A Second Helping of Comfort Food For the Brain

mousecheeseWe're only two months into the new year and I'm already feeling the need for a break.

And so I turn once again to my no-calorie, comfort food alternative: online videos that rest my brain or shift my mood. I watch them not because some are viral video darlings, but because they do what comfort food is supposed to do: Make me feel better.

In case you missed it the last time around, here's my first list of fun videos (with the length of each noted.) Thanks to suggestions from our many readers, I'm happy to present even more no-calorie comfort food for the brain. Enjoy!

The mouse, the cheese and the mousetrap (1:29). Let me just say right at the outset that there’s a happy ending here. I tell you this so you don’t freak out, as I did, 30 seconds in. Watch it through to the end and you’ll find yourself smiling, laughing, and thinking that it’s definitely time to pick up some cheese.

Mixing it up with Sir Paul. Paul McCartney seems like a cool guy to hang out with, judging by his duet with Jimmy Fallon of Scrambled Eggs (2:56), a take-off of the famous Beatles’ tune Yesterday. Then there’s Stephen Colbert’s interview (7:09), in which he asks Sir Paul, at about the 3-minute mark, to name his favorite Beatle. Even McCartney is hard-pressed not to burst out laughing. Brilliant!

A dramatic surprise on a quiet square (1:46). To launch the TNT channel in Belgium, the company put a big red push button in the middle of a square of a Flemish town and invited passersby to “Push to Add Drama.” Then they filmed what happened. More than 43 million people have viewed it so far, and TNT has posted a sequel (1:51) that’s equally entertaining.   

Katy Perry and Jodi DiPiazza singing “Firework” (8:34). Tearjerker alert. During the Night of Too Many Stars, an Oct. 2012 fundraiser hosted by Jon Stewart to raise money for autism programs across the country, singer Katy Perry sang with a young girl lucky enough to have been enrolled in one of the few schools that could help her. It’s a sweet and moving performance. 

Planters 'Perfume' (1:01). This 2008 Super Bowl commercial -- about the allure of peanuts -- remains my favorite even after all these years. I watch it whenever I need a laugh.

The Hamilton Mixtape (4:26). At the 2009 White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Written Word, Broadway musical star Lin-Manuel Miranda performed his hip-hop homage to treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton. If you don’t remember your history, Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers and was shot and killed in an 1804 duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. Who says studying history can’t be fun?

Went With the WindPart 1 (9:38) and Part 2 (9:22). This parody of Gone With the Wind, by Carol Burnett, is a classic. I know it’s a long skit, but it’s worth it -- especially Part 2, in which Rhett Butler returns to see Scarlett O’Hara at a war-ravaged Tara and finds her clad in that classic green dress made from the curtains, with an unusual twist. 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (15:07). Children’s book author William Joyce (of Dinosaur Bob fame) helped create this sad, sweet story about a fantastic library. The award-winning film blends picture books and animated films. 

Stop and Hear the Music (2:37). At first glance, he seemed like every other street performer looking to pick up some money by playing his violin in a Washington, D.C. subway station. But in this 2007 clip, it’s famed violinist Joshua Bell, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, who’s playing his Stradivarious violin (called the Gibson ex Huberman and valued at the time at about $3.5 million) for about 45 minutes as the morning commuters mostly pass him by. Bell’s performance was an experiment by the Washington Post, “in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?” You can read the story about what happened here. To me, it really is a reminder to stop, take a look around every once in a while and listen to the music wherever you find it.

De Duva (or The Dove) (14:03). This 1968 short film is a parody of Ingmar Bergman’s movies and is notable for being comedian Madeline Kahn’s first film. At fist you think it’s in Swedish, but pay attention and you’ll note that it is in fact, English. There are many funny moments, including a badminton game with Death. 

The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise (11:20). I’m a Star Trek fan, which is why I absolutely love this Saturday Night Live skit featuring John Belushi as Captain James T. Kirk, Chevy Chase as Mr. Spock and Dan Aykroyd as Dr. McCoy. See what happens when they find out their show is canceled by NBC. Belushi’s impersonation of William Shatner is spot on. Live long and prosper!

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (2:38). Looking for something really, really silly? This is it -- Happy Hippo and Stan doing their version of the famous song. Consider it a quick break. Close the door and get up and dance. That's at least two minutes that you're not sitting in a chair.

-- Connie Guglielmo


If you liked this story, you might also like:
No-Calorie Comfort Food For the Brain
12 Quotations Worth Sharing
Points of Departure, Literary and Otherwise 

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