Nirvana the Band consists of friends Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol; Nirvana the Band the Show is their 10 episode web series, and Nirvanna the Band the Show is their television show based on their web series.
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.
The web series was produced from 2007-2009. Nirvana the Band the Show the Website is now defunct and the web series is officially offline.
The television show, which gained an extra "n" in "Nirvanna", premiered February 2, 2017 on Viceland (now known as Vice on TV). Episodes are available on the Vice website and through iTunes.
Not Nirvana the band.
This series provides examples of:
- 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.
- 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 launches into this, and then starts talking about his haircut out of nowhere: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.)
- 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.
- 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?"
- 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.
- 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.
- Description Cut:
Jay: Maybe I will go say something, then!
- "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":
- 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.
- 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.
- In the adventure "Update Day," Jay sings a song to the theme of the Wii Shopping Channel music entirely made up of Virtual Wii titles.
- Music from Chrono Trigger and Mega Man (Classic) are used in the series.
- Hilarious Outtakes: Twenty minutes of them were on their now-defunct website's Deleted Scenes section. Because of the "real" style of the show, a great deal of off-takes were just used in the final cut.
- Improv: The entire series is improvised, including Jay's piano-playing.
- Japanese Ranguage: "I rike it, I rike it!" in "Update Day."
- They both call each other a "pussard".
- "You roofed it. You roofed a brick."
- No Fourth Wall: They both look at the camera and 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 stereotypical 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.
- 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.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: They cut one another down constantly, even in real life.
- Writing Around Trademarks:
- "Nirvana...the Band?"
- 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."