As I choke back vomit, recovering from the tenth of fifteen holiday parties, it occurs to me that this time of year really is about unconditional love, support, and non-denominational merrymaking (fuck yeah, War on Christmas!), which is why it pains me to play such favorites today. This week’s video, 36 Questions, is my favorite piece of content I’ve covered this year. Okay, alright, relax. Let me explain.
We’ve profiled some fantastic series and one-offs in 2015, but this little ditty, written, directed, and cut by Jonathan Grimm, Giancarlo Fiorentini, and Jon Gabrus, and starring Gabrus, Hannah Pearl Utt, and Amir Blumenfeld stands out for four key reasons.
The most important thing in comedy is being funny, and there are lots of ways to do that. My favorite way is pairing super specific jokes with subtle performances. From tales of “midget” fights to perfectly timed throat clears, 36 Questions hits the shit out of both.
It don’t get much more low-tech than two people in a white room, but low-tech is the name of the game for most powerful shorts. High-concept stuff is rarely better than really strong fundamentals that are allowed to shine through.
We may be nearing the death of the narrative arc’d web series. Not that people won’t still make them, but strong, inexpensive formats that can stand alone for multiple episodes, or a well-made short like 36 Questions (that could certainly warrant another edition), seem like the clearest path to the thing narrative web series usually want: industry attention.
More than any piece this year, 36 Questions navigates the very precarious terrain between irreverence and honest-to-goodness charm.
Luke is a writer/director for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.