Mike Gamms Interviews Maddox
Article by: Mike GammsNo Comment
Back before every unemployable 25 year old had their own blog, there was The Best Page in the Universe. Created by Maddox, The Best Page in the Universe made it cool to bitch about stuff that pisses you off on the internet.
With the success of his website, Maddox went on the write the New York Times Bestseller, “The Alphabet on Manliness“. His newest book, “I Am Better Than Your Kids” is currently being read in bathrooms across the country. I recently got the opportunity to talk to Maddox about dumb people, the internet and making fun of little kids. Enjoy.
MADDOX: Yeah, some are definitely morons, but I usually call them out on it if it’s needed. People tend to think that because they share the same point of view about something I’ve written, that we must also share other beliefs and even taste in music.
GAMMS: So I imagine a lot of these people expect you to be a prick in person.
MADDOX: People often tell me that I’m a lot “nicer” in person than they imagined. That’s because I have no reason to be a dick to most people who come to book signings. If someone comes up to me and says, “Hey Maddox, I’m a big fan!” What am I supposed to say? “Fuck you!”? That would make me just as obnoxious as most of the people I bitch about. I’m a dick to dicks.
GAMMS: But dicks don’t like it when you are a dick to them. The more up their own ass someone is, the more easily they get offended.
MADDOX: What people find offensive is not just related to their own self interest, but also an amalgam of the society and culture they were raised in. People find reasons to be offended. Being offended is a choice.
GAMMS: I think there are too many stupid people on the internet ruining it for the rest of us. How do we show the people in charge that website’s like mine, yours, and Tucker Max are what’s cool about the internet, not LolCatz and Fred?
MADDOX: Support the stuff you like. Spread the word and vote with your traffic/dollars. They can only ignore a success for so long.
GAMMS: What’s the best way to get their attention?
MADDOX: Why not circumvent the powers that be in the first place? Why do we need networks, publishers and studios? If we create our own content on open networks like YouTube, we cut them out of the picture and deflate their power. Vote with your traffic.
GAMMS: But just because something’s popular on the internet, doesn’t make it good content.
MADDOX: I hate how easily stupid shit is passed around on the Internet today. Memes tend to dominate the comedy horizon. That’s not to say I’m not a fan of some of them, but people use punchlines from memes in place of actual content or commentary. The countless “[blank] ALL THE THINGS, like a boss, true story, rage face” punch lines are tired, yet people still keep using them because templates are the only way they know how to make a joke. Only one out of every 100 or so cookie-cutter jokes are funny, yet they still get passed around and duplicated like crazy. Just check the front page of Reddit or FunnyJunk.com and you’ll see what I mean.
GAMMS: Is it important for good funny writers to keep doing what they think is funny, whether or not it’s popular or not?
MADDOX: If you want to know why it’s important for writers to keep their own voice, just watch an episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s watered down, unfunny, shitcom hell. And yet, every writer on the show is probably pretty funny and/or talented in real life. The problem is the Hollywood machine that cranks out shows with a specific formula. They don’t like to deviate much from that formula, because it works on some level. They get a good return on their investment with minimal effort. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. Why take the risk when you can take the sure thing? But the cost is, your show is unwatchable by anyone whose prefrontal cortex is still intact.
GAMMS: You’ve been doing this for over 15 years, has it been difficult to stick to it?
MADDOX: You have to have a really thick skin to do what I do. I’ve been criticized for everything from my looks (being too fat, bald, skinny, etc) to my writing, my programming skills, my sexual orientation, my family, my girlfriend (or lack thereof), and my face. I’ve heard it all. You just have to believe in what you’re doing and you have to genuinely enjoy it. If you don’t, you should do something else.
GAMMS: What has been the best decision of your career?
MADDOX: The best decision was to quit my job back in 2004. That job sucked every size, shape and color of dick. That, and not signing a 2-book deal with my first publisher. I took a bet on myself, because signing a 2-book deal only works out in your favor if your first book flops, because that means they have to give you a second book. I knew it’d kick ass, so I signed only for one.
GAMMS: What do you most regret?
MADDOX: Trusting my current publisher, to do a good job with PR and distribution. They distributed this book to one retailer, which is the bare minimum for a book to be considered published.
GAMMS: Despite all that, your new book, “I’m Better than Your Kids” is getting some attention. Do you see revisiting and expanding on other old material that helped gain your initial popularity in the future?
MADDOX: I did ”I Am Better Than Your Kids” because it was something I’ve wanted to do since I wrote those original articles, and only two pages don’t do justice to the concept. I’d rather try new things to challenge myself. It’s actually really hard to come up with a fresh, relevant and original criticism of thousands of pieces of children’s art. That challenge was what made the project worthwhile. That, and shitting on smug kids.
For more of Maddox visit thebestpageintheuniverse.com.
Mike Gamms is a 25-year-old writer living in Los Angeles. Originally from Upstate New York, he also occasionally writes awful things at www.mikegamms.blogspot.com.