If you do not fall completely under the spell of Jeffery and Cole Casserole upon your very first viewing, then we have nothing to discuss.
The show stars 2 giddy young lads in a NYC apartment, furiously bombarding a webcam with comedy and, well, that’s it. And we love it. “It’s recession TV,” Jeffery Self, one of the show’s stars, told us when we reached him by phone.
That’s putting it mildly — the show began as YouTube silliness a year ago, and has now jumped to cable without losing any of its trademark handcrafted feel. It’s edited on iMovie, and some of the more expensive props on the show appear to be a wig, a cane, and a yellow legal pad.
As luck would have it, Jeffery Self is currently here in SF, doing a one man show about Craigslist hookups — but not for much longer! “My Life on the Craigslist” closes this Saturday, so get your tickets now. It’s a funny, naughty retelling of his big adventures in online boyflirting, and it’s a bit more focussed than the Casserole show. “It’s more standup, long-form storytelling,” he told us, “about what it is to grow up in the post-Internet gay generation.” This particular quote has had the effect of making us feel like we are a dead houseplant.
Jeffery feels that Internet meetups are “the new bathhouses — or meeting at the windmills,” referring to the notoriously spoogey bushes at the end of Golden Gate Park. “Of course some people will always go out in real life … but even if I meet someone in a bar, I still go and stalk them on Facebook.” This remark startled us, because just as he was saying it, we were Internet-stalking him from Facebook to Twitter to Blogspot. The Internet makes it easy and fun to be a creep!
And also, the Internet makes it easy to have six-pack abs, because all you have to do is make a claim and it’s as good as true. Until you meet IRL. “But there’s a positive side to being able to misrepresent yourself online,” Jeffery said, “there’s reinvention, so you can highlight something about yourself.”
If Jeffery and Cole Casserole highlights anything, it’s the duo’s creative humor and gleeful chemistry. Logo producers spotted them on YouTube and got in touch (“they had to write to us on Facebook — that was the only contact info they could find”) and although they’re on TV now, they still use the same webcam as before, and it’s still set in the same little New York apartment.
The end result feels modest, but ready to burst at any moment; sort of Flight-of-the-Conchordsish, except less slick, and with jokes that we actually get. The show’s a barrel of wacky gay fun, but there’s a heartwarming undercurrent that’s very “making it in the big city,” or very “striking out on your own.” Or in other words, very New York.
So, we asked, have you had a chance to check out SF’s Craigslist? How does it compare to NYC? “I’ve toured this show all over the place, and SF’s Craigslist is more like New York than anywhere else,” he said. Oh, is that because SF fags are so fashionable and sophisticated? Well, no: key similarities he cited are lots of sexual activity, lots of different neighborhoods, and a universal unwillingness to travel. Oh.
But Jeffery’s loved his SF tour — he cites the Mission and Dolores Park as among his favorite spots. He wasn’t so keen on Golden Gate Park, which, he acknowledges, is pretty; but the hard-selling drug dealers were a bit much. For example, as he was quietly eating a sammitch on a hill, he was approached by a mom with a toddler who offered to sell him shrooms. (The mom, that is, not the toddler.)
Okay, that’s Hippie Hill for you. But there’s plenty of nicer stuff, such as the long hikes up mountains. He wound up on top of Twin Peaks recently — “I thought I was going to die walking up” — and that’s a San Francisco view that simply can’t be beat.
“It’s beautiful here,” he told us, “quiet, and it smells really good. Those are things you miss in New York.”