I spend way too much time on social media. My favorite platform is Twitter, which has become not only a source for breaking news and ads for everything from new book releases to sex toys, but it is a forum for some of the most hilarious people in the world to Tweet humor all day, every day, from around the globe. Celebs and nobodies. Parents tweeting about kids. Single people tweeting about sex and dating. All of it is hilarious, some of it quite raunchy. But it takes a certain brilliance to be funny in 140 characters.
I don’t know his full name. But @jaysaysstuff is one of my favorites. He tweets about his love life (not G rated), his family (his Dad is a dud, apparently), and his nieces and nephews, whom he babysits for. I really like this Tweetist. So I interviewed him about his Twitter life:
Jay, what made you decide to be “hilarious ” on Twitter?
What do you do for a living? Does that have any affect on your Twitter life?
Twitter’s a place I can spout the absurd thoughts I naturally have all day long without anyone in my real life getting offended or deeming me a silly person. I have a very serious job working with very serious (read: “largely humorless”) people. My natural inclination to find the funny angle to every situation results in me biting my tongue all day, so, I started a twitter account to let off steam. Nobody in my real life even knows I have a twitter account. I do get a little kick when I see a version of one of my jokes find its way into a friend’s Facebook post…followed by a moment of panic that I’ve been discovered.
What is a common theme in your tweets? Many comics joke about themselves–do you?
All day long. I’m ridiculous, marching around all day with authority, all the while feeling like a kid playing “grown up.” I’d imagine most people feel like that to some extent, so I like to play to it. People seem to connect with jokes about me floundering through life. Nobody gets life right, and the mistakes are really, REALLY funny. As for a common theme…nope, I’m all over the place.
Do you piggy back on the news?
On issues, yes, but it usually happens organically. I don’t look to do it, I just tend to tweet my gut reaction to a piece or situation.
How do you feel about making fun of others? Do you think it’s cruel? Is there a line you never cross?
Honestly, I actually feel it’s important to make fun of others, but only when they’re in the position of power. Point out social injustices. Done right, it’s not cruel, or, if it is, I don’t care. I despise bullies. As a child, the only two times I was suspended were: 1. Punching a kid trying to bully me and 2. Punching the same kid bullying another kid. (Interestingly, that bully is now a deputy sheriff.) You can’t argue someone into changing their mind. They’ll just plant their heels and push back harder. Zing them, exposing their bully nature, and they’ve very little recourse. On twitter, there’s a built in audience who watch exchanges. I stick to making fun of those whom, I feel, are pushing around the little guy. Trump’s my most recent regular target, but the GOP in general, Conservative Christians, gun fanatics, racists, etc. remain favorite standbys. Oh, and Ted Cruz, partly because his face is two sizes too small for his noggin, but also because he’s an awful person. Mostly the face thing, though. Really bad face-to-head ratio, that guy.
Do you think the generation gap is funny?
Hilarious! I’m in an odd spot. I’m part of Generation X, so I get the technical world that my parents don’t, but not the ridiculous obsession with pop culture in which those behind me are obsessed. My dad spent 15 years thinking that email was like regular mail, in that, it could only be retrieved from a specific physical location. I was aware that he thought that for all 15 years…but where was the fun in correcting him? It was my own personal running joke and I got my little payoff every time he had to run back to his house to check his email.
At the same time, I hate that kids can’t find Syria on a map but follow Kim Kardashian news religiously. My disaffected generation wasted our days incorrectly arguing Nietzsche and Kafka’s merits and flaws in coffee shops and our nights swilling beer while watching guys dressed like railway hobos wail away on instruments they’d never truly learn to play…but we tried. We understood and had opinions about Clinton’s transgressions and the Gulf War. The generation behind are more interested in twitter beefs between rappers. I suppose values change, so every generation feels like the following generation is somehow inferior, though. For the record, those coffee shop dwellers I grew up with now post pictures of their dinners each night on Facebook, so we didn’t exactly end up changing the world.
Have you ever bombed on Twitter, or gotten in trouble with a tweet?
I made fun of Snookie getting punched and she retweeted it. I had hundreds of Snookie obsessed kids blowing up my twitter, so I did what any sane person would do…I offered them food and asked about their grandparents.
“SNOOKIE’S A MOTHER!! SHOW HER SOME RESPECT!!”
“I made waffles. There may be some bacon, too, but if not, I can make more. Hey, how’s your nana? Good? She’s a lovely lady.”
Three hours I kept that up. 75 tweets offering strangers food.
Which celebs do you think are the best tweeters?
Anna Kendrick. No doubt about it. I don’t really follow any others. Even professional comedians fall flat for me. They reserve the good material for their shows, and who can blame them?
Do you sit down to “think up” funny tweets, or do they just come to you?
I catch myself sometimes trying to think up a tweet, but, frankly, what comes out is invariably garbage, so I close twitter. Most of my tweets are random thoughts. If they don’t translate well to 140 characters, I’ll put them in drafts and revisit them later to see if a fresh mind can make it work.
How is being funny on Twitter different than being funny anywhere else?
The complete lack of context. You have 140 characters to make a joke. There’s no lead in. You can’t explain the situation then explain how it’s funny. Those are the tweets that go into the drafts folder and never make it back out. Were I to ever decide to starve and try to be a comic, I’d have hours of potentially funny, yet horribly dated jokes I couldn’t pare down to usable tweets.
What do you consider to be your funniest tweet?
I honestly don’t know. It isn’t my top tweet:
“Someone just used my driveway to turn around and now I’m standing outside with two open beers and *lonely face*”
(2,176 retweets/3,853 stars)
In general my favorite ones are when I’m the fool. I’m pretty good at being foolish:
“I f**ked up a fist bump with a black guy at work. I shook his fist. I SHOOK HIS FIST! I have to change jobs now. Why did I shake his fist?!”
“I left the bar sober at 11:30 last night because I remembered I had leftover fried rice in my fridge. Apparently this is who I am now.”
Which Twitter accounts are your humor favorites?
They’re all fun. Regular people are funny, much funnier than professionals. There are a few I regularly revisit but my very favorite is probably @weinerdog4life. His tweets make weird left turns you never quite expect. Also, I love absurd humor:
“When God invented snakes he was like,”Do you want legs or do you want to look like a scary belt? Too late…scary belt.”
“Did you know you can just buy live lobsters? Anyway can I use your shower mine is full of lobsters”
“Side effects may include: upset stomach, diarrhea, some wolves will chase you, like 6-12 wolves, it’s ok”
Jay left me with one final thought: “It is important to just be yourself on social media.” Good advice. I have a lot of followers who also give themselves rear-view mirror ‘facelifts.’ It’s all about finding your audience…
Thank you, Jay!