Even in small doses, it's a well-known fact that you're not that funny. And with the advent of Twitter, it's pointless to even try. Twitter has exploded in popularity in the past few years, and it's created new communities, brought people together, and been the platform of revolutions and many social campaigns. It's also become a great stop on the web to get up-to-the-minute comedy. Because the service is free, easy to use, and addicting (studies show that, neurologically speaking, refreshing your Twitter feed can be akin to doing a line of cocaine), everyone's become a tweeter. While some have used the social media service to launch comedy careers, others are anonymous and simply seek to entertain the world with their public updates. And if you're not one of these next-generation Twitter comedians (most of which we can only assume grew up — or at least out — online), then you're not doing it right. From postmodern to posting videos to @postcrunk, check out these 10 next-gen Twitter comedians before you refresh your feed.
There's nothing P.C. or PG about it. Postcrunk is a Twitter account that often posts sentence fragments or short phrases that riff on popular or niche culture. It's a bit of a nihilistic comedy, but in a way, it's a perfect linguistic deconstruction of pieces of culture, especially ones that the Internet takes seriously. If you think about it academically, Postcrunk is the 140-character non-verbal apex of what's commonly called remix culture. One could even parse some of the updates — "metal is about the dissatisfaction of the white middle class. rap is about the ascension of the black underclass," and "stand up comedian who silently cries for 15 minutes," for example — as poignant. And if you don't think about it at all, that's really, really funny.
Rating: R for language, M for meta.
Highlights: "politicians so white their names get used as slang for cocaine"
"twentysomethings just tokyo drifting through life"
"the eventual museum of every single one of Judah Friedlander's trucker hats"
"I Can't Feel My Facebook"
"like a sunset, the proletariat recedes from view"
In the land of celebrity name-dropping and cute YouTube videos, Jeffery Self is king. He's also a gay Internet icon, but that doesn't mean you've heard of him. Consider yourself taught: the actor and Internet comedian made a name for himself with his friend Cole Escola, and now lives in L.A. and gets (or creates) plenty of work. Always catty and often using references that only the fabulous can appreciate, there's hardly a better slice of the Internet to be had for a laugh.
Bonus: Self brilliantly guest-starred as Liz Lemon's cousin in an early episode of 30 Rock. And if you like '90s TV and bad movies, Lifetime, or Broadway, you won't be disappointed at the actor's quips. Also, his "It Gets Better" video is one for the books.
Rating: PG? PG-13? R? It's unclear.
Highlights: "If I win the Mega Millions I'm gonna buy Laurie Metcalf."
"Roseanne actually has some legit presidential points. That said I literally know nothing about anything."
"Pretty sure 1 of the teenage bullies from Hocus Pocus is on my flight. The 1 that steals the shoes & ends up in a cage. Color me starstruck"
"There IS a God. There IS life after Disney World"- my dad on bourbon again
Jeffrey Self's former comedy partner, the pair began their career making classic YouTube sketch comedy videos under the name "VGL (Very Good Looking, obviously) Gay Boys." The duo now live in different cities, but that hasn't changed their energy. Everything Cole Escola puts out into the world makes us smile, from his tweets to his Bernadette Peters impression. He does stand-up in New York City, and has a set of his own YouTube videos, and his often tacky updates are equally as often the highlight of a Twitter feed's day.
Rating: R, if gay subject matter and talking about sex and dating warrant a restricted audience.
Highlights: "When I talk about gay porn, you do realize I mean 'Marvin's Room,' right?"
"Writing a book called 'The Unger Games' about how to interpret Neil Simon characters. No? Nobody? Okay, I'll keep trying."
"I haven't been to a doctor in seven years. But at least I know I'm free."
If complaining about Facebook is the new national pastime, then FriendFromHS is the new Onion. This account is exactly like the Facebook status updates that you call your best friend to make fun of from the vapid hometown girls from high school. They were never nice to you, anyway, and it's a bit inexplicable why you're all friends on Facebook. But you are, and you've seen statuses like these before. And they're ignorant, rude, untoward, and scoffable — until they're a parody. Then they're funny, relevant to your social media life, and worth sharing.
Rating: R … for racism, albeit a postmodern deconstruction of it. (But, still…)
Highlights: "JUST woke up from st patty day….. if ne1 findz my green spanx PLZ let me no ASAP!!!!!!!"
"OMGG WHITNEY CUMMINGZ DYED?!?!???! rip comedy"
"ITZ F**IN FRIDAY GAYZ N DOLLZ!!!! pre-gamin at panera bred then hitting up da rave inside dat foreclosed house!!!! #whippetzALLDAY"
"THINGZ I WANNA DO B4 I DYE: 1. b as sexy as tara reid 2. kiss 200 boyz (12 to go!! 3. watch da wire 5. LIVE 4EVAAAAA HAHAHAHA"
Braden Graeber wants to be "where the PBR." He's the voice of the Hipster Little Mermaid meme, and he's a funny guy all around the web. Meme creators know how to riff on culture of a different sort, and can often create a positive (or negative — depends on how you look at it) feedback loop for the propagation of their one-off idea. Enter: Braden Graeber. But he's so much more than that. Riffing on popular and "hipster" culture, this Twitter feed has become immensely popular, and is worth watching for wearers of Ray-Bans everywhere.
Highlights: "Keith Urban Outfitters is a terrible store."
"Watch my TED Talk about never knowing what I'm talking about!"
"Dubstep is the soundtrack to my panic attacks."
"Opening a store for women who hate people. Calling it Misanthropologie."
"Don't tweet your idols."
Go for the profile picture (top of post), stay for the brilliance. This young, hip Harvard graduate moved to L.A. because she became a "nightmare hipster comedy" phenom. She's young, sharp, crass, and even a hilarious poet. Her tweets are some of the best on the entire web, and she's definitely a rising star that you'll love to watch shine. Thank goodness that the brilliant minds of the 20-something generation haven't all gone to Wall Street (occupying or otherwise). Just knowing that a brain like Megan's is out there in the comedy world should give all you cynics some hope for the future of laughter, and maybe the planet.
Rating: PG-13? R? This is hard.
Highlights: "I always forget when to use "you're" or "your" or "birth control"."
"Just took a s–t. To prom."
"My dad "unfollowed" my family when I was 4 months old."
"A good, non-hormonal form of birth control is wearing jean skirts."
"Waiter, there's an I in my team."
If you're not familiar with mashups, Internet lingo, and the weird, just keep following Steve Martin or something, and don't even bother. This funny girl has a mousy profile picture but packs a lot of sass. Known for her strange interpretations of sexting (that's right, sexting) and her constantly self-referential (to Twitter, we mean) humor, the crass offbeat comedienne can pack a punch in 140 characters. Exploding binaries and imploding on herself, Patricia Lockwood is a name we guarantee you'll hear again.
Rating: Z, for zany. If you're not into unsexy use of sexual words, again — don't even bother.
Highlights: "Sext: We play Hangman & I guess wrong every time. At the end u gotta draw a big d on the Hangman! "Surprise," I whisper. "I can't even read"."
"Sext: Wallace Stevens GULPS the Dew out of a huge-ass mason jar and then goes snowboarding like crazy down the gnarliest hill in Tennessee."
This Twitter character is another example of postmodern (or poststructuralist or postcomedy) comedy. If Twitter has bred a new group of Internet cool kids (jury's still out on that, by the way), @brendlewhat is among the illest. Exposing the things you don't like about yourself (racism, sexism, etc.) but you sometimes hint at on social media, @brendlewhat takes no pains in retweeting the crap out of you. And his commentary on life is the best. It's not always methodological, and it often doesn't make much sense, but if you follow long enough (or if you have an advanced understanding of late 20th century continental philosophy trends), you'll understand what @brendlewhat is all about.
Rating: E, for expository. And for excellent.
"You there, are you human? A/S/L??? Please! Please A/S/L!! I've been lost in the internet for years now. Are any of you real people? A/S/L???"
"Benjamin Franklin, Bold, Gothic; The Courier Case of Benjamin Button; American Times: New Roman Empire; Wingdings 2: Planecops"
"endless shelves of physical media stacked upon the moon's dust, A Great Civilization Once Thrived Here, aliens never think, ever."
This super smart tweeter constantly riffs on cultural institutions, and even the ones that exist in order to salt larger behemoth institutions' games. He's a postfeminist feminist — though he'd probably never identify as such — and he's an up-to-date one-off laugh attack machine, provided that you're smart enough, well-read enough (especially in the theoretical and academic), and tech-savvy enough. Not for the less than brilliant, Thom J., as he's known, is another one of these Internet cool (read: intelligent) kids — the kind that get legitimately angry and make no bones about it when Redditors complain about their child pornography threads being ousted. You get the sense from tweeters like these that there are some kids out there who are finally, finally trolling the trolls. It would be handily possible to craft an abstract socio-philosophical study using the tropes in these tweets as examples of normative explosions — and even of postmodern institutions. And if you're going to waste time on the Internet, tweets likes these are a laughably great thing to produce.
Rating: B, for balls out.
"Board games are returning the gaze"
"to have to explain rape culture to the gbs mod must be the most sisyphean task"
"I imagine this twet is said out loud in the heat of battle, shatner delivery"
"i appear to have downloaded the complete works of andrea dworkin twice in a row??"
If you follow one Twitter account, you've got to follow this one. It's an aggregator of the greatest sort, and probably not even meant to be a joke. But there's an art to it. Amalgamating Twitter user trends and making fun of them within the system — you have to update your feed to read a generalization of all of the things that you'll likely read in your feed — this is a joke within a joke within a joke, and further explains the way that the microblogging service has turned into a feedback loop. And for those of you that use Twitter like you would cocaine if you were actually hardcore, this feed is worth following as a reminder that you're not missing anything by turning off the push notifications and instant updates. It's really, really, really just not that important.
Rating: MM, for mega-meta.
Highlights: "#FF People I'd probably hate in real life."
"I am hilariously inept at relationships."
"People should respect my opinion for some reason."
"cry for help HAHA JUST KIDDING not kidding TOTALLY JOKING YOU GUYS so depressed right now HILARIOUS i don't even know anymore"