IC Comedy: Fall in love with Adult Swim all over again


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The Green Gravel Comedy Festival is upon us. One notable event out of many will be “Too Many Cooks Live,” a (presumably) live performance of the Adult Swim-produced video that baffled channel-flipping insomniacs and became a viral sensation in October 2014. It will appear at Gabe’s at 10 p.m. Friday. 

“Too Many Cooks” writer and director Chris “Casper” Kelly will be on hand for the show and will also be part of the Free Adult Swim Creators Forum at FilmScene at 1 p.m. Saturday alongside Dave Willis.

Kelly and Willis have worked on other Adult Swim shows as actors, writers, producers, and directors, including “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (in which Willis voices both Meatwad and Carl), “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law,” “Squidbillies, Stroker, and Hoop,” and “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell.” 

The forum will be informative about the two men and their creative processes. A Q&A session will follow open to the public. Folks interested in comedy both onstage and in front of a camera, live-action, and animated have a great opportunity to see two men who have influenced an entire generation of humorous minds.

However, a “moral guardian” could accuse both Kelly and Willis of aiding in the corruption of America’s youth by helping bring these potty-mouthed programs to Cartoon Network, albeit during the later hours of the night. This faceless, straw moralizer might be correct but in a good way. 

Adult Swim began in 2001. Many recent UI graduates were finishing grade school or starting middle school at the time, and that seemed to be the perfect age for fertile young minds to be enraptured by off-putting jokes and gallows humor that would get them a swift detention if lines were repeated in public, with or without proper context.

As with anything not sanctioned by the country of Mom and Dad, these shows and their offbeat humor were contraband in many households and schools. In my experience, the hallway before first period or the paved tetherball court at recess showed that quotes from Willis’ and Kelly’s work were not unlike Red Cross care packages that could solidify feelings of goodwill among young people with skewed senses of humor. 

The schoolyard is not forever, though. Tastes change, and many of us have possibly outgrown the sophomoric or idiosyncratic tones of shows such as “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” (or whatever they’re calling it now) and “Squidbillies.” 

“Too Many Cooks Live” and the Adult Swim Creators Forum may not be the traditional standup comedy acts attendees will expect at Green Gravel, but I believe that the oddball kids of my generation here at the University of Iowa, me included, owe it to our grade-school selves to at least see these men in person — if not to meet the crazy guys who helped ruin our innocence, then to at least ask them if they’re ever going to revive “Perfect Hair Forever.”

I’m probably the only person who wants that.

“Two Many Cooks Live” with “Air Sex World Championships”
Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington 
9 p.m. Friday
Exclusive Presale Tickets: $5
Free Adult Swim Creators Forum

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