We caught up with event Cartoons and Comedy organizer Christopher Baker to chat about why it's not regressive to enjoy cartoons and a bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning, even as an adult.
Westword: Is this event a mock-fest of old cartoons, or does it lean closer to nostalgic appreciation?
Christopher Baker: It's a little of both. The first time I put this show on, we showed the Ghostbusters cartoon, and there was a good ten minutes where none of the comics said anything, they were like, "Guys, this is just good." But some of the stuff is just so terrible, like The Smurfs. Pee-wee's Playhouse went over really well. The commercials are where the comics riff the hardest; those commercials from the '80s and '90s have these very specific gender roles, G.I. Joe's and all that. So it's both, it's making fun of these things, but there's also the "oh, I miss that," feeling.
But this is a kind of Mystery Science Theater format, right? Where we watch these clips, but there's also a funny commentary.
Yeah, the first time I did it the comics weren't riffing during the clips, but it happened organically from the crowd. So the second and third time I added the mics for the comics and it made all the difference.
So it was just the cartoons when it started?
Yeah. I'm from Indiana, and used to regularly get together with my buddies on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and eat cereal. Now I work at Comedy Works, and one night I approached Sam Tallent and said, "Hey, you like standup, do you like cartoons? Could that be a show?" And he made it happen at Deer Pile.
Are the comedians cartoon fans as well?
Oh yeah. I'm open to anybody, but I like to use comics who are around my age group, around 27 to their 30s. It's a pretty specific thing -- a lot of the time if someone's a year older or younger than me, they had a completely different experience of cartoons when they were young. I encourage the comics to deliver material inspired by the cartoons we're watching, or just about nostalgia in general. Jordan Doll was on the second show, and he told a story about going to grade school in Scotland, which was great.
When you used to watch cartoons back in Indiana, were you watching classic cartoons from your childhood, or was it more modern cartoons?
It was always old cartoons. It's funny, I get requests for the show to do things like Dexter's Laboratory. And it's like, I was in high school when that was on. So yeah, it's always been the cartoons of the late '80s and early '90s, with commercials from that era, too.
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