On The Scene: “The Found Footage Festival VCR Party Live!”

The Found Footage Festival VCR Party Live! was hilarious.

This was my first time attending the long-running series, and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. Founded by comedians Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher in 2004, the show features the duo diving into their collection of VHS tapes, where they screen, riff, and edit together clips. These tapes include commercials, home movies, training videos, public access TV shows, infomercials, and so much more. The whole show has a casual vibe, aided by the chemistry of the hosts and the relaxed delivery of the jokes. 

Some highlights include hilariously dated McDonald’s custodial training video littered with sexual tension, a montage of workout infomercials, and bizarre public access shows such as Dancing With Frank, which I can barely even describe. Pickett and Prueher would also interview some people in these videos, either to learn more about the bit or see where they are now. At times the interviews would be odd, like Frank from the Dancing With Frank, but sometimes, like when they interviewed a guy who jumped across two trees when he was younger, they’d be funny and sweet.

Pickett and Prueher also showcased pranks they’d pull on morning news shows near the show’s end. They’d send press releases for fake characters who’d get called to appear on morning news shows. One of these pranks, called Chop & Steele, led to them getting sued by the station’s parent company. They played their depositions at the show, and dear god, I never thought I’d find actual depositions so funny.

The lawsuit is the subject of the upcoming documentary, Chop & Steele, premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 10th

The VHS Party was hysterical. With likable hosts and clever comedy, the show perfectly captured the vibe of hanging with friends riffing on bad movies and weird YouTube videos.  I’ll definitely be attending their next show, I’m excited for what they’ll break out next.

You can find more info on the Found Footage Festival here.

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