OMFG! It’s Jack and Dean at VidFest UK

When an event begins with the screening of a short sketch entitled Toilet Man, you know things can go either one of two ways – horribly, horribly wrong… or horribly, horribly good. The joy of being outside the regular audience is that you are afforded a different perspective. It is a mixed blessing; a game of pop-culture Russian roulette that you’re either going to get or you’re not.

The stars of popular YouTube series OMFG! It’s Jack and Dean have something of a unique but enjoyable approach to what they do and how they connect with their audience.

In a room primarily filled with teenage girls, the event appeared as part of VidFest UK at MCM London Comic Con, during which the YouTube duo present_MG_0828ed a short question and answer session. Whilst admitting that they didn’t have much of a plan for what they were doing, there was a genuine willingness to bring the humour of their YouTube channel into a live performance.

Building up slowly over the past couple of years, there has been a quiet explosion in the way YouTube has connected people – let me insert a small reference to KimonoTime‘s HAPPY Tube video. Based on the lengthy queue outside the hall, both prior to and after the event, it’s evident that people like Jack and Dean are connecting with their audience, and even more to the point, they are fostering the growth of the scene that has embraced them.

One of the reasons for their presentation was to help their audience improve and learn to create their own material as well as serving as a hypothetical “crash course in Jack and Dean”.

Of their humour and interplay on stage, there is something of the recent surrealist b_MG_0826ent popularised by The Mighty Boosh, if only in a milder form. Likewise there is an association with the traditional sense of British humour – the slightly off-kilter, skewed perspectives that have been evident in the development of much post-war entertainment. Yet all of this is perhaps offering too much credit to what has come before.

What is impressive about Jack and Dean is the way they have built on this but also incorporated the international flavours of the humour evident and specific to the internet. By expressing the need for marrying context with the “LOL! Random!” [sic] nature of internet humour, the pair came across as both friendly and engaging – and potentially as forerunners for a scene that will continue to blossom.

There is the danger, of course, that as they garner more and more attention, the pair may be sidelined or absorbed into children’s entertainment by the mainstream industry. That said, I feel that as long as Jack and Dean keep sharing with their audience, and as long as the audience keeps building on what they are learning, there will definitely be good things on the horizon… and I for one will certainly be reconsidering my approach to toilet-seat etiquette. 

Definitely worth checking out for anyone with even a passing interest in off-kilter sketch comedy or the development of their own creative passions through the evolving new media, you can find OMFG! It’s Jack and Dean over at their YouTube channel at your leisure.


Images by Sarah Tsang. 

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