Chop & Steele

I watched the documentary Chop & Steele last night.

I first became aware of Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett through the K-Strass morning news pranks:

Through that, I then learned about their Found Footage Festival live shows.

Chop & Steele mostly follows the story of Gray TV’s copyright lawsuit against The Found Footage Festival. But a secondary storyline follows Nick and Joe as they relentlessly tour their live show, driving from town to town, staying in not-very-nice hotels, and playing to small local audiences of anywhere from dozens to hundreds of people.

The pandemic, lockdown, and the cancellation of many live shows, understandably, becomes a major plot point in the film.

Of course, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to my own experience on “perma-tour” with Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids. From 2014 to 2019, Jenna and I organized roughly 26 live events a year, scheduled during evenings and weekends alongside our day jobs. We felt like we were on the road nearly all the time.

GRTTWaK has always been a hobby. Even at the height of touring, Jenna and I never seriously considered basing our livelihoods on the show, in the same way Nick and Joe have made The Found Footage Festival theirs.

The long drives, indie theatres, and merch tables shown in Chop & Steele were a glimpse into what it might be like if we had made GRTTWaK our main thing. And I’d be lying if I said the scenes in the doc showing rooms full of people laughing together didn’t make me a bit nostalgic for the pre-pandemic shows we used to mount.