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Jay McCarrol and Matt Johnson
"We are Nirvana the Band, the live musical, that will never play the same show twice. To not let us play on your stage would be a terrible mistake. We are Nirvana the Band. For now, forever, for better, for worse, 4, times 4, is 16."
-Jay McCarrol, test-reading the band's press kit

Nirvana the Band consists of friends Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol; Nirvana the Band the Show is their 10 episode webseries, produced over 2007-2009. The show follows their misadventures trying to get their band—Matt improvising to Jay's piano-playing—booked at the Rivoli, a local dive. Hilarity Ensues when they come up against minor and often self-created issues in getting themselves booked and decide to resolve them through usually illegal means. The series is shot in a fake documentary style.

It became a television show premiering on February 2, 2017 on Viceland, currently airing it's 2nd season with a 3rd season planned for the future. The 1st season and premiering episodes is currently available on Viceland's website (with a Canadian cable provider, the 2nd season is currently unavailable outside Canada). 1st season can be bought on iTunes (US and Canada).


The entire webseries unfortunately cannot be seen on their website, Nirvana the Band the Show the Website.

This series provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Scattered all over the place, but most notably in the title sequences. Except for the first and last episodes, every episode's opening credits is a parody.
  • All Just a Dream: Parodied in the last episode.
  • Aside Glance: Steven Hamelin from the Born Ruffians does a few fantastic ones in "The Battle of the Bands."
  • Battle of the Bands: It never actually happens, but after the band splits up, Jay and Matt both separately prepare for it.
  • Berserk Button: "I curse the hole."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Jay is generally the more docile and grounded of the two, but after a passerby insults him in "The Burn," Jay sets fire to his apartment.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Matt kills Vince Valence in the last episode.
    "As if I'm not capable of that."
  • Breathless Non Sequitur: Matt has several of these moments.
    Matt: This is how you stake something out. Classic stake-out. Classic steak. This is a Ruth Chris. That's what we're gonna call this. The Ruth Chris stake-out. Why do you think it's called Ruth Chris?
    Jay: Alright, I'm going to stop you right there—(he doesn't, and Matt launches into a racist impression of an ex-slave.)
    • Right after this moment, Matt starts talking about his haircut out of nowhere.
  • Call-Back: The series opens with Matt saying he wants to open their first show by slowly pointing at a halo of red lights around him while Jay plays a rousing number on the piano. This is exactly how they open their live show in the last episode.
  • The Cameo: Ronnie Hawkins in "The Band."
  • Canada, Eh?: Averted. It takes place in, and proudly showcases, Toronto.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: In the deleted scene, "Good Will Hunting," Matt tries to do Matt Damon's famous "how do you like them apples?" line but repeatedly messes it up. When they switch roles and Jay tries to tell it, Matt interrupts him with "Oh my god! Matt Damon?"
  • Chaotic Stupid: Matt, to a degree.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally. The gun found in Valence's office in "The Break-In" is later used to kill Valence in "The Rivoli."
  • Childhood Friends: "The Band" is all about how Matt and Jay met when they were kids.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Jay to Matt, occasionally.
    "How old are you? How old. Are you."
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Matt talks about how funny it would be to rip a cyclist off their bike with a giant hook as they go by.
  • Comically Missing the Point: "Look at the camera men behind me."
  • Description Cut: "We can't use a Beatles song." Followed immediately by a montage of Matt and Jay racing to the Rivoli to the Beatles' "Helter Skelter."
    • Explicitly lampshaded by Matt in "The Burn":
    Jay: Maybe I will go say something, then!
    Matt: Maybe you won't! Maybe we're gonna cut, and then be in the apartment, you'll have done nothing, and I'll be putting these photos on a board. SEGA!
  • Didn't Think This Through: Oh so many moments when they're trying to track down the booking book.
    "Why are we making these phone calls outdoors?"
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: "It's fine, it's domestic violence."
  • Dumb Struck: Jay, after he burns that guy's apartment down in "The Burn," and sees Matt calmly waiting for him back at their apartment. Compounded after Matt reveals that the guy didn't even insult Jay in the first place. "I was fucking with you!"
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: When Matt is proudly showing off the rights to their band name in "The Band," he gets so wrapped up in his victory speech that he tears up the contract.
  • Fantastic Racism: Matt kind of hits it out of the park with how many racist things he's said in the show.
  • Flashback Cut: "The Basement" and "The Band" are full of these.
  • Game Music: Jay covers many a video game song in their short series "The Piano Sessions," including the Mario Bros. theme, The Legend of Zelda, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario 64, and more.
  • HA HA HA— No: Jay does this without any context whatsoever in "The Bday."
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Twenty minutes of them can be found on their website in the Deleted Scenes section.
  • Improv: The entire series is improvised, including Jay's piano-playing.
  • Japanese Ranguage: "I rike it, I rike it!" in "Update Day."
  • Le Film Artistique: The adventure "Just Matt."
  • Neologism: They both call each other a "pussard".
    "You roofed it. You roofed a brick."
  • No Fourth Wall: There is and isn't one; they both look at the camera, talk to the camera men, and the camera men themselves are even in some of the shots.
  • Overly Long Name: "Dr. Quin Man or Woman Mannequin Woman or Man."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Matt's attempt to dress as Vince Valence, and Jay's Hasidic Jew outfit.
  • The Piano Player: Jay has been described by Matt as a music savant. Occasionally Matt tries his hand at the piano himself.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Hobbies.
    "Both of our stories end with you being a loser."
  • Running Gag: "Basically it's hard because right now I only have a double jump..."
    • In the Piano Sessions, every episode starts with Matt trying to do some sort of cleaning/repairing activity (always with kitchen gloves on). He asks Jay for help, and all Jay does is play a song.
    • Matt makes high fives weird.
    • Every single voice that is heard offscreen (via phone, etc.) is actually Jay's voice, since he is good at impressions. Both Vince Valence's & Jeremy's voices are done by Jay. Even the guy who insults Jay in "The Burn" is Jay's voice.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Jay is ususally, but not always, the straight man.
  • Two Gamers on a Couch: Their DVD menu, and a little bit in "The Buzz".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: They cut one another down constantly, even in real life.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: "Nirvana...the Band?"
    • Although throughout the whole series there is a callous disregard for any sort of copyright infringement, punctuated in the deleted scene, "Mountain". Jay says, "This, right here, is The Edge." ...immediate cut to The Edge in its entirety.
      • The same thing happens in Piano Session "Dragon."


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