Almost two years ago, after winter drinks with a couple of friends, I came home and read an article about the deliciousness of a vegan mayo, Vegenaise. The article was positive, and I was feeling happy that a vegan product got such a great review.
And then I scrolled down to the …
(Deep, booming voice here.)
As usual, all who commented were kind, considerate, and thereby restored my faith in humanity.
Always disheartening, never productive, comments have a way of encouraging — what’s the opposite of “faith”? — disbelief in humanity.
It occurred to me that, much like we behave differently in our cars (usually we don’t loudly honk at slow walkers on sidewalks and/or flip them off for ambling in the “slow” lane) we present our virtual selves much more aggressively than our real selves.
In short, we’d never talk to someone we didn’t know in person as we do online in comment sections. I thought there might be something funny in all of this.
Bringing #Comments to life
That night, I stayed up and “wrote” the first act based on the Vegenaise article comment section (“curated comments,” as my friend Doug called it later). Much to Rob’s delight, I was laughing so hard that I woke him up around midnight to run through the first “act” of comments.
The next two acts of the play just wrote themselves with the onset of the lawsuit against vegan product Just Mayo (created by Hampton Creek) by Unilever (Hellman’s) and the subsequent dropping of the lawsuit (and now the re-emergence of the accusation of Just Mayo not being mayo because it doesn’t contain eggs by the Egg Board).
The play was put on hold as we devoted more time to music and touring the US and Europe.
Also, more importantly: I don’t know how to write/put on/produce a play, and whether or not this would even work as a piece of entertainment. Plus, I didn’t have any wigs.
Enter the Salvation Army thrift store on 15-501: hello five wigs for $3.99!
Now we have wigs and so I’m a playwright?
The first series features characters (commenters on articles) discussing vegan mayo, but you don’t have to like vegan or mayo to like #comments.
Rob and I have been “workshopping” and acting out the various comments, and I’m very (surprisingly) happy with the results as I’ve spent time video-editing our first act.
We’ve filmed the first act, and plan to film the next two over the next week while camping. Can we act? Absolutely not.
Next steps for #Comments
The other day I was listening to a TedRadio podcast about a man who is a “professional amateur.” He takes on projects/tasks/religions with which he’s completely unfamiliar (one project was on being Jewish) and learns each the best he can. After doing these experiments for awhile, he realized something important.
In order to become an “expert” at anything, you just need to “do” this something. Get started. Begin. He felt at the end of many experiments that he had mastered the topic, or at least was not an amateur.
This bit of advice was very helpful to me. I may not know what I’m doing, but the only way to figure out if #Comments works is to actually start the process of acting it out and making plays. Maybe I’ll learn something in the meantime.
Right now I have not planned the next steps, but hope to release the videos soon (most likely on YouBigTalker) and/or maybe a live viewing with music. Sign up below for updates!
Our next series may be on Senior drinking.
In the meantime, meet Radbro.
Any articles with “fun” comment sections you think should become a #Comments play? Comment below.
(Oh the meta!)