This Week In Joe’s Basement, episode 02: People As They Really Are

AIR DATES: August 4,8,14, 1989


Joe and Paul and friends wander the streets of Hyde Park with the camera, asking strangers to tell them a joke.  The entire episode is devoted to these encounters, as people comply, with varying degrees of success.

In a harbinger of later, much better installments, the focus is not on the jokes themselves but the people who tell them.  The camera often stays trained on people longer than it should, to revealing effect – an approach Joe would later call “anti-editing.”

Production Notes:

Paul and Joe had borrowed Chicago Cable Access’ camera gear again to make some short films for another project, but simmering creative disputes with the cast exploded, leaving them empty-handed, a few hours before the facility required them to return the camera and submit some kind of program.

Dan Margulies and Bob Poe joined in on this episode. Dan would work on almost every subsequent one, and Bob would frequently return.




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