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Totally clips of the heart

By SHAULA CLARK  |  November 12, 2009

Have we stopped making things people can enjoy ironically?
Oh God no. No, I think we’re still in a golden age. I think the equipment changes, the formats change, the production values change, but bad ideas don’t. So, as long as those people with bad ideas have access to video equipment, we’re in no danger of running out of material.And there’s stuff that comes out now where you’re like, "Boy, I don’t even need any distance to appreciate this." Like the R. Kelly Trapped in the Closet video. The instant that came out, I was like, "We could show this right now."

And the commentary is even better, when R. Kelly’s appreciating all his clever wordplay -- like where he rhymes "dresser" with "Beretta."
“And here’s where the midget craps his pants. And what I was going for here … ” And I’m like, "What are you talking about, man? How can you be so removed from reality?" But people are.

So is digital distribution a boon, rather than a hindrance, to what you're doing?
Well, right now, it’s prime season for finding VHS tapes and DVDs at thrift stores, cuz everybody's getting rid of them now. Who knows? Fifteen years from now, we may be finding hard drives and cable boxes with stuff stored on them. ... But whatever the format is, I feel like there’s always going to be that kind of thing. People are never as savvy as they think they are.

Did you ever come across anything too cringe-inducing to be screened?
What we’ve found is that if they’re trying to be serious and fail, or trying to be scary and fail, it’s very easy to appreciate. People love bad horror movies, people love bad dramas. But when you’re trying to be funny and failing, it’s just too much for people to take. And we have a high tolerance for that kind of stuff, but we've found that when we include too much of it, it just turns people’s stomachs. I mean, audible groans. ... We’ve had to make cuts, but we probably leave in more than we should. In this new show, we do have something that will be indelibly burned in your brain.

Oh?
Yeah. It involves full-frontal male nudity, but that’s all I’m going to say.

Do you ever run into copyright issues?
No, we don’t. We’re covered under fair use and satire, which is a pretty broad law. So you can do stuff like we’re doing, which is taking small snippets from much longer videos, editing them into a new context, and then talking over them. It becomes a new work, basically. And most of these videos, too, are just so under-the-radar, forgotten. It’s not like anyone who made “How to Seduce Women Through Hypnosis” is going to come forward and claim that they own the copyright. I don’t think they’d be proud of that one. So luckily, we’ve been fine.

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