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Horror movie fans, the dirtbag left, and pro wrestling

Chelsea Rebecca (Dead Meat)

Chelsea Rebecca wants you to know that "people who love horror aren't all total sickos." She's the co-host of the hugely popular YouTube channel Dead Meat, along with her fiancé James Janisse, and previously starred in the comedy-video series Drunk Disney and other shows made by the comedy group Practical Folks.

On this episode of Follow Friday, Rebecca talks with Eric Johnson about the famous horror actor she has a crush on, why she's so transparent about her political leanings online, and the internet "rite of passage" of being strafed by a right-wing quasi-celebrity. Plus: Why it's easier to love pro wrestling when you don't know too much about it.

Follow us:
- Chelsea is @carebecc on Twitter
- This show is @followfridaypod on Twitter and Instagram
- Eric is @heyheyesj on Twitter

Who Chelsea follows:
- Patrick Wilson
- Eat the Rich
- Nick Skardarasy
- Jo Graham

Rate Follow Friday: LoveThePodcast.com/FollowFriday

Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan. Additional music by Purple Planet Music, starfrosch, and Katherine Chang.
Full transcript of this episode
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CHELSEA REBECCA: We have gotten banned from an Airbnb. Don't do that by the way, they will find out! I don't know if they had cameras, or what ...

ERIC JOHNSON: Oh my gosh. What did Chelsea Rebecca do that got her banned from an Airbnb? The answer is coming up, today on Follow Friday.

[ad + theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, a show about the best people on the internet and why you should follow them. Every week, I talk to the internet creators I admire most about who they follow online. These are podcasters, writers, comedians, musicians, all kinds of people, but they all have amazing taste.

They will be our guides to the hidden and not-so-hidden gems of the web, the people they find fascinating who we should be following, too. Today, I'm talking to Chelsea Rebecca, the co-host of the YouTube channel and podcast Dead Meat. She and her fiance, James Janisse, celebrate everything great and awful about horror movies.

On a recent episode called "Horror or Not," Chelsea and James talked about whether films like The Terminator, Jurassic Park, and Annihilation count as horror movies. Here's a clip.

CHELSEA: "I think existential horror and cosmic horror is what really, now, gets under my skin the most. It is the stuff where something ... when a movie's dealing with it and it does it really well, that's where I get the most freaked out. I wonder maybe if that's because now we've both spent so much time with horror movies that like we're beyond being scared of an image we see on screen of something scary, a movie monster.

ERIC: You can find Dead Meat on YouTube at youtube.com/deadmeat or the podcast by searching for "Dead Meat" in your podcast app.

But we're not really here to discuss Chelsea's work. We're here to talk about the people she follows online. Chelsea, welcome to Follow Friday.

CHELSEA: Hi, how are you?

ERIC: I'm doing well. Thanks for joining me today, this is going to be fun.

CHELSEA: Yeah, of course.

ERIC: So, although Dead Meat has been a huge success for you and James over the past couple of years, I should mention that the first thing I ever saw you do online was a YouTube series that I loved called Drunk Disney. You and James and your friends would watch Disney movies and take shots whenever certain things happened on screen.

So before we get into your follows, I do have one question for you: What Disney movie is the best to watch under the influence, and what is the worst?

CHELSEA: Oh, that's such a good question! Fantasia's an easy answer to that, for being really fun to watch under the influence. Also, thank you for supporting us since Drunk Disney. That's been a long time now, it's crazy. Yeah, I think I gotta go with Fantasia, it's a classic.

ERIC: That's the best.

CHELSEA: Yeah, and then, the worst, I gotta say is another little handful of movies from around the same time period called the "package films." They're not officially called that, but they're kind of colloquially known as the package films.

They're the movies right after stuff like Fantasia, where Disney spent a ton of money and didn't make it all back. And then boom, World War II hits, the studio's under a budget crunch. And there's this weird era of Disney movies that most people have never seen, like Make Mine Music.

I forget what the other big one is called, but those are ... rough.

ERIC: [laughs]

CHELSEA: Mostly because they're a bunch of shorts. Like, Fantasia is a bunch of shorts, also, but they're some of the most apex animation of all time —

ERIC: Amazing animation, artistically genius, ahead of its time. And these other films are not, I'm guessing.

CHELSEA: Yeah, they're just, they're not ... Like Fantasia, I loved as a kid and the fact that a bunch of animated segments with no dialogue and just classical music as a kid is still enthralling, it says so much, but these package films, they're just a bunch of shorts and they're all pretty hit or miss. And so, when you're really drunk watching them, it's like the longest movie you've ever seen in your life.

ERIC: The real C-grade material there. The loose bits they had.

CHELSEA: Yeah. They're tough.

ERIC: Well, I will be sure to try Fantasia at some point, maybe the Drunk Disney version, and I will avoid the package films. Let's get into your follows.

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 someone in the category, "Someone you have a crush on."

CHELSEA: Uh-huh...

ERIC: And you picked Patrick Wilson ...

CHELSEA: I did!

ERIC: ... who is on Twitter @patrickwilson73. So, his name might ring a bell for anyone who's like you and James, who's into horror movies, but tell us who this is.

CHELSEA: Okay. So first of all, I wasn't sure if I was being encouraged to pick someone who could use the shout-out.

ERIC: It's anyone you want, free range.

CHELSEA: Patrick Wilson is already a very successful man. I feel like if you're not a horror fan, you would know him from, he was in Phantom of the Opera, the one with Gerard Butler. He was Raoul. He's in ... Oh man, I'm blanking. I just know all of his horror movies.

ERIC: I looked this up because I actually have not seen the Conjuring movies of the Annabel movies, so I wasn't super familiar with his most famous movies. But he was Nite Owl in the Zack Snyder Watchmen movie.

CHELSEA: Yes! And he was in Fargo season two, which is a very good season.

ERIC: I've heard good things. I have not yet checked out the TV show, but yeah, this guy's famous. Patrick Wilson is very famous, so it's a perfect pick for me, actually. Even though he is famous, I did have to Google him because I haven't seen his movies.

CHELSEA: OK, so this works then! Because I do think that he is someone who — I've seen more than one person on Twitter, at least, say, "Oh, where did Patrick Wilson go?" Or, "What's he even up to?" Because I think, more broadly speaking, he was most known and most popular like a decade-ish ago for stuff he was in, but he is still working a ton. And I think the reason people don't know he's still around, necessarily, is he's doing a lot of horror stuff, and he's like a horror king now. He's in all the Conjuring movies, he was in Insidious.

He's been mostly in and around this kind of supernatural wave of horror movies, the Blumhouse ghost movies that have a very specific audience. I love them, I think they're amazing. I especially love the Conjuring movies and I think his work in those is so good. And he's about to be directing a new movie.

I know it's by Blumhouse, but I forget if it's within the Conjuring universe or not, but I know he is going to be directing a horror film soon. I'm so excited. I think he's such a good spokesperson for the genre because he is just such a ... he seems like such a nice guy, too. And I think that his love of the genre and his embrace of it really goes to show that people who love horror aren't all total sickos. "They're just weirdos!" No, we come in all stripes and anyone who wants to come join and play in this space with us, it's a very broad fan base.

He embraces it so enthusiastically and he, from what I can tell, loves being in this kind of stuff. And often, there's an idea that when actors reach a certain point in their career, if they end up doing horror movies, there's this, I think, incorrect perception that oh, their career is, like ...

ERIC: There's a stigma. "This is all they can get."

CHELSEA: Right! Like "they have to be in horror movies." And I don't get that vibe from him at all. I get a very enthusiastic creator and someone who really appreciates the genre that he's working in.

ERIC: Like I said, I haven't seen the Conjuring movies, I'm a bit of a scaredy cat ...

CHELSEA: Oh, they're terrifying.

ERIC: Oh, good. I will steel my nerves and watch them for you. I will say, back to what you were saying about Patrick being like a nice guy ... I was looking at his Twitter — and I'm a total sucker for this sort of thing — he's famous, he's got like almost 200,000 followers, but he uses social media just like a normal dude.

He just geeking out over Tampa Bay sports teams and getting mad about political stuff. He's not being creepy, he's not doing a character, he's just being himself, which I respect a lot.

CHELSEA: Yeah. He has, um, very dad energy, I think, on Twitter. And I really love it. I think it's so endearing and I think he's an enjoyable follow because he just seems like he's just really enjoying his life and it's nice.

ERIC: That's great. That was Patrick Wilson, who's on Twitter @patrickwilson73. Let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone who makes you think, and you said the podcast Eat the Rich ...

CHELSEA: Eat the Rich! Yes!

ERIC: ... which describes itself as a show about "late-stage capitalism and the millionaires, billionaires, and multinational corporations hell-bent on staving off its death rattle," which is ... that's one hell of a tagline. Tell us about the show and why you like it.

CHELSEA: Oh my gosh. I adore this podcast. I found this podcast a few months ago in the middle of election fever, and I was looking for just something ... I almost wanted like a cathartic listen and I think I remembered these guys guesting on another podcast I listened to.

So I was like, "OK, I'll check this out." And it's become my favorite in that sphere of podcasting and that sphere of podcasting is very big. Leftist podcasting is huge. It's almost like a stereotype of podcasters, is they're all kind of like dirtbag left. You know, a group of dudes sitting around talking about lefty stuff.

I love these three. They all come from such different backgrounds when they discuss what they discuss every week. And they usually focus on either a specific person or a specific company each week. They're often people I have never heard of. It's like part history lesson, part discussion.

I think some of their first episodes were about coal billionaires from West Virginia and the history of that region and how these guys were able to become super-duper wealthy off of coal mining, and how they then leveraged that now into political playing power. And they do such a good job of ... instead of just a podcast where it's ranting about politics or being angry — of which there is plenty of on that podcast, because sometimes that's what you want — but they do such a good job of very soberly giving you the history and build-up to where we are now.

And I think if anyone is listening who's maybe skeptical, they're so thorough and knowledgeable in their history ... I think one of them is, if I'm not mistaken, they're working on a PhD right now. They study the alt-right. They really know their stuff.

ERIC: They tell you why you should be angry rather than just launching straight into the anger.

CHELSEA: Exactly! They give you their reasons for their anger, why you should be mad and I think it's such a valuable resource, versus maybe something you listen to where, you know, you already feel a certain way. You're not listening to something to be convinced. You're just pissed off and want to listen to people who feel similarly. But I think these guys provide such a great service and I listened to them a ton in the past couple of months.

ERIC: This is something that's kind of a third rail for some folks, talking about politics online, right? You are dealing a lot in horror movies, which are certainly not apolitical; I was just listening to the episode of Dead Meat that you and James did about the original Godzilla from 1954, which was very much a product of post-Hiroshima, post-Nagasaki Japan, and dealing with the fear and the uncertainty of the early nuclear age. So it's not correct to say that you are absent from politics in the stuff you make, that you're best known for.

But do you often talk about our present American politics, or just your political feelings with people who follow you online? Do you get into it with people?

CHELSEA: Oh yeah. I'm very open politically, online, which is why I felt comfortable sharing this other podcast I listen to. But yeah, that's something I am really open about. It's so weird, living in a time where that's almost expected now, especially if you're an "influencer," which James and I get labeled often, which is a weird thing.

But it's like now, there's this expectation that you cannot be silent or ambivalent or just not care, which is such a contrast to back to when I was in high school, over a decade ago — I can't even fathom that. It was weird if you were vocally political, especially if you were famous. And so, I try to be really open about that stuff and yeah, it comes from a place of, we discuss horror on the podcast. That's where we go, because yeah, horror is a very political genre.

ERIC: And a lot of the time, there are things that are allegorical or things that you can relate to your own life. The supernatural horror can stand in for real-life horrors that people go through, right?

CHELSEA: Exactly. And so many of these horror filmmakers who have done some of the most important, politically-fueled horror of all time ... I lean politically similar to them. And I think at this point, it would be harder to run the show I run if I was cagey about my own personal politics, and I don't think it would be as interesting.

ERIC: That was Eat the Rich, which is a podcast about late-stage capitalism. And you can find it on Twitter @EatTheRichPod. We're going to take a quick break now, but we'll be back in a minute for more follows with Chelsea Rebecca from Dead Meat.

[ads]

ERIC: Welcome back to Follow Friday. Chelsea Rebecca, I asked you for someone who makes you laugh and you said Nick Skardarasy, who's on Twitter @NickSkardarasy. And you told me that Nick is both a comedian and your friend. So tell us about him.

CHELSEA: So, Nick is a stand-up comedian and also a writer. I'll just do a little plug here: He wrote an amazing screenplay that I'm working with him on, I'm producing it. And it's weird right now because of COVID, but I really, really want to see this thing get made. I have such belief in it. So that's something I can't really say much else but I ...

ERIC: Secrets, secrets!

CHELSEA: Well, we'll see! But yeah, he is one of my very good friends and one of the big reasons I bring him up is he did something really cool during COVID. It was maybe a couple months in. Since he does stand up comedy, he recorded a standup special at his apartment complex.

ERIC: [laughs]

CHELSEA: A socially distant standup special. It's just such a creative way to still do that kind of comedy and have it be safe.

And it's always kind of fun, too, when a standup set or a concert is set somewhere different or unique. I always think of Pink Floyd playing at Pompeii, that kind of like, "Let's take this, but set it somewhere weird."

And I just thought it was such a creative workaround to COVID. I just like to focus on really nice, cool, creative things that have come out of the last year, because it's been so difficult. I just sometimes gotta remember to focus on ... yeah.

ERIC: Yeah. I just looked it up here. The name of the special is Thin Walls: An Evening With My Neighbors, but yeah, that's hugely creative. And another thing you mentioned before we started taping is that you and Nick can't sit by each other in a group. Why is that?

CHELSEA: [laughs] So every year, a big group of us — and unfortunately, not this year, which was a huge bummer — but a big group of us, we all split an Airbnb at Comic-Con. A bunch of us who go don't even go to the convention itself, but it's just become this yearly trip we all do, where we cram as many of us into an Airbnb as possible. We have gotten banned from an Airbnb because we put too many people there, which is — Don't do that by the way, they will find out! I don't know if they had cameras, or what.

ERIC: [laughs] Somehow, they knew.

CHELSEA: If you think you're going to save a couple bucks by splitting it among as many people as you can cram into a house, they will find out and you won't be allowed to come back to their house anymore. We're really bummed about it, cause it was a great Airbnb! [laughs] But we'd play board games and stuff every night, and he's just the person, one of the people who makes me laugh the most. He's like the friend where if you — if something happens and you look at each other a certain way, you both just kill each other with laughter.

ERIC: Can't stop laughing ...

CHELSEA: Yeah, if it's a situation where we can't have any malarkey going on, Nick and I need to be separated.

ERIC: I was looking at Nick's Twitter feed before the taping here. And I do feel sorry for him because he recently had every Twitter comedian's worst day.

CHELSEA: Yes! Oh no, yeah.

ERIC: He tweeted a joke that a lot of people did not know was a joke and they got very, very mad at him.

CHELSEA: It's so funny. It clearly was a joke to me. It was something, it was the one about Meryl Streep, right?

ERIC: Yeah, this was January 13th, he said, "Has anyone stopped to consider that maybe Meryl Streep is so good because Hollywood keeps on giving her the roles of a lifetime?" And cue all the Meryl Streep fans telling him, "You just don't understand her, dude."

CHELSEA: It's the worst Twitter experience ever. That happened to me once. It was not quite the same thing, but I misunderstood a joke, and Paul F. Tompkins, of all people, made me feel really stupid about it.

ERIC: Aww.

CHELSEA: And it was the worst. Cause he's like, it sucks when it's a person whose reputation is that they're nice, is like "You're an idiot." [laughs] It sucked so bad!

ERIC: The closest I've ever gotten to that is ... ages and ages ago, I used to be a video game industry reporter. And so I was reporting on Gamergate, the early days of that harassment campaign.

CHELSEA: Oh boy. I am so sorry.

ERIC: And so I got publicly piled on, because Adam Baldwin from Firefly, the guy who plays Jayne on Firefly, who's I guess a super right-wing dude. I don't know.

CHELSEA: Mm-hm.

ERIC: He sicced a bunch of his fans on me.

CHELSEA: Oh, God.

ERIC: But I was kind of like, "Gosh, I love Firefly, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over this one. This guy's just not a big enough deal for me to really care."

CHELSEA: That's such a niche internet rite of passage, though, to have Adam Baldwin get really mad at you.

ERIC: [laughs] Specifically Adam Baldwin?

CHELSEA: Yeah! 'Cause he's such a weird ... it's like him or James Woods or maybe Kirk Cameron. Like, one of those guys getting mad at you and then all their followers getting mad at you. It's a very specific kind of internet baptism. But wow. What a time capsule story that is that you have to tell.

ERIC: I know right? [both laugh] That was Nick Skardarasy, who's on Twitter @NickSkardarasy.

All right. Well, we have time for one more follow today. Chelsea, I asked you for someone who you don't know, but want to be your friend, and you said Jo Graham, who's on Twitter @thejoannagraham. She's the host of two podcasts, How2Wrestling and Subcultured. So, tell us about Jo and why you want her to be your friend.

CHELSEA: Her wrestling podcast with her partner — I forget if they're married or not — her partner, Kevin ... my fiancé, James introduced me to, and we love listening to them. You know how they say when you listen to podcasts and stuff that you form a parasocial relationship with the hosts?

ERIC: Right. You think they're your friends, even though they don't know you.

CHELSEA: Yes, exactly. I think it's like, they're also this couple that's around our age and they have such similar, specific tastes and politics.

ERIC: And they're very passionate about a specific form of entertainment, similar to you and James.

CHELSEA: Yeah, and basically, their podcast How2Wrestling is them doing the history of WWE and WWF. I think they sometimes branch into other wrestling brands, but the ones that I've listened to are all history about various wrestlers and stuff. And it's such a passionately done podcast that I'm a huge, huge fan of.

And yeah, I just want to be friends with her. James always jokes that she's kind of like my weird British doppelgänger.

ERIC: [laughs]

CHELSEA: I feel such a kinship, in terms of like specific sense of humor and taste.

ERIC: Well, maybe something that'll help you become friends: Are you into pro wrestling at all?

CHELSEA: I love it. I'm not an expert by any means. I always say that I would be a very bad wrestling critic. Someone like Jo and Kevin, they know enough about it — and same with my fiancé — they know enough about it to be able to watch it and be critical of plot choices, or the match itself.

And I'm just watching and having a great time! All of it's good. A match ends and I'm like, "Wow, everyone really tried really hard. And it was really great." [laughs]

ERIC: [laughs] "We all put it in a good effort. Good work everyone!"

CHELSEA: I'm a fan of every wrestler; I think they're all amazing. So I'm not a very critical fan of it, but I do enjoy it. I've been to a few matches. We recently we did SummerSlam like, over a year ago.

ERIC: Oh, you've been to live shows?

CHELSEA: Yeah. Oh my gosh, we were almost front row at SummerSlam. It was a lot of fun. We had tickets to WrestleMania this year, and it was unfortunately canceled because of COVID. But yeah, being there is the best. Watching it on TV is fun, but being there is like, oh man, when I'm there, I'm the biggest wrestling fan on the planet.

Actually, we were leaving SummerSlam and this guy who was sitting in a higher up-ish seat ...James and I were leaving, and this guy taps us on the shoulder. He was like, "Hey, I just want to say, I was watching you guys like half the time that I was watching the match, because you had such a good time." [laughs]

ERIC: [laughs] That's adorable!

CHELSEA: Yeah. So something that's crazy is people who go see wrestling matches and sit in the front are often hardcore wrestling fans. And so, it takes a lot to get them to visibly react to stuff. And meanwhile, there's me and James, just freaking out at every little thing. We're easy to please.

ERIC: Maybe being a wrestling critic is not in your future, but what if you were a pro wrestler yourself? What would be your character, your persona?

CHELSEA: Oh my gosh. So, I actually did create a wrestling version of myself in WWE, I think, 2019?

ERIC: The video game?

CHELSEA: Yeah. And I'm trying to remember what my persona was. It basically ... my favorite wrestler, Shinsuke Nakamura, his persona is just that he's a rock star. I think I would go a little bit that direction, just like rock and roll, hardcore kind of goth. Like electric guitar and fog machine.

ERIC: Shooting sparks, yeah.

CHELSEA: Yeah, exactly. Over the top, for sure.

ERIC: That was Jo Graham, who's on Twitter @thejoannagraham. Chelsea, before we go, let's make sure the listeners know how to find you online. Where do you want them to follow you?

CHELSEA: So you can follow me at @carebecc on Twitter and also Dead Meat on YouTube and yeah, our podcast, anywhere you listen to podcasts.

ERIC: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. You can find me on Twitter @HeyHeyESJ and at my email newsletter, Watch This!, where I write short, spoiler-free reviews of movies and TV shows and whatever else I'm watching. Follow this show on Twitter or Instagram @followfridaypod.

You can find a transcript of this episode, links, pictures, and more at followfridaypodcast.com.

Our theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. Additional music by Purple Planet Music, starfrosch, and Katherine Chang.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Hey, which is making email smarter, better, and more secure. Check it out for your personal use or for your business at Hey.com.

Today's show was produced by BumbleCast. You can hire us to help you start a podcast, or make your existing podcast better. We work with creators of all backgrounds and experience levels. Learn more at bumblecast.fm.

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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