By Brandon Wetherbee
Brandon Wetherbee hosts the talk show/podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody the first two Friday’s of the month at the Wonderland Ballroom and in Brooklyn and Chicago once a month. Subscribe to it online at youmethemeverybody.com. He’ll be hosting You, Me, Them, Everybody Live! Friday, March 30 at the Wonderland Ballroom with guests Julianna Brienza, Randy Syphax and Patrick Hawkins from Benny.
The idea of a mash up video collage is awful. Boring footage of boring people doing boring things sounds and usually is not good. Yet the monsters that make up Everything Is Terrible! are the opposite of their name.
A few years ago I began programming the entertainment at a neighborhood bar in Chicago. What that really means is I would ‘book’ friends of mine that were either nice or did interesting things to come in and do their whatever on a Monday night. By ‘book,’ I mean that they would play for free and a donation basket would be passed around to a usually sparse crowd. Sadly, this is how I still ‘book’ most shows. Since I don’t charge a cover or enforce a drink minimum, many talented friends and other people that do cool things did not desire to play the bar. I understand that. Lucky for me, I was able to meet the kind monster of Everything Is Terrible!, a group of like minded folks that were perfectly fine staging odd events in a place that didn’t charge a cover or enforce a drink minimum.
The monsters were introduced to me by a zinester friend, someone that completely understood and embraced the no cover ideal. He’s an adult make that has pink hair, homemade piercings and managed a toy shop, the kind of person that sounds like an extra in “Big Fish.” He was and is that guy and because of him, I got to meet the Terrible! monsters. I should probably explain why I keep using the word monster. The maybe people that make up Everything Is Terrible! represent themselves as monsters, plain and simple. When they give interviews, they do it in character. When the press comes a calling, and it sure does after Kanye West praises you, you might as well do it in a felt costume. Anyways, because of a good friend, I was introduced to a group that is doing something I wish more not monsters were.
Everything Is Terrible! takes old and odd VHS footage from films, instructional videos, music promos and more, cuts them up and sometimes tells a story. They’re currently on tour with their third film, “Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez!” The film is a re-telling of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 masterpiece “The Holy Mountain” made up entirely of dog footage. Yes, seven monsters found enough footage of canines in film to re-make a Biblically inspired flick. This is what they do. They fuck with copyright law and make awesomely odd things that most people will never consider viewing. It’s the ideal art form for folks like myself, people that grew up bored, loved the idea of rock and roll and were disappointed in the reality of rock and roll. Everything Is Terrible! is boldly doing what bands won’t do, fuck with everything. And they make people smile. Heroin without the pretense.
So how does this relate to anything about talk shows? Without the EIT folks, I wouldn’t have been able to project my not very good short films. They let me use their not cheap projector to screen my works. That led to me meeting more comics and actors and musicians that ended up as guests on my show. They’ve introduced me to the extremely talented Al Scorch, who ended up playing a special set on my show and months later, sat in as the house band. They’ve staged shows at a classic movie palace in Chicago, re-sparking my love for cinema. Over the last four years, the monsters of EIT have replaced my belief in people and put it in monsters. Just because people don’t get you doesn’t mean you should stop, it means you should amass the largest collection of “Jerry Macguire” VHS tapes possible. Huh? They did that. They sent out a call for “Jerry Maguire” VHS tapes because why not let’s have fun.
I do not do what Everything Is Terrible! does and I do not want to. They’re great at what they do and it makes me happy. It makes oddballs happy. It makes others wonder what’s going on. They’re exactly what I want in rock and roll and comedy, but without saying a word of their own. I’ll see them tonight at Sub A, laugh and smile and wonder what’s going on in their film, go home and be happy they exist.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.