Dutch West

5 09 2008

This article first appeared in The W Weekly in Lexington, Kentucky in 2005.

When the Dutch West comedy troop started out a little over a year ago they were just “a group of young artists, desperate to make a name for themselves.” Taking full advantage of the recent paradigm shift brought about by the Internet and podcasting, Dutch West is finding their audience online through uncensored comedy video and audio podcasts.

The name of the group comes from colonial-era merchants The Dutch West India Company, and relates to their pioneering of Internet-based sketch comedy. At its core, Dutch West is made up of five actors and writers, led by creator Sam Reich. Their dark brand of comedy harkens back to the days of Monty Python, Kids In The Hall, and Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Although their site, www.dutchwest.tv, has been around for a little over a year now, Dutch West has made a name for themselves in recent months after being featured in the iTunes music store and on viral video sites such as Ebaums World and College Humor.

What makes the Dutch West video podcasts unique is their relevance to today’s audience. The episode entitled “Zarnia” for instance, comments on Generation Y’s overuse of recent innovations such as Myspace, Instant Messaging, and iPods. Realizing that their viewers grew up as “media insane children” who are quick to move on “if they don’t see boobs,” the majority of the video podcasts clock in at two to three minutes. Dutch West also flourishes in the uncensored nature of the Internet, noting that “we can be as controversial as we want to be.” Their video podcast feed currently features 14 episodes with around 40 additional videos available through their website.

Much like their video counterparts, the Dutch West audio podcasts are more focused on quality than quantity. Likening their audio podcasts to “punching the listener in the face,” they edit hour-long improv sessions down to 10 minutes of rapid-fire comedy genius. One minute they’re riffing about Fedders, an Italian mob-run air conditioning company, and the next features a hilarious rendition of Randy Newman doing the soundtrack to Speed 3. The audio episodes are also enhanced for iTunes listeners with cleverly photoshoped images appearing in the album art window throughout the show.

As a myriad of comedy troops grasp for attention online, Dutch West credits their production values with giving them an edge up on the competition. From scouting locations to constantly rewriting sketches, Dutch West applies the same work ethic found in other mainstream comedy outlets. There are “very few people who are doing professional sketch comedy,” says Reich. Dutch West is currently negotiating several deals which could not be discussed on record, but they hope to someday take their comedy to feature films.

Dutch West performs regularly at the U.C.B. Theatre so be sure to check their site for performance dates before your next trip to N.Y.C. You can find Dutch West in the iTunes music store and online at www.dutchwest.tv. Dutch West releases new video podcasts each Friday and audio podcasts every Monday.




One response

9 09 2008

Awesome, awesome! Very funny. Thanks for putting this up.

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