YouTube fame hasn’t helped Picnicface pay its members’ rent, but it has helped grow their fanbase. Since hitting it big with Powerthirst (now over 8 million views), the eight-person crew has been selling out two 45-minute sketch shows a month in their native Halifax. More exciting, the original hype of Powerthirst got Picnicface representation by UTA – who has its own studio and is repping nearly everyone in online video. So expect big things from these Canadians in the future.
Powerthirst, a fake ad for a sports drink that gives you “gratuitous amounts of energy.” What makes the ad funny isn’t the concept of mocking sports drinks as much as the style of the ad — shouting and bad clip art and cheap animation. It’s a professional, intentionally amateur aesthetic we’ve seen a lot of lately, and Picnicface executes it well. The claims get more ridiculous and the narrative falls apart. The ad ends with a proclamation that Powerthirst will make you “AHHH SPORTS AHHH.”
Well, as luck would have it, Picnicface has a bunch of other “Powerthirst”-style videos and they are the troupe’s best work.
In Powerthirst II, new Powerthirst flavors include “women” and “gun,” while losers at Superbingo are killed by parasitic unicorns. College Humor commissioned Lawyers and NFL Crunchtime, a twisted ad for an ambulance chaser and a game that brings you way too deep into football. It’s the type of video humor that plays well for a wide range of audiences intrigued by things that don’t look pristine. Case in point: in February, a car dealership in Texas did an entirely unauthorized (but actually decent) rip-off of Powerthirst.
Changeroom is a special kind of weird involving frightened men in their draws, and Beard No Beard combines the comedic goldmines of European techno and facial hair. Hey Africa succeeds as much on the concept of interviewing an entire continent as it does on one big fake mustache. The crew does miss occasionally: the “look who’s rapping now” joke they pull out for Cash Money Monsters should be retired for good.
But with a healthy sense of the absurd and a knack for taking seemingly predictable sketches way the hell out into left field, Picnicface rolls out consistent lulz.