DVD Review: Trying Funny Stuff - The Jimmies

TryingFunnyStuff.jpgAs a reviewer, I tend to dislike absolute statements because you never know what you'll hear or read or see afterwards that will cause you to regret your previous absolute. So with that in mind, let me say this with no "possibly"s or "maybe"s to get in the way:

Nobody makes better kids music videos than the Jimmies. Nobody.

Don't get me wrong, They Might Be Giants draw a lot of talent to their videos, Recess Monkey does a lot with a little, and folks like Gustafer Yellowgold and Readeez crank out a lot of great music via their primarily video-based format. And various artists might crank out an excellent video or two. But when it comes to creating those 3-minute videos we used to watch MTV for, the Jimmies consistently are the cream of the crop.

It's no surprise, therefore, that the chief draw of Trying Funny Stuff, the new DVD from the New York band The Jimmies are the six videos on the set. "Do The Elephant," "Spanimals," "Cool To Be Uncool," "Bedhead," and "Taddy" are here (all available on their YouTube channel or here), along with the new-to-you video for "What's That Sound?," which is every bit as eye-popping as the other three (love the cloud dress).

The production values Jimmies mastermind Ashley Albert and director Michael Slavens bring to the videos are pretty stunning -- they impress (and the songs they back up are pretty decent, too). They try lots of stuff, some funny and some just cool. The "behind-the-scenes" documentary starts out goofy, and I thought it was going to be one of those throwaway EPK documentaries, but maybe about five minutes in, you realize, hey, this is interesting, and not in a "interesting-for-the-parents, deathly-dull-for-the-kids" sort of way, but Slavens and Albert actually walk through how they created the effects for the videos and talk to kids rather than the adults. (Oh, and they run through a good dozen chicken-related puns in the span of about a minute, but they're not perfect.)

The rest of the package is gravy. The karaoke setting for the videos, is cool, though I don't expect it'll get much use. And the concert video is fun, with the band rocking out in a New York auditorium, complete with guest banjo artists, gratuitous egg shaker solo, and Soaper the Scaredybot (you just have to see it). If you've seen the band in concert, then you know what to expect from the concert. They play songs both from Make Your Own Someday and the upcoming (at some point) Everyday's a Holiday. The DVD also comes packaged with a CD of the concert -- in other words, there's a lot of video and audio to enjoy.

Kids ages 4 through 8 will most enjoy the DVD, which features nearly 90 minutes of video (besides the karaoke). You can buy the DVD here or at Barnes & Noble.

To watch the Jimmies is to become a fan of the Jimmies. And sometimes you want to watch videos with your kids on something larger than a 3-inch YouTube screen. For those reasons alone, Trying Funny Stuff is worth your time. Definitely recommended.