Online sensation: Damo and Darren, the titular stars of a new YouTube viral hit animation. Photo: Michael Cusack
A hilariously obscene animation offering "disturbingly accurate" social commentary about Aussie men has become a YouTube sensation, racking up a global viewership comparable to the TV audience for football grand finals.
Episode 1 of Damo and Darren has clocked more than 2.7 million views since it was uploaded in February, despite – or probably because of – its almost documentary-exact use of profanity.
The brainchild of Melbourne animator Michael Cusack, his cartoon conversation between two unemployed bogans on a train platform has prompted dozens of commentors to ask if it was inspired by their suburb, while bamboozling foreign veiwers with its almost impenetrable Aussie accents.
Forerunners: MTV's Beavis and Butthead.
"Oi, Damo you c--- give us your lighter," is the film's opening line. It goes on to portray an argument between the titular characters, spawning several remixes as well as introducing the term "ciggie-butt-brain" to the Aussie lexicon.
Cusack, 23, who grew up in Wollongong and used Dapto train station as the basis for the animation and audio, says he's been surprised and delighted by the reaction to the clip.
"When I first uploaded it, it was late at night, so it was daytime in the US and the comments were pretty negative, people saying 'what the hell is this?' and 'it's not even funny'," Cusack says.
"Then when it got to daytime here and Australians were awake, it started gettting positive comments."
The animation has almost 4500 comments and a Facebook page with more than 40,000 likes, as well as a thriving sideline in merchandise.
Cusack says he did not set out to make a statement about a certain type of man he describes as "part derro, part yobbo, part bogan". He says Damo and Darren were "subconscious influences from going to Woolies to get milk and bread and waiting in line and observing".
One doesn't have to strain too hard to imagine the gentlemen who inspired this exchange from the short:
DAMO: If you want a lighter, why don't you just go to the servo and get one?
DARREN: Because you dopey c---, I just spent all me Centrelink on Samantha's child support, didn't I?
DAMON: That's got nuffin to do with me.
DARREN: I don't believe it. Un-f---en-believable. After all the shit we've been through. So f---in' typical of you though, eh? F---in' stingy c---.
Though Cusack has made a little money from Damo and Darren and his other big hit animation YOLO (4.6 million views), he says the time it takes to produce the films – two weeks for an episode of Damo and Darren, four weeks for YOLO – means he won't be buying a yacht any time soon.
Cusack says he voices the characters first, starting with a rouch script, ad-libbing at times, then picks the good lines before animating his characters using Flash and Photoshop for the backgrounds. Though only a "newbie" to animating – having started just two years ago, he says he's been "animating in spirit for longer".
"I've been drawing all my life. I did no work at school, just drawings, flip books, that sort of stuff," he says.
The animation style of Damo and Darren has drawn comparisons to the MTV mega-hit of the '90s, Beavis and Butt-Head a comparison Cusack says he finds "flattering".
While his father, Peter, a former Victorian police officer is hoping his son's talents reach that large an audience, Cusack says he's just trying to find a job in hospitality so "I can get on top of my rent and rego".
You can see Damo and Darren on YouTube here. Please be aware it contains offensive language.