Pop Culture
Feb 03, 2011, 06:22AM

Deconstructing Daniel Songer

Anti-comedian, or anti-anti-comedian?

Daniel Songer is a man on a mission. Or maybe he’s a man on a few missions that frequently collide with one another, but the result is a disturbing catastrophe of bewildering “comedy” that can only be classified using the DSM-III.

Songer is a burly beast of a middle-aged man who hails from His Own Back Porch, Georgia. He loves Jesus, he’ll never need a megaphone, and he’s released over 175 “comedy acts” via YouTube, mostly about boobs and really, totally not being gay. It’s a kind of observational comedy about things that never actually happened, minus the comedy. This is a man who plays with the English language like a hungry dog will dig through an overturned trash can, furiously chewing on detritus so mangled that it’s no longer recognizable, and like a dog, proudly drag it to our doorstep as if it were a fabulous prize; a symbol of his undying and nonjudgmental love for us. You can’t help but admire his energy and nearly charming obliviousness.

A typical Daniel Songer joke goes something like this:

Step 1: Yell something. Anything. Non-sequitur is the name of the game.

Step 2: Choose your topic: sex, or sex.

Step 3: Tell an incoherent, impossible anecdote about yourself and [topic chosen from Step 2].

Step 3a: Interject a Top 40 song. Sing violently off-key and get the words wrong.*

Step 3b: NOT OPTIONAL! Flail around like a child, and stomp the living fuck out of your porch.**

Step 4: Repeat Steps 3 - 3b in full, at least twice. It’s important to emphasize your point this many times.

Step 5: Shit-eating grin. Proceed to next joke without actually delivering punch line from previous joke.

[* “Bird bird bird, bird is the word. Everyone’s talking about it!”]

[** If anyone knows Songer’s contractor, please forward his contact information along to me. That man builds immortal porches and I’m in need of a bomb shelter. Mostly to protect myself from Daniel Songer.]

… and a typical Daniel Songer poem goes like this:

“When you look into the sky tonight and see a very beautiful star, a streak of light will escape, only to come down to your beautiful face, it will remind you of me and the magic we found on myspace. I know that our friendship will shine throughout the skies, forever you will be the most beautiful angel in my eyes.”

It remains gloriously unclear if Songer omits his punchlines purposefully, or if his exuberance simply absorbs these bon mots and digests the words before they have a chance to thunder forth from his gullet, or if his idea of genuinely concluding a joke is relating a bad story to a bad song and being very loud about it before simply moving on. If any of this is intentional, he’s surely a pioneer of narrative structure: a kind of Dadaist vagabond whose collages of words and malformed snippets of song belie the ultimate, underlying truth about the human condition as it enters an age of media omnipresence and our failure to absorb it coherently, and Songer is the vomitous conduit of misinformation that results from this inundation. An ultra-modern James Joyce. But I doubt it.

I mean, maybe this is the ultimate plan for Songer—a messenger from some god who really likes verbal puzzles and YouTube. Ultimately, Songer is funny in the same way that a serial killer is funny: not so quirky that it’s amusing, or even so extremely quirky that it’s amusing because it’s not amusing. He surpasses this Mobius strip of comedic locks, and despite all laws of mathematics, finds his way into realms where sane humans dare not tread, stomping along well-worn patterns in a ritualistic fashion that holds a type of significance only to himself.

Songer’s cross-purposes seem to discredit his overarching message. He praises God for every day, but uses these days to hunt down sexual conquests to shout about to an audience of millions. He expresses his love of Christian values while gleefully recounting tales of every possible mortal sin. Okay, so convenient hypocrisy is really the modus operandi of most people who are so vocal about religious values, but it’s rare to see a man so abjectly and unapologetically embracing these contradictions.

But here’s the thing about Songer: it’s not about his confused idea of comedy or his ignorance of his own pseudo-Christian values. It’s all about the delivery. He’s enthusiastic, he’s blindly hopeful, and it’s completely obvious that this is a man who embraces everything that life has to offer... and quite possibly drags it back to his basement and throttles the essence out of it. But you know that with Daniel Songer, he’ll appreciate every bit of life that leaks out across his basement floor, and he’ll tell you half of a story about it later.


Register or Login to leave a comment