PAX Prime 2008: Bad Horsing
By JonnyNero, on Epic Default
Apparently, we have birthed a new meme. I’m calling it Bad Horsing, but there have been other titles such as Horsing, The Bad Horse Chorus, Horse-Rolling and the like. I’ll tell the story from the beginning because it will make that much more sense.
A couple of months ago, I was on a break from work. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog had just come out, and like most nerds, I LOVED it. While I was on this break, a thought came to mind: “How awesome would it be if some people went around singing this song to people at PAX.”
I am an avid member of the PAX IRC chat room. So I randomly mentioned the awesome idea to the people in there. This is where the details started coming out. People were liking the idea and throwing in ideas as to how to execute it well. However, no one was stepping up to do it. So I decided I would. I talked to Anthony, and he was on board as a singer, and one of my chat friends, HotSake, joined as the courier (he and I worked on the letter). We just needed to find a third singer.
We did, that first day. A guy by the name of Houn. But as PAX approached it became clear that he wasn’t going to be able to make time in his schedule (family man that he is) in order to rehearse the song a couple of times. So he unfortunately dropped out about two weeks away from the expo. In comes Proximity, gracefully taking up the reigns and joining in our fun.
So zero hour finally arrives last Friday. We meet outside our hotel and run through the specifics like timing, bolting, and of course the song a couple of times. Then we’re off to the expo.
The first few hours of the day were uneventful. We had an idea to hit Gabe and Tycho at a Q&A panel by getting backstage and popping from behind the curtain. HotSake actually talked to Khoo (business manager of PA/organizer of PAX/all around awesome person) about this, but he deemed it logistically difficult, so he axed the idea. So we went with our back up, find them on the floor of the expo.
While I was walking the Expo hall, Gabe randomly walks past me. So I call HotSake to tell him to keep a look out for him the rest of the day. However, I was interrupted by him yelling “GET TO THE SKY BRIDGE NOW!”
So, of course I find Anthony and we book it over there. When I found Sake he tells me “We’re getting Felicia.” To which I reply “…now?!”
See, we hadn’t done anything like this before. I was hoping that we would get a couple of random expo goers first, before hitting the big guns. But HotSake had other plans. So with my hands shaking like Michael J. Fox (too soon?), we initiated our first hit.
As you can see, it could not have gone better. The original plan was to bolt and act like nothing happened. As we bolted however, there was such a response behind us, that we had to go back. When we did, Felicia asked us to do it again because she wanted to take video for herself actually mimicking Neil Patrick Harris in the show. It didn’t go as well, but it was still fun.
Afterwords, she had us sign the letter we gave her, we took some pictures and went on our merry ways. Needless to say we were now super excited about this idea of ours.
Friday passes with very little in the way of events. All of us had other things we wanted to do so we never got a chance to Horse anyone else that day. Then Saturday comes. HotSake had talked to Porkfry and told him about our idea. He loved it and wanted to get footage for the PAX08 DVD (being the executive producer of it allows him to make those decisions.) So we bring the crew along for our second sniping of two random Mario & Luigi cosplayers.
Needless to say, the horsees didn’t get it. But the people around did, so I still call it a success. So we come back and talk to Porkfry some more, and he says he would like to get someone in a way where no one is walking in front of the camera. So as we’re sitting around figuring out who to get next, in a way that’s conducive to the camera, Pork asks, “So this is like a new type of Rickroll, isn’t it?”
Before he asked that question, I had never thought of it that way. I just thought of it as a fun homage to the Dr. Horrible series, just something to do to add to the PAX experience, but when I thought about it, I realized that all the elements were the same. So I responded “Yeah, I guess so.”
Suddenly, his eyes widened. “You need to get Coulton!”
Background on that reaction. Friday night, Jonathan Coulton was performing as part of the nightly concerts on Friday and Saturday. During his performance, he rickrolled the audience…
(watch the whole video…it’s worth it)
So, of course, having seen (and being a victim of this) we had only one reply. “Fuck yes!”
Porkfry laid out the idea. He would pull JoCo out of his booth for an “interview” for the DVD. In the middle, Sake would deliver the letter and we would hit him. So they go to pull him out, and to make sure no one walked into the shot, he grabbed a couple of enforcers to make a space around them.
Anthony set up to his left, Prox and myself to his right, and Sake just in front of him. As we were getting ready to go, the Enforcer on my side somehow sensed that I was going to go in and told me I couldn’t. I told him about our prank, and he allowed us too. Sake had worse luck.
Porkfry never told these guys what was happening, so watching HotSake try to get past his enforcer was like watching a well executed Pro Basketball move. Bobbing, weaving, juking, ducking, and faking were all used by Sake, and Liger (the enforcer) kept with him. Big props to her, but it didn’t help us out one bit. HotSake finally looked towards Pork for help, and he signaled Liger to let him go. He got in there, interrupted JoCo, and well…
The part you don’t see there (but will be on the DVD) is that after we left, Coulton went back to the interview as if nothing happened! Porkfry was laughing his ass off, and guaranteed that we would be on the DVD on that performance alone. He then came up with our next target, Wil Wheaton.
Wil was doing a panel on Sunday, and they already had time set aside to interview him before hand. So Porkfry decided that we’d do the same thing to him on Sunday.
He also asked us to do an interview that will go on the DVD as well. I have to say something about this. Yes, this was my idea originally, but everyone who helped out added so much to it, that it didn’t feel like mine anymore. It felt like I was apart of a team for the greater good, and I enjoyed that feeling immensely.
So it humbled me when everyone on the Horsing team unanimously agreed that I be the one to be interviewed, with them standing around looking very sexy. It was an awesome feeling.
So Saturday continues and we decide to hit another random cosplayer, Harley Quinn. Unfortunately there is no video of this, yet (there’s one out there, because we hit her after being interviewed by some random person.) I can say however, that she enjoyed it as well.
So Sunday rolls around, and we meet Porkfry and the rest of the crew at the Wil Wheaton panel. Turns out, he had caught a bad case of the ConSARS and was running really late. So while we were figuring out the back up for his hit, I relayed the plan that Anthony and I came up with walking over there regarding how to hit Gabe and Tycho.
We thought, it would be super easy to have HotSake pose as someone asking a question, with us in the line behind him, and when one of them opened the letter, we would do our little act and leave. Initially, Porkfry thought we were talking about our backstage plan. We told him Khoo didn’t like that idea. However, he basically said, and I’m paraphrasing “You have to get them, no matter what, at the panel.”
The thing is, to get to the Wheaton panel, we had forgone food, and to make sure that we could get into Q&A, we would have to get in the line waiting for it right then and there. This is where Porkfry really shined for us.
He told us, “Don’t worry! You’re part of my crew now. Go get food, and I’ll get you in.” So we did. We got to the panel just before it started. And sure enough, he got us in. WE took our place in line and enjoyed the panel immensely. Then came the words we did NOT want to hear.
“We can take two more questions before we leave.” Tycho said over the mic. SO now we’re in a panic. There was no way to contact Porkfry to tell him that we were practically the first question to get booted. So, on the suggestion of one of our new found PAX friends, we tried a last resort move.
We went up to the guy in front of us, and practically begged him to let us go in front of him. At first he had nothing of it, hell, I would to if I was in line for as long as him. But when we told him what we were doing, he looked at us, pointed to the mic and said, “Go.” So we did.
If anyone knows that guy, or if you happen to be that guy, MAJOR thanks to you.
So we’re now on the highest of highs you could be on. We go through our routine on Sunday, mainly hanging out in the BYOC area, watching the views on the Felicia Day hit continue to go up, and waiting for Porkfry to call us about Wil. We find out that he is doing a signing just across the “hall” from the BYOC area. So we call Porkfry up and let him know that he is there and we could get him if we wanted to.
Apparently, he took that as, “We’re getting him now!” So he sends the DVD crew over there to meet us. The story they tell us is that they were taking a break and were basically told to drop what they were doing to get over there. They had interviewed Mr. Wheaton earlier, and he was not feeling good, at all.
I can sum up the entire conversation in one quote. “If he punches me in the face for this, you all are getting punched in the face.” He didn’t mean it of course, we all knew Wil would get a kick out of it, but he had just been having a sub par PAX due to ConSARS, that he was, understandably, frayed.
So they set up, Sake goes into deliver the letter, and I couldn’t see him open it. But I could hear it.
Apparently, word had been getting around about four guys delivering letters and singing to them, so as soon as he open the letter, he knew what was about to happen. So he just let out an extremely loud, and drawn out “Ah!” that I could swear the Annex could hear. He had an awesome smile on his face the whole time, and when we came back after we bolted, he said, “You guys did so good, after you left, I thought for a second ‘Were those the real guys?'”
Not only that, but over on GeekDad on Wired where an entire article was written about this, he left a comment saying that it was the highlight of his PAX.
Unfortunately, no video was taken minus that for the DVD, but we have photographic evidence.
So we pretty much hit everyone we wanted to. We did a couple more on request to random PAX goers, but we were ready to retire. That is, until we saw Adam Sessler.
Now, if you are an avid follower of this blog, you know we rag on G4 all the time. However, we make it a point to not make fun of Sessler. Simply because he actually knows his shit. He’s not just some pretty face that is put on the screen to peddle their nonsense.
So, in order to pay tribute to that, we had to get him.
I still laugh every time I see him say “that was awesome,” to no one.
The greatest part about this is that when we left, HotSake (the camera guy there), turned to leave, and Sessler grabs him by the arm and says (paraphrasing) “Get your guys together. I want to get that for the show.”
The show is X-Play. His show. On g4. On the television. I have to say that I was proud that we played it really cool, even though you could tell deep down, all of us were freaking out. So we go to meet with his crew, more specifically, his producer. He walks up to him and tells him, “these guys do something really funny, I want to get it for the show.”
The producer looks at me and asks, “Okay, what do you do?”
“Have you ever seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog?”
Uh-Oh. As I open my mouth to explain, Sessler stops me. “Just trust me, it’s great.”
So they set up, and we perform it again, for the big time cameras. And the producer and camera operator loved it as well. Talking with Adam later (it happened to be his birthday, and was having his party at the same restaurant we were at later), he told me that he couldn’t guarantee that it will get on, but he will push for it. It hasn’t been on yet, but there’s one more night of PAX coverage tonight, so be watching.
So, that’s it…that’s how you start a meme. have a fun idea and implement it to the right people. PAX was a hell of a lot of fun, but this alone, made mine (and I’m pretty sure everyone else’s) weekend. Stay tuned for more updates, and welcome to those who are here due to the various promotions at PAX.