recognizable, it's Donald Glover, who played the son. He formerly wrote for 30 Rock on NBC, and presently stars on Community (Alongside a stellar ensemble cast) on the same network, which is easily the funniest new show of the past season. His Comedy Central Presents stand-up special premiered back on March 19th, and he performed stand-up on an episode of Live at Gotham last fall. He also makes rap music under the name Childish Gambino.

Playing the father is DC Pierson, who's appeared briefly on Community (As has the rest of Derrick), and who made his debut as a novelist back in January with The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To.

Dominic Dierkes played the sniper friend in the sketch. In addition to brief appearances on Community and Parks and Recreation, he's appeared in College Humor and The Onion comedy sketches, as well as a few by El Vacio, which have aired on Atom TV late at night on Comedy Central.

In the non-speaking role of the already-dead mother is Meggie McFadden, Derrick's producer, who's in some, but not the majority of their sketches. Like the remaining member of the troupe, she does most of her work off-camera.

Not pictured is Derrick's last member, Dan Eckman, the group's director. Like Meggie, he's not on-camera often, but his contribution is vital to the funny they bring about together.

Let's take a look at another sketch. (Blogging as though one were performing some broadcast show is the future. Blogcasting, they'll call it.)

All improvisers trained at the New York City Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, the Derrick troupe met while students at NYU, performing as part of the school's Wicked Wicked Hammerkatz sketch comedy group - now just known as Hammerkatz.

Additional collaborators with the group include new Saturday Night Live cast member Bobby Moynihan, who was in their best known video - Bro Rape; and regular on The Office as of late last spring Ellie Kemper, who starred in Blowjob Girl, which she's somewhat tried to distance herself from for understandable reasons.

Time for another sketch.

Of course, there's no discussing Derrick Comedy without bringing up Mystery Team, their first full-length movie. After premiering at Sundance 2009 (To a positive reception), it received a limited theatrical run through the latter months of the year courtesy of Roadside Attractions. A private screening was even arranged for Pixar employees.

In the tradition of parodying Encyclopedia Brown-style detectives, Mystery Team follows a trio of boy detectives (Glover, Dierkes, Pierson) now nearing the end of high school. Deciding that it's time to grow up and prove themselves to their peers - being naive and childlike themselves - they drop their usual children's mysteries to take on a double homicide.

Joining the trio of leads are Eckman and McFadden in smaller roles, along with the aforementioned contributors Moynihan and Kemper. Upright Citizens Brigade's Matt Walsh and Parks and Recreation's Aubrey Plaza also have major roles in the film. Donald Glover also composed its soundtrack as Childish Gambino.

Mystery Team was just released on DVD on May 25th, at last available to a wider audience. I haven't picked up a copy yet, but I plan on doing a little movie review post on it when I do.

Until then, enjoy a short they produced starring the Mystery Team trio! (Also check out their other videos on their YouTube channel. There's a lot to enjoy.)

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