One Madisonian’s Internet prank has taken on a life of its own.
Shrekfest, the 2014 Madison Internet prank promoting a ridiculous Shrek-themed event that hilariously confused its purported sponsors and then, once people got some laughs out of the idea, somewhat disturbingly became real, is apparently a thing again. And it’s a slightly more organized thing that has little to do with the Madisonian who first touched off this whole thing last year with a bizarrely funny Facebook eventpromising a day of festivities at the north side’s tiny Eken Park in honor of the gaseous Mike Myers-voiced ogre.
3GI Industries, a Milwaukee- and Florida-based bizarro comedy/video group that threw together a real Shrekfest 2014 after people discovered that Shrekfest 2014 was a prank instigated by Madison resident Joe Copeland, has announced it will host Shrekfest 2015 on July 10 in Rennebohm Park on the west side of Madison.
The group is even selling merch around the event, which further complicates the question of whether activities like a “Shrek rap” and an “onion-peeling contest” are funnier when they’re just mentioned on a Facebook event or when they’re actually done in real life. Last year, most of the laughs came from Copeland elaborately dragging out the joke, to the delight of Madison Facebook smartasses everywhere, and maybe that was all anyone needed. “The heart of Shrekfest is about 85 percent Shrek puns,” Copeland says.
One of this year’s organizers, Grant Duffrin, says that last year’s event went well, except when someone threw up after an onion-eating contest, and that 3GI plans to use the event to promote its work, including some live comedy and some Shrek parody films. “I tried to get Smash Mouth to play, because they’re playing Summerfest,” Duffrin says. (Um, no idea whether to believe that or not.) He adds that the band’s manager told him that Smash Mouth “didn’t take to Shrek-themed events very well,” even though Duffrin busted out a recorder cover of “All Star” at last year’s Shrekfest.
“[Last year] we found out the event was fake and we were really bummed because we wanted to go to it,” Duffrin says. “But we realized this was the best possible situation, where somebody created this event, spread the word, and dropped the reins.”
Copeland, who also plays in the Madison band Little Legend, says he’s not involved at all this year, and is surprised that something he came up with as a goof is happening yet again. “It doesn’t bother me at all that they are doing it,” Copeland says.
But he does seem a little ambivalent. “I never liked the idea of Shrekfest, at least as a reality,” Copeland says. “As hypocritical is it is to say, I can handle only so much irony.”