The Everything Is Terrible! gang relaxes poolside in their “Internet Monster” costumes. Photo by Ashley Macknica.
If everything is terrible, then nothing is. At least that’s the rationale behind popular video recycling blog Everything Is Terrible!, which, according to co-founder Katie Rife, is “an archive of video ripped from thrift store finds and other cast-off VHS, condensed and re-edited for maximum humour and ridiculousness.” And now, likely taking their cue from the success of events such as the Found Footage Film Festival, Everything Is Terrible! is taking their library of hilarious crap on the road, touring their new movie 2Everything2Terrible2: Tokyo Drift (really a mash-up of old infomercials, Christian rock band videos, and instructional tapes on how to play baseball) across the continent, including two shows at The Drake on Sunday and Monday.
Founded by a bunch of friends who met as students at the University of Ohio, Everything Is Terrible! showcases the detritus of the past twenty years of Western culture. Or the VHS part of it, anyway. Punctuated by all kinds of laughter, both ironic and sincere, their project, says Rife, is “to highlight the overall ridiculousness of popular culture rather than to call out anything specifically as reprehensible. The longer we do this, the more we find the line between ironic detachment and genuine affection blurring.” It’s no small task. But whether or not EIT! is able to limn the chasm between irony and earnestness doesn’t seem to matter. What does matter is that the videos they unearth, and the manner in which they further revive them through editing, is frigging hilarious.
Regular visitors to Everything Is Terrible! can expect to find everything from a middle-aged beardo in a terrible vest rapping about carrots to transfers of old VHS videos featuring a Bible-thumping robot named Colby. Unfortunately Colby, who has popped up at some EIT! tour dates in American cities, didn’t make it across the border. “We had to choose between Colby and bringing suitcases,” says Rife. “And the thought of spending three months in an enclosed van together without a change of clothes was too much to bear.”
Colby or no, the blog offers up all kinds of other goofy nonsense that straddles the line between the hilarious and the terrifyingly surreal. It’s a balance that, Rife says, is maintained in the group’s live show. “The Everything Is Terrible! live show is intended to be a complement to the site and places more emphasis on the weird and psychedelic aspects of our humour,” she explains. “We start with a program of never-before-seen shorts, then a live spectacle that can best be described as ‘Jim Henson on acid,’ followed by a screening of our new DVD.”
While the idea of Jim Henson on acid seems equally redundant and horrifying, it promises to be really funny. And really weird. And maybe even kind of scary. And while it may all seem like so much stoner comedy, Rife notes that it’s more fit for people hopped up on “Pixie Stix and PCP.” Sounds amazing.
Everything Is Terrible! brings their brand of awesomely awful comedy to the Drake Underground (1150 Queen Street West), Sunday, July 11 at 8:30 p.m. and Monday, July 12 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Bring your own Pixie Stix and PCP. (But don’t actually bring any PCP.)