Indie Spotlight: Derrick Comedy’s Mystery Team

You know that feeling where you laugh so much you are overcome with fatigue?

About ten months ago, Derrick Comedy posted one last video on their website (the memorable skit “Winks”) and then bowed out of making Internet videos until further notice. The first few months were difficult: I needed my fill of fresh skits saturated with dark humor and no boundaries. Every week I would painfully check the site to see if maybe perhaps possibly they had posted another three minute comedy nugget—and every week I would be experience sadness and regret as Donald Glover’s manic eyes stared at me from the icon of “Winks.” Eventually my painful withdrawal subsided, and when they posted a note saying that they had taken a break from making internet-videos to shoot Mystery Team, their first feature length movie, all I could muster was mild interest. It was only when I reserved tickets to their improv performance at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York last week that my enthusiasm in Derrick was renewed.

Watching the trio perform on Saturday was a treat—engrossing and funny, as expected. But the real prize came when, after the show, we were invited to stay for the first test screening of Mystery Team– and the movie was pretty damn good.

The trailer will give you an idea of the plot, but for those opposed to youtube, the story follows a team of kid-detectives who solve low-intensity neighborhood mysteries (“Who stuck their finger in Mrs. Samson’s pie?”), only the kid-detectives aren’t really kids anymore—they’re high school seniors, and the mystery solving routine is no longer cute. 90% of the comedy is milked from one-liners about their sexual inexperience and hapless naivete (Dominic Dierkes masters the art of the one-liner here with countless perfect deliveries of stupid, innocent comments). The story kicks into gear when the gang receives a commission to find out who killed a small girl’s parents, and their investigation takes them into hobo-hangouts, sleazy strip clubs, a drug dealer’s den and a criminal corporation.

While I just briefly outlined the plot, don’t think that the story is the main selling point of the film. The fact of the matter is that the movie is genuinely hilarious. Mystery Team is filled with plenty of shocking and irreverent jokes. Its humor is often offensive, inane and balls-out—but almost always hysterical. The characters are perfectly constructed—they are shallow enough that you won’t take them seriously, but rich enough that you root for them. The entire screenplay is a balancing act that gracefully and delicately supports both the group’s ludicrous sense of humor and a plot that is engrossing enough to keep everyone’s attention for 90 minutes or so. The script truly succeeds in that it is an actual mystery story complete with danger, suspense and clues while also keeping you overwhelmed with laughter at its cynicism.

Here’s hoping for a release date for Mystery Team and more goddamn Internet videos. I need my next fix.

Conrad is currently a student enrolled at Bard College at Simon's Rock. He is studying English and Studio Art. Born and raised in New York, Conrad's interests include, but are not limited to: drawing, writing, film, music, comics, philosophical rhetoric, field hockey, and kicking people when they are down. Conrad enjoys using the third person.

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