When Israel's Intrepid Web Duo Stars on a Trash Reality Show

Tal Tirangel and Yoran Davidi leveraged their unusual characteristics as the comic duo 'Sexual Corn' to become an Internet hit.

It’s hard to understand what the comic musical duo “Sexual Corn” - Tal Tirangel and Yoran Davidi, two comedians whose popularity flourished on the web thanks to a repertoire of songs full of sharp humor and crude lyrics - are doing on the set of the reality program “What’s Happening in Eliat.” The program, a popular trash television creation on the music channel, documents attempts to build an entertainment team at a hotel in the southern coastal city.

“We are here first and foremost for the money,” declares Tirangel.

“And the second thing, more money,” adds Davidi.

“I was a little tougher than he was on the matter,” explains Tirangel in a more serious tone. “I don’t love reality shows, sorry. I don’t think they are interesting, and although I have nothing against those who participate in them, I simply didn’t think I would be in one. It’s not me, and it’s not Yoran, and it was strange to us. But we’re here.”

Tirangel, 29, and Davidi, 31, met about three years ago in a comics’ workshop held in a nightclub. They started appearing together in evening shows organized by the club. They also wrote songs, which they uploaded to Youtube. Tirangel is responsible for most of the lyrics and sings most of the songs, while Davidi takes care of the melodies and the musicianship. They have to do most of the publicity in partnership with social networks, and it spread quickly like only spontaneous viral marketing can.

The unusual duo quickly became very well known among certain communities, particularly youth. They learned the songs by heart and treated Tirangel and Davidi like stars. Besides their challenging physical size, which is a fixture of their self-depreciating humor, Davidi is a gay who lets everyone know his sexual preference.

In 2011, the two received a permanent gig as the house band in the “Comeback” program broadcast on Israel’s “Comedy Central,” starred in a couple of articles and did an Internet commercial for the Bezeq communications company. But you can’t pay the bills from multiple views on Youtube. Tirangel works as a copywriter in a large ad. firm, while Davidi supplements his earnings in a cafe.

The thing that stands out in the dynamic between them, when they are sitting in an interview chatting away with a mouth full of rice noodles and chicken, is the tendency not to think ahead - not to each other ?(Davidi: “I won’t lie and say that I treat him favorably all the way”?), not to what is supposed to be said or thought in an interview ?(Tirangel: “I was embarrassed by every aspect of the program. I tried to get out of it”?), and not to the industry they are trying to break into ?(both of them: “Reality shows stink”?).

For about a year and a half, Tirangel lived together with Davidi and Davidi’s partner. When the joint living arrangement came to an end, the duo stopped talking to each other for a while. Tirangel joined the creative group of Roi Kafri, itself a prominent Web phenomenon. The group made together, among other things, “Ken nigashti l’Ido” ?(“Yes, I approached Ido”?), an original, perfectly executed viral hit, and they are also collaborating in the group “Shirei Mirpeset” ?(“Balcony Songs”?), another Internet fringe phenomenon that is growing.

Davidi amused himself with writing a script about a misanthropic homosexual who moves into a home haunted by a homosexual ghost. He also plays in a band, and together with the other members wrote a pilot episode for an off-the-wall violent series about a faceless woman who is a serial killer, an idea that has yet to ripen fully.

The rift would have continued except that then they received offers from the reality show world, and decided to make a comeback. “It’s really funny how fast the world has become, that now we are making a comeback and we only started four years ago,” wonders Tirangel. “Kids come to us and say ‘We grew up on you,’ the turnover is so fast.”

You seem to be one of the instances representing this phenomenon. There’s an interesting band of people whose volume of creation on the Web is impressive, and it’s an alternative to the traditional comic industry.

Davidi: “There’re a lot of intelligent people who didn’t find themselves in commercial television. They don’t find representation for their characters, and they’re talented enough to create alternative content. We live in an age in which it’s enough to have a camera and a sense of humor to create something and reach a large audience. You don’t have to be on television.”

Tirangel: “But I do think that television is going that way. They’re looking for the Next Thing, the most strange, the edgiest and newest.”

Davidi: “We are terribly used to people getting up in the middle of our show. In my view, it’s a sign of success. We managed to insult enough people, and if we also managed to come out with the check it’s definitely a wild success.”

Not only alternative humor is turning Davidi and Tirangel into characters that are not easy to watch on the screen. Fat men are not a sight bursting on Israeli television. In the world which Davidi and Tirangel created, the beer belly is out there on the table, like Davidi’s sexual preference. It’s perhaps refreshing, and he doesn’t apologize in an appealing way, but it’s hard not to wonder if their jokes, which are constantly at their own expense, don’t turn sometimes into a burden.

Tirangel: “I have no problem with it. I would be happy to be a little thinner because I am not very healthy, but from a visual perspective my look doesn’t change me. I almost die in my sleep every night. I see the white light, go to it and return. It changes me, but really visually it never troubled me, not with women and not in anything. It’s simply who I am.”

Davidi: “I am gay, and homosexuals live in a very judgmental world and are very aware of themselves. I have this place that is different and other, and I am not like everybody, but personally I have fear of being the same thing, of going with the herd. Subconsciously, it expresses itself in many ways in my life, but I respect and accept this place in me and I love it. I want to get thinner in order to wear more beautiful clothes and to be healthier, but I love it that being fat made me different.”

Tirangel: “I really love being fat. I was thin before this and I wasn’t happy.”

Gali Eitan