Sometime in 2011, the guy who owns the townhouse that I rent a room in showed me a video clip on YouTube that I might not have discovered on my own. I laughed my ass off listening to the narration by some guy most people would identify as stereotypically gay. His way of expressing himself is hilarious, to the point where you don't know if its what he says that is as funny as the way he says it. If you've never seen the video clip, I have attached a video link at the end of this post for your convenience.
On Tuesday, the narrator of this famous Internet sensation came to Powell's City of Books, which means he actually has a book out (geez, everyone is getting a book published while my novel is still failing to find an interested agent). This was one of those events that I had to attend, just to see if this guy is for real. His name is Randall. This event was one of the larger ones I've attended (not surprised, actually). Its interesting to see who turns out for the various lectures. In this one, I noticed a larger percentage of teenage or twentysomething girls. That doesn't really surprise me, either, because Randall's manner of speaking is exactly how teenage girls talk. I guess that's part of the humour, its a man who speaks like a teenage girl.
This being Portland, a grown man showed up in a honey badger costume. No, it was not former Congressman David Wu! I had no idea that there are even honey badger costumes to be had. The rest of the crowd was the usual "Portland hipster" crowd. I had no idea what Randall looked like. When he came to the podium, he wore sunglasses, the only lecturer / author I've seen to do so. To me, this told me that Randall is a character and the sunglasses (inside a building) is his way of maintaining his real identity (keeping it from the public). He gave a Powerpoint presentation, featuring photos of animals that are in his book (not just the honey badger). He was hilarious in his presentation, as well. Every few screen images were a photo he claimed to be "embarrassed" by (part of his schtick, I think). These included a group of shirtless firemen, Erik Estrada, an old looking librarian-type lady, a chef with a large hat, and the final photo in his presentation was of a shirtless President Obama running in the ocean surf on his Hawaiian vacation (that the whole world has seen).
For the Q & A section of the lecture, Randall did something that no other lecturer had done in all the ones I've attended for the past 5 years. He said that he would answer any questions we might have, but the condition was that he would ask the person a question of his own. I thought that was an awesome idea.
What I learned in this segment is that he loves animals and nature, though he's afraid of it and hates the brutality of animals eating other animals. His father was a film photographer for Mutual of Omaha, so he had been narrating these video shots for his family and friends amusement since childhood. Which means he's probably in my age group. Mutual of Omaha wildlife series is something I remember watching when I was really young. Most of the crowd at the lecture seem like they never heard of that show before.
Randall did get a little political, saying that he doesn't think the animals will be safe after November. He recommended forming a honey badger party to run in the general election. However, the way he describes the honey badger, I think there already is a candidate who resembles this fearless creature. That honey badger is Newt Gingrich. He just doesn't give a shit.
The guy in the honey badger costume asked Randall a question, which I don't remember what it was, but Randall's question to him was "Why do you run backwards? I can never figure that out." One question he asked the person who asked him questions was: "What celebrity would you want to be stuck in an elevator with?" The guy responded with, "Not Kim Kardashian!" which drew a lot of laughs. Its weird that this woman's name comes up a lot. I have no idea who she is or why she's famous. I know her name but I don't know what she looks like. If I had been asked that question, I would've said "Natalie Portman", though my real answer would have been Audrey Tautou. But if I was aiming for funny, I would've said, "Sarah Palin."
He said that his motive for doing the book and a few phone apps, and supposedly even a limited edition stuffed talking honey badger toy, was so he can devote as much money to saving the animals. No one asked if he was a vegetarian, which would've been my question, if I dared to ask. All in all, it was an entertaining evening. He is definitely witty in person and talks as he does in the video, although there were times when he spoke with sincere seriousness, which leads me to believe that this "Randall" narrator is an act and not how he really is to family and friends. He did say that he was a theater major. So, I guess this was his creation. It is cool that he found fame through YouTube. If I'm not mistaken, he had only uploaded his video narration of the honey badger a year ago and it now has more than 35 million views. He has other videos, but I don't find them nearly as funny as the one that started them all.
I managed to find a photo of him in a Google search. He looks like he's trying to be a 70s porn star with the hairstyle and the mutton chops and 'stache. Notice the sunglasses. He really doesn't want anyone to see his unobstructed face. Its a way of maintaining his privacy, I suppose. It'll be interesting to see if he will be able to stretch out his Andy Warhol-mandated 15 minutes of fame. For every Randall, though, I'm sure there are thousands who are posting things on YouTube in the hopes that their time in the public spotlight will come soon.