Yesterday, Kevin Cooney dropped by the house for coffee.
He is in NY on a brief visit from Japan.
About 8 months ago we kicked off the Travel Channel Academies and Whats Your Trip?, the TV show that showcased the new talent we were finding and developing.
When we saw Kevin Cooney’s first videos, we knew we had found something unusual – or he had found us.
God only knows how much talent was lost in the ‘Golden Age of Television’, when there were only 3 networks and only a few hours a day on the air. Video is such a plastic medium, it has so much potential- and we are only at the very beginning of what we can do with it.
Let’s start with Cooney:
Born on Long Island, he went to Syracuse University where he studied film, and then like many aspiring filmmakers, headed or Los Angeles. After a frustrating year, he headed for Japan for a vacation … and never came back.
Seven years later, he is earning his way in Japan as a stand up comic – in Japanese.
For Cooney, who did not speak a word of Japanese before he left LA, this is a pretty staggering achievement.
He is also becoming something of a TV personality on Japanese TV – and is completing a pilot for NHK, the BBC of Japan, somewhat similar to (he says), Larry David. The Larry David of Japan – now, there is a series.
We met Cooney because he still loves to make his own film, and always carries his small HDV camera. He sent us his short video of eating Octopus Ice Cream – and we fell for it.
Cooney reminds me of a kind of Nicholas Cage – but with talent.
He is headed back to Tokyo and wants to make more videos. I told him to go for it.
He says he can show us a side of Japan most tourists never see – like a restaurant where they bring out a bowl of water with a piece of tofu floating in the center. In the bowl are also live eels. They turn up the heat and as the water starts to get hot, the eels burrow into the tofu to try and save themselves, and then are cooked into the tofu – ready to eat. Yum!
That ought to rate well.