This Is Just A Goodbye Post
Oh boy. Well, here we are. Just to put things into perspective, when we launched Videogum on April 8th, 2008, George W. Bush was still President of the United States. Remember that guy? Fuck that guy! Back then, and I know this is hard to believe, but Zach Galifianakis wasn’t a movie star yet and Lena Dunham hadn’t even been born. Obviously, a lot can happen in five and a half years. Heck, a lot can happen in five and a half minutes, am I right 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team?! The world is changed, I feel it in the water, etc. And during this entire time, from that first day until right here right now, Videogum has been my whole life. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve been in where I told someone what I did and they’re response was, “Oh, you are Videogum,” but it’s a lot of times. It has been my job, sure, but it has been something much more than a job, too. The very idea of saying “goodbye” to what is essentially a horcrux barely makes sense. And yet, I must try. Everyone who likes to cite that Yoda quote about how “there is only do or do not, there is no try,” is full of shit and needs to take a serious look in the mirror. For one thing, there absolutely is try. The world was built on trying. And much more importantly, you are a full grown adult basing your life philosophy on a swamp goblin puppet from 1977?! There is only give me a break.
So, let me try.
First, I need to say some thank yous:
Thank you to Scott Lapatine: I’m not sure if you knew this, but Scott started Stereogum as a LiveJournal about Britney Spears in his downtime at a day job and now look at what he has built. He’s basically the Daniel Plainview of blogs, except that he wants everyone to drink their own milkshake (very good metaphor and very timely reference). Whether his decision to leave me almost entirely to my own devices was a good one or not, the end result is that Scott has been much more of a patron than a boss, overwhelmingly trusting, supportive, and enthusiastic about the work that I’ve been doing at Videogum from the very beginning. If there was ever a low moment during my tenure at this website when I simply wanted to run away—and let’s be honest, there were some low moments during my tenure at this website when I simply wanted to run away, because website aside, LIFE is MOSTLY low moments in which one simply wants to run away punctuated once a year by store-bought birthday cake and a single glass of Cold Duck—one of the main things that kept me going was knowing that out there in the horrible and uncertain wilderness that surrounds Videogum one thing was for sure: it would be impossible to find a kinder, more generous, or more encouraging boss than Scott.
Thank you to Amrit Singh: On paper, Amrit is the managing editor of the entire Gum network, which might sound impressive, but truth be told, he’s much more than that. The work of a managing editor is pretty straight forward: you make everybody march to the beat of your drum. This is why everyone hates managing editors. But while Amrit’s drumbeat is a steady, pleasant, and highly danceable one, I’m sure, he has never played it for me. Amrit, rather than force the writers and editors under his employ to simply hop to, prefers a brand of management that consists mostly of compliments, encouragement, and mutual appreciation. A work meeting with Amrit is not so much red pen and Strunk & White as it is cold beer and good conversation. If you ever want a wonderful colleaague with a gigantic heart and a great head of hair who will happily take you to a Superchunk concert and then spend the rest of the evening on the next barstool swapping stories of ex-girlfriends, of getting up to trouble in high school, and of why he’s still vegetarian even though it’s just because he got sick on a trip to India one time a thousand years ago and he seriously needs to just get over it because as someone who loves food as much as he does he is seriously missing out on a pretty big portion of what food has to offer, then Amrit is the managing editor for you. I’m not sure this description of his skill set will help him to get a job as the managing editor of The New Yorker, his and every managing editor’s dream job just kidding, but it’s exactly this skill set that will keep him in his current job of my friend for life.
Thank you to Lindsay Robertson: Fun fact, I owe my entire on-line writing career up to this point to Lindsay Robertson. That’s not something I talk about very often, because as someone who was narcissistic and self-centered before Twitter and Instagram were even invented, I like to perpetuate the myth that I owe all of my achievements to my own brilliance, hilarity, and determination. The fact of the matter is Lindsay Robertson, in addition to being a friend, was also an early supporter of my writing who introduced me to so many of the people in the New York media industry who helped me along the way and who have, even more importantly, given me work. My very first paid blogging job was guest editing Gawker for one day while Jessica Coen was on vacation, a job that I got because Lindsay was having drinks with Jessica and recommended me for it. From there is a direct line between my work at Gawker and the people I met there, all thanks to Lindsay, to the job I got helping to launch a now defunct comedy site for the Huffington Post. And when I later left that job to help launch Videogum with Lindsay, it was because she was Scott’s first choice and he asked her who she would like to hire as a co-editor. I am forever grateful to her, even if I don’t say it enough. And I hope she enjoys reading this paragraph, because as of now I consider us even. It was a very thoughtful and generous paragraph, certainly worth seven years of steady work. And everything I do from here on out is due entirely to my own brilliance, hilarity, and determination.
Thank you to Kelly Conaboy: It’s a running joke on this website that I am always firing Kelly, but in actuality she should have been firing me. (She couldn’t really fire me, of course, because I was her boss, and as far as I am concerned, I will continue to be her boss until the day she dies. Also I will for sure outlive her. #factsonly) I cannot tell you how many times Kelly has corrected a stupid mistake that I’ve made, or gently pointed out to me that the stupid post that I was working on was something that she had already smartly posted two weeks earlier. That’s not her only or even best quality, this attention to detail, but it’s certainly commendable and worth mentioning. Over the past two-plus years, Kelly has taken on more and more responsibility at the site, for which I have been more and more grateful, and she has done so with unflagging energy and good humor. But far more importantly, it has simply been a pleasure to be able to read her work on a daily basis. I think she’s going to do a great job ushering Videogum into whatever the future holds for Videogum, and I look forward to continuing to read her posts. And, in 10 years from now, on her 21st birthday, when she leaves the site to write something different, I’ll read that too. Unless it’s just a blog about how everything she knows she learned from old episodes of Gilmore Girls, which totally would be her blog. Just kidding, I would read that. I’m a huge fan! (I still disagree with her about You Can Count On Me, though. It’s a good movie, Kelly!)
Thank you to Mike Porath, and everyone at SpinMedia: I remember when we first started displaying the corporate boilerplate at the bottom of the site a few years ago as part of a company-wide initiative to build SpinMedia’s (then Buzzmedia’s) many disparate web properties into something resembling an actual network some of the readers kicked up a fuss, as readers are wont to do, decrying corporate overreach or some such. That is obviously ridiculous considering that we already live in a capitalist society of ever more complicated inter-dependent-relationships, and there are far worse things going on within this system than a bit of legalese at the bottom of a pop culture site. But more importantly, the push-back was misguided, because SpinMedia has always been impossibly supportive of a website that has never had the reach or the earning power of many of its larger properties. They have consistently left us almost entirely alone to do what we do best with virtually no interference, even when a mild increase of interference may have improved the site’s actual profitability, which, considering that they are a BUSINESS, would have made a lot of sense for them to do. Much of the thanks for this belongs to Mike Porath, although I’m sure there are countless others who deserve recognition. Thank you from me and my landord to all of them.
Thank you to everyone who has ever contributed to the website in any way during my tenure, a list that includes but is not limited to Fred Armisen, Todd Barry, Alex Blagg, Kurt Braunohler, Wyatt Cenak, Mary HK Choi, Caroline Craighead, Jake Fogelnest, Jon Glaser, Emily Gordon, Sasha Grey, Tim Heidecker, Dave Hill, Dave Holmes, Rob Huebel, Starlee Kine, Julie Klausner, Maris Kreizman, Nick Kroll, Heather Lawless, Ted Leo, Gabe Liedman, Joe Mande, Merrill Markoe, Mary Miller, John Mulaney, Larry Murphy, Jesse Popp, Bob Powers, Jason Reich, John Roberts, Andy Samberg, Kristen Schaal, Paul Scheer, Max Silvestri, Jenny Slate, Rich Sommer, Andrew Ti, Eric Wareheim, and many others.
And thank you last but not least, the very opposite of least (which is most) to everyone who has ever commented, sent in a tip, sent in a nice email, started an argument, ended an argument, gotten a Videogum tattoo, attended or organized a meet-up, guest-blogged that one time two years ago when I took that one vacation, or in any other way has helped to build and foster the Videogum community. The tiny corner of brightness, kindness, hilariousness, engaged discussion, thoughtful commentary, and overall spirit of FUN and DECENCY that we have together carved out of the Swamp of Sadness that is the Internet has easily been the most rewarding thing about working here and it is, far more than anything I have ever written, accomplished, endured, or survived, the thing in which I take the most pride. All of those people over the years who told me that I was Videogum were wrong. WE are Videogum.
As of this writing, there are more than 16,000 posts published on this website. 16,000. I didn’t write all of them by any means, but I wrote a very healthy number of them. And as of this writing, there are more than half a million comments on those posts. That’ll do, blog. That’ll do.
There’s this Louis CK bit I saw one time (that ultimately made it into the pilot for his show) about how bringing home a puppy is basically just promising your family that you’re all going to cry in a few years (because death). I’m not trying to do that thing that I have a tendency to do where I reduce the most trivial of YouTube moments into a profoundly overwrought forced metaphor for the futility of our time on this planet. I’m simply pointing out that MUCH LIKE Louis C.K.’s puppy, the one thing that was certain when I started working here was that one day I would not be working here. And now that that day is actually here, I don’t know, it’s weird.
-Gabe Delahaye (1956-2012)
Heaven just got a little more me, etc, etc.
I don’t have the literary acuity to express how I feel right now (I am at a Lost for words) but this comes close. A complicated non-verbal mixture of happiness and excitement and confusion and panic and just all of it, everything there could be. As for what’s next: all I can say is stay tuned for my next move. I’m working on it. I hope you will like it. Nnnnnn…it’s exciting! In the interim, I’m launching a podcast in August (as a comedian without a podcast, I’ve actually been living in LA illegally for the past few months, so it’s nice to have everything back above board). And there’s always social media for updates.
This whole business feels a bit funerary, which is perhaps inevitable. There is a little bit of death in every goodbye. (Oh good lord! Here he goes!) But at least I died doing what I loved: going on and on and on. And if I am e-dead now and this is my iWake, let’s make it a fun one. Let’s get some jugglers and stilt walkers up in this bitch. Let’s get Susan Sarandon up here to crush with her tight five on neighbor’s boners and then close with her newfound tap dancing skills. Let’s make it a Video Pizza Party! If I am e-dead now and this is my iWake, I would like to invite some prominent members of Atlanta’s hardcore scene, namely Trapped Under Ice, Cruel Hand, Naysayer, and Foundation, along with their fans, on to the stage to kick off the after-party:
In spite of everything that’s happened in the past few years, or perhaps because of it, the fact remains that all we ever wanted was to be at a Miley Cyrus dance party. Thank you for letting me be at yours for the past five and a half years. Now, if you will excuse me, life is for the living.
P.S. I rest my case.