If you’ve been around the internet for as long as I have, then you are most likely to run into what are called “internet memes”. Memes are basically internet “jokes”, which are usually just references to something dumb or silly. Some memes can transcend the time period in which they are made, and continue into the far future. Several such memes originated from an unlikely place: An old Dungeons & Dragons sketch made by Dead Alewives.
They were a sketch comedy group that existed around the 80s and 90s, while producing several rather entertaining sketches. In essence, they are mostly known for their original Dungeons & Dragons sketch! This audio sketch has a very simple, albeit entertaining premise. The idea behind it is that an omniscient narrator believes D&D to be satanic worship, which was a common misconception around the time.
The narrator paints D&D as pure evil, before showing the audience an “actual gaming session”. We are then shown a bunch of nerds who are goofing off, and playing the game normally. The sketch showed to casual audiences that D&D was harmless fun, and didn’t promote satanic or occult ideals.
The sketch itself had a ton of really good jokes and one-liners in there; my personal favorite is “I’ve got an Ogre-Slaying Knife, it’s got a plus 9 against ogres!” The sketch is simple, but it does what it sets out to do and presents its content in an entertaining and fun way. It was a hilarious and unforgettable depiction.
While the sketch wasn’t popular initially, its repeat airings on the “Dr. Demento” radio program boosted its popularity greatly. By the last 90s, it had become one of the most requested sketches on the program. This eventually resulted in a second sketch, which just wasn’t as funny. It revolved around one of the players bringing their girlfriend to a game, only for the Dungeon Master to get jealous and annoyed.
The sketch was a whopping 7 minutes long, which was more than twice as long as the original sketch! Worse still, it just wasn’t as funny as the first. The first sketch’s humor relied on just nerds being nerds, rather than trying to force in a subplot about a jealous Dungeon Master. The jokes felt too stretched out and there was a bit too much filler for my liking.
It’s not terrible by any means, and there are still jokes that did get a chuckle out of me. On top of this, the voice-work by the Dead Alewives are impeccable as always! Thing is, it just lacked the magic that the first sketch had. There were no opening and ending narrations, no really good punchlines, and just a general lack of creativity.
It’s still enjoyable on its own, but it lacks the unique comedy stylings that the original brought to the table. Heck, most people have even forgotten that this second sketch even exists! It’s pretty obscure, especially for a follow-up to one of the most celebrated audio sketches of its time.
Despite the second sketch being forever doomed to obscurity, its predecessor continues to live on. People still quote lines from the first D&D sketch verbatim, and the sketch itself has even made it into the video-game “Summoner”. References to the sketch abound in most big MMORPGs, while nerds continue to shout “I’m attacking the darkness!” while playing a game of D&D.
The first sketch was simple, but was done really well. So well that it actually got me into Dungeons & Dragons, which I appreciate very much! While that second sketch will never be looked at all that fondly, at least the first one will live on in the hearts of nerds for many years to come. Just like a bottle of Mountain Dew, the Dead Alewives Dungeons & Dragons sketches are just too damn sweet!