Sunday, July 4, 2010

Early 20th Century Man

Sometimes characters just come to me out of the aether, popping into my head when I least expect it. One such character is Early 20th Century Man. When I was younger, I used to make movies with my friends. This was back in the 1980s, when we used videotape and the editing process involved two VCRS hooked together. It was long and arduous getting the exact cuts and the editing was pretty much hit or miss, yet we did produce some funny videos. I'm convinced that if the Internet existed back then, we would be famous today.

When I did standup, I performed a character named Lazlo Fink. He was this snarky Jewish comedian who thought he was the greatest standup comic in the world, but who in fact was really, really lame. He performed harmonica solos and talked to a rabbit puppet. Performing as Lazlo gave me the opportunity to develop a character. It was the most fun I had on stage doing standup.

Early 20th Century Man just evolved much the same way Lazlo Fink did. One night, I put on this costume, set the PhotoBooth on my iMac to the sepia effect, and just did improvisation, making it up on the fly. I liked where it was going, so I set up a more formal shoot a few days later, polished the monologue and did several retakes until I was happy. Then I edited everything digitally. Early 20th Century Man is a product of his time, a bigoted but good-hearted person, an optimist in this incurably pessimistic age. Celebrate Independence Day with his wise, patriotic insights.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to wrap this up. I must scrape the spirit gum off my top lip from that damn mustache.

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