Awesome Men Throughout History: Brad Neely
Internet humor is built on sarcasm, vulgarity, non-sequiturs, cultural references both mainstream and obscure, and irony, but it’s rare that anyone masters all of these things at once. Most Internet humorists focus on one of the above qualities and run with it until they shut down for no reason (Homestar Runner), stop being funny altogether (College Humor), or fade into blissful irrelevance (Tucker Max, Maddox).
This week’s Awesome Man Throughout History, cartoonist/musician/funny joke man Brad Neely, is a great example of what Internet humor can be when it’s done right: multi-faceted, weird, and endearing. But don’t worry, there are lots of swears and dick jokes, too.
Brad has worked on South Park as a consultant, but most of his time is spent on his own projects, namely cartoons like China, IL, which is an extension of stuff he made for the now-defunct SuperDeluxe website a few years ago. Brad’s cartoons aren’t animated in the traditional sense; rather, they’re a progression of very expressive still images with some of the funniest dialogue you’ll ever hear.
As an example, here’s one of my favorites: his retelling of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The humor here is both high and low (swear words and gross sexual/scatological references meet a pretty accurate understanding of the original text), many of the images are hilarious on their own merits (“Foot baths! Yes!”), and the professor’s whiny, warbly, please-take-me-seriously voice is a thing of beauty.
Brad was also the man who brought the world Wizard People, Dear Reader, which was an alternate—and intentionally wrong—commentary track for the first Harry Potter movie that presents itself as an audiobook. Since Neely had never read any of the Potter books beforehand, his version of the story takes some pretty outrageous liberties with the material, recasting Harry Potter as a precocious alcoholic and Professor Snape as an ugly woman. Additionally, a lot of other characters are renamed; Neeley refers to Hagrid as Hagar the Horrible and describes him as “a hairy truck of a man.”
It’s not clear whether Wizard People is an acidic critique of Harry Potter or merely an absurd, harmless parody, but it’s howlingly funny either way and I highly recommend finding it.
Anyway, that’s Brad Neely. China, IL is on Adult Swim now and it’s been getting good press, and it’s worth looking up his Professor Brothers cartoons on YouTube as well. I’ll leave you with another one, just because I love this stuff so much.
About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.