Brad Neely: Comic Genius


pic via Kristen Schaal’s Flickr

Yesterday, I posted Brad Neely’s animated video “Bring the Gold” to the ROTI Facebook page.

It’s basically a gangsta rap video where the leprechaun describes his love of gold above all else and his willingness to kill to get it. In my opinion, it’s pretty much the best thing to come out of St. Patrick’s Day in the past 25 years.

But Brad Neely, genius creator of web videos and other comic material, has so much more to offer than the tale of a murderous leprechaun. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, I have a serious treat to offer today.

Neely’s cartoon ode to George Washington was the first thing I ever saw from him, and it’s still the funniest take on the father of our nation ever created.

“Washington, Washington. Six foot twenty, fuckin’ killing for fun.”

It also set the template for much of his subsequent work, with its musical brilliance, zany boundary-crossing, sketchy animation style, and witty angle on historical events.

Neely’s site, Creased Comics, is a clearinghouse for many of his best videos and other brilliance.

Here’s one of his recurring characters, Frank Smith of the Professor Brothers, delivering a classroom lecture on Jesus Christ:

“She’s a whore, I know. But the good news is, whores are cool now. So saith me.”

What I love about Neely is that he’s smart as hell, funny as hell and not afraid to push boundaries. Sort of like Trey Parker and Matt Stone from “South Park,” who wisely once hired Neely as a consultant.

Another of Neely’s Creased characters is Babycakes, here expounding on the topic of LIES:

“Have you ever heard that Freud was a motherfucker? Like…a real one?”

I should note here that Neely is perhaps best known for “Wizard People, Dear Reader,” a commentary track he created to accompany Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Apparently this started as something he did for friends, but soon ballooned into one of the most popular and widely known pieces of Potter-philia around. I am not a huge fan of ancillary Harry Potter stuff (don’t get me started on “wizard rock” or college quidditch) but this track does has its moments.

This is one excerpt I found pretty amusing:

“Bout time he birthed that cheeto!”

There are some pretty amusing concepts in “Wizard People”, but to my mind, it’s not nearly as funny as a video like this one, called “Fuck the Humans”:

While I suppose this material is not for everyone — I showed “Fuck the Humans” to my girlfriend and she was utterly horrified and says the elf character’s celebration of poop as jewelry and the monster with the asshole eyes traumatize her to this day — I find it about as riotous as anything I have ever seen online.

But I think Neely’s best work ever is a series he did for Adult Swim called “America Now.” It’s a rather bizarre series of short musical clips about this great country of ours, its history and culture, its highlights and dark sides. The music is insanely catchy, and the insights are seriously legit.

Here are a few clips from the series, which can (along with everything else seen here) be found at Creased Comics.

Bostonist asked Neely:

Do you know if a video is going to rule the internet before you post it?

Wow. I guess the safest way to answer that is to say that I hope for all my stuff to rule, but I do know that some will have broader appeal than others. It’s important for me to stick to what I find funny and exciting. Trying to engineer a “Hit-generator” every time might get me in trouble.

Whatever his technique, I wholeheartedly approve.

Neely has disappeared from the Youtubes for a while, and after a little digging, I found out why.

He’s developing a show for Fox, reports Vulture:

Apparently not content with mere Animation Domination, Fox continues to bolster its reservoir of potential new toons. Vulture has learned the network has given thumbs-ups to pilot presentations for a pair of new animated projects, including one from web animation star Brad Neely (I Am Babycakes). Combined with recent orders for a show from Jonah Hill and a toon take on Napoleon Dynamite, plus the upcoming mid-season launch of Bob’s Burgers, it’s clear Fox doesn’t plan to simply coast along forever on the strength of The Simpsons and the Seth MacFarlane empire.

Neely, who’s also well-known for his unauthorized audio spoof of the Harry Potter films, is behind a project called Godparents, which sounds a little bit like a darker take on the Katherine Heigl pic Life As We Know It. Specifically, insiders describe it as a “twisted family show about a couple ill-equipped to raise kids who are forced to take care of their godchildren.” Neely is paired on the potential show with animation vet Tim Long (The Simpsons), a former head writer for The Late Show With David Letterman who’s also been published in The New Yorker (yes, the The New Yorker).

I have no idea how Neely’s style of comedy will translate to network TV, but I do know that I will be watching.

Fox’s Animation Domination has entered some sort of giantess fetish phase, with the network now seemingly intent on crushing every other channel’s cartoon lineup, either actual or prospective. Now Vulture reports that two new animated shows have been added to the recently acquired, similarly in-development Napoleon Dynamite and the Jonah Hill-starring Allen Gregory. Oh, did you want an animated show, pitiful other network? Well, Fox says no.

Red Roofs is described as “a half-hour toon about a 12-year-old boy who splits his time between his divorced parents’ suburban homes” and comes from Bob Kushell, whose credits include stints on Third Rock From The Sun, Samantha Who?, and The Simpsons—although he may be best known for his Crackle talk show, Anytime With Bob Kushell, where he crams the experience of an entire late-night chatfest into five minutes and his garage.

Godparents, meanwhile, comes from Brad Neely, the mind behind the Wizard People, Dear Reader spoofs of Harry Potter, “George Washington,” I Am Babycakes, and many other things that make the Internet worthwhile. It’s described as a “twisted family show about a couple ill-equipped to raise kids who are forced to take care of their godchildren”—which sounds familiar, but given Neely’s involvement, we’re guessing that “ill-equipped” suggests more than just being Katherine Heigl.

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About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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