I’m astounded by the number of guys and girls making videos about trying to get famous. When I started watching Nirvana the Band the Show I thought, “Here’s another pair of these dudes giving fame a go.”
The series that premiered in mid-Decmember 2007 is quite reminiscent of Clark and Michael, but instead of Hollywood neophytes trying to make a sitcom, it’s a mockumentary about a couple of odd Toronto guys trying to make it as a band (which they naively name “Nirvana the Band”), who make all the wrong moves.
The first episode takes place entirely in Matt (Matt Johnson) and Jay’s (Jay McCarrol) apartment as they develop their act (which seems more like a vaudeville performance than a grunge rocker set, and, in fact, the only nod to the real Nirvana comes when Smells Like Teen Spirit plays while the credits roll) and try to get booked at a local club called Rivioli’s.
While Clark and Michael harass movie execs in LA studios, Matt and Jay impersonate booking agents and eventually break into Vince Rivioli’s apartment to somehow secure a gig. And, of course, there’s a girl with a twist: Jay is secretly seeing Matt’s sister.
But despite frequent outings to pepper the neighborhood with promotional posters, or to visit the local music club, the scenery doesn’t change much. Most of the action takes place inside Matt and Jay’s shared apartment, a style of sitcom that harkens back to old TV series when not much went on outside the main characters’ living room.
The main gag is that the twosome has never actually heard of Nirvana. It’s a bit hard to swallow at first, but then you think, “Well, that is kinda funny.” The duo’s dynamic is that of a classic buddy pic: Jay is the straight man who’s talented (I’m no pianist but he sounds good to me) but cautious and reserved. Matt is apparently talentless, but his enthusiasm is what carries the band and the series from one adventure to the next.
They grow on you. The more time you spend with Jay and Matt, the more you like them (and you get to spend a LOT of time with them as the episodes clock in at 10 minutes or longer, which seems prolonged for a webshow where nothing is really going on, but hey, it worked for Clark and Michael).
Their acting isn’t as natural as you would expect from a mockumentary, which often makes their antics seem a touch too far fetched, though they both have a strong sense of comedic timing. Some of the funniest lines are also cop outs (like calling each other “faggot” – always funny for some reason, if you’re into that kind of humor) and penis jokes. Keeping all that in mind, I’m not sure sure if Matt and Jay are the next geniuses of comedy, but they have made an entertaining series in a genre that’s all but played out.
One major gripe: Their website is annoying to navigate. I think having a cool homepage often results in a sacrifice of functionality that’s totally unnecessary. But for a show that seems to be about the efforts of untalented guys who want to get famous by doing anything except honing their talents (there’s a lot of playing Nintendo, eating junk food and looking for a g-friend), I guess that’s about what you’d expect.
Check it out at NirvanaTheBandTheShow.com.