You know who’s funny? Internet commenters. And amongst the funniest, perhaps, are those who write product reviews. In those typed lines—residing next to copious ads and digital junk at the bottom of a webpage—there is so much feeling, so much thought, so much effort. If only we tried this hard at everything in life! We’d all be rich and have less to complain about.
You know who else is funny? Brooklyn-based comedian Lauren Maul. She is so funny! Few like Maul understand the power that lies in making jokes out of (seemingly) innocuous things—like product reviews. And so she has done us the gigantic favor of doing something about that. Maul has taken some of the best product reviews, word for word—those with the most passion, and the greatest number of personal details—from the ruthless online shopping giant, Amazon, and made a series of eight music videos out of them. Tonight, December 8, she will debut them all—Amazon Reviews: The Musical!—at Videology.
If you miss this free event—which you should not do because we all need to laugh when the world keeps punching us in places that really hurt—Maul will release one episode per week (starting tomorrow) on Vimeo.
But because I am special (JK I’m not, I just get to see things early sometimes so I can explain how great they are first) I watched one already. Gotta say, it was good. When these emotional and detail-heavy thoughts about a missing adapter for a music machine are put to a melody, for example, and recorded with live instrumentation, they move to the realm of the tragic-comic, even the genius. It becomes, in the least case, something much bigger than an 84-year-old complaining about missing mechanical parts (“well, you may ask, why not return it??,” says this commenter, “My answer is that I am 84 years old. And not in the physical or mental state to go through that ordeal.”) Just picture that set to live music in a choreographed video. Enjoyable. Exactly.
“By setting these reviews to music I hope to showcase the fact that everyone is an artist,” Maul explains. “All they have to do is combine emotion with expression. (Awww…)”
She seems to be right. And with the help of Wendy Seyb who directed and choreographed the videos, Maul has demonstrated how true that is. Commenters may be commenters and, ergo, keep angrily commenting; but through Maul’s genius lens, when we do happen to run our eyes across these upset and copious words, we can also choose to see art.
See Amazon Reviews: The Musical at Videology tonight at 9:30pm (fo-free!)