The “How-To’s” of 80s Kid Survival, Part 1: How To Be Cool At Parties

Because you’re not cool enough, and you need a VHS to help you.

Last week, as I wrapped up a four-part series on some of my favorite video games, I left without any kind of themed month in sight.  I pretty much said it – I have nothing.  As it turns out though, I had something after all.  It popped in my head two days later while I was on the treadmill.

Some people have the shower (or worse, the toilet) for inspiration, others wake up suddenly at 3 am saying “guess what?!”.  I have the treadmill.

Good to know getting fit is a great place for inspiration.

Previously, on Allison’s Written Words…

I covered the how-to’s of 90s life, specifically how to use a computer and the internet back in January.  It was a theme month complete with fake families, fake families in matching denim shirts and moms teaching other moms “how to net,” computer names with exclamation points (so 90s!), department store showroom living rooms, complete with computers right in the middle of the room.  Hardware, software, take a seat, if you dare…

Man that song finds its way into your brain and never lets go!

I’ve also looked at the how-to’s of love, 1980s Jason and Justine Bateman style (and random cuts to Ted Danson, for a reason explained in the article), but that was during the month of love.  This month’s two-part series focuses on the how-to’s of 80s Kid Survival, because there was a subsection of videocassettes for this very purpose.

“Hey, You.  You Gotta Watch This!”

Part one of this two-part key to survival comes to us from the magical year of 1986.  Malcolm-Jamal Warner, at the absolute height of his popularity as THEOOOO! on The Cosby Show, is throwing a party, and he and his friends want to help you – yes, YOU, and you, and you – be the best “show off” you can possibly be at your next party!

Screenshot (172)

Did I mention his party guests are all grown-ass adults?  Who the heck are they targeting with this instructional aide?

I guess people who rent videos from this company…

Upload via DudeThatLogo

Seriously, this is all sorts of crazy, and we haven’t even gotten to the crazy yet!

Incorrect Titles And Lifetime Bans from Parties

From terrible lip syncing tricks to slamming your face into a door, then smooshing it against a window, and offending different cultures, this guide to being cool at parties is the “tips and tricks” you never knew you needed!

That’s not the VHS box art synopsis, but it should be.

Image: IMDb

Yes, the video is (allegedly) called Show Off!  How To Be Cool At Parties, but whoever made the title screen didn’t get the message.

Screenshot (171)

They got the 1980s colors down pat, but the title got lost somewhere in translation.

Anyway, this video is 27 minutes of (allegedly) cool party tricks, gags (not the choking kind), and stunts (listen, if none of the stuff in the stunt person challenge video is featured here, then there are no stunts) that aim to make you the life of your next party.

Or, this video is 27 minutes of “do this, and you’ll never be invited to another party.”

I could do screenshots of the different segments, but seriously, that wouldn’t do this justice.  I’m serious.  There isn’t a laziness component to that, it is truly a “seeing is believing” type of video.

I watched this for the first time in 2018 working on a Retroist article, and I was so mindblown, I figured this one would come up again somewhere along the line.

There is one – I repeat one – upload of this video online, and part of it was featured on the Comedy Central game show (@)Midnight on September 22, 2015.  The actual entire video comes by way of YouTube channel Occult Demon Cassette, which has a ton of interesting goodies in their collection.

Friends, I really want to do some commentary to this train wreck of a video – and perhaps I’ll do just that.  But for now, you seriously need to see this one.  I talked about it in a podcast interview I did for VHS Rewind last week, and I had the interviewer, Mark, laughing over the fact that this featured Malcolm-Jamal Warner at the height of his fame.

Seeing is truly believing, friends.

Show Off: At Parties (Or, How To Be Cool At Parties)

Upload via Occult Demon Cassette

The thumbnail of this video horrifies me, and yet…I can’t look away.  In fact, I remember watching this at midnight on a Friday night in my townhouse, freezing in my home office, and I just couldn’t turn the video off.  I had – HAD – to finish this video and its article for Retroist.  I swore that if I didn’t finish it, it would NEVER be finished.

It’s terrible cheese, but seriously, it is the kind I love writing about.

Next Time…

While I practice fake stairs and make a t-shirt turban, I’ve already got next week’s video and article planned out.  It was another Retroist article from around the same time – possibly the week after I wrote this one – and it features Malcolm-Jamal Warner.  This time, he’s working with kids.

Actual kids.

Until next time…”hey guys!  WATCH THIS!”

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