Some Of You Will Love This Video. Others Will Splutter With Rage.

A video — with the innocuous title “Welcome to Westport” — has been rocketing around the interwebs. At least, that portion of cyberspace that is interested in all things our town-related.

It certainly does not make our town look like Our Town.

Created by Nick Ribolla — a very smart, multi-talented (Players, choir) and energetic Staples High School junior — it offers a teenager’s cynical eye on his hometown. As of last night, it had been viewed nearly 10,000 times.

With jangly music, clever cinematography and near-professional editing, Nick takes on (and down) much of Westport life: our values, our diversity, our drivers, our downtown.

Nick Ribolla, introducing his video.

Nick Ribolla, introducing his video.

More than a dozen “06880” readers have emailed me the link. Some think it’s hilarious. Others have called it “offensive,” “childish” and “anti-Semitic.”

I think Nick has treated everyone equally cynically. (For the record: He’s Brazilian, and a good friend in the video is Indian.)

There are hits and misses. (Though everyone will agree the scene outside Toquet Hall is spot on.)

Driving laws, Nick notes, are

Westport driving laws, Nick notes, are “completely unnecessary.”

It’s something I probably would have made when I was at Staples if I were as talented as Nick, and had all kinds of modern technology at my disposal.

And if I had made it then, I’d probably look back on it now and say, “Wow — that was pretty good. But I can’t believe I actually said…”

Judge for yourself. Here’s the video. Then click “Comments,” to let everyone know how much you do or don’t welcome “Welcome to Westport.” (If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here.)

88 responses to “Some Of You Will Love This Video. Others Will Splutter With Rage.

  1. Sorry had to comment on this on a Sunday am – hilarious and I didn’t hear any anti-Semitic anything?? How could he be accused of that? As they say, “out of the mouths of babes.” He shared, in a humorous way, some of his thinking about his hometown which I assume will change as he grows. He’s very smart and he’s telling his truth – how can one complain about that? And yes, why are our children not being encouraged to be artists unless they’re independently wealthy? My daughter is an artist and I encouraged it despite the pressures not to encourage it which was a constant as she neared high school graduation. I didn’t want her to be a lawyer because it made money but develop who she was born to be but that’ s a whole other discussion. And yes, she’s made her living as an artist but not without it’s challenges. Seems like only artists who’ve reached the top of their success arc and made their fortune live in Westport now. Which is fine too.

    However, that being said, and yes, I know the fire one gets when one bemoans the loss of old Westport — I’m one of those. I loved my childhood in Westport and we weren’t one of the rich families. My dad was a school teacher getting his Masters at NYU – not an MBA — and my mom a violinist who also had to be a bank teller too. That would be impossible now for a family such as ours to live there and that’s what is sad. I think this kid says that in a funny way to get his point across rather brilliantly. Maybe he and some of his friends would have liked a little diversity that wasn’t planned in a diversity program– it just happened because they lived in a community where it could happen naturally. Not Westport anymore.

  2. Loretta Santella Hallock

    Loved it!!

  3. PAT SAVIANO

    Loved every minute of it – including the credits!

  4. Bobbie Herman

    I loved it! It’s a clever, satirical look at how the “new” Westport has displaced the old. But satire is based on fact, isn’t it?

  5. Beatrice Macdowell

    Gold! My daughter believes this was a school assignment gone viral.

  6. Kim Mathias

    Thank you for sharing the link Dan! I thought it was terrific – especially the comment on driving laws.Can’t help but wonder if there is a “director’s cut” out there that those of us beyond high school will never see.

  7. Love the humor, loved it all. I noticed that in the end credits, Jay Leno was thanked. Actually, Jay Leno should be thanking you guys and hiring you to be his writers. I love Westport!

  8. I agree with your final comment, Dan. I think it is very similar to something my friends and I would have done but that I would look back on now and say, “I can’t believe I thought that.”

    A young, smart person who is wittier than most adults makes a video that zings the adults. Well done but it may be something he regrets one day.

    Then again, maybe not. In my experience, perspectives differ both with the short and the long view.

  9. Wally Meyer

    “Realiity TV” has some thing to each us. I thought it was spot on. I hope he will do another video based on YouTube comments.

  10. Merri mueller

    Spot on!!!

  11. William Adler

    When I was at Staples in 1970, I co-created a multimedia project that included satire of our “bogus” Westport life, so I can only tip my hat to these videographers; although, now happily re-ensconced in the town I once critiqued, I’ll quote Bob Dylan from My Back Pages – “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.”

  12. John Ceriale

    Westport is simply a typical, suburban american town to a large metropolis. Any wealthy zip code to a major city in this country has similar values that were shown in this video.

  13. Congratulations to Nick and the other filmmakers. They are bright, clever, funny kids who have every right to spoof our Westport bubble and did it beautifully. Hilariously accurate in a lot of ways, and proving their talent as writers, filmmakers, and ARTISTS! Way to go, boys!

  14. Peter Ewen class of '73

    Your environment is what you make it. I loved my 5 years in Westport. The video had too much of a “spoiled little brats” air to it. Once you’re out in the real world and live/work in other parts of this great country, you’ll realize how awesome your High School Hometown was!

    • Kathryn Sirico

      Peter Ewen’s comment said it all……you are a product of your environment….be very thankful and hope that your future will always be as “comfortable”

  15. As someone who grew up in Westport in the 50s and 60s (Staples class of ’68) and daughter of the recently closed art store, Max’s, and then a teacher here in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, I would say he is spot on. Westport WAS an artists’ community with many well know artists at my dining room table when I was a child, but it has become much more a corporate, cut throat community. That is one of the reasons that I moved to Fairfield.

  16. Of course I loved it – this is Westport now and my Westport of the 80s. Bravo!

  17. Kala Namasivayam

    What a funny satire!!! I personally know all these kids, so I found it hilarious. The indian kid is mine and the fact that he can make fun of it shows how little racism he has faced in school/town. His experiences when he goes out to the real world would be quite different, I am sure.

    anti-semitic?? Its anti-everything for heavens sake 🙂
    .

  18. I’m outraged by this video! But only because since my kids took so many science and math classes, they didn’t have time to come up with it first.

  19. I shared it to my own FB page…

  20. Terry Santella Anzalone

    Great video!! Loved it!!

  21. I don’t see anyone sputtering with rage here. I do think it’s amusing that the greedy Westporters in this narrative are people who study science and engineering — in contrast with those selfless souls pursuing the arts. Go to some truly hardworking place — like Kerala, India…or even Flushing, Queens – and you’ll find science and engineering careers are looked upon as ladders up to middle class security, while a profession in the arts is something nice to do for people who already have money. And perhaps those science-focused Westporters are studying all the time, not because they’re greedy, or their parents are monsters, but because the careers they desire happen to require more work!

    • Many of the splutterings were done to me privately, before I posted the video. I invited them to post publicly, but they have not yet done so.

  22. On the money from all the information I have heard and seen. I knew the town I grew up in was gone long ago. Things don’t have to change. But they do. We have our memories and they are some things in Westport they can’t move or destroy.

  23. Becki Miles Whittington

    I enjoyed it – the content was clever and the scenery was a quick look at what I remember about Westport.

  24. Jill Turner Odice

    I found this to be very well done! It made me laugh, but also made me a bit sad to know that Westport has changed so much since I grew up there in the 60’s-70’s…Good job guys!

  25. Megan Acquino Slingo

    Love it!! Hilarious!! Thess guys have a great sense of humor! I saw in other comments on Facebook that this was a class assignment on satire..I hope the got an A+….we should all have the ability to poke fun at ourselves and where we come from…life is too short to take ourselves too seriously!

  26. Brian Pettee

    Was the narrator channeling that breathy clarity voice of Martha Stewart? Of course Westport is not filled with “close-mindedness” “arrogance” and “covert racism” ….. as this smooth satire suggests ….. but what if it was?

  27. Bravo Nick and friends.

  28. Mary Maynard

    When the kids notice our faults and foibles, then there’s hope for Westport The New. mmm.

  29. terry la hiff

    best

  30. Margaret Hart Rynshall

    It was as good as any SNL skit I’ve seen and I could relate to it. Thanks for making me laugh.

  31. Funny, true, and very sarcastic!

  32. marcy sansolo

    “hola” hilarious. #cooperknapp

  33. Very funny and right on the mark in so many ways! These guys captured the pure satire of Westport! Very artistic!

  34. Bob Stalling

    Hilarious…well done.

  35. This is a well put-together video with some spot-on humorous moments but I just thought Nick’s emphasis about the treatment of the arts in Westport and Westport schools, in particular, is off the mark. (I’m not talking about cuts in funds for arts programs in middle school and elementary school–if that is truly accurate). From my perspective, the wide range of arts programs and amenities for the kids at Staples is probably unparalleled at virtually any other public school.

    After all, I met Nick roughly a year ago and where did that happen?–at the top-of-the-line Staples Media Lab (which has two exceptionally talented and dedicated instructors in Jim Honeycutt and Mike Zito who, for all I know, taught Nick and his friends some of the skills they used in making this video. And thanks to the great training Staples kids receive at the Media Lab, I have hired a couple of Staples students for help with small video projects in the past few years.)

    Also, I met a very talented Staples singer-songwriter (whom I tried to help out) through an “06880” piece about her having the opportunity to record songs and film a video at the Staples Media Lab. Musicians back in our day would have loved to have a resource such as this at Staples.

    And, as far as Toquet Hall goes, I (and probably all of my friends) would have loved to have had a dedicated teen center venue like that back in the day.

    Yes, Westport has become more affluent than ever before and the kids at Staples probably deal with pressure and demands with respect to the college application process that most of us never did. But the opportunities to pursue one’s interest in the arts at Staples are probably far more plentiful than they were years ago.

    • Fred, we had Saturday night dances at Staples.. lots of them. We had Concerts that the kids today could only dream about The Doors, The Animals, Cream, The Beau Brummels, The Little Rascals, and many more! . And we had the student lounge! And don’t forget Thompsons, the Ice Cream Parlor and needle park!! And we played outside and rode bikes! Westport has always been wealthy. Don’t you remember the Mobile and IBM kids? Even before the Frasers moved here in 1914 that really started the whole Artist Colony thing we had the Schlaets the Fillows, the Bedfords, The Warnocks, The Vanderbilts, the Richardsons, The Ketchums, Powers, Staples, Coleys, The list goes on and on!! I am in 100 percent agreement with you about the arts being alive and well. But the entire town seemed just as wealthy to me back then as it is today. Just because there are bigger houses doesn’t mean you can’t be wealthy and live in a small house like Warren Buffett.

  36. What are the chances Westport PD uses this video as evidence for running a stop sign and tickets this kid?

  37. nancy strouse

    Frank Jacoby did a video about Westport in the 80s, which this one parodies almost perfectly.

  38. this young man has got it and gets it. Bravo. Nothing has changed much in fifty years.

  39. David Stalling

    Well done! To be upset by this fun spoof merely reaffirms the spoof; Some folks embrace diversity as long as it conforms to their rigid views and standards. It seems Westporters would embrace this . . . it is, after all, art!

  40. Christa Lawrence

    Graduated Staples high school in 1986 so sad things haven’t changed. Loved the video laughed my ass off showed it to all my friends and made them stay to watch the credits brilliant I wish you were around in my day.

  41. Julie ogrady

    Bravo. Well done. I also frequently lament the same feelings. However, having arrived here in Westport in 1969. I saw much of the same back then. Lots of entitlement. Plus ca change plus c’est la mem chose. You had to search out then for those with appreciation for what Westport offers — just moreso now. Lots of good people here — you just have to look harder now! Not
    Ready to give up yet. Oh and about the driving laws…. What driving (parking) laws!!!!!

  42. Good to see not much has changed in the 30 years since I left my hometown. I’m with you, Dan: wish we had this technology in my day, cuz I would have probably been guilty of something like this, complete with the slightly cringe-worthy moments.

  43. Susan Sheridan

    Any one sputtering with rage is part of the downfall of a once small beautiful shore community with wonderful childhood memories for my self and I am sure of many others. 1948 to 1970 then of to Wilton.

  44. Karol Brumit

    Laughed out loud and still smiling even after reading all the comments!
    Good job guys!

  45. Also, my dad (unfortunately passed away in 2007) worked for MCA in the 80s and worked on the original Westports got It all video. He would have found this hilarious. It pretty much says everything he thought about Westport but couldn’t say.

  46. Carla Schine

    There is nothing new about Westport High School students grumbling about the faults of our town. The only difference is the technology with which to express those thoughts and attitudes. At Nick’s age I wanted to get far away from Westport when I chose my college. I was “bored” with the town and the kids I grew up with. I enriched my life when I made my own choices as a young adult. Nick and his friends will do that too.
    But I wonder what Nick and his friends would be griping about if their parents had chosen to live in Manhattan, or Long Island, or Bridgeport, or Cleveland. What if Nick and his friends had to work hard to have the opportunities given freely to them? What if Staples Players was not so heavily endowed and he were not given the chance to sing and dance and perform in a fully and professionally equipted auditorium and had to use a “cafetorium” instead? What if his safety really were challenged because there was gang violence, so he might not even be able to sit in a park and film a segment of his video unchallenged?
    I don’t see this video as being “brilliant” at all but rather typical and expected, expressing views that are typical for a kid in his position. Previous comments attest to the lack of change in our opinion over the past “30′ years. He seemed to be having fun, pretty clean fun, and that’s good. My one concern is that he made some allusions to issues that were expressed in a confusing way, and maybe he should have thought better of it, or was more clear regarding his meaning.
    I am referring to his comment about having Jews in Westport. Historically, not a very shocking fact. To point it out is a bit dismissive of those who live here.
    For the adults in our community, the parents and educators, the question is, why is a student who is given so many opportunities not pleased? What context could we give our children to better understand why we chose to live in Westport, and how a free public education is a good thing here, and what responsibilities they will have post Westport, to understand and experience life outside of our artistic, affluent, community minded, charitable, safe, diverse but not quite so with regard to the color of one’s skin, multi religious town. Has he not found outlets for his dissatisfaction or opportunities for his own involvement in discussions and activities around our town’s short comings? Those opportunities are there, but they are not handed to us, we have to seek them out and engage. At the very least, the video has brought a number of issues to our attention, just not maybe the ones he was intending to spoof!

    • Kristin Whiting

      I agree whole-heartedly. Somehow the satire isnt clever enough to hit a mark. As someone who moved there in the 80’s, my senior year in high school (having lived in many different, diverse types of places previously): I was blessed to play on the esteemed Varsity Staples Soccer Team; given the lead in the Players’ Guys and Dolls that year, and was the only female to make the All State Choir. I could never, ever understand the daily whining of so many there. To complain of such tremendous gifts always seemed wholly ungrateful and closed-minded to me. Westport is beyond gorgeous, special, ridiculously idyllic, and filled with spectacularly interesting, engaging, gifted families. Hopefully someday once they have seen the world, they will appreciate rather than find fault Westport’s many wonderful attributes.

  47. Jimmy Ray Stagg

    For background:
    https://06880danwoog.com/2015/06/14/welcome-to-westport-video-the-back-story/

    In summary, it was a group project for AP Lang where we were supposed to satirize something. Our group (Nick, Harrison, and I) chose to satirize Westport.

  48. Marcy Anson Fralick Class of 1970

    I hope these kids got an A+ on this video. It is a fun, sassy, and perfect satire of a town with a lot of stereotypes about it. I found the video to be right on the mark. Great job, guys!! I don’t know what your career aspirations are, but I hope you’ll consider film making and the arts. There is truth in satire, and you captured it beautifully!

  49. Deb Rosenfield

    I never saw the original video until just now and it probably was an effective tool to attract people and certain kinds of businesses to the town at the time. It’s a little hokey now but definitely brought back some great memories.

    The “current” satire by Nick et al was humorous in places. Pretty sure that my daughter, who went through the school system here, probably guffawed at parts of it. I laughed out loud at “Hola” and at a few other points along the way. There were some cringe-worthy lines, though, and hated to see it end with the concept of anti-semitism because last in-first out.

    The counterpoint between the original video and the new one is akin to the difference in Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s/1980’s and today. SNL humor early on was truly satirical, clever and not usually directed at a specific group of people. Today, many of the skits (with some notable exceptions) are juvenile, mean-spirited and hurtful.

    So, as a satire for a class project, the video from Nick et al was well done. Good editing, good acting, parts were lots of fun to watch. What I would love to see, though, is the other half of the equation. Make the kids think about all of the opportunities and benefits they have received by living in Westport and as a class assignment, produce a video which portrays these positive points. Maybe the members of the Debate Team can produce that one.

  50. SUZANNE TAYLOR

    I loved it. It is very funny while telling it like it is. When I was a teen, at least we had movie theaters and bowling. I guess they might have distracted the kids that needed to study all the time… so they went away. I have always wondered why the Art Center is so ugly, Why paint it black?
    Worse choice ever. A great video, and I will share it.

  51. Debi (Hunn) Norberg

    Clever and well done! Staples, apparently, continues to encourage creativity. Their facetious presentation of today’s Westport made me laugh! (I’m still glad I moved to California…adios.)

  52. Stephanie Bass

    …same old, same old; could have been done 20 years ago; noting new was said; think the raves are one of the real problems in Westport: every kid gets a trophy; they are all incrdible….and that kid who’s parents didn’t let him do art: blame your parents, not the town

  53. The music is charmingly Stepford-ish.

  54. Julie Adler

    Love it. Spot on!

  55. Susan Maloney

    As a former Westporter who raised three children there, I think the video had its merits. Money breeds discontent for sure. We go back to visit and it feels and looks like la-la land. I enjoyed living there but was happy to move on to a more diverse, less intense, less competitive, more welcoming and authentic New England town of Bristol, RI. I learned that living among all the Yankee fans there that Fairfield County is really greater New York! Glad to be back in Red Sox Nation in the real New England!

  56. Michelle Benner

    Love it, so funny! I especially like the music and credits. They perfectly round out this piece of excellent work!

  57. Lisa Kaplan Steier, Staples '76

    I thought it was incredibly well-done and entertaining, and having grown up in Westport in the late 60’s-70’s, absolutely something we would have done given the technology and the class assignment! It was so obviously tongue-in-cheek, and to be outraged by it is missing the point entirely, in my opinion. My guess is that the students that created the piece know that they’re privileged to live in a town like Westport, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things about it that could and should be changed. The same can be said for many (most?) affluent suburbs. That kids recognize it instead of being apathetic …. isn’t social consciousness in youth a good thing?

  58. Torrey Russell

    All I can say is get the F*$k out of town as soon as you can drive. Really get out and live with the normal people of the world.

    • “normal people of the world” No thank you. The “normal people” display atavistic tendencies which make them unappealing.

      • Marcy Anson Fralick Class of 1970

        I agree with Torrey. I moved to CO for college after Staples in 1970, and was so happy to get out of the artificial, snobby, affluent bubble of Westport that in no way represents the “real world”. After college, I lived in a small mountain town in CO for 35 years among the “normal” people who didn’t care about money, class, big cars, snobby attitudes, or pushing their kids so hard academically that they had no childhood. My husband was an attorney, oftentimes getting paid on the barter system; my kids went to college, and I worked for my husband. Where I live, normal people climb Fourteeners, go white water rafting, camp under the stars (and there are billions of them with no city lights to hide them), ride bikes to work, volunteer in soup kitchens, maintain biking and hiking trails, foster children and pets, become CASA volunteers, and live to enjoy life. That’s what normal people do…at least in my world.

        • There are 7.2 billion people in the world and about 5.4 million live in Colorado and go white water rafting and you claim the people who live in Colorado are the “normal people”. Right. Very funny.

  59. Love it!!! I had no clue how isolated we were until I got to college.

  60. Laurie Goldberg

    I’m going to try to post this again…. I might be the splutterer here, but at the end of this video there is a list of qualities, none of them attractive, all meant to be satirical (?) but somehow “And Jews” gets added to that list. Sounded like it was meant as an insult. And yeah, that is anti-Semitism.

  61. Wait, did we really cut the art budget for our middle schools? Westport is nothing without its artists of all ages!! Love the credits!! Tears for Fears.. lol!!

  62. Mike Stroetzel

    I feel nothing in this video that made me proud of Westport…Grew up there, and it was my life then, I loved it…made me who I am, but whether this be a spoof or not, if this is how young people feel about it now, then I am glad I am gone.

  63. I love it! And to me, it really does speak to the changes in Westport since the 1960s, when my family moved in. I shouldn’t assume that Nick knows of Westport’s history as an artist’s community, but I hope he does.

  64. Fantasia Romano

    I thought the video was well done and Sadly very true! Especially the driving, its as though everyone forgot how to use a stop sign, most just stop and go with out looking or even shifting out of 3rd gear, I have actually been honked at for taking my 3 seconds AND for LOOKING at who was busting through the stop signs out of turn. I am a true Native of Westport and I feel its were Art and Fashion now come to die! It once was fun and beautiful now its Really not! Great Video I hope you and all your friends really follow your hearts and live with true passion and kindness .

  65. Eliot Schickler

    Too funny! Great job, Nick and Westport has a lot of charm!

  66. Elisabeth de'Ath

    Very clever, very true! Westport was the same when I lived/ grew up there! I think it’s fabulous! Well done!

  67. I absolutely loved every minute of it !!! People in westport are greedy rude cheap and annoying And a lot of them are soooo broke .and will fight to the death not to pay for services its not the same that it was .Ever since martha stewart brought all the trash from ny with her (and yes iam jewish ) not the tacky kind So good job Nick you nailed it !!!! Please make more

  68. Audrey Hertzel

    Loved it and looking forward to Part II! Make sure to include “the entitled parking!” Great job, Nick!

  69. Yet another spoiled (yet imaginative) brat from Westport spoofing the advantages he has through fortuitously being born into affluence. Surely all that time and creative energy could have been put to better use – what a waste. If he ever has to work a day in his life he’ll change his snotty attitude.

  70. maryann hurtuk classey

    right on-lol! born & raised in westport & taught art there 32 years & loved challenging the kids to be creative problem solvers & free-thinkers(not easy in middle school). left the town in 77 & haven’t looked back since my retirement in 08. no relation to the wonderful town that I grew up in as “entitlement” is it’s own form of cancer!

  71. After all the cheeky, sarcastic and jaded remarks (my own included), isn’t it obvious that we kinda like the place? Otherwise, why follow “06880”?
    To have spent formative years in Westport is an education in itself…
    one can only move forward.

  72. Max Stampa-Brown

    Wow. Bravo. Serious wit right here.

  73. Pamela Norman

    I loved this video. Spot on! Would LOVE to see him do a video on the ‘new’ Fairfield.

  74. John Brawley

    Hilarious.

  75. William Coley

    This video is GREAT!! Anyone who takes offense either has no sense of humor or maybe it hits to close to home…

    • Laurie Goldberg

      Go back and listen to the last sentence or two of the video and maybe you would hear why I found it objectionable. The rest of the video was entertaining…. right up until then.

    • Eliot Schickler

      William Coley hit the nail on the head and is so right! I wish there was a like button next to comments for I’d like it 100 times over because he’s totally accurate! Those who hate it need to get a sense of humor!

  76. Lawrence Hochheiser

    These talented kids, in making this video, demonstrate that Westport has not deprived them of the means and ability to create, disseminate and advance this art — and it is indeed art, the very stifling of which they decry. I assume they had reason to believe that the denizens of Westport would appreciate, or at least tolerate, their ideas (even with the considerable hyperbole). All-in-all, the town and its schools have (presumably) nurtured –and apparently encouraged (certainly not destroyed) — the authors’ creative and reflective aptitudes. Bravo for these artistic students, and also to the community and teachers that produced them. Just sayin’.