Do you remember all of the lame exercise videos that celebrities released in the 1980s? How about that cringe-worthy training video that you had to watch at your new job before you were allowed to sell hamburgers to suburbanites?
You may have thought that this content was lost to the ages. Thanks to a pair of video collectors, however, these and other videos have been resurrected in the Found Footage Festival. For the past 12 years, longtime friends Nick Prueher (“The Colbert Report,” “Late Show with David Letterman”) and Joe Pickett (The Onion) have compiled the best of the worst found footage into their own unique stage show.
“We are continually amazed that we’re discovering VHS tapes we’ve never seen before,” Prueher said. “They produced so many videos in the ’80s and ’90s that we’ll never uncover them all, but we’re trying. And when you see ‘The Police Guide to Satanic Cults,’ you’ll know why we can never stop looking for new material to show the world.”
The Found Footage Festival’s Philadelphia stop on Thursday, Oct. 27, is just the beginning of their latest multistate tour. In past years, Prueher and Pickett have taken their show not only to all 50 states, but also to Canada and the United Kingdom. When they unleash their latest batch of finds to Philadelphians, they will be doing so at the brand new Good Good Comedy Theatre in Chinatown. The newest addition to the city’s performance spaces, the Good Good Comedy Theatre was realized thanks to the financial contributions from many Philadelphia area comedians and supporters.
“We’re excited to play the new Good Good Comedy Theatre,” Prueher said. “Our friend Chip Chantry is a stand-up comedian in town and he suggested we bring our show there. The place looks great and will hopefully still have that new theater smell.” Chantry, who won Helium Comedy Club’s Philly’s Phunniest contest in 2013, will open the show.
Aaron Nevins and Kate Banford, founders of Good Good Comedy, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s exciting to be able to have a dedicated space where we can host local comedy shows and bring our favorite out of town acts to Philly,” Banford said.
Added Nevins, “We’re big fans of the Found Footage Festival. It’s totally in-line with a lot of the bizarre, high-concept stuff we put on stage. We guarantee people who hear of us for the first time when they come to this will love our regular shows, too.”
So, what can fans old and new expect to see at the Found Footage Festival this year? Without giving away all of the gems of the show (which have to be seen to be truly appreciated anyway), Prueher promises rare videos from David Letterman’s VHS collection, which they were able to acquire last year upon the late-night host’s retirement, as well as a “good-and-evil theme” among the other finds.
“There’s a collection of satanic panic videos from the ’80s and a three-minute montage culled from 101 different Jesus videos,” Prueher said. “There’s also a video we found called ‘Testicle Breathing.’ The less said about that one, the better.”
The Found Footage Festival will take place at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 27 at the new Good Good Comedy Theatre at 215 N. 11th St. in Chinatown. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online and at the box office. The show contains adult content, so only those 21 and over will be admitted. For more information, visit goodgoodcomedy.com/foundfootage.