“Fan” Brings Home the Bacon – Fingers Crossed

We get more degrees of comedy – and commerce – in YouTube “documentary” with redeeming charity twist.

One of the more disturbing aspects of Charlie Sheen’s meltdown is that, for all his declarations of “winning,” he seems decidedly uncomfortable in his own skin as each wacky utterance makes him a bigger, sadder parody of himself.

We recent stumbled onto a refreshing, if unintended, counterpoint from Kevin Bacon – pretty much the only male actor not mentioned as a possible Sheen replacement on “Two and a Half Men” – who feels secure enough to gently spoof himself.

Bacon shines again as his “biggest fan,” Ivan Cobenk (anagram alert!), in an extended “documentary” version of the popular Logitech Google TV commercial that debuted on television late last year and went viral on YouTube.

The latest video, promoted last week in a guest post by “Ivan” on YouTube’s blog, continues the joke: We get to see Ivan’s Kevin Bacon memorabilia collection, including two rubber hotdogs supposedly used in “Apollo 13.” We get to see him attempt to sing and play guitar as the lone member of The Other Bacon Brothers, “Akron’s leading Bacon Brothers cover band.” We get to see him imitate Bacon (poorly) with a shouted line of dialogue from “Tremors.”

As entertaining as the new video is, it’s ultimately another commercial for Logitech and Google TV, and Google, of course, owns YouTube. In one of the latest examples of virtual product placement, viewers can click on items shown in the video – like the Logitech keyboard – and get sent to related websites.

The redeeming element, though, is that other items – including Ivan’s collection, rubber hotdogs and all – are hyperlinked to online auctions benefiting Bacon’s SixDegrees.Org charity, which supports a variety of causes. Since Ivan’s March 9 YouTube blog post, the charity effort has taken on new urgency with the disaster in Japan (SixDegrees.Org is collecting funds for earthquake and tsunami victims through Network for Good).

“I’m donating all the proceeds to Kev’s charity SixDegrees.org, and (fingers crossed!) hoping Kevin will actually get in touch with me if I donate enough,” Ivan’s blog post declares.

That's a meeting we'd like to see. In the meantime, check out the video from Ivan Cobenk’s favorite actor, who is happy to play a goofy character zero degrees from himself and whose definition of “winning” includes helping those in need:

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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