REMembering Corky and The Juice Pigs.
April 28, 2008 1:13 PM   Subscribe

"Hey-ay pony, that's the wrong noise you're making..." A vintage MadTV performance of Corky and the Juice Pigs ^ parodying REM, back when they were ripe for it. Some prefer The Only Gay Eskimo. More on Corky.

Don't get me wrong, I love REM, I just love parody more.
posted by tula (41 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, man... Corky and the Juice Pigs used to entertain me endlessly when I was in high school. I feel that Sean Cullen started to believe his own press a little too much, however. As a rule of thumb, funny people are funnier when they aren't totally enamored of their own funniness.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:28 PM on April 28, 2008

I really enjoyed, "The Sean Cullen Show" that aired briefly on the CBC as well. His weird brand of humour was a truly refreshing change from all of the American sitcom garbage that keeps getting pumped out.
posted by Shfishp at 1:50 PM on April 28, 2008

Is there such thing as vintage MadTV?
posted by adamms222 at 1:55 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I never thought they were funny at all on TV.
At the time, I always lumped "Only Gay Eskimo" in with the whole awful Barenaked Ladies/Moxy Fruvous thing that was happening in the early '90's, which I loathed and still do.
But I saw them at Sneaky Dee's once toward the end of their lifespan and I remember laughing really, really hard. The thing about them is that they are way funnier live because it's a whole stream of consciousness thing that Sean Cullen does, which gets funnier as it goes on and as he searches for words.
I also really liked the bald guy, but the guitar playing guy was annoying in a "hey, I'm funny too!" way (he wasn't.)
posted by chococat at 2:05 PM on April 28, 2008

Watched "Gay Eskimo" while waiting for the other to load. It's the kind of LOLGAYZ schtick that was all over comedy in the 90's, and which never failed to make me angry and ashamed as a teenager. Humor-wise, it's the kind of thing that would be passably funny if someone came up with it off the top of their head like on "Who's Line Is It, Anyway?" but the idea that a bunch of straight guys sat around and put effort into writing it and thought it was hi-LARious just makes me cringe.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 2:06 PM on April 28, 2008

On further consideration of this post as a whole, GYOB.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 2:08 PM on April 28, 2008

I remember Corky and the Juice Pigs from when they were playing gigs at places like the Ryerson SUB, back around '92 pre-Mad "fame."

They were funnier when adlibbing than with their written material, and "Only Gay Eskimo" really is pretty cringe-worthy.

I really do like Sean Cullen's summer fill-in CBC show, "Simply Sean."
posted by Shepherd at 2:11 PM on April 28, 2008

Shfishp, I don't understand your need to compare The Sean Cullen Show to "American sitcom garbage". Would you have enjoyed The Sean Cullen Show less if the "garbage" you refer to didn't exist?

Without knowing what American sitcoms you're referring to, I still think your comment is rather odd. It's terrific that you enjoyed the show, but it wasn't successful: Most American sitcoms that make it to air run for more than 6 episodes. Most Canadian sitcoms that make it to air run a lot more than 6 episodes.

Can't you express appreciation for something without deriding the alternatives? After all, I enjoyed looking at Da Vinci's Girl with a Pearl Earring a lot more than I enjoyed looking at the ugly, obese Texan standing behind me in the crowd, but I don't tell the story that way.

Or are you by some means forced to watch television, even if you don't enjoy it, so that a rare enjoyable program is noteworthy specifically by comparison?
posted by chudmonkey at 2:13 PM on April 28, 2008

> the whole awful Barenaked Ladies/Moxy Fruvous thing

When the my revolution happens, Barenaked Ladies, Moxy Fruvous, Hopping Penguins and their ilk will be the first ones up against the wall.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:22 PM on April 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

This is very bad. It is not good at all.

posted by fleetmouse at 2:26 PM on April 28, 2008

Oh man. Had that one cassette with Concierge, the Gay Eskimo, Truckers...good grief. Is there any place to get a digital version of that self-titled album? I hit up Amazon but no joy (unless I want to pay $99.98 for a used copy).
posted by blixco at 2:27 PM on April 28, 2008

Wow, that REM parody is stiflingly unfunny. And I thought that "gay eskimo" song was lame in 9th grade. And yeah, "vintage" MadTV?
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:34 PM on April 28, 2008

"After all, I enjoyed looking at Da Vinci's Girl with a Pearl Earring..."
posted by chudmonkey

Not trying to stir the turd here, but unless you're talking about something I'm utterly unaware of, Johannes Vermeer needs a shout-out here.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:36 PM on April 28, 2008

Thanks, Pecinpah... I was recalling an incident of viewing a famed masterpiece with a really, notably ugly lout behind me, and thought it was Lady with an Ermine. When I remembered it was Girl, I forgot to revise the artist's name.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:41 PM on April 28, 2008

So, Sean Cullen is very funny (IMO) but Corky and the Juice Pigs were merely meh.
Sean usually does a summer replacement show on CBC or fills in on holidays when he just plays music and does his stream-of-consciousness thing, which is quite amusing. But yeah, this stuff - meh. It's no wonder they broke up. They won't be doing reunion tours like the Frantics.
posted by GuyZero at 2:51 PM on April 28, 2008

the idea that a bunch of straight guys sat around and put effort into writing it and thought it was hi-LARious just makes me cringe.

MadTV in a nutshell. It takes a lot of doing to make latter-day SNL seem really smart, funny and on the cutting edge by comparison, but MadTV has always managed it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:02 PM on April 28, 2008

I watched Sean Cullin's acting clips on his site. Even for a comic performer, he's an egregious overactor.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:27 PM on April 28, 2008

ZOMG, I've been looking for this exact clip since stumbling on it when it first aired. Somehow I became convinced that it was Tenacious D I'd seen, which explains why I could never find the damned thing. Well, that's settled. Thanks, OP!
posted by Banky_Edwards at 3:51 PM on April 28, 2008

* Carefully edits MP3 collection *

Yeah, er, I thought Corky was pretty, er, never good, amusingly, er, never funny, not all that always lame, er, yeah. So how about that weather!
posted by maxwelton at 4:06 PM on April 28, 2008

I saw them at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 93.
posted by Tube at 4:11 PM on April 28, 2008

adamms222: "Is there such thing as vintage MadTV?"

Ditto that, I don't believe there is.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:36 PM on April 28, 2008

Perhaps vintage was a word bad choice. Try fin de siecle.
posted by tula at 5:03 PM on April 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

I thought the REM thing was hilarious.

But then, I also thought Moxy Fruvous was amusing, too.

Guess I should meekly take my spot up against the wall, eh?
posted by jokeefe at 5:20 PM on April 28, 2008

The bald guy doing "flaming" things in "Only Gay Eskimo" is particularly...I dunno, what's the word for "I'd be offended but you're so lame that it's not worth the bother but still, I'd kind of like the opportunity to say scathing things to you to make you feel bad."
posted by desuetude at 5:31 PM on April 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Dear Comedy,

I'm not sure how to begin. I'm gonna just come out and say it.

Comedy. Desperation is a big turn off. I'm sure you know that old chestnut. But do you really KNOW it. You've probably guessed this is break up letter. But please keep reading. You need to hear this now before somebody really breaks your heart and cancels your show or something.

I think you've been trying too hard. WAY too hard. And that's kinda like being desperate, y'know?

Anyway I find myself laughing... but not in a good way. I laugh in that very uncomfortable "when-will-this-humiliation" end sort of way. And it hurts. It hurts me in my liver. This cruel laughter makes it so I can't make eye contact with you. Your trying so hard and all I feel is this stomach ache of disgust. Those over done eye brow twitches and funny faces and false pauses to milk what little laughter there is... it all comes off as... an imitation of comedy. You need to be your self. Not what you think other people will like.

So. Yeah. I've been faking it just to be nice. And that is not fair to either of us. I have to leave for a while.


posted by tkchrist at 5:31 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Musical comedy is the worst, I repeat WORST. And not in a good, guilty-pleasure way. Canada has a solid history of producing chubby nerds who go on to form comic-pop bands: Corky and the Juice Pigs, Arrogant Worms, Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, Moxy Fruvous, Barenaked Ladies...

And then there are standup comedians who write "funny" little ditties on subjects like politicians. Oh god it's horrible. Painful.



posted by loiseau at 5:32 PM on April 28, 2008

I thought the REM thing was hilarious...Guess I should meekly take my spot up against the wall, eh?

Chin up and shoulders back, jokeefe. We must remain proud to the end.
posted by tula at 5:57 PM on April 28, 2008

"Burn Victim Girl, I love you with feeling / Burn Victim Girl, you are appealing ... "
posted by WCityMike at 6:13 PM on April 28, 2008

The kind of cool thing about "REMember" is that it's very freeform — the various times I've heard it (here; on Corky; and another performance) just goes off on new tangents each time.

The various musical imitations in "Eskimo" had me laughing so hard that I was short of breath the first time I heard it.

Frankly, I love all the songs, but that's because I am a big fan of "what the FUCK?" surrealism. "I rode my grandma as a skateboard." And don't get me started on "Concierge."

Their Meatloaf parody ("Never Too Fat To Rock 'n' Roll") that they did on MadTV was hysterical ...
posted by WCityMike at 6:19 PM on April 28, 2008

Granted, Da Vinci's Ugly, obese Texan was a departure, but a masterpiece all the same. No one captured burger stain like Da Vinci.
posted by mattoxic at 6:39 PM on April 28, 2008

The REM thing was funny. The Gay Eskimo song.. god.. awful..
posted by empath at 6:40 PM on April 28, 2008

I loved the REM thing, because the fat singer was so clearly parodying the postures and motions of skinny, bald Michael Stipe. And much as I love REM, they richly deserve to be made fun of.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:05 PM on April 28, 2008

I must stand up for Moxy Fruvous. Sure they did funny songs, but there's allot more too them than "King of Spain".
posted by Grimgrin at 7:21 PM on April 28, 2008

I gotta say, the Corky&JucePigs parody of Suzanne Vega redeems them in aeternam. Wish I could find it online, though...
posted by LMGM at 7:23 PM on April 28, 2008

not funny

bad post
posted by tremspeed at 8:20 PM on April 28, 2008

Is there such thing as vintage MadTV?

I dunno, but either way it makes me feel old.
posted by zardoz at 9:46 PM on April 28, 2008

No mention of Flight of the Concords yet? It's all the same dreck to me. Impossible to enjoy on more than one listen.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 9:46 PM on April 28, 2008

The REM bit was funny but about four minutes too long. The rest of this... meh.
posted by rokusan at 10:54 PM on April 28, 2008

The R.E.M. thing was amusing enough, but Thom Yorke's lyrics are more fun to parody. (I do like Radiohead. And R.E.M.)
posted by obvious at 11:05 PM on April 28, 2008

I've seen Sean Cullen perform at the Rivoli in Toronto and I think he's incredibly talented as a comedian. The musical stuff is meh, yes, but he's actually a very good singer, too... I remember him doing a "serious" song at the end of one of his performances and it was beautiful.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:57 AM on April 29, 2008

I first saw C&tJPs at Glastonbury lots and lots of years ago. There were a handful of us in the comedy tent for their performance, but word must have got out as by the time they played there again, I think the following day, the place was packed. I've got to say, I found them hilarious back then and this stuff still brings a smile to my face now. More recently, I saw Phil Nichol do stand up in a grotty room above a boozer in North London. He was funny, relentlessly energetic, and yes, ended his set with 'Only Gay Eskimo'.

Incidentally, 'Only Gay Eskimo' is not, primarily, funny because of the lyrics, but more because of the parodies of other band styles that they fit in. The video in the FPP does not showcase that very well, but whenever I saw them do it live they'd do six or seven different styles and nail pretty much each and every one. They'd even take requests. I seem to remember a Portishead version being disproportionately amusing.
posted by MrMustard at 7:58 AM on April 29, 2008

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