|Photo courtesy of the artist|Joseph Scrimshaw's
latest project started simply enough. "I wrote a comedy piece for a Minnesota Public Radio storytelling workshop. It is called 'Wife Head,' and it's a true story about being so stubborn I almost allowed myself to be killed by a bear to prove a point," he says.
He's performed it in various venues and it has sparked a brand-new project, Flaw Fest, that -- if a Kickstarter campaign is fully funded -- will also include a pair of albums: one of the show and one of music inspired by the show.
"We've all done stupid things. I think most people in this day and age are pretty self-aware, so we spend a decent amount of time tracking down the 'Why? Why the hell did I do that clearly stupid thing?'" Scrimshaw says.
"I decided to put together a light, fun comedy show about all of my flaws as a human being. The flaws idea highlights what I really love about comedy -- by sharing horrible, funny personal problems or defeats, comedy can tap into something much larger and much more universal in a really positive way," he says.
Scrimshaw's reason for making an album is "partially because I'm just really happy with and proud of this show. I write a lot of shows. A friend asked me the other day if I ever abandon shows. I told her that my shows were like my children. Some of them might be difficult problem children and I might send them to live with their aunt for a few months, but I always want to take care of them," he says. "Flaw Fest is sort of my golden child. I've always been interested in comedy that has some meat to it and this show really seems to work for people on that level."
After he performed the show on the geek-friendly Jonathan Coulton's JoCo CruiseCrazy, Scrimshaw found that one piece particularly connected.
"One of the bits involves a horrible rock song I wrote when I was 14 called 'Mr. Suckface.' When we got home from the cruise, a fan started a Twitter account called @MrSuckface. So every once in a while I get a tweet from a character from a rock song I wrote as a teenager," Scrimshaw says. "As an indie artist, when your work is inspiring that level of interest, you want to share it with as many people as possible."
Along with the album of the show, the campaign is also for a second record containing songs inspired by the show, written by a bevy of hip, geek-loving artists, including John Munson, MST3K alums Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, and Paul & Storm.
A number of the artists were on the same cruise with Scrimshaw. "There was a lot of discussion on the cruise about where new ideas come from, and a lot of the musicians have been focused on touring a lot over the years, so their fans are hungry for new songs. That's part of what put the idea in my head that it would be cool to use a standup-comedy show as an inspiration for a music album. Kind of comedy with a soundtrack," he says.
The songs are all new. Munson's is inspired by the term "wife head." Corbett's is about James Bond having a terrible day. The Sevateem -- a somewhat obscure 1970s Doctor Who reference -- are using one line from the show for inspiration: "No One Can Hear You (When You Crouch)."
If funded, the shows will be presented at the end of September. The Kickstarter funds will be used for venue rental and making a high-end recording of the show.
All of the material has the chance to be painful for Scrimshaw -- but honesty was the policy.
"For this show, I wanted to be honest about some of the dumb booze related decisions I've made. Some of them have happened since I've been married, so then it's a matter of considering my wife, Sara, as well. I'm lucky to have a very open, very funny partner. Ultimately, we decided to tackle an event in our lives that should be deeply unfunny and managed to find the absurdity and joy in it. So there are a couple of deeply personal moments in the show," Scrimshaw says.
"That said, I also admit to watching The Phantom Menace multiple times on purpose. That seems to be the part of the show that shocks and offends people the most," he says.
For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, visit online.