One Man's Story of Making Some of the Worst Commercials Ever

Todd Bieber on being amazing at something awful

Showing commercials during live theater—has it really come to that? For Todd Bieber, it most definitely has. The filmmaker is launching an advertising-themed one-man show at New York's Uptight Citizens Brigade Theatre, where he also serves as content and production director. In "Commercial Interruption," Bieber shares stories from his "secret life" making ultra-low-budget ads in rural Pennsylvania. In a trailer for the show, he explains: "Growing up, I wanted to be a great filmmaker, like Scorsese or Orson Welles, Hitchcock. Instead, I wrote, produced and directed over 60 trashy local commercials. Seriously, some of the worst stuff you can imagine. And the truth was, I was f*cking great at it." He screens spots, as well as outtakes, on stage. Judging from the snippets in the trailer, his zany style employed for tacky law firms, car dealers and such derives more from Sid and Marty Krofft than Citizen Kane, with visual marvels including a deliriously cheesy car/helicopter, a shabby Tin Man promising free pizza and piles of giant coins lining the streets. (These are from three different ads—I think.) Bieber gained notoriety last year for a video project chronicling his efforts to learn who shot a roll of 35mm film he found on a Brooklyn street after a blizzard. Turns out the photographer hailed from France, and Todd hopped on a jet to personally present the developed pics of a wintry NYC to her in Paris. Heck, Hitchcock couldn't have bent down to pick up a roll of film if he tried. Am I wrong? Bieber will perform the show Feb. 6 and 20 at UCB New York and Feb. 27 at UCB L.A. Via Laughing Squid.