Do you remember Moron Movies? They were short little 8mm movies that Johnny Carson showed back in the 80s. Len Cella was the one-man shop that directed, filmed, narrated, and acted in all of these little capsules of absurdism, stuff like Jello Makes A Lousy Doorstop. Just the titles alone were hilarious, like An Exercise to Prevent Fat Ears and Hitler In First Grade.
The Moron Movies were a perfect example of a brief blip of absurdism in the 80s, a time when things like The Far Side and Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts were hilarious capsules of surrealist humor. (I know Deep Thoughts was shown on SNL in the 90s, but it all came from National Lampoon in the 80s.) Cella’s work was the great granddaddy of some of the funny stuff we see on YouTube or Vine, much like how Handey’s work is a direct precursor to some of the best twitter humor. The Moron Movies are also an amazing demonstration of the DIY ethic, because Cella was banging these things out in his house on a cheap 8mm camera, without any help, and then mailing them off to Carson.
There is an (unfortunately named) documentary short from a couple of years ago called King Dong. (Be careful of what you click when you search for that.) It’s on YouTube now, and is worth the 20-some minutes to watch it. There’s also an old VHS tape that I remember finding at Blockbuster in college and watching at three in the morning, and part of that has also surfaced on YouTube. It’s all incredibly dated, which makes it perfect.