I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

FAF: Freedom at 4am (an Interview with Alan Resnick)


by Todd E. Jones
May 13, 2014

4 am is a beautifully unusual time slot for television. Before we could watch all the weird videos we want on the Internet, television shows like USA Network’s “Night Flight” were proud to broadcast bizarre shows, videos and film. Adult Swim is currently leading the way in these wonderfully weird television shows that are on in the middle of the night. Adult Swim is known for shows like “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, “Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!”, “Robot Chicken”, “Space Ghost Coast To Coast”, and “The Boondocks”. Although those shows have helped bring the obscure to a more mainstream audience, the network also has more odd, unknown television shows like “12 Oz. Mouse”, “Perfect Hair Forever”, and “Soul Quest Overdrive”. The 4 am time slot gives artists the creative freedom to do whatever their quirky minds desire.

AR is the new addition to Adult Swim’s quirky list of artistic collaborations. Resnick is a comedian, writer, and visual artist. He has a pseudo-infomercial that airs at 4 am. In his infomercial “Live Forever As You Are Now”, he offers this creepy service where he creates avatars so people can “live forever”. It may be the only infomercial with a terminally ill child that will make you laugh. With a surreal amount enthusiasm and a life guru personality, he hosts the show along with his own avatar (who does not stop talking about his own wife). Resnick will impress you with his knowledge of how you can live forever... through a slightly malfunctioning computer avatar.

The freedom of 4 am is beautifully strange. Insomniacs, night owls, and loveable weirdoes will appreciate the bizarre comedy of AR and his “Live Forever As You Are Now” infomercial on Adult Swim. We asked him a few questions about his perspectives on comedy and art in general.

NA Mag: Tell me about the infomercial on Adult Swim.

AR: It came out of a live performance I did. It was a “Ted Talk” parody. Our friend who works at Adult Swim, David Hughes (of Off The Air)  saw it and suggested we adapted it for an infomercial at 4 am.

NAmag: What made you get into comedy?

AR: I am a visual artist. I went to art school. I was honestly always jealous of my friends in bands who got to go on tours . Ben O’Brian organized a comedy tour and asked me to make something for it. It was an extension of visual arts and performance.

NAmag: Who are your influences?

AR: Visual artists like Mike Smith and Mike Kelly. Television-wise, “Mr. Show with Bob & David” was a huge influence. “Kids In The Hall” and “Upright Citizens Brigade”, too. Before the Internet, I liked the fact that I could find something funny and weird on TV late at night.

NAmag: What is next for you on Adult Swim?

AR: We are probably not going to do any fake infomercials. Ben O'brien will do another project on Adult Swim that is on at 4 am. It will be very different and it will be something that someone will stumble on unintentionally. When I was younger, I accidentally found on shows like “Space Ghost Coast To Coast” late at night. Some of the greatest stuff, you stumble on by accident. That is what we hope will happen with our next project.

NA Mag: What television shows have you been recently watching?

AR: I like “Kroll Show”. I think that is pretty hilarious. “Portlandia” is something I enjoy. I liked “East Bound and Down” and “Louie” too. They have and artistic sensibility as well as base humor. 

NA Mag: Did you ever make an art project that got you in trouble?

AR: Yes! Sure! One of the first videos I ever made got me into physical trouble. In the video, I'm dressed in childhood footy pajamas. My friend taped me to a tree.  It was one shot. The tape dug into my rib cage. When I finally got down, I thought I had a hernia. I went to the emergency room. I told the doctor what I did and thought he would say, “You’re an idiot.” He didn't react, he just told me to take some asprin.  

NA Mag: Artistically, what else do you have going on?

AR: I just got back from tour. I was doing a 3 week comedy tour, doing a one man play. Currently, I am working on a video for the band Slasher Flicks.

NA Mag: With the Internet, many people think that physical art is dying. Instead of purchasing vinyl, DVDs, compact discs, and physical books, people can just stream or download the work of their favorite artists. What is your opinion on this change? Is physical art dead?

AR: It puts a pressure on context. In my mind, TV is on the way out. I don't know who pays for cable anymore. I watch TV on the internet and so does everyone I know.  It has been a while since I really watched TV on TV. I think there is something interesting about making art in the context of a dying medium?  

NA Mag: How do you distinguish yourself from other artists?

AR: It’s about intention and not about business. True art is not a business.  An artist should make something that they would like want to see. My intention with comedy is to make myself laugh and my friends laugh and make something that does not exist.

Also check out this site that goes along with the infomercial:

www.alanresnick.info

Todd E. Jones