Irony speedrunners already doing a musical about disastrous Willy Wonka Experience

A mural by artist Ejek commemorates the Willy Wonka Experience in Glasgow
A mural by artist Ejek commemorates the Willy Wonka Experience in Glasgow

Does it ever feel, to you, like time is speeding up? There was an era, not that long ago, when it seemed like an internet joke could really have a full and flourishing lifespan, starting as a series of fringe posts picked up on social media, slowly infiltrating the zeitgeiest with bizarre references, and then finally being mercifully put to rest by catching a name check from a guy named Jimmy on a late night talk show a month or two down the line. Now, though, we all seem to be just racing to extract every usable ounce of comedy from a bit—they got a Dune 2 popcorn bucket joke in Saturday Night Live in a week, y’know? It all flows by so fast.

Anyway: All of that is to say that there’s already a stage musical in development about the Willy Wonka Experience. You know the one: The Glasgow-based event that used AI to promise delicious candy, “carchy tuns,” and “a pasadise of sweet teats,” but which instead delivered an empty warehouse, a single jellybean, and the horrifying spectacle of masked anti-chocolate villain “The Unknown” to a bunch of very disappointed kids. You know about it because you’re reading this on the internet right now, and the internet has skeletonized this thing faster than a bison in a tank of piranha.

We’ll say this for Willy Fest: A Musical Parody, though: Unlike House Of Illuminati’s infamous event, it’s not skimping on talent. The production is being put together by Garfunkel And Oates’ Riki Lindhome, Julie And The Phantoms songwriters Tova Litvin and Doug Rockwell, TikTok’s Daniel Mertzlufft, and Broadway songwriters Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, all under the aegis of producer Richard Kraft. It’s a good crew of people with a ton of experience writing funny, catchy songs, who have all decided to do so in service of a musical about an online event so ubiquitous you probably managed to make conversation with your mom about it some time in the last 10 days.

“This could be Waiting For Guffman, but with scam artists,” Lindhome told Variety, while Weiner and Zachary asserted that “it feels like the only way to find meaning in this chocolate-less catastrophe … is to sing about it.” The musical is currently aimed at a “late 2024 launch,” which should, based on how we feel right now, be right about the time our bones turn entirely to dust and then blow away in a puff of harsh and pitiless wind.