In pre-Internet days, want-ad writers had to shrink their desires down to 50 words or less. Nowadays, 50 million people a day post their unlimited-word-count wants for free on Craigslist.
L.A.-based comedian John Pick recognized this open platform of pleas as great dramatic material. “People go to Craigslist because they want something — a roommate, love, to sell or find an object,” Pick says in an interview. “Similarly, acting is all about objectives — wants. They're really character studies.”
In early 2012, Pick premiered the absurdly hilarious web series The Best of Craigslist. In each of the eight episodes, Pick dramatizes a different Craigslist poster's TMI tale. He recites the post verbatim, to the camera, while performing imagined activities from the poster's life, interwoven with scenes of the poster's desire, such as having a girl in a one-piece bathing suit sit in a bathtub of noodles.
While Ellen DeGeneres and other comedians also mine Craigslist for jokes, Pick's expertly edited montages evoke both humor and humanity. These are real people, living their daily lives with these actual desires. One can't help but admire them for having the courage to finally ask for what they want.
Pick's interest in characters follows in the footsteps of his father, Grant Pick, a Chicago Reader journalist known for his profiles of interesting characters of the city. In 2008, Pick edited a collection of his father's articles titled The People Are the News.
Pick has begun producing The Best of Craigslist: Live in theaters around L.A., with the next show planned for late June. Visit the show's Facebook page for details. —Stephanie Carrie
The Tangled Web We Watch is our new column on what's worth watching online. Watch The Best of Craigslist at funnyordie.com, and visit its Facebook page at bit.ly/bestofc. Read Stephanie Carrie's full interview with John Pick on her blog, tangledwebwewatch.com.