If emerging web video platforms are sports teams Brad Neely is Super Deluxe‘s franchise player. Neely’s been rolling with his twisted brand of hilarity for some time, but now that he’s at the Turner-sponsored spot thousands are braying for Babycakes and the Professor Brothers. Here are the interview bits I didn’t use when I talked to Neely recently for Creativity. Check out more of his work at his Creased Comics site and at his Super Deluxe site. Look for the rest of the interview and a few morsels of Neely’s funniest after the break.
Hey Brad, how’s it going with Super Deluxe?
BN: It’s been really fun so far. Iím turning in a great deal of work, both Babycakes and Professor Brothers and a lot of one shots as well, they’ll be just characters that you never see again, some holiday things. But the core will be Babycakes and the Professor Brothers.
At what point did you take the comics you were making and put voices and animation along? Had you always been doing that?
BN: No, I hadn’t. A few years ago I did “Wizard People, Dear Readers,” which was an unauthorized alternate audio that’s synched with the first Harry Potter movie. I toured around with that and got shut down by Warner Brothers and I had such a good time doing that, it was my first time to be really close to film in a weird way, but it got me to thinking about how to continue to make things on my own terms with my own brand of comedy. So making the pictures sort of cartoons was an easy thing that I could do all by myself.
Where did the character Babycakes come from? I saw one of your comics with a Babycakes-esque guy.
BN: I’m always drawn to the giant, hairless bald person, I don’t know why. Babycakes, whenever, I’d done the George Washington cartoon on YouTube and the Super Deluxe people came to me and asked me if I had anything else to work on, and I just kind of rummaged around a lot of notes and Babycakes and the Professor Brothers just kind of evolved out of that. There are certain types of jokes that I want to be able to tell and certain tones and songs and fantasies and nightmares and prophecies and dances and all that kind of stuff and you make characters that will bring those out.
How did the relationship with Super Deluxe start?
BN: It’s the magic of the Internet. I had the GW cartoon on YouTube and a lot of people were passing it around, I guess at the exact moment Super Deluxe were looking for exactly me. With the Internet it’s pretty easy to call somebody up or give them an email, and theyíre such nice people it was impossible to say no.
Were you mulling other ways to gain exposure for your work?
BN: Yeah, I was in the middle of writing a book, which I’m still in the process of, and making the little cartoons was a fun thing, but I wasnít focusing on it, I was really just trying to, when I wasn’t ringing people up I was finishing my book. But Super Deluxe is a great place where I think it is totally different, characters and jokes and creative voices can thrive without the usual formulas; itís a strange new arena where a joke can live by itself.
But with YouTube you can have thousands see your stuff, really any video site gives you huge exposure. What made you sign on with these guys, get with them and have them be your vehicle?
BN: Having done a lot of work live I like the direct connection with an audience. And it seems like with a broadband network like super deluxe it makes a direct link between the creator and the audience. That’s scary as hell, but it’s super fun. Imagine if there was a real time public comment post at the bottom of the screen during “Saturday Night Live.” It’s really super neat. The challenge, I guess, would be keeping people’s attention and making them laugh over and over but not pandering to those comments. That was a draw for me definitely, that it seemed sort of like being on stage.
So youíve served them up a lot content already and theyíre just rolling it out as they see fit?
BN: Yeah, yeah, and I’m continuing to make content for them, so I have a little schedule, do little cartoons and turn them in.
Whatís your day to day like? Have you had a day job lately?
BN: No, no, Super Deluxe is my day job. I have a little process of writing, and writing and writing and a lot of notes, and then so many drawings, and then just lining them up and doing some recordings and if I do a song, that take a little longer, to get the music all made, and recording the voices. It’s fun.