Paying Attention to the Hands Among Other Things

May 25, 2011

Jacob DowkerIn a video on YouTube titled “can you pay attention to my hands mister“, a young man uses American Sign Language to send a romantic message to his boyfriend about how he feels, and how he would like to express it in person.

In an article about the video in TÊTU, a French publication, Jacob (the man in the video) said that some of their friends and relatives were not completely enthusiastic about it. However, the majority of them were proud to be associated with him, seeing how successful the clip had become. The boyfriend Anthony’s take on the video is that it provides opportunities for many people to see what “gay love” really means.

Neither Anthony or Jacob is deaf. Anthony has an interest in languages, including ASL. When they first met, Anthony showed Jacob a little of how to sign. Concerning the signing in the video, Anthony explained that Jacob learned most of the signs he wanted to use from a book, in just a week’s time.

Read more about the video by Jacob Dowker.

Jeffery And Cole Casserole

July 9, 2009

Cole EscolaJeffery & Cole Casserole is a low-budget, television comedy sketch show on Logo that capitalizes on the popularity of vlogs and YouTube channels. It stars the fresh-faced gay duo of Cole Escola and Jeffery Self, a comedy team who had been making funny videos and posting them on YouTube before being signed to do the show.

Each episode is a collection of short sketches that are either part of the episode’s main storyline or are totally unrelated (hence, the “casserole”). They have the look of many YouTube videos because they are recorded with a webcam, and (wanting to keep the feel of Jeffery and Cole’s earlier work) are intentionally made to look like something someone recorded in their bedroom or backyard.

In fact, most of the scenes are recorded in Jeffery Self’s apartment, just like the guy’s original YouTube vids. As part of their deal with Logo, they also get to continue to write, direct, edit their own material. The humor style they employ is surrealistic, where an otherwise realistic situation has some strange, absurd twist that is treated as normal and expected. The absurdity and the reactions to it generate the laughs. It’s a modern, gay, studio apartment size version of Monty Python.

Jeffery Self and Cole Escola are both New York City transplants who happened to meet socially, become friends, and then start making videos together. Most of their YT videos didn’t have many “views”, but they figured out the power of search keywords and then things started really taking off. They named themselves VGL (Very Good Looking) Gay Boys because they knew people would search for videos using such words. With that and a few other well chosen video titles, they did succeed in getting a few videos into the 6 digit range of viewership.

Logo noticed their videos and after seeing one of their live bar shows, approached them with a television deal. Logo needed some new material and presumably didn’t want to pay much for it, so it was a great deal for the company.

The show can be quite funny at times, especially as it showcases the comedic talents of Cole Escola. His delivery and expressions are perfect for the absurdist style of the show. Jeffery Self is the “straight man” in the duo, or perhaps one could call him a “prop comic” – not, in the regular sense, but rather, next to the comic (Cole), Jeffery is just a prop. However, the team does seem to work and for what it does to bring out the hilarious, over-the-top performance of Cole Escola, it makes Jeffery & Cole Casserole an entertaining bit of amusement for people who like their humor off-beat.

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