The Found Footage Festival…the theatrical experience

A multitude of Jesuses. A safe sex video that recommends you use a latex barrier for kissing. Some very unconvincing signs of demonic possession.

Being that it’s Friday, you’re probably expecting my weekly What’s Screening newsletter. Don’t worry. You’ll get it in a few minutes. But first, I must tell you about something I saw Thursday night.

I finally experienced the Found Footage Festival the way it’s supposed to be seen: theatrically. I’ve written about it before, in 2007 and 2012. But those times, I stayed at home and watched a DVD. This time I saw the show live at the Grand Lake Theatre.

It’s very funny on DVD. Live, surrounded by an audience, there were moments when I laughed so much I had trouble breathing.

The Found Footage Festival is the brainchild of Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett. They collect strange and usually inept videos, mostly on VHS. Then they put on a traveling show. They screen the funniest stuff, adding their own commentary.

That was the only East Bay show, but the Roxie will host shows tonight (Friday) and Saturday; both at 9:30PM. That’s why I wanted to get this message out to you early.

Early on, we were treated with a montage of local news bloopers, all from the same hapless channel. These were hysterical. People walking in front of the newscasters, standing in the wrong place, and cracking up at the sound of a funny-sounding name.

You can’t have a Found Footage Festival with an exercise montage, and this one offered a Big Bird rip-off, fitness routines that wouldn’t help anybody, and plenty of laughs. And a lot of nudity (the show is not for kids, although teenagers will love it).

Speaking of adult entertainment, there’s a section on porn – which was considerably cleaner than the exercise montage. It contained only the scenes that most people fast forward through. The dirtiest moment in this section nvolved an obscene logo on a Frisbee. Prueher and Pickett tossed a Frisbee with the same logo into the audience (they also sold them, along with DVDs, after the show).

Other sections dealt with Jesus, Satan (equal time), Party Planners, local TV commercials, and urine. Yes, you read that right. That section involved people promoting the health benefits of drinking or bathing in your own pee.

And that wasn’t even the most disgusting section of the show. A promotional video for plastic surgery, starring Phyllis Diller, actually went into the operating room.

Not every section was fall-down hilarious. Some were just moderately funny. But others left me gasping for air.

If you’re looking for some late-night laughs over the weekend, this is probably your best choice.

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