For the first time since 2011, the road-tripping comedic gold mine that is the Found Footage Festival is returning to New Orleans Friday and Saturday at the La Nuit Comedy Theater, 5309 Freret St.
Founded by friends Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, whose combined comedy experience ranges from the satirical newspaper The Onion to “The David Letterman Show,” the show is a slice of strange Americana presented in a way you’ve never seen before.
“The show is a guided tour through our video collection,” Prueher said. “You won’t believe some of the stuff we’ve found.”
They find that stuff in VHS form, in city thrift stores and rural markets across the country. “We travel for nine months, find everything we can — covers with C-list celebrities or puppets are always keepers — then we spend three months locked in an apartment holding hands and try to get through as much of it as we can without going crazy.”
They look for the unintentionally funny: promo videos, instructional videos, home movies and other videos that were never meant to be shown to the general public.
“We’ve found a lot of really weird people for this show,” Prueher said, “like this one woman who’s obsessed with something called craft sponging. She’s so excited about her sponging technique.”
He said: “We found a video called ‘Ferret Fundamentals,’ with folks who just look like they own ferrets. Over the years we’ve found medical videos and informationals, government policy videos. Also exercise videos. Those have become a staple of the show.”
There’s also a video called “Handmade Love,” given to Prueher and Picket following a show in Vancouver. “That one you pretty much have to see to believe,” Prueher said.
For New Orleans, which Prueher calls one of his favorite cities to perform — “The audience here is great,” he said — Found Footage has something extra-special.
“I don’t know the whole history,” he said, “But years ago Seth Green was in these commercials for a fast food restaurant, and he basically just rampaged around the city saying the words ‘Cha-Ching!’ There was local media coverage. We have the video and it’s great.”
When told that a lot of New Orleanians probably remember those commercials well, because of their association with the New Orleans Saints of the time, Prueher was even more excited.
“That might just settle it,” he said. “We may include ‘Cha-Ching.’”