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Mr. Blobby, Vine, paper puppets

Alasdair Beckett-King (Comedian)

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"One of my principles is that putting too much effort into things makes them funnier."

So says Alasdair Beckett-King, an award-winning comedian whose videos on YouTube and Twitter have repeatedly gone viral over the past year. They include parodies of Star Trek, spooky podcasts, and "every single Scandinavian crime drama," but Beckett-King is constantly trying new things — sometimes for practical reasons.

"People keep saying, 'When are you doing Captain Picard again?'" he says on today's Follow Friday. "And I'm like, 'I'm not!' Because it took ages to do the bald head, and you've seen it now."

On this episode, he talks about a fellow British comic who he looked up to when he was just getting started; his complicated feelings about people who reply to his tweets; an erstwhile Vine star who perfected short-form video jokes; and an Australian comedian who combines perfect timing with paper puppets.

You can get a fifth follow recommendation from Alasdair — as well as our past and future guests — when you back Follow Friday on Patreon, starting at just $1 a month.

Follow us:

- Alasdair is on YouTube @ABeckettKing and on Twitter @MisterABK
- This show is on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok @followfridaypod
- Eric is on Twitter @heyheyesj

Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan.

Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, and Elizabeth
Full transcript of this episode
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ERIC JOHNSON: Today on Follow Friday, we're going to talk about Mr. Blobby, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, tags, toppers, Vine, Star Trek, fake mustaches, Edith Piaf, and Dracula. That's in a minute with comedian Alasdair Beckett-King.

But first, I want to remind you to nominate Follow Friday in the 16th Annual Podcast Awards. Go to, make a free account, and please nominate us in the Technology category. And heads up, once you have picked Follow Friday in the Technology category, you need to click "Save Nominations" for it to go through. You've got until July 31 to do this, and I would really appreciate your support. One more time, that's

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, a podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow, and why. This is a guided tour to the best people on the Internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians and more. You can help me make Follow Friday for as little as a dollar a month at You can also support the show for free by telling your friends about it.

Today on the show is Alasdair Beckett-King, an animator and award-winning comedian who you might've seen on YouTube or Twitter or on the BBC. He's also the co-host of Loremen, a podcast about local legends and obscure curiosities from the days of yore.

Here's a clip from one of Alasdair's YouTube videos titled Every Single Scandinavian Crime Drama. He plays both the characters in the scene who were talking outdoors at night in the snow. Because it is Scandinavia, it is always nighttime and snowing.

DETECTIVE: "[Swedish accent] Gunnar Gunnarsson?

GUNNAR GUNNARSSON: [Swedish accent] Ya.

DETECTIVE: There has been another murder.

GUNNAR: I already know. The victim ... was my son.

DETECTIVE: You don't seem very upset.

GUNNAR: We were not close.

DETECTIVE: The killer could be anyone in Helgasund. That's over seven people.

[phone rings]

GUNNAR: Wait, I'm getting a call. Allow me to slip into fluent English. [accent does not change] Hallo? Gunnar Gunnarsson. Is it about my son, Gunnar Gunnarssonsson? Understood. [hangs up]

[creepy music]

GUNNAR: I know who the killer was.

DETECTIVE: Who was it?

GUNNAR: It was you.

DETECTIVE: ... You got me."

ERIC: You can find Alasdair on Twitter @MisterABK. You can also find him on YouTube @ABeckettKing.

Alasdair, welcome to Follow Friday!

ALASDAIR: Hello, Eric. Thank you for having me.

ERIC: So excited to talk to you. So nice to meet you.

ALASDAIR: I'm delighted to be here.

ERIC: You've had a bunch of videos go viral while we've been in lockdown, through this pandemic. I want to highlight another one you did recently called Blade Runner, But Mr. Blobby is There. I think it's fair to say that you have-

ALASDAIR: I don't know if I'd say that went viral.

ERIC: Well, it got a reaction. You have introduced Mr. Blobby to a much larger audience than ever had to deal with him before.

ALASDAIR: Yeah, I hadn't realized until then. Obviously, YouTube in particular is very international and people who find you through recommendations or the algorithm on YouTube.

I do a lot of stuff on Twitter, and Twitter is very much British people talking about British things with a few Americans in the mix on our side of the sea. But YouTube is very international, so there's an awful lot of, [American accent] "Who the hell is Mr. Blobby? What am I watching? Oh, why? Is this real?"

ERIC: I have a vague sense that this was a character from the 90s, right?


ERIC: He was sort of like a creepy children's mascot, but not really. It was like a parody of children's mascots?

ALASDAIR: Yeah. It was just one of those things that should never happen, but turned out to be awful at the time, but in retrospect, quite wonderful. He was supposed to be a fake TV show, so like the worst idea for a character. Really ugly, horrible costume, just revolting and terrifying. Then of course it became a real thing and he got loads of spinoffs, all of which were horrible. Just revolting stuff.

Nonetheless, there's a lot of charm to the earlier sketches in a weird way. They've unintentionally created like ... well, if I were British, I would say like Reeves and Mortimer.

Maybe things like, I Think You Should Leave Unwittingly created that kind of sketch while trying to genuinely do mainstream Saturday night family television, which I think is a beautiful thing. It's like "The mouth doesn't move. Don't talk. It looks weird."

ERIC: It's the creepiest thing and I love it so much. Long time ago, I went down a YouTube rabbit hole, watching old Mr. Blobby clips. I don't know why exactly. I think you deserve some credit for raising the awareness of this horrifying creature.

ALASDAIR: Thank you. Huge credit to whoever is in the suit, who really just falls over and throws themselves at the set and really takes a battering for our entertainment.

ERIC: Absolutely.

ALASDAIR: The unsung hero.

ERIC: A comic genius. Yeah. Well, let's find out who Alasdair follows online. You can follow along with us today. Every person he recommends will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at

Alasdair, before the show, I gave you a list of categories and I asked you to tell me four people you follow, who fit in those categories. Your first pick is in the category someone you've followed forever. You said Dane Baptiste, who's on Twitter @DaneBaptweets. He's also on [Instagram] @DaneSNaptiste.

Dane is a standup comedian, the host of a podcast called Dane Baptiste Questions Everything. He's developing a show for BBC3 called Bamous, I think. How did you first start following him?

ALASDAIR: Several of the people I'm recommending are British comedians who I know from real life, because I joined Qwitter ... Qwitter? Wow, there's the social media network we need.

ERIC: Freudian slip.

ALASDAIR: For people who just need to stop posting, just stop. Join Qwitter. I was doing comedy and stuff before I was on Twitter, whereas a lot of people were there in the early days when it was supposedly lovely and it was all just like Nobel laureates and successful comedians and philosophers.

ERIC: A more civilized age.

ALASDAIR: Yeah, all just quaffing ales and chuckling, but something happened. I don't know what. It's changed.

The reason I thought Dane was an appropriate choice for someone you've followed forever is that when I was starting to do stand-up, Dane was still relatively new, but was already obviously really good. It's like someone who is in the years above you in school. They seem ever so grown-up and old, because you're really little.

I was always really impressed with him as a standup. Watching him do really well and do things well has always been really nice in a weird way, because I remember seeing him when he wasn't on TV and he was obviously going to be successful. That's quite cool.

Also, what I like about him on Twitter is that these days I don't get into Twitter arguments anymore, but Dane does. From afar, from not even a ringside seat, from reading about it in a newspaper the next day, watching him take people to task ...

ERIC: Is he good at it? Does he win?

ALASDAIR: Yeah. He's very witty and very funny, but also very quite-on-the-ball politically, so he's able to trip people up. Not that we should promote arguing on the Internet, but some people are good at it and some people aren't.

ERIC: If you're going to argue on the Internet, be as funny and as good at it as Dane.

ALASDAIR: If you're going to argue, you might as well be funny. I would have probably followed him very shortly after joining Twitter. I've just been watching him absolutely batter people ever since.

I expressed that in an incredibly British way. Just watching him batter people.

ERIC: Comedy can be a contact sport, depending on what circles you run in.

ALASDAIR: Obviously, my jokes were all lighthearted whimsy, about Mr. Blobby and stuff. But if you don't like that ...

The other thing that I think impressed me about Dane as a comedian — this may sound like a weird thing to say, but his manner on stage is quite deadpan, which is a very normal thing. It's rare in Britain for Black stand-up comedians to do deadpan humor. I think that is because the opportunities for Black comics here, and it's probably not that dissimilar to Black actors, are really limited because I think there's a real sense of, "Oh, well, we've already got some Black comedians, so isn't that enough? Like, haven't we got enough?" Not to imply that The States hasn't got a racism problem.

ERIC: We do.

ALASDAIR: There is still a huge market for Black stand-up comedians and Black comedy, whether that is Black stand-up comedians playing to mixed crowds, or whether that's Black comics doing mostly Black gigs. That exists here, but on a smaller scale.

One of the things you'd notice is there's lots of comedians who are famous for a dour exterior, or being deadpan or being tough. In a way, you think, "I don't know if the mainstream middle-class white, British audience wants to hear that from a Black comedian. I don't know if we want to be told off." Do you know what I mean? I think there's a resistance to that.

I thought it really impressed me early on that that was the angle Dane was using, which I guess just suits his personality in him, but that he wasn't going to soften himself in order to try and appeal to an audience, if you know what I mean. Or rather, he wasn't going to try and soften himself in order to appeal to an audience's prejudices.

ERIC: Yeah. He's not going to compromise whatever he's best at, comedy-wise. He's not going to take shortcuts in the pursuit of fame and standing out. I was going to say, so I think if I did my research right, you and Dane have both performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is a big deal comedy circuit.

ALASDAIR: Huge deal here. Completely meaningless where you are. Utterly, utterly meaningless. It's not prestigious to have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, because everybody goes there. It has its very prestigious end...

I was going to say the entry bar is quite low. That isn't true. It's very expensive to do it. The entry bar is being prepared to either sleep in a tent or on someone's cupboard for a month, or spending probably hundreds, thousands of pounds just to be there for the month. It's got its issues, but it can be a wonderful place full of joy and the magic of comedy.

ERIC: You said that you've, for a long time, admired his work and looked up to him the way a kid looks up at an older kid.

ALASDAIR: Now that you say it back to me, that sounds pathetic. That's what I said. Yep, that's what I said.

ERIC: Have you ever actually compared notes, like actually sat down and talked about comedy in a deliberate way with him?

ALASDAIR: No, I haven't. Obviously, I have gigged with Dane on a number of occasions, but I think I'm really bad at this. I remember when I was going to university, being interviewed by a particular tutor and then remaining intimidated by that tutor for the entire time that I was at university, purely because they were the person who'd interviewed me. If I did badly now, they'd be like, "Oh, I shouldn't have let him in." It's probably that, I think. He's very busy. He hasn't got time to help out old ABK with his jokes. No way!

That is me saying that. Dane hasn't said, "No, I won't."

ERIC: Yeah, I figured. Is there a particular thing that he's done that you know, like a place you'd recommend people start if they wanted to get into his work, outside of following him and admiring the arguments he starts on Twitter?

ALASDAIR: I think Bamous would be a good start, which is his quiz show, which is mostly centered around Black comics.

His sitcom Sunny D I think it's probably still around. It's going to be harder probably for Americans to find because these things are on the BBC, but they're worth looking for.

ERIC: I don't exactly know who it is, but there are several kind and charitable people who rip basically everything from the BBC and put it on YouTube.

ALASDAIR: Yes. Several noble criminals, several Robin Hoods, who rob from the rich and give to the poor. They rob from the BBC and give it to Americans and make it possible. Until they get caught and taken down, there's a little window in which you can watch the shows.

ERIC: I've cycled through, I think, four or five Robin Hoods who have uploaded QI episodes to YouTube. One disappears, three more appear in their place.

ALASDAIR: Yeah, exactly. You cannot destroy me. I'm hydra.

ERIC: Exactly. That was Dane Baptiste, who's on Twitter @DaneBaptweets. Alasdair, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone you have a love/hate relationship with, and you said people who reply to tweets.

ALASDAIR: You can't ... Don't follow all of them!

ERIC: Exactly. I'm here to help you work through these complicated feelings you have. What is your relationship like to the people in your Twitter replies?

ALASDAIR: First of all, this one was a joke answer, and I didn't think you'd go with it.

ERIC: I still want to talk about it.

ALASDAIR: That's one to you, Eric.

ERIC: This is the danger of sending me a joke answer. I will take you seriously.

ALASDAIR: Well, I've learned a lesson about Eric. I do have a love/hate relationship, and I include people doing YouTube comments in this. When people reply to tweets and do YouTube comments, some of them are really funny and I really like them, and some of them aren't.

Now I also have to be clear that I have friends, other comedians and Twitter jokesters with similar followers, who are women, and their experience of this kind of public contact is totally different to mine.

ERIC: I bet.

ALASDAIR: Nobody has ever sent me a picture of any body part ever. I sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. The nature of people's engagement with me as, nominally, a man is quite different. I'm not saying that I get the worst of it because I really don't think I do.

People not getting the joke, I'm fine with. In fact, I quite enjoy it. It's quite lovely. Sometimes on YouTube, people will often be genuinely put out about the fact that they don't find something funny. I'll have something which I know is quite funny because it's 99% upvoted. Obviously it's funny, and someone in the comments will be like, "I don't get it. Why is this funny?" Like, they're genuinely, "Am I in the wrong?" No, you're right. It probably isn't funny to you, but the great thing is I've tricked all these people into thinking it is.

ERIC: Yes, you're the special one.

ALASDAIR: You have correctly seen that the emperor is wearing no clothes and this isn't a joke. It's just something weird. It's just Mr. Blobby in Blade Runner. Why is that happening? Who would do that? I respect the people who just don't find it funny.

What I don't like is people doing their own toppers, or tag. I'm not sure what the American word for it is, but their own follow-on from the joke, which is not as good as the joke.

ERIC: The one-upsmanship. It's like, "Oh, well that was funny, but you know what? I've got a better one."

ALASDAIR: Because I think it also says something about a British and American comedy culture, or maybe British arrogance. The American term for it is a tag. So you do the punchline and then you do a tag. Riffing comics in particular are very good at just tagging the same joke, which is great because then you get more laughs out of the same joke.

The conventionally English term for it is topper, and that implies that the next one has to be better. There's just a subtly different thing there because you can't keep doing toppers, because you're going to reach the upper limit of how funny that joke is.

ERIC: You'll reach the ceiling eventually.

ALASDAIR: You'll reach the ceiling eventually, and which maybe says something about British one-upsmanship as you're saying. That is, for me, the attitude of the reply guy or reply person, but it is usually guys, who say, "More like ..." and then does their less good, less well-phrased version of the same joke. It's like, "Not more like that! No, less like that! More like what I had written originally."

It's because getting a joke involved, not to be too pretentious about it, but it involves making a little sort of leap for yourself in your head, usually, to connect disparate ideas. The listener to a joke has to do some work to realize, "Oh, okay, something impossible has happened here and I'm resolving it." The reply person, having done that thinks, "Wow, I just invented a joke. Oh, I'd better put that in the replies." You didn't invent a joke. You experienced a joke.

ERIC: There's a difference there.

ALASDAIR: Yes. There's a difference. You are the joke recipient.

ERIC: I don't know if you've seen the meme where someone is holding a ball or something and they say, "I made this." Another person receives it and they say, "You made this?" They take it away and then they're holding it in their hands and they say, "I made this."

ALASDAIR: Infuriatingly, we can't credit whoever came up with that brilliant joke, because we don't remember who wrote that joke. Ironically.

ERIC: Their credit has been lost to history.

ALASDAIR: Sorry. Sorry, irony. But yes, it's exactly that. The thing is that I get it. I understand why people want to join in. Annoyingly, sometimes people do a really good joke. I especially like it if it's a really good joke at my expense that takes the piss out of me a little bit, because I think that's quite a fun dynamic.

Not to encourage people to do that, because the worst kind of jokes are people who take the piss out of people. They imagine that they have some kind of relationship with the person that allows them to take the mick, as if you're friends in a pub, when in fact they are a stranger attacking you for no reason. It's a difficult balancing act, is what I'm saying.

ERIC: You recently had a tweet about Roald Dahl that I think attracted maybe the worst kind of Twitter reply. This was the original tweet you posted here was, "In a new interview, Roald Dahl claims his beloved book, The Nice Boy And The Horrible Ethnic Minority, You Know The One, would not be published today due to cancel culture."

ALASDAIR: What an amazing tweet. I imagine that went over uncontroversially.

ERIC: No problem at all. You had to post a reply to this one, clearing things up for people who had some questions about the original tweet. Did you get a lot of blowback to that? What was the reaction like?

ALASDAIR: It's a funny one. In Britain, especially, people don't like it when you criticize Roald Dahl.

ERIC: Really?

ALASDAIR: He is a beloved children's author. He is. And an anti-Semite. I was going to say, "Get you a man that can do both." Don't! Get you a man that does only one of those things.

ERIC: It's okay if he just does the first thing.

ALASDAIR: The author one. It's a weird thing because people want to get into this sort of, "Separate the art from the artist," thing. Or they want to get into a, "Oh, it was a different time," and all sorts of other things. The time that it was, was the Second World War, where anti-Semitism was quite a big deal. He had ample opportunity to reflect on it.

The thing is, he's also a very good writer. You don't have to choose. We don't have to decide that the people whose art we can appreciate were entirely good or entirely bad people. It's dishonest to do either of those things.

The main thrust of what frustrated me is, and many people got it. The main thrust of that joke is that there have been several bogus "cancel culture" headlines in the last few weeks, over here at least, saying, "This classic TV show would not be made due to cancel culture, says Rick Gervais of The Office."

ERIC: It's always him.

ALASDAIR: To his credit, he clarified immediately that he hadn't said that and was being misquoted. Which is the second time that's happened in weeks that someone has said, "Oh, it couldn't be made now because of cancel culture," and then they said, "No, I didn't say that. You just printed that in the newspaper, even though I didn't say it." [coughs] Excuse me, I swallowed my anger there for a second.

That's what I was trying to make fun of, because of course Roald Dahl is dead and therefore could not have said this, so it's an obviously confected headline. But you don't cross the Roald Dahl fans. They come for you.

ERIC: The most dangerous subculture on the Internet. They are vicious.

ALASDAIR: If you hear that Oompa Loompa song...

ERIC: I know.

ALASDAIR: You know you're in trouble.

ERIC: They cruise through the streets singing the Oompa Loompa song, just to scare off the locals. Well, those are the people Alasdair Beckett-King has a love/hate relationship with, the people who reply to tweets. We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back after this.

Today's show is brought to you by Follow Friday on Patreon. Backing the podcast there for as little as a dollar a month will unlock bonus minisodes with our wonderful guests. In the minisodes, you will hear exclusive extra recommendations from people like Ann Reardon, Freddie Wong, and this week's guest, Alasdair Beckett-King. Here's a clip from this week's bonus episode.

ALASDAIR: I'm very much an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect when it comes to philosophy. I'm interested in it, but I don't really know much about it, so I imagine that I know loads about it. "Plato's cave? Yeah, I've heard of it. Yeah, I'm pretty much an expert on philosophy and general philosophical stuff."

ERIC: So to hear the rest of that, please go to You'll get the bonus episodes starting at just one dollar a month. Alasdair's bonus episode will be out later today. Thank you!

Welcome back to Follow Friday. Alasdair, I asked you to tell me someone who makes you laugh and you said the comedian and voice actor SungWon Cho, also known as ProZD on YouTube. He's also on Twitter, Instagram and Patreon @ProZD.

SungWon does a bunch of different types of videos on his channel. He reviews board games. He tries lots of varieties of foods and drinks. He does a podcast with his friends. He does comedy sketches. Do you remember how you first came across his work?

ALASDAIR: [elderly voice] In the early days of the Internet, there was a thing called Vine. Do you remember Vine? Gather around children, while I tell you about Vine. [child's voice] Will it take long, Grandfather? [elderly voice] It'll take seven seconds or something.

There used to be short-lived... It wasn't even that long ago. There was the short-lived media platform Vine, which allowed people to do very short jokes. I remember watching the Scottish comedian Limmy. I think I first came across his stuff through Vine. And I remember finding ... I've been saying 'Pro Zed D' because I'm British. I've been Britishizing his name all of this time.

ERIC: I think both are correct.

ALASDAIR: SungWon Cho's seven second-long sketches. They're not even sketches. They're not even skits. They're jokes, a lot of the time. Incredibly, incredibly quick. He's an incredibly funny voice actor. He's got a huge, huge range, and they seem to come out of nowhere.

There are so many technically funny details. They're very, very low-fi a lot of the time. Because they end at seven seconds, they often cut off in the middle of a line or a scream or him saying, "Well, no, get out of here!" Or something is happening in this sketch, so the sense that it's still continuing after it ends. The abrupt ending is all.

I mentioned I Think You Should Leave. That has, for me, a very American rhythm to it. As much as the punchline is often like, "Oh, that was the ending! Right," and now I laugh. So often someone says something, you don't laugh at the final line in the sketch. You laugh at the music coming in. In the little bumper because you realize, "Oh, right. That's the conclusion."

ERIC: The sketch is over. That was it.

ALASDAIR: There's a laugh of. "Oh, okay." You're laughing in a way than having taken the piss of yourself by ending the sketch like that.

ERIC: For anyone who doesn't know, this is a Netflix series starring the comedian Tim Robinson. A lot of the sketches can be summed up as a person is incensed at a very basic social norm, and does not seem to understand why anyone would follow it.

ALASDAIR: Yeah, its formula is quite strong. Almost every sketch is about one weird person. Is it Chris Robinson?

ERIC: I think so. Or no, Tim Robinson.

ALASDAIR: Tim Robinson, sorry. Every single sketch is about one weird person, which is usually Tim Robinson, but not always. That's the fun you play. The anxious moment at the start of every sketch where you try to work out who is going to do something absurd. It's got a very distinctive feel to it.

It also feels like it belongs to an era of Internet comedy because of the oddball pacing, because the episodes are like 15 to 18 minutes long. You realize, "Oh, that's a good length for a sketch show." We've been watching half-hour sketch shows because that's how long they are on TV. Actually, that's a very good amount of time to watch sketches for.

ERIC: A similar thing with ProZD, or Pro Zed D, is that the joke only stays for as long as it needs to. It's not filling time.

ALASDAIR: Yes. In fact, it stays for less than it needs to, which means also that he gets to iterate on the same idea in different videos. He gets to build on it. Not within the sketch by running onto three or four minutes long, as it would have happened in the old days, but you get to explore it. He gets to explore ideas by stacking up these tiny little microscopic sketches, all of which are really funny.

ERIC: I think the classic example, or counter-example of this in the US anyway, is Saturday Night Live where for every sketch, they have multiple actors. They have costumes. They have props. They have sets. They've invested a lot of time and money into each premise.

They, I think, feel the need to get their money's worth, to spend time in each of those settings,

ALASDAIR: Absolutely. There's only so much you can do in a show that's a live show. They spend money on everything except the writing because they have to write the whole thing that week. Good luck to them. That sounds like hard work, but it's very much the inverse of doing a sketch on the Internet where you can spend absolutely ages putting together something very tiny.

ERIC: Yeah. In your own experience making comedy videos, how much of that do you balance? When you're deciding, for example, your Star Trek video. I forgot what you called it.

ALASDAIR: Every Episode of Popular Space Show is, I think, what it's called.

PICARD: "[Patrick Stewart impression] On screen.

ALIEN: [different accent] Greetings, captain! I represent an alien race not necessarily based on a specific human ethnicity. But it still feels kind of iffy.

PICARD: We represent the vegetarian space socialists who are always right.

ALIEN: You guys are the worst.

PICARD: We know.

ALIEN: My people will not leave this planet, under any circumstances, even though it is going to be destroyed.

PICARD: But that planet ... is going to be destroyed.

ALIEN: ... Then we will leave."

ERIC: You have costumes and makeup and special effects in there. Do you balance the amount of time and effort it's going to take just to get the set dressing right, when you're conceptualizing a video?

ALASDAIR: One of my principles is that putting too much effort into things makes them funnier, which is not always true. Fortunately, it turned out true in that case, and that video did quite well.

That one was very, very hard work because I had to do a CGI bald cap for myself because I have long, long flowing hair. I had to try and do an impression of [Patrick Stewart impression] Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise. [back to normal voice] I think the impression in the video is slightly better than what I just did then, but anyway, it's not that good. There's so much work that went into it.

Before I posted it, I was convinced I'd wasted my time. Then luckily it did quite well and people really liked it. People kept saying, "When are you doing Captain Picard again?" I'm like, "I'm not! because it took ages to do the bald head, and you've seen it now." I think what's nice about it though, is you get to try something, commit to it and then see if it's funny afterwards. It's quite like doing live standup. I don't know if SungWon Cho has ever done standup. As far as I know, he's just been doing voiceover stuff and animation and games.

ERIC: I think he does live streaming on Twitch, which is probably the closest analog to standup.

ALASDAIR: I suppose so, but my feeling is it's more like talk radio. I don't know about what it's like in the US, but we've always had semi-funny radio shows on Saturday mornings.

ERIC: We just have white, racist, old people.

ALASDAIR: We got some of them. We have that too. For me, it's a little bit more like that where it's semi-improvised, structured, funny chat. A bit more like a podcast. Whereas the thing about making little videos, especially the seven-second Vine length is, you get sent almost instant feedback. You can do an idea, you can film it on your phone, in a flat, and then instantly find out if it's funny. Now, you don't instantly find out something's not funny because people not retweeting a video doesn't mean it's bad. If you haven't got any followers and you post a video and it doesn't get any retweets, it doesn't mean the video is bad.

ERIC: Doesn't mean anything.

ALASDAIR: If it gets billions of retweets, it means the video was good. That's the way the formula works.

ERIC: Is there a specific, favorite video of ProZD's that comes to mind? Any favorite place where you think someone should start? I don't know, like a classic of his work?

ALASDAIR: He has some great compilations of them on YouTube, which I think go well. I can't pin it down to a single one, but whenever he's wearing the tiny false mustache that he wears, I'm happy. Whenever I see him wearing a tiny, false mustache, I'm rubbing my hands together, thinking, "This is going to be good."

[posh accent] It's going to be the "I'm the landlord of this town" voice, [normal voice] which I can't do. He's going to wear that little mustache and he's going to hold what I think is a water pistol, and it's going to be great.

ERIC: That was SungWon Cho. He's on YouTube @ProZD, or Pro Zed D. Your choice.

ALASDAIR: [posh accent] Pro Zed D!

ERIC: We have time for one more follow today. I asked you for someone you're jealous of, and you said Bec Hill. She's on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube @bechillcomedian.

ALASDAIR: She often jokes that "be chill comedian" is the other way of finding, the other way of pronouncing.

ERIC: Oh, it could be read that way.

ALASDAIR: Her Twitter handle.

ERIC: Tell me about that and her style of comedy. What about it makes you jealous?

ALASDAIR: Bec Hill has invented a sub-genre of standup, which is live paper puppetry. I don't know if she started out doing this live on stage, or whether she started out doing it or in videos that went viral. She has a flip chart on stage with her. She flips over pages and there are cutouts, like children's pop-up book images, which she animates, often to music.

The concept of that is exactly my kind of thing. First of all, it's so much work. It's so much work. You know I think putting too much work into things makes them funnier. Just traveling to gigs with an A-board and with flip charts and having made all of this stuff. It's going to break, and you're going to have to repair it and make new ones for the gigs. It's so, so much work and it works so well.

There's nothing else like it. Except that there is, because people rip off the idea and do it themselves, which if I thought I could get away with it, I would do.

ERIC: The video that's currently pinned to the top of her Twitter profile is a great example of this. She has drawn out what she thinks Édith Piaf is singing. I'm going to butcher the name of the song because I don't speak French. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.

ALASDAIR: Yes. [sings] Non, je ne regrette rien.

ERIC: That one. The song from Inception. That's how I know it. It's the song that plays in Inception when you're about to wake up.

ALASDAIR: I deliberately sang it badly there to avoid copyright infringement.

ERIC: It was really close.

ALASDAIR: I hope you appreciated it.

ERIC: Skirting the edge. This video is like, as you're describing, she's flipping over pages. Then for each line, she's pulling out strips of paper or unfolding very fragile, new jokes so that it doesn't give away the entire bit as she turns the page. It's incredibly thoughtful. I was just so impressed by this.

ALASDAIR: I think it's such a fantastic video. I'm glad it did as well as it did, and sort of brought her to loads more people's attention. The idea behind it is quite simple, as is the case with lots of comedy. It's misheard lyrics. In the early days of the Internet, I remember, which was all about misheard lyrics. Kiss the sky, kiss this guy. Counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike, Captain Picard on the New Jersey turnpike. I used to love it.

ERIC: I never heard that one. That's great.

ALASDAIR: That was from Simon and Garfunkel's America, which I also can't sing, so I won't. It is a simple idea, but the execution of it through the medium of live flip-chart paper puppetry is completely unique. Yeah, that's just annoying, isn't it?

ERIC: Annoying when someone's so talented?


ERIC: She also has one of the best fan theories that I have ever read. Do you know about her Batman theory?

ALASDAIR: No, I don't know this.

ERIC: I found this one. I was just looking at her past tweets. Hang on. Let me pull this up here. There's tons of fan theories out there where people are applying their own reading to movies or TV or whatever. This one I think is my new favorite of all time.

She says: "Batman is Dracula. He created the hero persona because police don't investigate bloodless corpses if they were criminals. He lives in a creepy mansion. Only comes out at night. Dresses like a bat in a cape. Alfred is a familiar he promised to turn for years. Alfred was the kid whose parents were killed outside the opera, not Bruce. Yeah, great fake name, Dracula. Bruce. Idiot.

Batman was the killer. He felt bad that Alfred witnessed his parents being drunk to death, so Batman took him under his literal wing." It goes on from there. "The Batmobile has the hearse," and so on.

ALASDAIR: Finally, a dark take on Batman.

ERIC: I know.

ALASDAIR: This could really work.

ERIC: It's brilliant. Let's make seven of these movies.

ALASDAIR: Yeah, I know. If somebody isn't pitching that, they should be.

ERIC: I know.

ALASDAIR: What a great idea.

ERIC: Is there anything else that people should know about Bec or her work that you really like?

ALASDAIR: She's Australian. Just a bit of a warning there.

ERIC: Content warning.

ALASDAIR: You can't have everything: Content wanting, Australian.

ERIC: That was Bec Hill, who is on all the socials @bechillcomedian or Be Chill Comedian. Alasdair, thank you so much for sharing your follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure listeners know how to find you online. Where do you want them to follow you?

ALASDAIR: Thank you for spelling out my Twitter handle M-I-S-T-E-R-A-B-K. Someone came in and took the other one.

ERIC: Rude.

ALASDAIR: Before I could. Very rude. Didn't they know those were my initials?

ERIC: Yeah.

ALASDAIR: YouTube is quite a good one. ABeckettKing. My name is very hard to spell, the Alasdair part of it. That's the reason it's not in either of those handles. It's this weird Scottish spelling with a D. It used to be the case that if you Googled the phrase "ginger Jesus," I came up, but Ed Sheeran has destroyed my search engine optimization because it's all him now.

ERIC: Did he grow out his hair?

ALASDAIR: No. He doesn't look anything like Jesus. It's really annoying. I'm out here, day in, day out...

ERIC: You've been putting in the work.

ALASDAIR: Looking like Jesus. I have put in the hours. Sheeran swans in, becomes a hit, and now ...

ERIC: Also rude! Follow me on Twitter @heyheyesj, and this show on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @followfridaypod. Follow Friday's theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson, reminding you to talk about people behind their backs, and when you do, say something nice.

See you next Friday!

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