He exhibits a youthful enthusiasm and awe that most individuals lose by the time they reach their twenties. You could be tempted to think of his persona as a kind of Andy Kaufman-style performance art ploy. As a satirical parody on comedy, his work is likely beloved by certain admirers.
It’s likely that he realises this, which is why he often goes back to singing about how good an apple pie is in the fall or how sorry he is for swearing. Joe Pera, on the other hand, isn’t looking for slapstick laughter. If you’re looking for a subtle nod or wink, you’ll never find one.
For him, the idea is not to make people laugh at what they’re seeing, but rather to make them feel like they’re in a calmer place where they can enjoy the simple joys of life.
I resisted for a long time. I don’t usually turn to art for inspiration, and when I do, I find it in unusual places, like slasher films or Stephen A. Smith’s writings (yes, he makes N.B.A. punditry into an art). However, those are just my personal preferences.
And despite the fact that his aesthetic resembles wholesome Americana on the surface, it conceals an avant-garde obscureness. There is a bit of effort involved. Only the most daring among us should attempt this adventure activity.
Using a child’s perspective, Pera can bring us back to a time when boredom was best dealt with via imaginative play, such as racing raindrops on windshields or spotting shapes in the clouds.
Everyday objects, like the grocery or a Who song, are treated with such reverence in many of his concerts that they come across as almost spiritual. Sometimes he seems to be able to locate the hilarious oddity in prosaic everyday life by pushing the concept to its limit. Pera’s phone is requested by an elderly stranger who drives by him in the first episode. Pera receives the phone back after the man takes a selfie with it.
What could have been a cringe-worthy gag in a different show is now seen as a random act of generosity and inexplicability. I laughed. It’s possible that you won’t. But it’s better not to dwell on it.
“Relaxing Old Footage With Joseph P.” featured stock footage of waterfalls and coffee pots, as well as comments like, “I can’t be the only one who wants to see Old Chico, a 9,000-year-old spruce, after hearing about the epidemic.”