Neil Cicierega

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Neil Cicierega
Neil Cicierega speaking at XOXO 2016 (cropped).png
Cicierega in September 2016
Born
Neil Stephen Cicierega

(1986-08-23) August 23, 1986 (age 35)
Other names
Occupation
  • Comedian
  • actor
  • filmmaker
  • singer
  • musician
  • songwriter
  • puppeteer
  • artist
  • animator
Years active2000–present
Spouse(s)
Ming Doyle
(m. 2015)
Children1
Musical career
Genres
Websiteneilcic.com

Neil Stephen Cicierega (/ˌsɪsəˈrɡə/ SISS-ə-REE-gə;[1] born August 23, 1986) is an American comedian, actor, filmmaker, singer, YouTuber, musician, songwriter, puppeteer, artist, and animator. He is best known as the creator of a genre of Flash animation he termed "Animutation", the Harry Potter puppet parody series Potter Puppet Pals, and several music albums under the name Lemon Demon. He also released a series of mashup albums under his own name that have since gained a cult following.[2]

Early life[edit]

Neil Stephen Cicierega[3] was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 23, 1986.[4] His father was a programmer, which meant he was surrounded by computers while growing up. He has a brother and two sisters. His sister, Emmy, went on to become a storyboard artist for animated series such as Gravity Falls,[5] The Owl House, and the reboot of DuckTales.[6] At a young age, Cicierega started using a simplistic game developing program named Klik & Play. Beginning in the fourth grade, his parents homeschooled him and his siblings. He continued making amateur games, and even began creating digital music to feature in them; he soon shared his music online through MP3.com under the name Trapezoid, which was later renamed to the anagram "Deporitaz" at the behest of another band already named Trapezoid. He also began composing MIDI music fragments that were referenced in his later works.[1]

Career[edit]

Animutation[edit]

Cicierega was first known for a series of dadaist or surrealist Flash animations he termed "Animutation".[7] Animutations feature arbitrary, nonsensical scenes and pop culture imagery and are typically set to novelty or foreign music, often from the Japanese version of Pokémon.

Potter Puppet Pals[edit]

Cicierega's Potter Puppet Pals is a comedy series which parodies the book series Harry Potter. It originated as a pair of Flash animations on Newgrounds in 2003, and later resurfaced in the form of a series of live action puppet shows released onto YouTube and PotterPuppetPals.com, starting in 2006. The central characters of the Harry Potter series are portrayed simply by puppets. The most successful Potter Puppet Pals video, The Mysterious Ticking Noise, currently has over 198 million views (as of December 2021).[8] Cicierega has done puppetry live at Harry Potter-themed events.

Lemon Demon (2003–present)[edit]

Lemon Demon performing in 2006

Since 2003, Cicierega has released 10 full-length albums under his musical project Lemon Demon.[9] In 2005, he and animator Shawn Vulliez released a Flash animated music video "Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny" on Newgrounds. The song was later included in the 2006 album Dinosaurchestra. An updated recording of the song was released to the Rock Band Network in 2010.[10]

In April 2009, Cicierega released his first four albums as free downloads on his site "neilcic.com", however they are now currently hosted on "lemondemon.com".

In January 2016, Cicierega announced Spirit Phone, a full-length Lemon Demon album released on February 29, 2016.[11] On July 10, 2018, it was announced that copies of the album on CD, cassette tape and vinyl would be sold through Needlejuice Records, who would later distribute remastered versions of Lemon Demon's Christmas EP I Am Become Christmas, as well as Nature Tapes, View-Monster and Dinosaurchestra.

The Mouth mashup albums (2014–present)[edit]

Cicierega in 2010

Cicierega has also created mashup music under his own name. He released two mashup albums, Mouth Sounds[12] and Mouth Silence,[13] as free downloads in 2014, and a third, Mouth Moods, in 2017.[14] A fourth album, Mouth Dreams, was released on September 30, 2020. All four albums are linked by their usage of Smash Mouth's "All Star", which is repeated frequently throughout Sounds and Moods, and appears through Easter Eggs and references in Silence. In Mouth Dreams "All Star" only makes one appearance in the track "Mouth Dreams (Extro)", where a heavily distorted edit of the lyrics can be heard.

Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks (2012–2015)[edit]

In October 2012, Cicierega created the darkly satirical "Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks" blog, located at windows95tips.com. In the blog's telling, Windows 95 is a brooding, evil presence bent on dominating humanity. Most of the posts are faked error messages, with disturbing messages like "Windows needs a lock of your hair to continue," but presented in the exact graphical style of Windows 95. The blog has received favorable press attention.[15][16][17]

Video games[edit]

On February 26, 2015, Cicierega announced his first point-and-click adventure game, Icon Architect 1.0, with themes similar to his "Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks" blog. On February 5, 2018, he released his first video game, Monster Breeder.[18]

Other works[edit]

In February 2019, Cicierega created Endless Jeopardy, a Twitter account that automatically posts a bot-generated Jeopardy! prompt every hour and awards points to the most-liked responses within 15 minutes.[19] In March 2019, he created "Bot Pops" (@BotPops), a Twitter account that writes setups for jokes on popsicle sticks, then finishes them with a punchline from the replies.[20] In April 2019 he created "4:3" (@FullscreenDream), a Twitter account that randomly makes GIFs from old commercials and CGI shorts.[21]

Cicierega was commissioned to make three songs for the TV series Gravity Falls: a theme song, a musical number for Bill Cipher titled "It's Gonna Get Weird", and the song "Goat and a Pig" (a parody of Natalie Cole's "This Will Be").[22] Both of Cicierega's theme songs and "It's Gonna Get Weird" were unused, but "Goat and Pig" appeared during the credits sequence of season 2 episode "The Love God".[23] One of the two unused openings appeared as a bonus track on the 2016 Lemon Demon album Spirit Phone, titled "Gravitron".[24]

Personal life[edit]

On August 8, 2015, Cicierega married illustrator and comic artist Ming Doyle, with whom he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. Their first child, a daughter named Darcy, was born in March 2018.[25]

Discography[edit]

as Deporitaz[edit]

  • Outsmart (2000)
  • Microwave This CD (2001)
  • Dimes (2002)
  • Circa 2000 (2007)

Trapezoid[edit]

  • OC ReMix: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge "Monkey Brain Soup for the Soul" (2002)[26][27]

Lemon Demon[edit]

  • Clown Circus (2003)
  • Live From The Haunted Candle Shop (2003)
  • Hip to the Javabean (2004)
  • Damn Skippy (2005)
  • Dinosaurchestra (2006)
  • View-Monster (2008)
  • Almanac 2009 (2009)
  • Live (Only Not) (2011)
  • I Am Become Christmas EP (2012)
  • Nature Tapes EP (2014)
  • Spirit Phone (2016)

Neil Cicierega[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Neil Cicierega, Internet Person – XOXO Festival (2016)". XOXO Festival. Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  2. ^ "This '90s kid turned his love of the decade into the internet's best mashup albums - Vox". Archived from the original on November 3, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  3. ^ Jarboe, Greg (October 7, 2011). YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day. John Wiley & Sons. p. 139. ISBN 9781118203811. Archived from the original on June 27, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  4. ^ "Neil Cicierega". IMDb. Archived from the original on December 21, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Soos and the Real Girl marks my first episode storyboarding for Gravity Falls!". gravi-teamfalls.tumblr.com. Archived from the original on May 29, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "Emmy Cicierega (@EmmyCic) | Twitter". twitter.com. Archived from the original on May 24, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  7. ^ Mieszkowski, Katharine; Standen, Amy (April 26, 2001). "All hail Neil Cicierega". Salon. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Cicierega, Neil (March 23, 2007). "Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise". Archived from the original on January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2019 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Emily Sweeney (June 22, 2006). "He's a hit with Internet set". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2006.
  10. ^ "Lemon Demon on Rock Band Network". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "Neil Cicierega Tumblr. | NEW LEMON DEMON ALBUM "SPIRIT PHONE" CALLING..." neilblr.com. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Rife, Katie (April 29, 2014). ""Mouth Sounds" is the punishing '90s nostalgia mixtape the world deserves". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Katie Rife (July 22, 2014). "The sequel to 'Mouth Sounds' is here, and it's laugh out loud horrifying". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "Game of the Year: DJ Hero/Mouth Moods - Geek.com". Archived from the original on July 1, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Trendacosta, Katharine. "Messages From Your Old Abandoned Computer, Which Has Achieved AI". io9. Archived from the original on January 6, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Fletcher, Tony (November 14, 2012). "Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks – a lovely parody of system messages". wirefresh. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "I Don't Remember Windows 95 Being This Terrifying". Technabob. November 19, 2012. Archived from the original on January 6, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  18. ^ "Monster Breeder". tumblr.com. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  19. ^ Carman, Ashley (February 18, 2019). "The best new Twitter bot is an endless game of Jeopardy where the winners are good at puns". The Verge. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  20. ^ "Bot Pops". twitter.com. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  21. ^ "Fullscreen Dream". twitter.com. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  22. ^ "Neil Cicierega Tumblr". Neil Cicierega Tumblr. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  23. ^ "Neil Cicierega Tumblr". Neil Cicierega Tumblr. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  24. ^ Spirit Phone by Lemon Demon on Amazon Music - Amazon.com
  25. ^ "Ming Doyle". twitter.com. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  26. ^ "OCR00799: Monkey Island 2 Monkey Brain Soup for the Soul OC ReMix". Archived from the original on March 7, 2020. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  27. ^ "OC Remix profile for Trapezzoid". Archived from the original on January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  28. ^ Not for Resale (2019) - IMDb
  29. ^ Amazon.com

External links[edit]