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If I were you, I'd try auto-tracing the text layer(s), and applying 3D-Stroke to the auto-trace results. Then, enable "taper", and animate the stroke offset. Place your strokes layer on top of the full text layer, and then set the mode to add/screen.
You could also use the Vegas effect and animate its rotation parameter. Since it natively works on Alpha edges, you could bypass the generation of the paths and save an extra step...
> I was trying to figure out how to replicate this old school 1980s text gleam. This title created last replicates it so well! It's not the light sweep across the letters, but the rotating edge gleam I want to figure out how to duplicate.
> (sorry, 2MB embedded image)
This looks like something that might have been done in the Bluff Titler
program. In fact, it looks almost exactly like their Sliver Of Light
effect combined with perhaps their plasma effect.
Live Type (free app with Final Cut Studio) has a few "Live Fonts" that have this effect built in.
I do this all the time, easy.
CC LightSweep and ye Olde Bevel Alpha. Animate the light direction.
You can also pull an edge off the alpha and fill it with another copy of the LightSweep.
And for what it's worth, the Tim and Eric Show is just a smorgasbord of After Effects silliness and absurd editing gags, on top of some awesomely bizarre writing. Me and my best friend who is also a mograph professional have the best time calling out the easily recognizable effects and techniques.
Sorry for the hijack!