I’m pretty sure Howard and Leslie is the funniest thing I’ve seen in years. Made by Donald Glover of Derrick fame, these cartoons chronicle the misadventures of a violent stalker and his scared and apprehensive ex-girlfriend. They’re twisted, dark and right up my alley. The line “you lied and took me to an execution” makes me laugh every time I watch the cartoon.
But besides being funny, Howard and Leslie are also important. Glover made them on the newly launched XtraNormal website, which allows its users to make cartoons based on pre-existing animation templates. This site has huge potential in the comedy world. Ever wanted to make a funny cartoon? Now’s your chance. Have an idea for a two-person comedy sketch but don’t have anyone else in mind? Here you go. Want to write a monologue but don’t think you have the chops to pull it off? Now you can.
In addition to its animation abilities, XtraNormal allows for easy uploading to YouTube and for easy linking to Facebook and MySpace. People don’t even have to go to the XtraNormal website to see your work. How awesome is that?
YouTube, Facebook and Myspace helped democratize the entertainment industry. Is XtraNormal the next evolutionary step for us comedy folk? That remains to be seen. But I do know this: I’m completely fucking obsessed with it.
Inspired by Howard and Leslie, I decided to make my own cartoons. What follows is something called WEST ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL REUNION. In my series, characters who share names of people I went to high school with tell their sordid tales of misery and redemption in the days upcoming to this year’s reunion.
Gregg Gethard is a Philadelphia-based comedian and host of the monthly sketch/monologue show BEDTIME STORIES