Halloween 2022: Salad Fingers creator David Firth on early 2000s internet, ‘rusty spoons’ and Glasgow for Halloween

Salad Fingers was first formed in 2004 and has since gained a cult following.  Cr: David Firth
Salad Fingers was first formed in 2004 and has since gained a cult following. Cr: David Firth

For those old enough to remember the golden age of internet content in the early 2000s, the name David Firth evokes encounters with an unearthly character with lettuce-like limbs. In 2004, the internet was a young but wonderfully absurd place that opened its doors to the strange green-fingered creature known simply as the Salad Fingers.

The character quickly developed a cult following that many animators could only dream of.

“Salad Fingers shouldn’t be my main thing,” says Firth. “It was going to be the short video so people would come to my website and watch the longer videos, then eventually we would move on to some kind of TV series. Back then, the internet just felt like something you wouldn’t seriously spend your time looking at stuff.”

Mr. Fingers was a creature who moved at a snail’s pace, spoke in a low, creepy tone, and had an unhealthy obsession with rusty spoons and finger puppets. It offered early netizens an oddly hypnotic experience that bordered between uncomfortable and yet oddly addictive.

Salad Fingers Back to Back Screening in Glasgow

Now, nearly 18 years after Salad Fingers’ internet debut, cult animator David Firth is bringing his masterpiece to Glasgow’s Glee Club for a special Halloween screening.

“The last time I played in Glasgow the only place I could eat was McDonalds, which is frightening. There were 18-19 year olds just rolling around on the floor drinking Irn Bru and vodka I think – because nobody only drinks pop at 11pm,” he laughs at Firth, recalling his last visit to Glasgow.

But despite his BigMac-induced nightmare, the animator couldn’t be more excited to spend his Halloween night in Glasgow showing off his most beloved creations.

“The last time I was in Glasgow it was actually one of the better shows I’ve done because people really loved it. I usually give a little background on Salad Fingers in my introduction so people don’t ask how I started and people laugh like I’m doing a stand up set. There weren’t even any jokes in it – people just wanted to laugh. In other places there is usually complete silence. It’s a fun crowd to bounce off. ”

It seems fitting that the screening should take place on October 31st. Finally, Firth’s creation is known for inducing nightmares, although he admits that Salad Fingers wouldn’t fit into the horror genre.

“I’ve never wanted to scare people and the idea of ​​horror is that you want to be scared, but I’m more interested in ‘dark’ subjects. To me, the aesthetic of horror has nothing to do with scaring you, it’s just appreciating darkness.

Chris Morris inspired and stood the test of time

“I would never call it horror – just dark comedy – because then it gives you the freedom to just have a little fun. You can throw in some horror elements, but there’s no pressure to scare people. I feel like a lot of horror movies are part of it. You called it a horror movie, so now you have the pressure to scare everyone, and when it doesn’t work, it comes across as cheesy.

“For me, this has always been my sense of humor, but it’s not unique, I’ve discovered it in other places as well. I was influenced by South Park, The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead and Chris Morris. He’s (Chris Morris) someone that a lot of youngsters haven’t heard of and don’t realize how important he is to comedy.”

Much like Firth’s inspirations, however, his dark humor has stood the test, with his animations like Salad Fingers and Burnt Face Man still getting thousands of views — and even venturing onto TikTok.

“At that time there was neither YouTube nor much video content on the internet. It didn’t feel like people would sit down and look at stuff on the internet. It was just about getting people’s attention so people would look at other things. In my opinion I wanted to make feature films or half hour cartoons, I’m not at all interested in realizing an idea that has already been realised.

“Salad Fingers lives in a world so far removed from reality that there are no cultural references. I figured if he doesn’t mention anything modern or he doesn’t have a modern sense of humor, then I think that’s the key.”

“Don’t let the modern world influence you”

“Back then, views were not equal to money. Views were just numbers and then maybe you can sell some t-shirts if they’re still there. I didn’t focus on success just did one more before this one burned out I think I did about four or five before slowing down because I didn’t want to just be the lettuce finger type.

“When you’re online, you don’t look at numbers. If I was in a stadium and I could see all the people who saw Salad Fingers, I might have thought, ‘okay, that’s pretty big’, but you can’t imagine it just with numbers.

“Don’t let the modern world sway you, it’s changing so fast things are getting old-fashioned. People get tired of things very quickly because they are copied too often. Don’t copy modern humor and you’ll be fine I think. “

Tickets for David Firth’s screening of Salad Fingers and Q&A are available here, the show is estimated to start at 7pm.