Week 12: “Waffle Comedy” Is A Complete Disaster

4 05 2010

A Spinoff?

Let me give you a bit of background.  In the Fall of 2009, our show took on a group of new staff members.  While we really tend to work as a small group, MUTV basically insisted that we should recruit staff at their meeting in Conservation Auditorium.  Things worked out very well and several new creative minds joined our staff.  This made it necessary to continue with regular meetings each week, but these tended to be a lot of fun so we didn’t complain.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t be nearly as productive as we would have liked to be with our schedules being what they were.  This limited us to about two episodes that semester.

That was fine with everybody; generally they just wanted to be part of a show and learn about writing, editing, shooting, etc.  Everybody except Derek.  Derek had been extremely enthusiastic about the show from the beginning, but he didn’t understand one of the most important principles of a creative industry like television: if you can’t take criticism, you’re done.  Derek’s ideas were beyond awful.  He really wanted to work on the show, liked to shoot and write (and, more than anything, to see himself on camera), and even started to get members of the staff to go out and shoot things with him on their own.  We greatly encouraged that attitude, since Johnny, Danny, and I couldn’t be around each time they needed to shoot something.  The problem was that everything Derek did was a parody or rip-off of something else.  He would pitch gems like:

  • Waffle Douche: Okay, so there’s this guy I’ve seen at the dining halls.  He stood behind this girl while she was making a waffle and told her she was going to make a mistake and spill her waffle.  Isn’t that nuts!  So here’s my idea – we’ll have that guy in other situations!  We’ll film someone putting a dollar into a vending machine to get some Doritos and the Waffle Douche will creep up behind him and tell him, “you’re going to mess up!”  Isn’t that funny?!  Then we’ll put the phrase “waffle douche” on the screen!

Johnny and I asked Derek, “Okay, cool, so what then?”  Derek responded, “Well, that’s it.”  There’s nothing else to that idea.  The audience is just expected to understand that.

  • Top Ten Worst Wake-Up Calls: Okay, so no one likes to wake up, right?  What if we had a top ten list with all the worst ways to wake up?  [Ben and Johnny: ‘Okay, so, what’s on the list?’]  I don’t know, like, really bad stuff.  Like getting water throw in your face!  [Ben and Johnny: ‘Hmm.  Maybe we’ll keep that in mind.  We’ll probably need some stronger ideas for the list…’]  Also important to note, he got a friend of his who is a journalism student to edit the intro to this using a preset in iMovie – Derek edited the rest.  You’ll notice that after the first two (#10 and #9) he just gives up and posts it online anyway.
  • Bro-back Mountain:  Okay, so what if we shot, like, the plot to Brokeback Mountain, but with some bros from fraternities in place of the two main characters?  [Ben and Johnny: “Brokeback Mountain jokes were pretty over-done before that movie even came out.  Are you sure?”]  Yeah!  It’ll be really funny!  Because they’re bros!  [Ben and Johnny: “So what’s the angle here?  How is this a twist on the movie?”]  They’re, like, frat guys!  So it’s funny that they’re getting romantic with each other.  [Ben and Johnny: “This sounds an awful lot like you and another guy will be going to a mountain somewhere to pretend to have sex on camera.  No offense, but how is that funny?”]  God, guys!  You never like my ideas!

Derek’s list of ideas was quite prolific, but we never came across an idea we could use.  I could list dozens of awful ideas here, but you get the picture.

A Show Is Born

The rest of the staff was unanimously against all of Derek’s ideas.  No one wanted to film with him after a while.  Everything was a parody of a 3-year-old movie or “Adult Swim” on Cartoon Network, or a joke that no one even had the opportunity to get because it was complete nonsense.  Johnny and I felt that we’d go easy on Derek, and so we always did our best to make him feel comfortable and welcome.  It’s tough coming up with funny ideas in a cynical college environment.  We understand that.  But if it’s clear that not even the people working on the staff can find anything funny about someone’s ideas, a campus filled with judgmental college students certainly won’t enjoy it.

Alas, Derek went to the management at MUTV and told them we weren’t productive enough and that we weren’t accepting his ideas.  He never mentioned this to us, he just went straight to the top and complained.  He insisted that they cancel our show.  Then he stopped coming to meetings.  To compromise, the leadership at MUTV gave him his own show without looking at any of his material ahead of time.  I’m sure they feel really good about that decision now.

Derek’s new show is called “The Comedy Brewery Presents: Drawing Bored.”  He had been pushing his “Waffle Comedy Show” idea as a segment on Reacharound Clubhouse for a while.  We stressed to him how bad it would be to put the word “comedy” in the name of something.  It sets it up for failure by essentially guaranteeing that it will be funny.  College students are critical enough and comedy is subjective enough that we don’t want anything unnecessary to limit how our show can be received.  It would be like calling a dramatic film “The Most Intense and Dramatic Movie You Have Ever Seen” and expecting people not to make fun of it.  You can’t set the bar that high for yourself and still have room to fall even a tiny bit short.

I can picture him coming up with the idea for the title with his friends:  They’re drinking, as cool bros always do, talking about chicks.  Derek is pushing his “Waffle Comedy Show” title.  His friends like the idea of keeping beer and drinking in the title to emphasize how mature and cool they are.  “Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could get the campus station to air a show with drinking in the title, bro?  You know, since we’re not of age, dawg?”  Someone suggests meaningless pseudo-puns like “drawing bored” or “Bar-B-Cute” or “The Fratmosphere” or  a golf show called “Golf Par-T.”  Finally, they compromise: “The Comedy Brewery Presents: Drawing Bored.”  Because putting several good ideas all in one place always makes something several times better.  Like baconaise.

Not surprisingly, Derek’s show “borrows” it’s entire format from Reacharound Clubhouse.  It’s a clip-comedy show that cuts from segment to segment (“skits” to use Derek’s third grade term), mixing media as much as possible and commenting on society, supposedly.  Of course, Waffle Comedy doesn’t try to avoid simply repeating things that have been done hundreds of times in pop culture already, as The RC does.  It basically takes proven formats that have been beaten to death on the internet like “top 10” countdowns, putting on a banana suit and dancing in public (i’m serious), and mentioning alcohol as much as possible.  Other things on the list of “things they avoid” include: using microphones or paying any attention to keeping the audio level constant, keeping an eye on whether footage was shot in 16:9 or 4:3 so it can be aired in that ratio, and straying from the same topics (fraternities, drinking, getting laid, and Derek’s face).

Here’s a typical clip from their show.  Here they take the Coors commercial format where footage of NFL coaches at press conferences is intercut with footage of a bunch of dudes talking about beer.

I’m really not even sure what his objective was here.  I feel like this is bad enough that it could actually go viral for being so terrible, as opposed to simply being funny.

Here’s a clip of him, without a microphone, just showing off his hilarious off-the-cuff comedy style.  Notice the cutting edge editing where he cuts back and forth between “himself talking” and “himself acting silly”.  This will seriously make you want to cry.

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