"A tree can't make or break Christmas, only people can do that"
May 21, 2018 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Joe Pera Helps You Find the Perfect Christmas Tree is a good-natured twenty minute comedy about a middle school choir teacher in Michigan who's looking for a perfect Christmas tree. This special led to an Adult Swim series called Joe Pera Talks With You which is unfortunately geolocked outside North America. The eponymous Joe Pera's website has a lot more of his material available online.
posted by Kattullus (11 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
[Joe Pera previously]
posted by Kattullus at 3:55 PM on May 21, 2018

Well that was super great, so earnest, funny and sweet, and I'm glad you didn't wait til December to post it.
posted by Miko at 6:39 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

“I hate being the bad guy here” (4:00) is perfection.
posted by seemoorglass at 7:39 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is so wonderful! I'm ready to start a new holiday tradition.
posted by meinvt at 8:15 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I realized that with the launch of the new series it made some sense to post the special now, or wait until December. But it’s wonderful enough to merit watching any time of year.

That “hate being the bad guy” moment in choir rehearsal is beautifully understated. I have a hard time thinking of obvious predecessors for Pera’s brand of comedy. Maybe Lily Tomlin, Jacques Tati and the absurdist, gentle type of humor that I find in a lot of my favorite Japanese comedies. But I don’t think I would have linked those things together before encountering Pera.
posted by Kattullus at 8:04 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fun fact: The large outdoor Santa shown just after the 4 minute mark is up year-round in Christmas, MI.
posted by hessie at 8:23 AM on May 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have a hard time thinking of obvious predecessors for Pera’s brand of comedy.

I do think there's quite a history to what he's doing, but it hasn't been a very contemporary modality so it reads as really original. He seems more of a humorist than a comedian. This is the first I've seen of him, but my response was that he seems to draw on the history of on American rural regional comic storytelling - laconic, understated, generally humane - with an element of irony that is never completely indulged because it's pulled back into sincere and earnest territory. Influenced by Garrison Keillor and Roy Blount, a whole lot of Bob and Ray but much less manic, a little David Rakoff but not as dark and hopeless, a lot of the urbane/rural balance of E. B. White. The production style owes a lot to Wes Anderson.
posted by Miko at 9:21 AM on May 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Those are good comparisons. You're right, there's a history to what he's doing. I'd throw in Shirley Jackson's humor writing as well, without the despair. I definitely think he's innovating in a tradition that hasn't seen a lot of innovation in recent years.
posted by Kattullus at 10:32 AM on May 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I can barely understand a word he's saying. Is this an accent he puts on or how he actually speaks?
posted by greta simone at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2018

Unless he's pretty much always in character, that's how he speaks, yeah. Here's a recent stand-up bit from Late Night with Seth Meyers.
posted by Kattullus at 3:10 PM on May 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

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