Back in November, Jazz Ponce, longtime booker of Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill's Monday-night comedy staple What's Up, Tiger Lily?, began branching out beyond mere stand-up for an interactive, bonding, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style endeavor called For Shame!. Thus far the likes of T.J. Miller, Chelsea Peretti, Kumail Nanjiani, Moshe Kasher, Greg Proops, Pete Holmes and permanent host Brooks Wheelan have taken part in the monthly show, which is, according to its publicity, "where funny people relive their most embarrassing musical choices from their youth. Watch as they share secret stories about bands they sadly were obsessed with. Then the audience will relive the horror by watching a music video from that artist as the other comedians comment on it as it plays."
Last night at the Improv Lab, Hampton Yount admitted to rebelling against his parents and breaking up with an early girlfriend because of Linkin Park's "In the End," while Aparna Nancherla recalled seeing the flashes of cinematic brilliance in Backstreet Boys' "The Call" when she taped MTV every morning from 2-5 a.m. in college.
Among the additional highlights:
Ponce introduced the audience to 1990-1993's The Party, a pop-group spinoff of The All New Mickey Mouse Club whose modest hits included the rap "Summer Vacation," a cover of Dokken's "In My Dreams" and final album The Party's Over ...Thanks for Coming. The multiracial quintet's earnest, warehouse-set cover of Elvis Costello's "Peace, Love and Understanding" evoked such quips as, "It's like if The Planeteers had a band," "The sunglasses down low on the nose was really big at the time" and "Well, the sun was much more dim then."
Wheelan related a two-part Rod Stewart childhood humiliation, the first involving his insistence on playing 1998's Out of Order cassette one day during his school's indoor recess, the second his failure as a drunk 11-year-old to pull off a karaoke version of "Forever Young." It was "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?", however, that Wheelan lauded by saying, "I like this video because he basically tries to fuck himself," and added such hoots as: "Remember when they invented the dissolve and everybody went nuts with it?" "He looks like somebody's mom who's embarrassing everybody," and, watching himself on TV while in bed with a eerily similar-looking female, "I like to listen to your tits while I watch myself on TV." As for the ending freeze-frame of Stewart hovering in midair: "He got Raptured!"
Dominic Dierkes once showed up for a junior high dance with a fuzzy top hat in tow, intending to impress his peers by dancing like Jamiroquai a la his "Virtual Insanity" video. His plan did not unfold accordingly:
"It's like a pre-OK Go video." "It's OK Nooo!"
He adds mock-terrified shrieks as Jamiroquai not once but twice nearly gets run over by a roving couch. Then adds: "We're all playing J's mom in this video" and later, "At least get a bed for your apartment, Jamiroquai!"
Upon seeing a trail of blood seep from just below the camera's POV: "That was the director slitting his wrists!"
"I have a thing here from Christian days," James Adomian revealed of his choice, the "Western-themed entry in the [Christian singer] Carman ouvre," "Satan, Bite the Dust," released on the Addicted to Jesus label and featuring unprovoked violence against "demons" seemingly on loan from the Mos Eisley Cantina.
With a few minutes to spare, Wheelan introduced a bonus video: Katy Perry's brand-new "Part of Me." From the nonsensical, Army-enlisting plot and bewildered silence, one comment rang clear and true: "Jesus, this is stupid."
Next month's For Shame! is Tuesday, April 10, at the Nerdist Theater, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 8 p.m. (323) 851-7223, nerdmeltla.com. The lineup thus far includes Matt Braunger, Eric Andre and Neil Campbell.