Of course, YouTube vids like this one often simply come and go. They make the blog rounds, everyone has a laugh, and then it's on to the next meme. Yet, for reasons I cannot entirely place, Brodyquest has stuck with me in a big way. Maybe it's the jaunty, delightfully retro music, the hypnotic to-and-fro movements of Mr. Brody, or the completely epic last 40 or so seconds that take the thing to some new meta-Brody-realm...whatever it is, I can't stop thinking about Brodyquest.
It was by good fortune that a mutual acquaintance helped put me in touch with Brodyquest's creator, Neil Cicierega. Neil has been making original YouTube works for years, ranging from insane music videos to a series called Potter Puppet Pals, which...well, you should just watch a few episodes and discover why it's so awesome for yourself.
I put together a bunch of barely coherent, semi-silly questions for Mr. Cicierega, and he was kind enough to indulge my absurd fandom over this remarkable video. Read on and discover the secrets of Brodyquest, straight from the man behind the magic!
Screened: First off, I think there's one question that's been on everyone's mind since Brodyquest debuted: How is Adrien Brody, and have you seen him lately?
Neil Cicierega: Look in the mirror at midnight, speak his name three times and ask him yourself!
SC: The genesis of this video is something that has, frankly, kept me up nights. How did this concept come together? What is it about Adrien Brody that brought this all together in your head?
YouTube channel to resemble the box art for the early-90s hormone-blossoming board game "Dream Phone", and I needed a colorful video with a dreamy boy to match it. For some reason, the word "Brodyquest" just got stuck in my mind. The word came first, and the beginning of the video is just what I assumed a video called "Brodyquest" would contain.
Originally it was going to be very repetitive, not really go anywhere, and would've been uploaded to an alternate channel so as not to upset my fans. But as I worked on it I realized it was A-material and I gradually started increasing the scope of the music and the voyage. Soon I just knew I had to bust out the After Effects and vocoders. Basically, it willed itself into existence using me as a mere vessel.
SC: You wrote the music for the piece, yeah? It's the catchiest thing I've heard in, like, forever.
NC: Yeah. I tried to include a lot of cheesy General MIDI instruments in there, because they make me nostalgic. The overall pep of it owes something to "You Make My Dreams Come True" by composer Hall von Oates.
SC: How long did it take you to put this whole project together?
NC: A few days. A lot of the "work" was just Google image searching. The more complicated stuff was fun and nothing really required a high standard of quality.
NC: That's unintended-- I originally just thought it would be amusingly inane. But I think the happy starfish are what does it.
SC: In the video, it sort of looks like Brody is wearing a pilot's uniform. Is that the case? And if so, is there some Adrien Brody pilot movie I just don't know about?
NC: Nah, just some red carpet photo where he's wearing a lapel. It was surprisingly difficult to find good photos of "Brody Classic"-- he seems to enjoy going out in public looking like a horrible unshaven bum. He's earned it, of course.
giant Jesus statue in Rio? Or Zeitgeist in San Francisco? Or, you know, space?
NC: No, so creating this video was a vicarious thrill. Well, I've been inside the sun, but I was too young to remember.
SC: Given five minutes alone with Adrien Brody, what would you want to discuss with him?
NC: I guess I've always wanted to know what he thinks about cryptozoology. Does Adrien Brody believe in the Jersey Devil?
SC: If you could sleep atop Brody, what would you want to use for a pillow? His barrel chest, or his trademark nose?
SC: On a scale of one to BRODY, how pumped are you for Predators?
NC: Don't hit me, but I've never seen the original. I'm pumped for whenever I see that, though.
SC: Top five Adrien Brody movies! Go!
2. The Darjeeling Limited
3. Angels in the Outfield
5. He was in King Kong, wasn't he?
SC: Top five Adrien Brody hairstyles! Go!
NC: 1. Rat Tail
3. Sadness Hair
5. Brody Enhanced
SC: Top five Brodies (of any kind)! Go!
NC: 1. Brody doing tricks on a yo-yo
2. Brody killing a vampire
3. Boot camp drill instructor Brody
4. Brody becoming mesmerized by a crystal
5. Vice President Spiro Brody
SC: You have a fairly extensive catalog of videos on your YouTube channel, ranging from live action video pieces to puppet shows involving Harry Potter characters. Has Brodyquest been your biggest attention-getter? What among your videos are you most proud of?
NC: Brodyquest has been a bit of a hit, got featured on a number of websites and G4 TV and whatnot, but the Potter Puppet Pals are by far the biggest draw. That series has a ridiculous combined total of over 157 million views, which even to Brody's admirable 311,000 is impossible to compete with. I enjoy making all sorts of videos, but I think music videos are the most fun to rewatch. Sometimes the humor of a skit fades over time, but the pure toe-tapping joy of a good music video has staying power.
SC: What's next for you?
NC: I'm trying to write a webcomic, am working on a bunch of music, and have a few video ideas. It's business as usual. Not selling my belongings to fund an independent masterpiece yet.
SC: Do you have a greater message you would like to deliver to the world at large regarding Adrien Brody?
NC: Yo, if anyone out there knows Barack Obama show it to him! Any other world leaders, too! Don't do anything illegal.
SC: Thanks for your time, Neil!