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Derrick Beckles is a Canadian writer, director, actor, and comedian from Scarborough, Ontario. He was the creator and host of the Adult Swim television show Hot Package,[1] creator of the "TV Carnage" compilations,[2] and helped found Vice TV. He currently hosts the Adult Swim show, Mostly 4 Millennials.

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Early lifeEdit

Beckles spent the majority of his teenage years in Toronto punk bands including Black Jello, who were well known for being banned from all live venues in Toronto.[citation needed] He began experimenting with film making with two high school friends, which included the filming of him visiting white supremacists in their home.[citation needed] These early filming endeavors led to him studying film at Concordia University.[citation needed] Soon after, Beckles began working with and shaping what was then a ten-page weekly called The Voice of Montreal, which grew into VICE Magazine.[citation needed]

Beckles became a familiar face on Canadian TV while occasionally performing stand-up in Toronto and New York.[citation needed] He produced and directed a hit festival documentary called Strip Club DJs and was a reporter on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.[citation needed]

TV CarnageEdit

Beckles recognized the appeal of poor programming in 1994 when he began releasing VHS mashups of spray-on hair infomercials, squirrel cooking shows, and public access freaks performing like no one’s watching.[3] These compilations led to the creation of TV Carnage, a bootleg home-video series in which Beckles distills all the strangest clips from late-night informercials, local-access programs, and found videos into hour-long DVDs.[citation needed]

While Beckles had been editing together Tex Avery cartoons with Stooges songs to entertain his friends while in high school, the TV Carnage format didn't evolve into its current form until 1996. While bedridden and doped up on painkillers, Beckles began to assemble mashups with themes.[4] In these mashups, Beckles treats well-known and unknown footage alike, sewing the scenes and moments together to create an absurd alternate entertainment universe.[5]

A self-described, "slutty distributor of heavenly crap," Beckles calls the creation of TV Carnage his "way of screaming at the world."[6] Though the compilations' original format was VHS, Beckles soon began producing DVDs. The format allowed for a wider audience and soon TV Carnage began to gain a cult following.[7] It has been heralded by the likes of The New York Times, VICE Magazine, Wired, Spike Jonze, Tim and Eric, Brett Gelman, Mike Lazzo (Head of Adult Swim), Jonathan Krisel, Johnny Knoxville, Anne Heche, Crystal Castles, and Michael Cera. Cera has claimed, "TV Carnage is some of the most brilliant stuff out there right now."[8]

While reviewing TV Carnage's Let's Work it Out, blog fourfour claimed that, "I'd argue that not only would this blog look different were it not for Beckles, but the Internet would in general – his diabolical scavenging defined an essential online sensibility."[9]

In an interview with the blog Never Ending Radical Dude, Beckles explained his process for creating the TV Carnage compilations:

"I would always kind of obsessively watch TV to look for the most interesting decisions people made while in front of a camera. In TV Carnage I try and make a weird story out of the clips that I put together. I’m a frustrated animator in a way. Every clip for me is like a frame ya know. So I started collecting all this stuff [clips] and decided to put it all together. I made smaller ones for friends early on maybe 10–15 minutes long, then I decided to make longer ones that were actually an hour or more than a hour [sic]." [10]

TV Carnage DVDs include:

  • Ouch Television My Brain Hurts [11]
  • A Rich Tradition of Magic [12]
  • When Television Attacks [13]
  • Casual Fridays[14]
  • A Sore For Sighted Eyes[15]
  • Let's Work It Out! [16]

Beckles hosted many of the premieres for the TV Carnage DVDs at porn theatres in Toronto.

Vice TVEdit

After being a writer for influential Canadian publication Vice, Beckles worked with Johnny Knoxville and David Cross to develop Vice TV.[17] He served two years as a director, producer, and correspondent on dangerous missions around the globe. He was responsible for many well-known pieces including Toxic Williamsburg, Toxic West Virginia, Nazis of Paraguay, a piece on the porn industry and a piece on China that had him and his crew hiding in a brothel for a week.[citation needed]

The Truth CampaignEdit

After helping to create Vice TV, Beckles secured the position of a spokesman in the Truth campaign, which he co-directed, co-wrote, and largely ad-libbed.[citation needed] His work earned two Golden Lions at Cannes for the advertising and design agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The campaign consisted of "bombarding cigarette companies with performance-art protests and assailing executive with facts and figures."[4]

Totally for TeensEdit

The popularity of the TV Carnage compilations led Beckles to develop a pilot in 2009 for Adult Swim called Totally for Teens with Sabrina Saccoccio. The program was designed to be a "mock teen show directly inspired by TRL, Christian programming, and the Reagan-era 'Just Say No' campaign PSAs."[6] On the show, the audience is taught "questionable life lessons from its morally bankrupt host."[18]

Totally for Teens was created by and stars Beckles, was produced by Ari Fishman (The Daily Show), and directed by Chris Grimmer. The pilot was never picked up but eventually aired on Adult Swim's DVR Theater on January 19, 2011.

Music videosEdit

Beckles has directed music videos for various recording artists that include Melissa Auf der Maur, Crystal Castles, Electric Six, and Islands.[citation needed] The video for Islands' song "No You Don't" stars Michael Cera. Islands' frontman Nick Diamond is a longtime fan of the TV Carnage series. In an interview with Spinner, Beckles said that Diamond has claimed that TV Carnage "saved his life and became a beacon of hope for his creative endeavours."[citation needed] The list of videos includes:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Hot Package".
  2. ^ "TV Carnage".
  3. ^ Bartkewicz, Anthony (August 2007). "Kult Status: TV Carnage". Decibel: 122.
  4. ^ a b Haber, Matt (24 April 2005). "Slicing and Dicing the Vast Wasteland". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  5. ^ Eichel, Molly. "Splicing, dicing the craziest clips to create 'TV Carnage'". philly.com. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b Carpenter, Cassie (July 2009). "The Master in Unpopular Culture". Geek.
  7. ^ Rafferty, Brian (2005). Gleaming the Tube. Spin. p. 58.
  8. ^ White, Nicholas (January 2011). "Michael Cera Stars in Trippy New Video for Islands' 'No You Didn't'". Spinner.
  9. ^ "Neglected in '10: TV Carnage Presents: Let's Work It Out!!!". fourfour. 23 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Never Ending Radical Dude".
  11. ^ "Ouch Television My Brain Hurts".
  12. ^ "A Rich Tradition of Magic".
  13. ^ "When Television Attacks".
  14. ^ "Casual Fridays".
  15. ^ "A Sore For Sighted Eyes".
  16. ^ "Let's Work It Out!".
  17. ^ Harber, Matt (April 2005). "Slicing and Dicing the Vast Wasteland". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "Totally For Teens IMDB".
  19. ^ http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/7565-top-40-music-videos-of-2008/4/

External linksEdit