No I’m not done talking about the Value Select concert.
While I made my way down 7th Avenue in beautiful Tampa, with the smell of hookah-smoke, liquor, rain, and pub fare filling my nostrils, I couldn’t be more excited to see one of my favorite E-celebs finally lose the need for that E, and just be a regular flesh and blood celeb. The bass from other clubs, bars, and cars did their best to shake me as I stepped inside Crowbar for a show that was certainly worth writing about. Any good show worth its salt needs a good opener, and Jazz Emu more than delivered in that department. The one-man act by Archie Henderson got a hold of the microphone, swearing to God that he would make a strong personal connection with someone in the room. He gave everyone their own personal finger-gun greeting just to make sure that would happen.
Having started in 2018 with various synth-wave covers and original songs, Jazz Emu is as audibly captivating as Resonance, and as visually striking as David Byrne. He progressed quickly into full-fledged comedy songs that feel like they’d come from Weird Al Yankovic if he got obsessed with future-funk instead of polka. Henderson’s videos have just as much production quality and finesse as his songs. He’s certainly a high budget boy. He shows a remarkable command of his posture, his facial expressions, and even how his clothing reacts to his movement.
This style of music was richly justified on the same stage as Renner. Henderson’s songs have just as much of an earworm and relatability factor as anybody could want from good observational comedy music, whether it be instructions on how to avoid Covid-19, the simple joy of a crispy towel, or getting a really interesting e-mail from some guy in a third world country. However, these videos can also expand well into the absurd, such as the creation of a problem-solving robot that only knows how to get funky, the opposite of fingerless gloves, or even just owning a straight up jungle.
Henderson has also transitioned well into the new trend of digital content, with plenty of YouTube shorts, as well as the coveted verified status on Tiktok. With the golden time for online content being under 2 minutes now, audiences have an appetite for relatable and reassuring comedy. Add all that to the fact that music has a more memorable quality than stand-up, and it looks like Jazz-Emu is poised to carve out more than just a niche for himself.
On the whole, musical comedy is a wildly untapped source of content, with only Bo Burnham presiding over a mostly empty kingdom with the most fertile land. His special “Inside” showed just how much commercial potential this art form has, as well as how deep, how poignant, and how introspective these productions can get. Seeing Jazz-Emu take the stage makes me nothing but optimistic for how much further he has to go, along with the rest of the aspiring musical comedians.
Even better is that everyone is down to help each other out. Henderson and Renner collaborated on Awkward Memories, and both are positioned to leave some lasting non-awkward memories with their viewers. It reminds me of any fledgling internet scene. It’s happened with the generic youtubers from 2006-2010, the video game and movie reviewers from 2006-2012, and even the wrestling community from 2013-2018. If the success that those communities have enjoyed is any indication, then everyone who has come so far has only so much higher to climb.