Earlier this week, the first video release from “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King” debuted. The 4 minute and 30 second clip, directed by DMB lighting designer Fenton Williams and Jeff Crane, sets “Funny the Way It Is” to a series of strange and animated movements by Dave himself. Parts of the production are reminiscent of the “Eh Hee” video where Dave sat in a chair, enduring all manner of liquids and towels being rubbed onto his face while he experienced a variety of emotions and seemingly uncontrollable ticks. In this newest output, Dave is again undergoing messy spills on his head and even being blindfolded with a mask. While I would bet that Dave would explain these tactics as humor inducing, it also occurs to me that this kind of treatment goes along with his self-deprecating nature. Never taking himself too seriously, Dave is always one to point out his own silliness. In the recent interview with Matt Pinfield, while discussing the phrase, “I like my coffee with toast and jelly, but I'd rather be licking from your back to your belly,” Dave admits that in writing sexual lyrics he tries to keep things a little “ridiculous” and “self-deprecating” in order to lighten the mood.
Much of the footage features Dave quickly jumping from one scene to the next, changing expressions as fast as he alternates wardrobes. It seems that this goes along with the message in “Funny” that things don't always make sense or fit together. One moment, Dave is imitating a man who is overly enjoying his breakfast and the next minute he is devastated by the sound of fire engines. A split second later, he is excited about the prospects of “evening” and “hanging out.” Another juxtaposition can be found between the magnifying glass and the tape used to cover Dave's nose, mouth, and eye. Looking through a magnifying glass makes things bigger and clearer, and in the context of this song could relate to seeing the state of the world without denial, while having your features constricted by tape would have the opposite effect. Finally, the huge divide between the enormously wealthy, portrayed by an over-the-top-rock-star, and the working class, illustrated by Dave in a flannel shirt and trucker's cap, is weaved into the story. In all of his roles, Dave exudes a dramatic and flamboyant air, reminding us that this is a parody of life's unexplainable circumstances.
The fact that the full band is barely noticeable save for a few backdrop appearances has many fans dismayed by this piece. Likewise, the peculiar feel of the creation is a turn-off for some. Dave responded to his critics on Twitter today when he said, “I heard that some people missed the point of my new video for Funny. I love it. Had a blast making it. One take. It took nine minutes.” He also acknowledged a fan's rendition of his work when he said, “There is a video of Classic cartoons edited together to fit Funny that is quite magical. Very clever bastard made that one.” In my opinion, we can all learn from Dave's ability to take life with a grain of salt, remembering that laughter (especially at ourselves) is by far the best medicine.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self