Neil Cicierega (pronounced, roughly, si-ser-EE-ga; born 1986) is an "online semi-celebrity" based in Massachusetts. His body of work is very varied and as a result it is somewhat hard to quantify. He has described himself at varying times and degrees of seriousity as a comedian, actor, filmmaker, musician, and animator, while The Other Wiki labels him an "Internet artist". It is probably safe to say that his creative output is quite diverse and spans across more than a few mediums.
He is probably best known for being the creator of Potter Puppet Pals and the Animutation genre of Flash videos. He is also the one-man (with other members joining in live performances) band Lemon Demon, which you probably know for the song "The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny". He also makes the occasional episode of New Kids on the Rock, an Affectionate Parody of early 90s Kid Coms and more recently a sketch series called Guaranteed* Video together with his regular collaborators, Ryan Murphy and Kevin James (not that one). The three of them, along with several other local colleagues, made the Wizard of Oz adaptation No Place Like Home. He has also forayed a bit into the realm of video game development, having released the Web Game Monster Breeder in 2018, as well as showing teaser for an Adventure Game he is also working on entitled Icon Architect 1.0.
In 2014, he gained some media buzz for two albums of mashups entitled Mouth Sounds and Mouth Silence, comprised of many disoriented and epic mashups of popular songs (primarily from The '90s and Turn of the Millennium), mostly "All Star" by Smash Mouth. A third album, entitled Mouth Moods, came out in 2017.
In short, he's effectively the king of "Oh shit, that was him?"
His website can be found here. He also has a YouTube channel here, where he posts assorted comedy videos and Lemon Demon/Potter Puppet Pals-related material. He also has a second channel called Guaranteed* Video where he puts projects made with his long time friends Ryan Murphy and Kevin James. A semi-regular podcast, Guaranteed* Audio can be found on that channel, and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Neil Cicierega provides examples of:
- Arc Words: The word "Mouth" comes up a lot in Neil's mashup albums, both in the album titles and the titles of songs mashing "All Star" with something else.
- "All Star" is present in some form on every album. Part of the fridge aspect of Mouth Silence is just finding all the hidden references to "All Star" without it being a noticeable portion of any mashup on the album.
- Book-Ends: Mouth Silence begins and ends with a Semi-Charmed Life mashup.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In Bustin:Ray Parker Jr.: Freaky ghost baby! / Freaky ghost man! / Freaky man baby!
- Brick Joke:
- Track 6 on Mouth Sounds, "Full Mouth", is a mashup between "All Star" and the Full House theme. Once you think it's over, the next track "Alanis" starts up with the vocals from Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" ...only for the Full House music to kick back in. THEN, once you've completely finished with that album and are 45 minutes into Mouth Silence, "Wndrwll" starts out as a chopped up remix of Oasis' "Wonderwall", and then 2 minutes into it, when you least expect it, the Full House music comes back one more time.
- On the album Mouth Moods, Neil uses a short sample of the song "One Week" in the opening song, "The Starting Line". Later in the album, Neil pairs "One Week" with "Smooth Criminal" on the track, "Smooth". Then, for the sole purpose of tormenting the listener, Neil pairs "One Week" with "Stand By Me" on the very next track.
- Mouth Sounds contained the track "D'oh!", which is a mashup of multiple songs and sound clips, including Homer Simpson's titular Catchphrase. Mouth Moods then followed it up with a similar track titled "Annoyed Grunt," which is how said Catchphrase was initially written in the script for the episode it originally appeared in.
- Similarly, Mouth Silence ends with a track titled "Piss". Mouth Moods then ended with a track titled "Shit."
- Mouth Sounds contained a track titled "Vivid Memories Turn to Fantasies," a remix of Will Smith's Men in Black theme, with Will occasionally declaring "Bees!" Mouth Moods eventually followed that up with "Wow Wow", a remix of Will Smith's Wild Wild West theme, including one more declaration of "Bees!"
- Broken Record:
- "D'oh!" has "I like big butts and I cannot lie... butts and I cannot lie... butts and I cannot lie..." for nearly a minute under the rest of the song.
- "No Credit Card" from Mouth Sounds takes this Up to Eleven; the first two-and-a-half minutes are almost entirely composed of variations on "Don't need no credit card to ride this train", which then simply cuts it down to "Ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-ri..." with a background of "Feel the power of love" for the next two minutes.
- "The Starting Line" is a compilation of opening lines from several songs, repeating constantly for the entire duration of the song.
- Then there's "Smooth", where the lyrics for One Week ends before the Smooth Criminal instrumentals do and so it just starts repeating certain phrases of the lyrics for the remainder of the song like "Chickity China the Chinese chicken" and "Harrison Ford" for the hell of it.
- "Alanis": "You-UH! You-UH! You-UH! You-UH! You-UH! You-UH! You-UH! You-UH! Oughta know!"
- Canada, Eh?: The beginning of "Smooth" — a mashup of "Smooth Criminal", "One Week", and "Smooth" — is a faded recording of "O Canada", seemingly for no reason other than that's where Barenaked Ladies are from.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Several of his remixes edit the vocal tracks enough to wildly change the subject of the song. He turns the Ghostbusters theme into a celebration of "bustin'" on a "freaky ghost bed"; turns "The Eye of the Tiger" into a song about a number of literal tigers; juxtaposes a news segment about furries to make "Foxey Lady" about Jimi Hendrix being a furry lusting after a literal fox lady; edits both "Men in Black" and "Wild Wild West" to give Will Smith a weird obsession with bees, his "Wild Wild West" remix in particular changing from a rap song of braggadocious masculinity to one of blatant homoeroticism ("Who that is?! Loveless, bad for ya health! Lookin' damn good though, if I could say it myself! Told me Loveless is a good man, but I don't feel that, he got his behind lookin' damn good though!"); and twists "Fly Away" until Lenny Kravitz transforms into a dragonfly and has sex with a candy bar.
- Distinct Triple Album: Mouth Silence, Mouth Sounds and Mouth Moods.
- Easter Egg: Mouth Silence is full of carefully hidden "All-Star" references, including an album cover, backwards messages, and even some text in ID3 tags. Really though, the whole Mouth trilogy has an encyclopedia full of its own lore and inside jokes.
- Entertainingly Wrong: His "Guide to..." series (including guides of the Races of Star Trek, the Races of Star Wars, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Tom Hanks films) are pretty accurate in terms of sequence and history. Names and titles, however, are not.
- Gamebooks: "Haircut".
- Jitter Cam: The "Aaron" music video is a single extended shot filmed from a portable camera strapped to Neil's right wrist, as he plays keyboard, types on his computer, and picks up toys strewn around his living room.
- Leitmotif: "All-Star", "Smooth", the Full House theme, "One Week"...at this point, almost no song is sacred from being used in a lot of his mashups.
- Limited Animation: The first three minutes of BRODYQUEST, before Adrien Brody becomes a rock star and then becomes the universe (possibly).
- Limited Lyrics Song: Sometimes to the point of Overly Long Gag levels. "Don't need no credit card to ride this train..."
- List Song: Taken to its logical conclusion with "Space Monkey Mafia", a mash-up of R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World" and Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire".
- Lyrical Dissonance: Embraced to absurd degrees in his mashup songs, either with silly sounding instrumentals with serious lyrics ("Rollercloser", "Crocodile Chop", "Floor Corn", and "The End"), or serious sounding instrumentals with silly lyrics ("Love Psych", "Like Tears in Chocolate Rain", "T.I.M.E."). Or both ("Mullet with Butterfly Wings").
- Malaproper: Neil milks this for all it's worth in his "Guide to" series, which are mostly accurate guides to subjects including The Lord of the Rings to Tom Hanks films in terms of order of events, but with glaringly incorrect names."Book 1: The Friendship of the Rim introduced us to the world of Google Earth, beginning with The Sewer, home of the Hobos, a race of little boys, including Fraggle Batches who's our hero, as well as his uncle, Bingo Beckham, his cousins, Maggie and Pissman, and his servant, Samsclub Gunjeans."
- Meaningful Name: "The Starting Line" from Mouth Moods consists entirely of lyrics that are the starting line of their respective tracks, including, of course, "The Distance" by CAKE, which starts with the line "Reluctantly crouched at the starting line..."
- Mind Screw: Goes without saying, but he rather enjoys confusing the hell out of his audience whenever he can.
- Mundane Made Awesome: "300MB" primarily samples an infomercial dramatically playing up the incredible power of a 300MB hard drive, mixed in with an energetic tweak of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", giving it this effect.
- Orange/Blue Contrast: Used strongly on the album cover of Mouth Moods.
- Overly Long Gag: "Alanis" ends with the Vanity Plate jingles of Lorimar-Telepictures and Warner Bros. Television, the producers of Full House...then Columbia Pictures Television, and Castle Rock Television, and Buena Vista Television, and Touchstone Television, and Gracie Films, and 20th Century Fox Television, and then finally Klasky-Csupo.
- Precision F-Strike: Inverted with "Rollercloser" from Mouth Silence, where the F Strikes from the chorus of "Closer" are replaced with funk vocals.
- Remix Album: Mouth Sounds, Mouth Silence, and Mouth Moods all consist of remixes and mashups of popular songs from the late '80s to early '00s.
- Rule of Three: On Mouth Moods, "All Star" is one of the songs used on "The Starting Line", but only in the same context as every other vocal sample in that track, by repeating its starting line. After that theme is over, there are two isolated "SOME"s to fake out the listener (the end of "The Starting Line" and the beginning of "Wow Wow") before the song gets its proper mashup treatment in "Mouth Pressure".
- Running Gag: Smash Mouth's "All Star" is constantly either mashed-up or referenced throughout all three of the Mouth albums.
- Sequel Escalation: Mouth Moods to Sounds and Silence, as many of the songs on Moods are sequels or inverses of songs on the preceding albums taken Up to Eleven. A particular example is "Annoyed Grunt" which is simultaneously a sequel to "D'oh" from Sounds and "Friends" from Silence.
- As a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, he has several shout-outs in his works. The most obvious is his first Lemon Demon album, which features a cover of "Idiot Control Now".
- Some of his videos mention Animorphs, including one about two investigators who crack a confession out of a thug by just recapping the entire Animorphs storyline.
- Spoken Word in Music: Happens a lot in Mouth Silence and Mouth Moods by using a spoken word sample to segue into or introduce another song.
- Stylistic Suck: Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away (lyrics) resembles the poorly made lyrics videos that used to frequent Youtube in its early days, and until Neil's trademark Mind Screw kicks in, no one giving it a passing glance would probably be the wiser.
- Take That!:
- Telephone Song: "Numbers" takes samples from a bunch of other songs about telephones (most prominently Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and the Ghostbusters theme), as well as ads for gimmicky 1-900 numbers, and mashes them all together.
- Toilet Humor: