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Mike Doughty’s Top 12 Cheap Videos

Mike Doughty’s Top 12 Cheap Videos (photo)

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Check out the world premiere of Mike’s new video “Put It Down.”

What the world needs now is videos, cheap videos. MTV doesn’t play them, and VH1 only plays them before noon on weekdays, but we’re still watching them, on YouTube and everywhere else. Before the record business started tanking, they were laying out big bucks for mega-productions; now budgets are more modest. Rightfully so, I think; one of the worst things to happen to videos was when, as the art of video-making started to come into its own, MTV began putting the names of the directors on the video, right under the song title and record company credit. On the positive side, this began a kind of auteur era in videos — Mark Romanek, Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Hype Williams — but, the music business being the music business, once they saw that one guy had a hit using a certain video director, everybody thought “If we use the same director, we’ll have a hit, too!” There was a period when you could watch BET for an hour and literally see nothing but videos by Hype Williams; that is, until Hype’s assistant director Little X started directing videos himself, and then every video was by Hype or Little X.

Fueled by the insane cash that was around when the CD was preeminent, labels thought nothing of spending $500,000 on a video. I remember being told that Warner Bros had little faith in me as a potential hit-maker because they budgeted only $120K for a video. I had a friend who lobbied his label for an extra $20K for a crowd scene in a video — a relatively modest rise from a $300K budget. Now artists — even established record-sellers — have trouble getting $20K in the first place. I tend to dislike the videos I made with Soul Coughing — it haunts me that we could’ve spent a bunch of people to film school for all the money our record company spent on them.

Lacking the big dosh, video-makers have to rely on inventiveness, not to mention the charisma of their performers — what they should’ve been relying on in the first place. Rob Barocci, Tina Fallon and I made the video for “Put It Down” for bupkis, less than $2,000 — we hope other artists and video-makers follow our lead, and the lead of others that are replacing fat budgets with creativity. To inspire, here’s a list of cheap (and perhaps cheap-looking) videos:

12. The Cure – “In Between Days”

That weird effect where the camera is zooming back and forth and Robert Smith keeping shoving it away and all around the room was done by mounting the camera on a shopping cart. Cheapo animation magnifies the charm.

11. A Tribe Called Quest – “We Got the Jazz/Buggin’ Out”

The fellas, sadly, are fairly uncharismatic, but the black and white footage matches the moodiness of the song. Even better is the rare instance of adding a brief video for a different song at the end — which strikes me as a really smart, inventive move for promoting an album that’s really an album, not just a hit single — “Buggin’ Out,” in which they put ping-pong balls on their eyes.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.