I know I look like a fresh-faced teen, but I was an undergraduate when the internet became widespread in Australia in the 1990s. I bought our family’s first dial-up modem, which I used for MSN Messenger chats and marvelling at South Park icons. (Instead of your cursor you could move a stagnant Kenny around – MAGICAL FUTURE TIMES.)
So I was on the internet before YouTube, Google, Wikipedia or the Heaven’s Gate cult. Before the Metallica v Napster copyright infringement lawsuit. Remember copyright? Look out, crypto bros inserting trademarked anime NFTS into your blockchains! Look out, vampiric TikTok producers putting stolen soundbites to discarded Italo house beats for millions of views! It’s gonna gitcha!
The vision that Tim Berners-Lee had for the internet – as the fount of knowledge-sharing and discovery – may be hammered by commercial algorithms, but if you follow good people, they still sprinkle your timeline with hilarious gems. Plus thanks to lunatics like me with boxes of VHS tapes stored at their parents’ house (sorry, Mum, I will get around to moving them), long-forgotten moments have found their way online. Plus the internet allows artists who don’t get much mainstream exposure get their content out there. Unrelated, here is my YouTube channel full of music videos I made mostly in lockdown. Don’t let the algorithm tell you what to do – LET ME!! And then check out some uncut internet jaaaahms that make me laugh.
1. Nick Lutsko – Alex Jones rants as an indie folk song
Every now and again, this does the rounds and I take huge pleasure in bombarding people with the Lutsko back catalogue. When the pandemic hit Nick got sweatier and rantier – and even better. A terrific musician with a keen wit and a gift for melody. I love you, Nick, you Tennessee titan!
2. Sara Schaefer – comedy is a family
A devastating précis of the comedy scene that takes any comedy veteran to the golden place between laughing and crying. TRUTH.
3. Comedy Bang! Bang! – Memphis Kansas Breeze perform Human Skin Truck Baby
I think I’ve sent this song to everyone in my phone contacts – it makes me SCREAM. Behold Memphis Kansas Breeze, the greatest truck-focused country duo in history. Honk toot beep beep toot honk.
4. Patti LaBelle: ‘Where my background singers?’
You can do all the risk assessment in the world but sometimes stuff just goes wrong and you have to deal with it. The great Patti LaBelle simultaneously pointing it out and troubleshooting it, all the while singing the balls off the song? Pure class and funny as hell.
5. Clarke and Dawe: ‘It’s the planet, stupid’
We lost a giant in 2017. This sketch was aired in 2016. I don’t know if I need to say more than what is going on in this sketch … happy voting!
6. Calvero: Pink Floyd is not Prog
I discovered Calvero through his single Vanishing Streets and I couldn’t work out if it was serious or parody – or a delicious mix of both. He got on TikTok and started producing arts industry hot takes, music production knowhow and hilarity. His “Pink Floyd is not Prog” TikTok started a TikTok war that went on for weeks and weeks and weeks. Note: Pink Floyd is not prog.
Anyone who says they don’t like reading other artists’ bad reviews is a liar. Larson’s 1.6/10 review of this 2018 album is a scathing, glittering arc of deadly musical skewers, thudding with hilarious precision into their target, while calling out classic rock costumery and the insidious nature of musical “success” by algorithm. 10/10
8. Marcia Belsky – Nasa sent a woman to space for only six days and they gave her 100 tampons
Including this for anyone who thinks all AFAB comedians do jokes about periods: a) untrue, b) who cares if we do sometimes it’s a legitimate part of the human experience for millions, and c) this sketch by Marcia Belsky illustrates why we should destigmatise menstruation a lil bit, hey. Sorry not sorry!
9. Casey Bennetto’s song The Big Banana
I like my laughs with a bit of heart, and no one does that better than Casey. This gentle song about one of Australia’s landscape icons is catchy, sweet and whip-smart. I covered it in a show many years ago, and it deserves some love!
10. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared
Puppets! Songs! Bright colours! Existential dread! What else could you want? DHMIS quite rightly went viral a decade ago, and I’m very proud to be a Kickstarter supporter. (My Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared T-shirt took on a whole new meaning during the pandemic too, yeesh.) Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling hit a nerve and then kept on hitting it.