Sholem Krishtalka

Norwegian Christmas Crisis!

[NOTE: It has been pointed out below that, in fact, Tommy is the creation of Norwegian actor/comedian/singer Bjornar Loberg. As much as I wish it were not the case, as much as I wish that there really were some crazy desperate overly-tanned gay Norwegian kid full of lip gloss and furious indignation over the fact that he can’t get enough butter to make his pussycat cakes, it’s true; it’s a fake. There were certain incontrovertible tells: the jump cuts? With all that obvious editing, one can’t help think of what got left out; and of course, what gets left in becomes deeply conspicuous. It remains an hilarious clip, and Loberg is some kind of character-actor genius, but still: the thrill is gone, gone away for good, and I can’t help but lament the fact that all of the world’s eccentricities seem to be flattening out into sitcom vehicles.]

Usually, I like to assemble a bunch of related videos for Ryeberg posts; I like to curate group shows, if you will. But sometimes, solo shows are called for; this video popped up on my Facebook feed the other day. I have since watched this about four times daily, and I have yet to tire of it.

I can’t tell whether or not this video is a fake, or a put-on. I spent a bit of time trying to figure it out. I have watched some of Tommy’s other videos: they’re mainly zany, home-spun little things, webisodes narrating some kind of silly melodrama or other. And they’re obviously intentionally zany and silly, which puts the score at 1-0 in favour of a put-on.

On the other hand, this is his first, and thus far only, English-language outing. And while his other videos are comical and absurd, they’re not knowing. I find them short, if not on self-awareness, then certainly irony. They seem to me to be genuine attempts to manufacture himself as a “singer, famous bloggers, and celebrities.” Which makes me think that this video is his genuine attempt at getting something off his chest, spurred on by the notion that, in fact, people want to know what he has to say. 1-all, sincerity vs skit.

I have stopped trying to figure it out, and decided that the tiebreaker is my desire for this to be genuine. Which leaves us with the question of what exactly is going on here. Nothing kills a joke, intentional or not, like trying to interpret it, so let’s just stick to the facts, shall we? Let’s just communally savour this, moment by moment.

Super Tommy Life, “A Butter Message to the USA!” (December 14, 2011)

“Hi. My name is Tommy. I’m a singer, and a celebrities, and a famerse – famous bloggers from Norway.”

Already, too much in the most thrilling way; I’m already hyperventilating: the vermilion tan, the pink lip gloss (which will make a cameo appearance — product placement? — later on), the dusting of pink eyeshadow, the Rachel haircut, the low-cut space galaxy tie-dye tee.

“Some of you may know that we have a butter crise in Norway right now, which basically means that we can’t get any butter from the store.”

Jump-cut. Call me brutally insensitive, but every time he iterates butter (“bah-ddurr”), my heart leaps.

“But I have noticed that some of your comedians in.. uummm.. Am… USA are making fun of the fact that we don’t have any butter products. Uummmm… wh… aah… then I wanna ask you this: what if it was you that didn’t have any butter? What if I came home to you and took your butter from your fridj-fridjyate-fidjyater and took your butter away from you… on any oth… on any other day?”

Head-shake. Yeah. Your tiny minds have just been blown, America. In your callousness, did you think yourselves immune? Only now, in Tommy’s sass-wake, did you even entertain the apocalyptic consequences of this reversal of fortune! Jump-cut.

“Yes, and uhhh let’s not shove it under the mat, we all know that American people are pretty overweight.”

Oooh snap. He is reading you America. The library is now open.

“How would you feel? What about your sweet potatoes and your sss… ssss… sour… cream and your ssh… psshhh… shtocking [inaudible] then?”

Tommy, you’re losing me. Jump-cut.

“Do you know what this is? This is a traditional box of Norwegian butter. Let’s look inside [No, Tommy, not inside the box! Don’t force me to watch!]. It’s hardly empty. Do you know what’s approaching?! Christmas is appoach-approach-approaching. How do you think we feel? Do you know what the national Christmas cake in Norway is? [Bitter laugh of incredulity at the universe’s cruel, random injustice] It’s something called Lussekatter — “pussycats” in English [you’re not helping, Tommy]. Do you know what the main ingredients in Lussekatter is?! BUTTER.”


“Do you think this is enough for all the Christmas cakes that I was gonna make in… uh… Christmas? NO. So FUCK YOU Americaaaaaan… sss… dw… w… pp… people. Because you don’t know how it feels being without butter in Christmastime.”

Jump-cut. This is getting to Chris Crocker-levels of emotional fury.

“And I ask again, what if it was you [exasperated laugh] who didn’t have butter? Would you go ask the neighbour? Oh no that’s right, the neighbour doesn’t have butter, either, NOBODY in the whole wide fucking country has butter!”

Bitter laugh of pyrrhic victory. Forelock swipe. Jump-cut.

“I will come to your house. I will go to your freshyator, your fridj-frech-frishiater, I will take your butter out of your fridge, I will EAT the butter in front of you and your family’s eyes! And I force you to watch me while I eat all your butter that you were gonna have on Christmas eve… ning! You will beg and cry and say ‘NO, DON’T EAT ALL OUR BUTTER, WE NEED FOR CHRISTMAS,’ I will say ‘HA HA NOT MY PROBLEM!’ [head- and shoulder-shake of devastating sass] and take the empty bottle and throw it on the… sss… zzz… stairway. I will go home!”

Is he tearing up? This is how far he’s willing to go to prove a point: he will serve you with Godfather-style revenge realness. More than anything else though, this summons a mental image of a skinny bronzed twink gleefully, ravenously downing stick after stick of butter like a vengeful Karen Finley performance, his face a slicked mess of butter and pink lip gloss, while a suburban American family of four looks on in confused consternation.

“And by the way, for all you Danish people [a war on two fronts!] what if we came and take all your red, disgusting saushdidge, shausidge? [the great Norwegian sausage pillage of 2011!]

Self-satisfied exhale. Don’t hold on to that anger Tommy, it’ll give you premature wrinkles and other signs of eating you from inside out.

“I don’t mean to be violent, I just have to paint it out so you understand. It is not very nice. We are a country in need… and this is the thank. Thank you very much.”

You’re welcome Tommy. You’re so welcome.

– Sholem Krishtalka

Ryeberg Curator Bio

RSS Feed
Sholem Krishtalka is an artist currently living in Berlin. His work has been shown in Canada, the US and Europe. Exhibitions include “Them” (Perrotin Gallery, New York) and “Sex Life” (SAW Gallery, Ottawa). His writing has appeared in Canadian Art Magazine, Bookforum Online, C Magazine, CBC Arts Online (among others) and in various artist's catalogues. For more Sholem Krishtalka, click here.