The Holy Mountain

Hudson Yards becomes a paranoid fever dream in Conner O’Malley’s latest video

In Hudson Yards Video Game, Conner O’Malley asks what we're all thinking: “What if the Vessel was a cosmic egg to be reborn through?” (Jonathan Hilburg/AN

Comedian Conner O’Malley is back with another nightmarish satire, this time turning his attention to New York’s Hudson Yards with a video game parody that quickly spirals into an Adult Swim–esque music video.

Hudson Yards Video Game starts off as a generic video game experience that mashes together pieces of Halo, Grand Theft Auto, tons of product placement, and recaps of The Office, and then quickly descends into madness as O’Malley wanders around Hudson Yards, waving at random visitors to collect hello points, drinking Michelob, and bumping into “coworkers” who give him “helpful” information.

After roaming to the edge of Hudson Yards—where an out-of-bounds screen helpfully tells O’Malley he’s approaching a “low income area”—he turns his attention to the Vessel. After reaching the top and waving at everyone on the way up, O’Malley is reborn as a computer-generated version of himself inside of the sculpture. The last six minutes turn into a rock music video with his avatar dancing on top of zodiac charts, alien faces, the McDonald’s Golden Arches, and nonsensical fake quotes—basically an animated version of the galaxy brain meme.

Skewering the hyper-commercialization of Hudson Yards is nothing new—Hudson Yards Video Game is “sponsored” by Lululemon and references Amazon over and over again—and making it so overstimulating follows in the footsteps of previous dystopian critiques. Blade Runner, Brazil, and pretty much the entire cyberpunk genre spring from critiquing capitalist excess, so it’s only fitting that O’Malley becomes totally digital by the end of the video.

This kind of “absurdist-on-the-surface, works-if-you-think-about-it” humor has become what he’s known for. Thanks to the absurdity of the setting itself, wandering around Hudson Yards in a daze fits right in with the talk show O’Malley filmed in the Hudson River, or his increasingly deranged campaign videos for Howard Schultz (where it was eventually revealed he was an experimental Starbucks test subject, or something).

Related Stories