News for the ‘Andrew’s Rants’ Category

You Have Already Made It

Congratulations, friend, you have made it!

At some point in most artist’s lives, they decide they want to create their art as a career choice. They want to do it. They want to make it. If there is one term in the comedy industry vocabulary to describe success, it’s making it. We leap and sometimes flop over our occupational hurdles in rabid pursuit of making it.

But you’re wrong. You’ve already made it.

By most people’s criteria, I’ve just recently made it. I’ve performed standup on The Tonight Show and now have the opportunity to get paid to create a sitcom I co-created. So at this point you might be saying, “Well, Andrew, fuck you. Sure it’s easy to sit on that little sack of success and holler down at me, the toiler, that I’ve made it. Save your fucking pep talk.”

But that’s exactly why I can tell you that you’ve made it. Because I’ve walked a bit ahead, just around the bend, so I can report back to you. I’ve spent twelve years focused intently on my comedy career, and the only epiphany I’ve had since making it is that I actually made it long, long ago.

The first time I made it was in May of 2003, when I was holding on tightly to the cool rock wall backstage at the downtown Comedy Works. The terrible book on how to perform comedy I read said not to drink before going onstage but I had lubed up with a few vodka cranberries. When my time came I lurched through the curtain and babbled two minutes of jokes.

But I made it. I did some art. I created some jokes, shared them, and- without trying to sound pretentious when describing jokes about traffic construction- put something enjoyable into the world that wasn’t there before. And this is the greatest of human endeavors, art.

But somewhere along the line, I bought into the fucked-up and just dumb inverted power dynamic that turns art into a commodity, and places you, the creator, at the bottom of that flipped pyramid. You, the comedian who just ate shit on a TV showcase, who walks alone to your car, wondering just where everything dissolved. You, the writer, sending out submissions and feeling lucky just to get a rejection letter in return. You, the musician hammering out songs wondering how anyone will ever hear them. You are not making it because other people cannot make money off of your efforts.

This inverted power dynamic tells you that your art is only valid when it is a product that is consumed on a large scale. Get on TV. Get paid money for what you do. Sell your book. Sell your album. But this isn’t making it, it’s selling it. As a quick aside, there’s nothing wrong with selling it. I’m incredibly humbled and mind-blowingly fortunate to get money for telling jokes and writing scripts. This is all I want to do, and the more I can do it and not worry about rent, the better.

But I would do it for free. I know I would because I have. Lots. When I was making The Grawlix web series, I remarked many times how much I loved it and how I would do it for free, forever. Because I was making it. Because I had made it. So if you love what you do and you would do it for free, then congrats- you’ve also made it.

To you, the comic who has waited all night to go up last at an open mic in front of six people- you’ve made it. To you, the actor waiting for an audition, feeling insecure and out of place- you’ve made it. To you, the writer who self-publishes your books just to share them with friends- you’ve made it. To you, the musician who would rather give her music away online just to be heard, you’ve made it.

So take heart, creators.

You have already made it.

You are already here.

Posted: March 12th, 2015
Categories: Andrew's Rants, Random thoughts
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The Unicorn Episode 06 with Michelle Miracle

Episode 6: Michelle Miracle unicorn-michelle-miracle unicorn-michelle-miracle2We chat about our Air Sex moves (or maybe just mine) and Michelle Miracle redefines horror talking about the worst dick she’s ever ‘seen’.

 

Posted: February 10th, 2014
Categories: Andrew's Rants, The Unicorn Podcast
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The Unicorn Episode 05 with Baron Vaughn

VaughnBeev

 

It’s episode 5 of The Unicorn, with Baron Vaughn! Despite Baron’s rapid-fire, dizzying comedy skills on stage, this episode reveals his more thoughtful side.

Posted: January 9th, 2014
Categories: Andrew's Rants, The Unicorn Podcast
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I Love Guns.

I love guns. I always have. I was lucky enough to grow up in the era when G.I. Joe figures had little black guns modeled after the real thing, not big silly neon green missile launchers. When I was in high school, I was the go-to guy for drawing guns. If you had a cool picture that needed an appropriately cool gun, I was the kid to talk to.

But I think gun playtime has come to an end in America. Can a few people ruin something for a larger group? Yes, definitely. It happens all the time. That’s an actual thing that happens. And a few people have definitely ruined gun ownership for the United States.

Why can’t the U.S. be like Japan, where guns are illegal, and instead the citizens spend their time making the world’s coolest shit and world’s weirdest cartoons? I can’t so much as solder a basic calculator, but thank god I’m able to own a small arsenal in my home.

I brought these concerns to my mother, who said the line that many before her have said: “Well, if guns are illegal, only bad guys will have guns.” WHAT A GREAT SYSTEM FOR FINDING BAD GUYS. That sounds like a pretty reliable bad-guy detection system, personally.

But let’s look at/dismantle the three main reasons an American has a gun.

Hunting: Use a bow and arrow. It’s fairer, and gives you a better story. Plus, no one’s toddler has ever stepped on a bow and arrow while holding it under her chin and shot it through her head.

Home Defense: Get a dog. A dog is uniquely suited for home security, and a proven deterrent against would-be intruders. Do you really think your bumbling, sleep-addled ass is going to roll out of bed upon hearing a thump in the night and expertly make your way to your wall safe, spin the combination, then load and remove the gun? Whoever is coming into your house NEVER WENT TO SLEEP. They’re coming in hot, full of adrenaline, and breaking into your house is their job. The only way a gun makes sense for home defense is if you’re an irresponsible gun owner and your gun is loaded, ready to go on your nightstand.

Defense From The Government: This one is the most precious of all. If the government wants to come get you, they’re going to come get you. The government has an F-35 fighter jet that can stop and hover over your neighborhood and turn it into compost. Maybe you have a gun big enough to shoot at a jet? No worries, your government has spent your money well and has a remote-controlled drone that can fire missiles at your house from miles away. You’ll never even know it’s there. Of course, it’ll probably destroy a grocery store a few blocks away first on accident, but you’re next.

The only reason for gun ownership that I’ll accept is that you want to murder someone. Because guns are perfect for that. Otherwise, you just do not need to own one.

Perhaps you equate guns with freedom, and your basic American rights? How about equating actual freedom with freedom and basic American rights? How about gender equality, racial equality, gay equality, etc? You clutch a gun as a flagpole of freedom while you live in a country that is by no stretch of the imagination free for all her citizens. So weld a fucking rake head in the end of your rifle and take up gardening, because we’re a ways off from freedom.

But of course, there are real gun nuts who will never, ever relinquish their guns. How can we get these die-hard militants to surrender their guns willingly? I actually thought of an answer. What does a militantly conservative gun nut hate equally as much as he loves his guns?

Gay people.

We need to make guns AS GAY AS POSSIBLE. Pull all the stops. I want calendars of oiled-up shirtless dudes licking gun barrels. If you go visit someone’s house and they have a gun, say, “Oh, I didn’t know you were gay!” Make guns synonymous with gays and these gun worshippers will trip over themselves to turn them in.

Dumping an armload in the pile, “I ain’t no fag, take ’em all.”

“Darryl, what about your ankle piece?”

“…I’m a little bi.”

Posted: January 16th, 2013
Categories: Andrew's Rants, In the news
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10 Fun Facts About Fireworks

1. The first firecracker was invented in 810 A.D. by Jiao Ji, who celebrated his discovery by promptly flushing it down principal Chen’s toilet.

2. The word ‘firework’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘fire’ and ‘work’. Were you really too dumb to see that?

3. Did you know it’s legal to light off fireworks year-round in England? I guess that’s a decent consolation prize for losing a war with your own colony.

4. In Australia they call firecrackers ‘bungers’, which definitively proves they’re just an island of inbred convicts.

5. An estimated 9,600 people were injured by fireworks in 2011. Can you believe there were that many double dares issued in one year?

6. Israel uses fireworks to celebrate Purim, a holiday I just found out existed while googling the word ‘fireworks’.

7. In China, fireworks are not only completely legal, but actually mandatory for every citizen. Every person must detonate at least one firecracker per day or face imprisonment.

8. All fireworks except rockets are legal in Norway. Only rockets are legal in Sweden. Scandinavia is fucking weird.

9. High powered firecrackers such as M-80’s are categorized as ‘Class C’ fireworks. The C stands for Cool.

10. In 1910 the United States switched to using firecrackers to celebrate its Independence Day instead of the formal tradition of just shooting anyone who sounded vaguely British.

Posted: July 5th, 2012
Categories: Andrew's Rants, Random thoughts
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Comments: 1 Comment.

I disliked Prometheus enough to write this blog!

SPOILER ALERT: Prometheus was a terrible movie!  In all seriousness, this screed will contain numerous spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie you might want to skip this and then after you watch it (if you must), lower yourself into this warm, bubbly tub of frothy vitriol.

I had a hunch it would be terrible.  Not just because people always seem to mishandle beloved properties from yesteryear, but because I saw Damon Lindelof would be one of the writers.  Most of you probably have no idea who he is, but he was a writer on the show Lost (probably the one who made every terrible, weird decision ever made on that show), as well as the guy who was somehow able to make a comic miniseries titled Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk into a very boring, dull affair, and take 4 years to do it.

First of all, let me excuse the frequently hacky acting and cornball dialog.  These are staples in summer movies, and I like plenty of movies chock full of both.  I can’t fault a movie just for that.

So what’s my beef with this movie?  Pretty much everything, with the exception of the production design (which of course looked terrific), and Michael Fassbender’s android David (who deserved his own movie, which would have been much more interesting and rewarding).

If I understand the plot of the film (and I’m not sure I do, which is not the hallmark of cohesive storytelling), it is as follows:

Life on Earth was ‘engineered’ by a superior race of large humanoid aliens long ago, and then, due either to something in our genetic code or perhaps visits, primitive humans started drawing ‘star maps’ showing the location of these aliens.  This evidence is found by two ‘scientists’ (I’m being kind and using the movie’s term) who think it’s an invitation to meet life’s creator, when in fact it’s apparently an invitation to come get beaten to death by your own severed body parts.

So they convince the Weyland corporation (of Aliens lore, of course) to finance their expedition.  The Weyland corporation, in a baffling move, has assembled a crew of scientists who, in a similar baffling move, agree to get onto a ship and be put to cryogenic sleep to travel to a distant location without knowing anything else.  Of course that’s a handy way for the characters to talk the plot along, but it’s also super stupid.

Which is okay, because these scientists are also super stupid.  There’s a geologist (and geology becomes a pretty fucking hip profession 100 years from now) who ‘likes rocks’, and whose scientific expertise in the film is limited to setting loose two probes and howling like a dog.  Then there’s the biologist who encounters an alien creature that looks like a giant, fanged penis, and his first reaction is just to grab it.  It’s a shame they didn’t bring along more scientists, like a botanist who might just chew the first plant he or she saw.  The scientist Holloway (aka the Main Guy) gets pouty and drunk the night they find the aliens’ ship and corpses, because they’re all dead.  Holloway is in fact so stupid that the android points this out to us during one of their conversations.  I’m surprised the audience didn’t stand up and clap when he’s finally put out of our misery.

This bumbling, bad news bears team of scientists encounters vases of Hershey’s syrup that, according to what the movie needs it to do, either kills people incredibly quickly or vastly mutates the life that touches it.  It’s not really clear.  As a human, if you have a teeny drop, you die in less than 24 hours, but if you pretty much bathe in it, you turn into a super-powered werewolf that’s almost impossible to kill.  Just one of the many cool plot contrivances from Lindelof and Co.

After thinning the crew out by the aforementioned werewolf [How did he get to to the ship all wadded up like that?  How did he turn his camera on when he was outside?] we’re left with no choice but to root for Noomi Rapace’s character, an unlikeable crybaby who makes you wish Ellen Ripley would run in and knee her in the gut.  Another side effect of the Hershey’s syrup is that if you’re infected by it, and you somehow manage to fuck in that tiny window of life you have left, you impregnate the other person with an alien squid.

Conservatives of today, rejoice!  Apparently the word ‘abortion’ is just not in anyone’s vocabulary 100 years from now, so Noomi Rapace asks the medi-pod for a ‘cesarean’.  The medi-pod informs her that it’s ‘calibrated for men’, (medical science takes a step 500 years into the past 100 years from now) so she somehow manually tricks it into giving her an abortion.  And make no mistake, the imagery for the surgery is every Pro-Life activists’ wet dream.  After being cut open like a pig and having the fetus scooped out, Noomi is hastily stapled back up, you know, like in imaginary abortion clinics.

But that’s not the only surprisingly conservative undertone to the film.  Noomi wears a cross around her neck (which the android takes away, in a display of mustache-twirling villainy), and later, after meeting the creator of life on Earth (who responds to meeting his creation with gleeful violence), she asks for her cross back.  When the android questions just how stupid this decision is, Noomi just wants to believe, and trots out the tired platitude of “but who made THEM?”  Who gives a shit?  It certainly wasn’t the father of Jesus Christ.  You just saw proof of who created life on Earth, and the human race.  You watched it beat a bunch of people to death.  I suppose this scene left many a Christian nodding in their seat, “See, even if I met an alien, that wouldn’t disprove the existence of God!  This movie just proved that!”

As for these alien engineers, just how stupid are they?  Despite traveling in interstellar starships that are operated via flute and jumbo toddler glow-buttons, they’re pretty stupid.  They fly around in ships stuffed full of the dangerous Hershey’s syrup, which is used to either create or destroy life (again depending on the movie’s whim).  When the engineer in the movie is awakened, his only goal is to get to Earth to apparently end all life.  Or maybe create a planet full of super-mutants.  Who can say, the script certainly can’t.

Other poor decisions I will hastily address:

-The old man makeup on Guy Pearce.  Another laughably poor choice.  I couldn’t tell it was Guy Pearce under all that makeup, so why did they use it?  Why not just cast an actual old guy?  The character didn’t even need to do anything physical!  You could pay an old man Guy Pearce’s lunch as a salary!

Prometheus Sucked

Thanks to Robert Rutherford for this idea.

-The ‘plot twist’ of Charlize Theron being Guy Pearce’s daughter.  “You know what would be a REAL twist?  If it turns out this evil corporate tycoon is actually the daughter of the other evil corporate tycoon!”  When the movie dropped that ‘…father’ line I had to actually choke down a laugh.

-Speaking of Charlize Theron, watching her death scene I could almost hear the writers saying, “Wait, she’s still in this?”  Her character was almost useless to the story, other than graciously flame-throwing Holloway to death.

The final nail in the coffin (which was definitely already heading into the grave) was the ending sequence.  As a fan of the original Alien, I vividly recall the characters encountering the derelict alien vessel with the ‘space jockey’ seated with his ribs exploded outward.  This being the prequel, I thought we were seeing the sequence of events that led up to that scene… until the space jockey got out of his seat, ran to the lifeboat and got killed by the giant facehugger.  Still, he could have survived the attack and gone back to his ship, only to die when the alien burst out.  That would have made sense and lined everything up quite nicely.  But no, he just dies, and then an alien comes out.

Defenders of the movie say that the alien ship in Alien is in fact an entirely different ship from an entirely different situation.  So, these very advanced creators of life fly around with very unstable cargo that keeps killing them?  That makes it seem better.

Andy, relax, you’re saying.  It’s just a summer popcorn movie.  Don’t get so worked up over it.  But it isn’t.  It’s a film in the Alien franchise, which admittedly has a few missteps already in the family (like Alien Resurrection, which is now tied with Prometheus for best comedy), but is still revered by sci-fi geeks like me.  Yes, the creators of Prometheus said this was a stand-alone movie, but it isn’t.  It’s clearly trying to be the prequel to Alien! It uses the same title sequence as Alien.  It uses the Weyland corporation from Alien.  It uses the same alien technology from Alien.  And perhaps most importantly, it has a fucking ALIEN in it.  So don’t sucker everyone in under the banner of Alien and then deliver this steaming pile of garbage.

I don’t think anyone is still reading this.

(Thanks to Will Weldon to seeing this with me, listening to me yell in his car for a long time, and giving me some of the ideas written here)

Posted: June 12th, 2012
Categories: Andrew's Rants
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Occupied Thoughts.

My grandma has a bad tooth.  She never visits the dentist, so what should have been a smaller issue caught long ago is now a serious, painful one.  My grandma is ‘retired’ without income or health coverage.  She has no recourse to get her tooth fixed, but my mom found one: a free dental clinic. The only catch is that it’s first come, first served, one night a month, and people wait all night for this opportunity.  So it is my grandma might have to spend the night outside in late October (it’s snowing as I write this) just to get a tooth fixed.

I visited the Occupy Denver protest last weekend.  I dressed my daughter up like Wonder Woman, and we met her friend Oscar who dressed like Batman.  The goal was to assemble a Tiny Justice League, but it was just the two tiny heroes.

We walked around as the protest was setting up, and were largely underwhelmed by what we saw.  Not to discount those who are risking arrest by spending the night, but it was largely mentally ill homeless people and the ‘usual’ protest people.  Like the woman who was yelling her protest chant even though no one was even around and there was no other noise which necessitated yelling.  Or the ‘End Israeli Apartheid’ folks who will apparently piggyback any protest.

But I support it.  I think this movement is great.  I imagine the smug, wealthy, elite assholes who tanked our economy flabbergasted that they got away with it.  Maybe they called each other up on the phone when the dust had settled.

“Can you believe we got away with it?”

“I know!  And I even got a raise!”

“I guess America would rather keep us afloat than risk chaos.”

“Cheers to that!”

But our memory has surprised them, and even me.  They didn’t get away with it.  People are nearing their threshold for bullshit.  I have taught my daughter that if someone is bothering her to say ‘Please stop’, and if they keep bothering her to then tell them forcibly, ‘NO!’  This is the American people saying ‘Please stop’.

There are two ways the super-rich stay super-rich.  The first way is by everyone else thinking they, too, will one day be super rich.  Thus the actual rich are protected by the pretend rich who think they are protecting their own peers from trouble.  It’s the American Dream to ‘make it big’ and become rich, but I have bad news for you: you won’t.  As you read this blog, you imagine that I’m speaking generally, or to some sad sack who is not you.  But I am also talking to you.  It brings me no joy to say it, but you will never be among the mega-rich, and to think you will is like the child dreaming of becoming an astronaut.  There is no longer any space program for you, child.

The second way they stay mega-rich is by dispensing treats.  Generally these treats are good jobs, or affordable healthcare, but it seems these treats are evaporating all around us.  The mega-rich have found that they can be even richer by shipping our jobs away or doing away with decent benefits.

So when people realize they will never join the elite ranks of the mega-rich, and the treats have stopped dropping from the table, what happens next?  That’s what the beginning of this Occupy movement feels to me.  That question, unanswered.

There are also two ways to ignore this movement: By being very rich yourself, or by being so cynical that you don’t think these protests will ever change anything.  Either way, it’s an expensive view and I envy that you can afford it.

I know my grandma can’t.

Posted: October 26th, 2011
Categories: Andrew's Rants
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Weaksauce.

Most people have lost a pet in their lifetime.  Even if the loss is temporary (as with me), almost everyone knows that sickening feeling when you realize your animal buddy is lost, and you, their caretaker, probably let it happen.  It feels terrible.  I can imagine that if you do not recover your pet it feels even more terribler.  I know terribler is not a word.

Luckily for me, big fat Peaches will apparently jump happily into any stranger’s car, where she is deposited at the nearest vet.  She has ventured off a handful of times but I’ve always been lucky enough to find her before I had to create a missing pet poster.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog.  It seems the local weekly Westword, a paper which I have enjoyed to varying degrees over the years, has a new feature wherein their cartoonist Kenny Be finds missing pet flyers and then makes fun of them.

There’s two problems with this.  The first is that Kenny Be is decidedly unfunny.  His usual feature is a political cartoon where he skewers local politicians, which is precisely as funny as it sounds.  It’s the drawn equivalent of ‘WHO GIVES A FUCK!’

The second problem is that this feature would never be funny.  Not to anyone who has ever lost a pet, which is almost everyone.  To make this idea work you would have to be incredibly clever, and have an incredibly clever idea.  I’ve actually found an example of this, and you can find it here on David Thorne’s amazing website.  I have no idea if Missy is actually missing, but it’s a very funny feature either way.

Here is Kenny Be’s Westword feature.  Feel free to look over the three entries, and soak in the comedy.  And, if you’ve made it this far in my blog, and have the time, leave a comment on there and let them know just how un-fucking-funny this feature is.

Posted: September 11th, 2011
Categories: Andrew's Rants, In the news, Random thoughts
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Blackout.

Ikea cinnamon roll

Yesterday I visited our new Ikea store to return a bunch of shit when I broke down and decided to buy one of their cinnamon rolls on my way out.  They pretty much pump that scent directly into your brain, and they’re only a dollar.  Plus, I hadn’t had a cinnamon roll in forever, so GET OFF MY BACK, OKAY?

I took one delicious bite of the cinnamon roll (which was still warm from the oven) and stepped onto the escalator to leave- when blunder of blunders- I dropped it!  I watched it tumble onto the dirty metal teeth, which began to gnash at my treat.  It was very sad, especially since I had just eaten one bite.  Had I not tasted it first, I would have probably been okay about this.  Since I am not some sort of human pig I picked up the remains with the waxed paper to throw them away.

Flash forward five minutes later.  I’m sitting in my car, and there is no cinnamon roll.  But there is the waxed paper.  And I am confident there is no trash can between myself and the escalator.  What just happened?  There’s only one explanation.

The high-ups in my brain held an emergency session as soon as that cinnamon roll hit the escalator.

“We need this,” they decided unanimously, and called down to Geoffrey in memory.

“Geoffrey, it’s Stephens up top.  We need a five minute memory blackout, starting right now.”

Geoffrey is taken aback.  “Um, blackouts are generally reserved for emergencies, and traumatic events, like the ‘Summer Camp ’83 incident’.

“GEOFFREY!  This is an emergency.  Just do it or we’ll drown you in whisky again later tonight.  Give you some shit to unravel all day tomorrow.”

And so Geoffrey flipped the switch and I gobbled that cinnamon roll up like a very real human pig.  As I drove away, I realized that of all the food items to drop on a public escalator, a warm, sticky cinnamon roll is undoubtably the worst.  It’s like dropping food tape on the floor.  I was just waiting to burp up a cigarette butt.

So here’s to you, Geoffrey, for doing your job.  And I’m sorry I drowned you in whisky anyway.

Posted: September 1st, 2011
Categories: Andrew's Rants
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YouTube Comments for Dummies

Leaving a comment on a YouTube video can be a daunting, I daresay- intimidating undertaking.  You’re putting forth your opinion for possibly thousands, or even millions of people to digest.  With that much at stake, it’s important to craft your comment so that it not only expresses your pure opinion, it also reflects your personality.  So here are some quick tips to ensure that your commentary is on the right track.

-Remember the YouTube maxim: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, make sure to say it here.”  If you do enjoy what you just watched, be sure to quietly leave without expressing any opinion whatsoever.  Do not even click the ‘thumbs up’ button to anonymously give thanks.  Simply slip away back into the Internet to browse for something that you will hate.  No one cares about your positive thoughts or constructive feedback, so keep it to yourself!

-Quantity over quality.  You’ll want to take a shotgun approach to commenting.  Selecting a few videos and remarking on them isn’t going to get you the reputation you’re hoping to cultivate here.  Watching the entirety of a clip simply won’t be an option, so try to start leaving your comment the moment a clip has started, and then jump to a new clip as soon as you’re finished.

-Keep it formal.  When addressing a contributor, or another commenter, be sure to use the formal honorific faggot.  If you have a more casual relationship with the addressee, you may use the abbreviated fag, or even possibly homo.  If you do decide to get creative with it, just make sure to ensure that it is both homophobic AND stupid.  For instance, cocksucker is acceptable, while idiot is not.

-Personalize it!  This is your chance to submit yourself to the masses, make it count!  Anybody can spell words ‘normally’ and use punctuation marks correctly, so set yourself apart from the herd with some of lingo of your own cookin’ See what I did there?  No period!  I just went ahead and started the next sentence!

Here are some great examples of commenters really forging their own style:

fuk you homo

this shit sukkks real okLOL

h8 dis fukkin ;)))))

These are just a few tips; to fully instruct you in the art of YouTube commentary would take years of exhaustive tutelage.  The best teacher is life.  Get out (in your chair) there and start witnessing the world (UFC highlights)!

Posted: August 15th, 2011
Categories: Andrew's Rants
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