Found Footage Festival (3 stars)

This article is from 2017

Found Footage Festival

Archive video fare provides rich comedic pickings for New York duo

You have to sift through a whole lot of muck to find gold, so hats off to New Yorkers Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher for doing the dirty work for us. They've been collecting video tapes since 1991, watching hour upon hour of exercise regimes, industrial safety films, sex tapes and public-access programming to edit out the good bits for our viewing pleasure. Back in 2004, they realised their charity shop and yard sale procurements were too good to keep to themselves, and decided to take their VHS booty out on tour. That's a lot of years to hone their comedy double-act routine but curiously it's not there yet.

Tired of just sharing other people's endeavours, at some point the duo set about creating their own fake personalities (strongmen 'Chop & Steele' and a disastrous TV chef), which gullible TV stations have snapped up and given airtime to. And it's this particular seam that the guys could be mining much deeper. The story of how Pickett and Prueher found the gumption to do such an audacious act must surely be fascinating, especially now that they're being sued by those stations.

For now, though, they're letting the videos do the talking, and there's no shortage of laughs to be found. An instructional video on how to avoid accidents at work is You've Been Framed gone nasty; a bare-breasted woman delivers a guide to 'Cybersex' in the dial-up age, with the dirty talk broken up by endless seconds between responses.

A clear highlight is 'Dancing with Frank Pacholski', in which a middle-aged man entertains a group of elderly people with his food-dance interplay (chicken down the pants, tomato sauce across his chest: you get the picture). Alcohol-fuelled, all of this may well be hilarious, but there's a cleverer, more interesting and possibly funnier show waiting in the wings.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug, 10.40pm, £11 (£10).

Found Footage Festival

  • 3 stars

Perfect Strangers Comedy A guided tour through the unbelievable VHS collection of childhood friends Joe Pickett (The Onion) and Nick Prueher (Late Show with David Letterman), who've been unearthing videos at thrift stores since high school. Now, for the first time at Edinburgh, they open their vaults, providing live…