According to Wikipedia, "Jash" is a Kurdish word referring to enemy collaborators who fight against the interests of country, used in a similar (and pejorative) manner as "quisling" or "Benedict Arnold." According to the Internet, Jash is also the name of a new comedy channel launched over the weekend at South By Southwest, put on by YouTube and starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, and Reggie Watts. The goal of the project is to create "a comedy platform with complete creative autonomy," although the description of the SXSW launch event sounds way more, well, SXSW-y, complete with buzzy phrases like "collaborative innovation in the digital space" and "the thriving world of digital media in entertainment." Woof.
And, because this is SXSW and people have to tweet about literally everything that happens there, portmanteaus, puns and taglines people have come up with on Twitter about this thing already include "Jashhead, Flash your Jash, Jashtag, Jashed Potatoes, splishsplash I was taking a Jash, Jashercized." We’ll see where it all goes from here. In the meantime, watch the first ever Jash video below. In it, there are scenes of popular YouTube videos being destroyed, which may be wishful thinking for everyone who has grown weary of Harlem Shakes and screaming goats.
A selection of artists performing other people’s music from throughout the week:
Reggie Watts – “Panama”
Comedian/beatboxer/pretty cool guy of all trades Reggie Watts stopped by The Onion A.V Club’s Chicago office to take part in their “Undercover” series. He chose Van Halen’s bombastic ‘80s party anthem “Panama,” but no ironic David Lee Roth reworking would do here. Watts takes the song in a completely new direction, actually giving us an anthem about the nation of Panama and its canal, set to a looped beatbox. Educational!
Netherfriends & Show You Suck – “Full Of It”
Not a cover per se, but an interesting use of already-existing music anyway (not your typical mash-up, that’s for sure). The always-ambitious, nomadic Shawn Rosenblatt, who we last saw recording a song in each of the 50 states (your move, Sufjan!) introduces his new project, Netherfriends Does Nilsson, an album featuring Rosenblatt singing over tracks comprised of all Harry Nilsson samples. The results, especially on this funky single featuring Chicago rapper Show You Suck, are fantastic.
The Weeknd – “Dirty Diana”
The Canadian R&B icon, who will be appearing at a number of U.S. festivals this summer, has been incorporating Michael Jackson’s classic “Dirty Diana” into his repertoire for the past several months. Check out this video, featuring some sweet choreography, to get some idea of what this entails.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “God Save The Queen”
Neil Young and Crazy Horse returned this week with Americana, their album featuring a number of traditional American folk songs re-imagined through the lens of Mr. Young. Among them is this rockin’ version of “God Save the Queen,” just a few days too late to shake things up during the Diamond Jubilee.
Really, is there anything Jon Hamm can’t do? One minute, he’s brooding over the Beatles and pitching with the best of them on Mad Men; the next, he’s offering unashamed physical comedy on 30 Rock, first as the lovable-but-dumb Drew and more recently in this season’s live episode in a somewhat uncomfortable Amos ‘n’ Andy spoof; or he’s doing tacky-awesome recruitment ads for his alma mater. Also, he made you breakfast.
This week, Hamm added two more talents to his resume: Internet advice columnist and amateur rapper. The first was as part of a regular feature for Rookie Magazine called “Ask A Grown Man.” Here, despite playing a really terrible father to a teenage girl on Mad Men, Hamm actually gives out some pretty wise words to Rookie’s mostly teenage and female readers. “Don’t define yourself by who wants to get with you,” Hamm tells one girl with a query about an indecisive guy. “I’m sure you’re a lovely person.” He then proceeds to recommend some reading for a reader concerned about farting in front of a significant other: the classic tome, Everybody Poops.
Elsewhere on the Internet, Hamm joined comedian, musician and human beat machine Reggie Watts for a short for IFC’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!” What resulted was an inspired but not particularly well-crafted rap about the iconic TV comedy Taxi, highlighting its actors and characters, including Judd Hirsch, Andy Kaufman and Tony Danza. If you ever wanted to hear Jon Hamm rapping the name “Tony Danza” made into a looping beat, now is your chance, friends.