Last weekend, The New York Times Magazine had an article naming Zach Galifianakis the towering comedic genius of my generation.
Of all the Galifianakis clips, gags and sketches currently in Internet orbit, none have done more to cement his reputation as a leader of the comic avant-garde, curiously enough, than a series of three ads in 2008 for Absolut vodka. “This advertising firm from Sweden called me out of the blue and asked me to do an ad,” Galifianakis said. “The one request they had was to not make it look too ’80s, since Absolut is perceived as kind of an ’80s brand.” He paused there for a moment, clearly savoring the memory. “That’s what gave us the idea to make the skits a kind of homage to ‘The Golden Girls.’ ”
The resulting three sketches, made in collaboration with the absurdist comedy duo Tim and Eric (of “Awesome Show, Great Job!” part of the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming), attain levels of absurdity — and, at times, flat-out stupidity — that test the limits of belief, even in this golden age of irreverent, self-reflexive, cooler-than-thou advertising...There is nothing inherently funny in this scenario — with the possible exception of the obvious disdain its creators feel for the product they’re ostensibly selling — but the ads are both hilarious and, paradoxically, highly effective.
So I gave the video a shot. After all, I'm a member of my generation! But I didn't really get it. Maybe you will.
June 8, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
Categories: Lunch Break
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