David Liebe Hart, from Adult Swim’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” performed at Common Grounds in Greensboro this past Thursday night. David was brought in by UNCG’s own radio station, WUAG, who have made real efforts in bringing new artists to Greensboro. Considered to be one of those fringe, “outsider” artists who has managed to make a name for himself and amass a sizeable following, although his style could be capitalizing on niche audiences.
For people who haven’t seen “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”, it is a highly satirical, almost nightmarish, representation of public access television. The series showcases and outwardly trippy quality, low production standards and deliberately awkward comedy. It definitely isn’t produced with a mass appeal sensibility and has received mixed reviews from Adult Swim’s fan base.
David’s segment on the show consisted of him sitting in front of a green screen, often with some sort of creepy puppet, singing songs about his experiences with love, life, and aliens. His live performance followed the same formula as he stood on stage in an astronaut outfit singing some of his more popular hits such as “Salami” and “La Rent Doesn’t Want Me to Look at Porn” while video accompaniment projected in the background.
Going to this event not knowing much about David Liebe Hart or Tim and Eric, I was taken aback by the whole scene. His fans were clearly enjoying Liebe Hart’s outlandish persona, and with every weird thing he said they just feed on his energy more and more. I stood there confused as to why people found him so entertaining. He certainly wasn’t that great of a singer, and the songs were just weird and borderline tuneless. I couldn’t decide whether all of it was just his own quirky form of comedy, or if some of it was meant to be taken seriously.
Between songs, David talked about his experiences with his divorce, his struggle with pornography and his ongoing relationship with aliens. Even though he touched on a lot of dark topics from his personal life, some of the things he said were just completely ridiculous. Although I remain doubtful about his communications with aliens, David did manage to come across as a genuine person. There was a persistent tickle in the back of my mind that he might be telling the truth.
After talking to some of his fans I started to understand some of the appeal. David is such an outlandish character that people are attracted to him purely because of how ridiculous he is. They said part of his charm is not knowing how to take him and the “what the heck am I watching?” quality he exudes.
Others are attracted to him because they seek to understand what lies underneath all his strange idiosyncrasies. Does he actually believe that he has not only met aliens, but carried out in-depth conversations with them on a regular basis? It is easy to wonder if maybe he is searching for truth and meaning but what he finds comes out in his unconventional behavior.
As an outsider watching David’s performance, you might think that his behavior is all part of an act, but David actually comes across as such an honest person. After talking with him, it became clear that the things he talks about in his songs and on stage aren’t part of some sort of character that he turns off after a show. Everything he says is genuinely David Liebe Hart being David Liebe Hart.
Hart was joined by electronic musician and DJ Jonah Mociun. Together they put on one of the most interesting shows I’d seen in awhile. Due to David’s appearances in films, television shows, and his recent tours in the US, UK, Ireland and Canada, he has been able to strengthen his already die-hard fan base of hipsters and satire loving nerds.
If you’re into the “outsider” type of art and comedy, and you weren’t at Common Grounds Thursday to see David Liebe Hart, then you missed out on an exceptionally bizarre, yet strangely entertaining experience. When asked about his visit to North Carolina, all David had to say was, “It’s nicer than Florida.” Maybe the connection to his alien friends is stronger here.