David Lynch: Master of Entertainment
Recently, it seems that a slew of Hollywood-industry folk have made the pivot to YouTube. Makes sense right? If you have a large enough fan base, the right amount of ego and don’t mind breaking into a less “traditional” sense of media (at least from their standpoint), you’d be remiss to miss out. The likes of Will Smith, Jack Black and The Rock have joined and while their content is fine, given the prevalent garbage juice on the platform, David Lynch breaks through the clutter with his beautifully quaint videos. While Lynch can be labelled as an actor (who can forget his interrogation skills in What Did Jack Do?), the fact that most of his career has been spent behind the camera makes it much less showy and all the more brilliant. Now, the title is only semi-serious. Do I think his films are great? Of course. Is he probably already a master of entertainment? Yep, and a YouTube channel about the littlest things only adds to that.
Lynch’s YouTube endeavour started on the 11th of May, 2020. Three months later; he’s still on top of the game. Videos are published to the “DAVID LYNCH THEATER” channel (yep, all caps) which has apparently been in operation since late 2018, though there aren’t any videos prior to May. Quel mystère. One would assume this resumption was a result of California’s stay-at-home orders. The first video was a weather report for Los Angeles. That tradition continued daily, save for the 2nd of June, and is the channel’s main staple. Taking place in his office space, they begin with a morning welcome, a glance at the sky outside, and a delivery of the forecast (in Fahrenheit, and Celsius, for his international fans). He signs them off with “have a great day” and a friendly salute. Why the weather? In a Q&A he states, because humans “like” to be aware of the temperature and weather. He did a similar thing on his website back in the 2000s. Those took on more surreal elements and were uploaded to his website, though most can now be found on YouTube. Some of his quirks pop through, like the decision to set the May 23rd report to a quality of 144p in honour of its alignment as the 144th day in this leap year. When the weather’s good, and I’m told in L.A. it often is, viewers anticipate his drolly mention of “golden sunshine.” You know, all this sounds ordinary, but it is the anti-spectacle that makes it notably entertaining. It also fits well as an antithesis to his canon of bizarro projects.
There’s more than weather reports to look forward to. Occasionally, Lynch will spoil us with a short film. The truly unsettling and twisted “sitcom” Rabbits was originally released in 2002 and makes a reappearance among a batch of new projects. Take The Adventures of Alan R., for instance, which depicts a head on a Red Room-type floor who really does not wanna go fishing. It really is tantalising content... you just have to take my word for it. He also films a spider fighting a bee for twelve minutes in an affair that iMDB calls a documentary short.
Other series include “today’s number is…” and “what is David working on today?” In the former he picks one ball from a group of ten which are correspondingly numbered one through ten. So far, a seven, a four and a six have not been drawn. Down in the comments, a fellow named Wes, who is rooting for seven hasn’t received their blessing. “Man, if it’s not called tomorrow, I’m gonna lose it,” he writes. But wait, is there really a seven in the jar? Well, yes because you can catch glimpses of it in the jumble but there has to be a layer to this, right? The latter topic follows David as he shows off some projects around the house. These include a 1940s drawer, (apparently made of a finer wood), which he recovered from the Universal lot, the time he painted his discoloured pants or when he wanted to show off his swing-out urinal, because, why not? In a time where we have so much time it’s strangely tranquil to watch someone spend it in such a generous way.
Are these videos just one big joke or is there something that draws Lynch to YouTube? He does have a way of being unintentionally hilarious. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Lynch revealed that he wakes up at 3:30 in the morning (!) and goes on to commend YouTube for how “it connects you with the world in a way.” What will come of these videos, and how long can he talk about the weather? Is this foray into another platform leading to something larger? Probably not, but my questioning alone is quintessentially Lynchian enough.