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The Legacy of Boycar, A Bizarre Brother-Based Bit

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If you’re familiar with the popular comedy advice podcast “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” odds are you’re well acquainted with the brothers’ penchant for creating absurd characters and spiraling into what I once called “hysterical madness” at the drop of a hat. For reference, look no further than this article about the time they accidentally made a pretty good Buick commercial. But that’s far from the only time this fraternity of funny fools has used the automotive industry as a launchpad for comedy.

So, today, we talk about Boycar.

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Boycar: Origins

“MBMBaM” may be just shy of hitting 560 episodes, but we’re going to take a trip back in time to episode 181. Appropriately entitled, “Boycar,” this early installment tasked the brothers McElroy with advising a question-asker on whether or not it was acceptable to go through a drive-through window on foot. There’s enough absurd humor in there to choke a horse — including the eldest brother, Justin, suggesting that you bring some friends along and imagine a car while saying “putt putt putt putt” to emulate the sound of an engine. But the bit really comes into its own when the youngest brother, Griffin, suggests that the individual walking up to the drive-through eat a packet of Taco Bell fire sauce so he can turn into a hot rod.

Of course, this is a reference to the animated show “Turbo Teen,” which was a short-lived Saturday morning cartoon in which a teenager transforms into a red sports car whenever he comes into contact with extreme heat. The brothers then suggested casting Shia LaBeouf in a reboot, which prompted them to reference that time in 2013 when LaBeouf was accused of plagiarizing work from a comic by Daniel Clowes for a short film of a different name. According to Seth Abramovitch from The Hollywood Reporter, “the characters and dialogue had been lifted directly from Clowes’ panels.”

After relating that incident to another franchise in which Shia stars alongside cars that transform into humanoids machines — and I’m pretty sure you know which one I mean — Griffin cautions LaBeouf not to dip back into plagiarism. “You need to make sure to make sure to call that thing ‘Turbo Teen.’ And you need to license the ‘Turbo Teen’ license from whoever does own that. Don’t just write a movie called ‘Boycar’ about a boy that eats hot sauce and turns into cars.”

Boycar: Fury Road

As with many bits from “MBMBaM,” it seemed that Boycar was but a fleeting fancy, a comedic curio destined to fade into obscurity or be buried under an avalanche of other jokes. That is, until the McElroy brothers released a six-episode web-based TV show for the now-defunct streaming service Seeso back in 2017.

In episode two, entitled “Resumes & Jamiroquai’s Dad,” the brothers scour their hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, to find jobs that would give their resumes a bit more cache. One of their bright ideas is to become the Chief of Police, if only for a little while. Predictably, the current Chief of Police rejects their plea but says they can take up a facsimile of the role in Safety Town, a small-scale simulated city designed to teach children how to deal with traffic safely. Things get pretty weird pretty quickly.

The three McElroys divvy up the area and set up borders using “Do Not Cross” tape. Griffin takes a small corner that just so happens to hold all of the water, toilets, tiny cars, and fuel in Safety Town, thus giving him unilateral control of vital resources. He calls it Chilladelphia. The middle-brother, Travis, names his area New Duckberg. Justin names his swath of land Chad Pennington, after his father-in-law’s favorite football player.

In an ill-fated attempt to patrol the great city of Chilladelphia, Griffin gets into a comically small vehicle and drives around to inspect the tape-based border. He arrives at the line of demarcation between Chad Pennington and Chilladelphia and accuses Justin of having a “bathroom experience in the boys’ potty room,” which is not accessible to outsiders without permission. While he’s busy writing a ticket, Travis and his goons cross the border to steal some cars and fuel from Griffin’s stronghold, a la “Mad Max.”

Upon learning of his brother’s treachery, he raises a nightstick while seated in an incredibly tiny vehicle, and utters the eternal phrase: “I’m part car, part boy; Boycar; the protector and king of Chilladelphia!” He then proceeds to speed off, reference “The Warriors,” and accomplish very little.

All three brothers — and the whole film crew — were soon asked to leave Safety Town.

Boycar’s reign may have been short, but it was undeniably sweet.

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