One of the scariest things about New York is the bedbugs.
Most of the people I know have been “touched” by them at one point or another, and everyone is terrified of them. They’re scarier than cancer, than aids, than anything because they could happen to you without you doing anything, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The media has helped stir up this lather of fear, as they love printing articles about people who got infected and had to abandon everything they owned, and move, with nothing, practically naked, to a new home. I remember reading an article about a family, an early infectee, who got them in their downtown Brooklyn apartment and over the course of trying to eradicate them for a year, had lost all their friends and all their money. The article gave me goose bumps.
The bedbug has become to me a symbol of personal and financial ruin. So, like anything I find terrifying, I also find them a great source of comedy. I was trying to write a sketch about bedbugs a year ago, but we discovered THE BEAST at work, probably brought in with a donated office chair, and the lingering thought that I might have brought them back to my house with me sent me into a state of temporary insanity. I didn’t eat or sleep for a week, instead, I searched my apartment for bedbugs. I didn’t find any, and I hadn’t gotten any bites, but then I had read this FANTASTIC fact online that said a large percentage of people who have them may not react to bites so they would never even know. So the fact that I didn’t have any bites didn’t prove anything. Finally, my insanity wore itself out, but I had to abandon the bedbug sketch.
But that didn’t kill the idea. I still wanted to tackle the idea, someday. If it could make me that crazy, it was too powerful of an idea to just abandon.
This October I had my chance. For Thunder Gulch’s annual Halloween show, Monster Night Live, I wrote a Weekend Update piece starring a sort of emo bedbug, who just wants to love people, and to convince them to love him back, has basically remade Twilight, but starring himself and a tick instead of vampires and a werewolf.
Rob Cuthill did a great job as the bedbug, managing to win over the audience, and the piece did what I hoped it would do, scared the audience and grossed them out. The video, which I made and edited (horribly) did alright, I think I found it funnier than anyone else did. Making it, I laughed and laughed, so much that my stomach was sore for two days. I did sort of a horrible job with it, it’s terrible quality, things change speeds and it has purposefully terrible dialogue, and it’s super cheesy. But all that said, I’m happy with it. I love the costumes, and I think this is one of the funniest things I’ve had done, if just because it’s so horrible.
Plus, by laughing at them, it takes away some of the fear of bedbugs.
A big thanks to Rob Cuthill, Josh Patton and Shalyah Evans for making this dream come true.