OXFORD – Incredibly awkward, odd, ridiculous, accidentally creepy – that’s what Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett look for when they’re on the hunt for so-bad-they’re-hilarious video tapes.
The pair, whose credits include “The Colbert Report,” and The Onion, host the Found Footage Festival, dedicated to funny videos they’ve rescued from trash bins, thrift stores and yard sales. The Found Footage Festival is in its ninth year, but this is the first time it’s coming to Mississippi.
“Thrift stores are telling us they’re not even accepting videos, because no one’s buying them. That scares us to death, so we knew we’ve gotta get to Mississippi and West Virginia and other places we’ve never been to rescue all the tapes we can,” Prueher said.
The festival has a simple goal: to bring the laughs.
“It’s a guided tour through our video collection,” Prueher said. The guys have been collecting videos since the 1990s, but each year they change up what videos they feature at the festival. “These are not movies, but special interest tapes. Exercise videos and training videos, and home movies occasionally sneak in. We serve up the best chunks of them in front of an audience,” he said. “Sometimes we track down people on the videos and play videos with them during the live show. It’s an extension of our collection of VHS tapes.”
One of those folks that Prueher and Pickett found was Frank Pacholski.
“He hosted a public access show called ‘Dancing with Frank,” he said. “It’s from 1999. It’s hosted by a guy named Frank, and he’s a middle-aged, balding man wearing nothing but an American flag speedo and a Lone Ranger mask, prancing around.”
To make things even more weird, he danced around in front of an audience of obviously uncomfortable senior citizens. Pickett and Prueher wanted to track down Pacholski, and they did just that.
“For the first time, we hired a detective, and he tracked him down and we interviewed (Pacholski) on the beach in L.A.,” he said. “The interview was almost as weird as the footage we found, and we left with more questions than we arrived with.”
Audiences can see a clip of that interview at the upcoming Found Footage Fest, along with videos about ferrets, “The Sexy Treadmill Workout” and more. There’s more where that comes from, as the guys will be scouring stores across the country for more videos to show at next year’s festival.
“Whenever we’re in a new city, we’ll go hunting for new videos,” he said. “We’ve already picked up more than 1,000 videos on this tour.”
Check it out
What: Found Footage Festival
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Powerhouse, Oxford
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal