Jordan Koop and Trevor Poelman are genuinely funny guys. Both are College buddies of mine, and I still remember when they were talking about making a movie and having me contribute music to it. Though "the movie" never became a movie, and I never recorded music for the project, at long last their hard work is seeing the light of day.
Jeff is Dead was recently released as a web series on YouTube, and I happen to think that this format ultimately suits the project better than a feature-length presentation would have. Oftentimes the humor is subtle and underplayed (though it is overt and exaggerated at times too), so breaking it up into episodes allows the viewer some space to enjoy and appreciate the art form.
And though none of my music was used in the finished project, I do make a cameo in the "viewing party" scene. I'm the tall guy with the San Diego hat, glasses, and white shirt (looking decidedly stocky). I picked an odd day not to shower (thus the hat) and not to do my laundry (thus the white shirt). Now that I think of it, maybe it fits the esthetic of this series. I'm happy with how my performance turned out too; maybe I actually have potential as an actor (just kidding).
Anyway, I'm going to stop patting myself on the back. This is about Kurt & Marty. Here are my thoughts on this original comedy series.
Credit: Screenshot - David Andrew WiebeSince I was a part of this project, I shouldn't be misconstrued for an impartial observer, but I feel Jeff is Dead proves you can be funny without being overly crass. Frankly, I can't remember the last time I've laughed this much watching a TV show, movie or web series (well, that's not entirely true; it was probably season eight of How I Met Your Mother), and Koop and Poelman's creation is definitely on the cleaner side.
It seems as though comedy as a genre has changed quite a bit lately. We certainly don't see as many teen comedies as days past (it's as if the audience is growing up with the actors), and today's writers and producers only seem interested in gross-out toilet humor or sentimental, heart-wrenching plots with a couple of light ha-ha moments.
Maybe that's just me. Still, I find Koop and Poelman's project a refreshing and welcome departure from poop jokes and Relatable Joe's soap-opera-like quandaries that sometimes hit a little too close to home (though I'm not saying it doesn't have some of those elements).
YouTube has shown us that the quality of your production doesn't have to be top-notch for your videos to become popular or go viral. Even so, Jeff is Dead does have pretty good production value. If there's anything that could have been a little better, it would be the audio. It's easy to miss certain comments if you don't pay close attention and keep a finger on the volume dial. Still, one of the charming aspects of the series is its subtleties.
I don't want to give away too much, but I think it's probably apparent to most viewers that this series was filmed in Koop and Poelman's own backyard. This is clearly a DIY project, and though perhaps it could have benefited from actual sets and location scouts, I can still appreciate it for what it is.
I hate to admit it, but he musical choices are quite good as well, and they compliment the storyline well.
Here's hoping Jeff is Dead will go viral and catch the attention of many viewers. I would love to see Koop and Poelman go on and do more as a comedic duo. Jeff is Dead is surprisingly good, and in all I am quite impressed with the finished product.
Maybe next time I'll get to contribute some music too. That would be cool (I'm being facetious, of course).