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READING for October 9, 2010

  • Merton Curates Our Favorite YouTube Videos This Week: The Improv Edition

    For this week’s YouTube Roundup, we’ve let viral star Merton the Chatroulette Piano Guy call the shots when it comes to theme selection. This week’s through-line of choice? Improvisation, of course.

    While I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed these weekly YouTube Roundups as they are — whose themes I have left to my own tyrannical whims — it’s time for a little bit of a change. Time to mix things up. Time to improvise. Every week from now on, a different YouTube star will help us out with the theme.

    By now, you all probably know the background of the viral virtuoso known simply as “Merton”: He entered the cultural zeitgeist a few months back after he started composing off-the-cuff jams during Chatroulette sessions, and then rose to new heights when those vids went viral and people started thinking he was musician Ben Folds (who created “Odes to Merton” for his part).

    And while we now know they’re not one and the same, the duo’s work has truly been a digital delight.

    Check out Merton’s pick — as well as those of the Mash staff — below. And, while you’re at it, get in the spirit and do something crazy this weekend. That microwavable pizza and Ballykissangel box set will hold…

    Reggie Watts, "Sugar Got It Going On"

    Merton: Reggie Watts is a comedian, singer, beatboxer, impressionist and actor. He improvises all of his material. This piece is a good example of his more musical side. He creates an elaborate background texture with several layers of electronically-looped vocal sounds, then improvises a story and lyrics. I think this song has a lot of heart, and is a great example of spontaneous music-making.

    John Scatman, "I'm the Scatman"

    Blake Robinson: I just remembered this from Beavis & Butthead -- and scat is improvisational at its core.

    Extras, "David Bowie"

    Lauren Rubin: "Little fat man who sold his soul...."
    Classic scene from Ricky Gervais's Extras.

    Adventures in Babysitting - "Babysitting Blues"

    Amy-Mae Elliott: "Nobody gets outta dis place without singin' da blues."

    Trigger Happy TV - "Giant Phone + Train"

    Matt Silverman: This is what my commute is like every day.

    Black Tie Beach

    Erica Swallow: Real-life people making a scene (over and over again) around NYC... you gotta love Improv Everywhere. The latest "Black Tie Beach" stunt looks especially fun.

    Merton Video #5 : Street Piano (8.10.10)

    Brenna Ehrlich: Because he's the curator. And because I'm having horrible flashbacks to improv class in college...


    Reviews: YouTube

    More About: chatroulette, favorite-youtube-videos, humor, merton, pop culture, video, viral video

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