There was a time when MTV was only bad most of the time. It was called the early ‘90s, and you could still find good stuff like (pre-Matt Pinfeld) 120 Minutes and Liquid Television and The State amid the endless Aerosmith and Stone Temple Pilots videos.
One of the best things on the network back then couldn’t be found on the schedule. MTV tended to have great ads throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, often made by experimental filmmakers, underground animators, and comedians who would otherwise never crack the channel’s lineup. The most popular series of ads in the early ‘90s starred a character known as Jimmy the Cab Driver, a filthy Irish-American chatterbox without a shred of self-awareness who would subject his fares to tortured (and hilarious) descriptions of videos he had seen on MTV. Played by Donal Logue, the future star of Terriers and Gotham, Jimmy the Cab Driver was like an unofficial mascot for MTV during the height of the “alternative” era. He was phased out as the decade went on, disappearing before teen pop and hip-hop fully took over MTV near the end of the ‘90s, but anybody who spent too many hours watching music videos after school in 1994 will probably never forget the guy.
Well, Jimmy’s back. And now he’s an Uber driver. (Or Doober, as it’s called in this video.) Logue returns to his roots in the latest video by Mark Lanegan, himself an early ‘90s MTV staple as the former lead singer of the Screaming Trees. In “Stitch It Up,” the first video from the Mark Lanegan Band’s upcoming album Somebody’s Knocking, Jimmy motors a number of passengers around L.A., most of whom are played by Lanegan himself. Along the way he mangles his retelling of a Migos video and also talks about the connection between Volkswagen and the Nazis. If it wasn’t for Jimmy begging for five stars and the fact that you’re watching this on a computer (or maybe even phone) instead of an old TV in your parent’s basement, this could’ve come right out of Jimmy the Cab Driver’s glory days.
Oh, the song is good, too.
Check out Jimmy’s big comeback below, and then, if you want to be like us, spend the rest of your work day looking up old MTV ads on YouTube.