May 3rd, 2012
There was a time, you’ll recall, shortly after Philebrity invented him, that everyone had some fun with Philly financial-investor-turned-actor/full-time-joke Arthur Kade. Gawker did a gaggle of posts, Philly Mag wrote a profile feature. The Daily News. We here at Philly Weekly weren’t immune either. Such was the powerful gravitational force that once was KADE. (He even made our music editor, Brian McManus, switching from the royal we to third person for this sentence, orgasm sperm into his pantaloons when they met the first time.)
But that was two years ago, which, in modern times, may as well be 15 years ago. In 2012, Kade has fallen very far off the radar of most thinking people. Thankfully, though, we’re still Facebook friends with him. And we don’t regret it for a second. Because we’ve followed Kade on his “Journey” for quite a long time now, and it’s taken us to some very strange, who’dathunkit places.
First, Kade lost the Floyd Mayweather-esque “LOOK HOW FABULOUS MY LIFE IS/DON’T YOU WISH YOU WERE ME” schtick and got saved. Born again. Washed anew in The Blood of Jesus Christ. He brings this up in many of the videos he now shoots. Oh, yeah. He shoots videos. Video interviews. Video interviews with a host of people too cool, smart or famous to ever be in Kade’s orbit. He’s interviewed Tom Scharpling of WFMU’s Best show, for instance. We know! Weird, right? He’s interviewed Mario Batali’s restaurant partner and FOX MasterChef Joe Bastianch. Other Kade gets of note include The Hills Whitney Port, super model and renowned cock ring of Rock ‘n’ Roll Royalty Janice Dickinson and healthy person Marilu Henner. He even had one of the very last interviews with brilliant funnyman Patrice O’Neal before he passed late last year. WE KNOW! WEIRD, RIGHT? (Do yourself a favor and watch that Patrice vid, wherein he basically tells Kade a sad sometimes-truth about the universe: “You are terrible, which is why you will go very far.”)
Now let’s talk authors. It would appear Kade’s been doing a lot of reading. He’s interviewed Charles Murray, turd in Dan Denvir’s punchbowl and author of The Bell Curve and Coming Apart. He’s interviewed Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger. He interviews tons of authors. Many of whom sit down with Kade before they appear on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or Colbert or, you know, shows with actual viewers who read. Really. What the hell is going on here?
A quick note about these interviews: THEY’RE AWFUL. Even calling them interviews isn’t quite right. They’re mostly just eight or so minutes of Kade showering his subjects with hyperbolic praise. They are embarrassing and will make your eyes water. Most average around 30 views. Which makes the fact that he’s able to pull down some of these guests even more fascinating. (Patrice’s posthumous vid has the most views, naturally.) The whole thing is just kind of weird and wonderful to watch. It fills our hate hump while simultaneously reminding us that nothing really matters: not your past, not your present, not your station in life, the work you do.
OK. That was a bit much. What’s the point here, again? Oh, yes. David Rees. He’s great. He did that comic Get Your War On for Rolling Stone while Will Ferrell was P..O.T.U.S. That was great too. But we really fell madly, deeply in love with him when he did hysterical recaps of America’s Next Great Restaurant for New York Magazine’s Grub Street. KALE CITY! Rees’ new thing is a very Portlandia-meets-Sasha Baron Cohen book called How To Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants. We have not read it, but as thinking people with some sense of funny we can, on its face, surmise that it’s a clever send up of the way we live now. If that’s not quite right, it’s still pretty clear: Rees isn’t serious.
Which is why the above video of Arthur Kade buying—hooklineandsinker—the idea that Rees quit his job as a very well regarded and popular comic strip author to sharpen pencils for $10 a pop is such a gorgeous thing to behold. It’s an Andy Rooney being goofed by Ali G moment. Pitch perfect. Or, maybe, Kade’s on some meta meta shit, straight-faced interviewing Rees as a Artisanal pencil sharpener, all the while full well knowing it’s a put on. We don’t know. We just know we love it. We wanted to share it with you.
Stay golden, Kade.