There’s one concept that nearly defies definition, one class of stereotypical discourse that can only be denoted by one word. It’s drivel, yet well-informed; it’s ignorant, yet it’s well-intentioned; it’s idiotic, but intelligent people engage in it just as often as the less intelligent. I’m talking, of course, about “shit.” Starting with “Shit My Dad Says”–the title of Justin Halpern’s hilarious book which was sanitized into the much less satisfying “$#*! [pronounced “bleep”] My Dad Says” when foolish TV executives got a hold of it–the Internet has been obsessed with the concept of documenting the mostly real ramblings of entire classes of people. Recently this trend crept its way onto YouTube, as Internet trends are wont to do. True to the entrepreneurial spirit of Stanford University, Ralph Nguyen ‘12 took the then-nascent idea and ran with it. He describes the impetus as a combination of interest in comedy and an interest in recognition.
“I do a lot of comedy,” Nguyen said, “especially stand-up, and I thought I could do a better job at creating these videos [by] picking more interesting topics and doing a little shameless self-promotion.”
These desires converged in his first video, “Shit Fat People Say”–described on its YouTube page as “[a] terrible parody of ‘Shit Girls Say.’”
When looking back on it, Nguyen’s first reaction was to call it “very shameful” before continuing, “I think the comment that summarized that up, someone said, ‘This should be renamed “Shit Ugly People Say.”’ It’s definitely oddball.”
Despite less-than-favorable responses, the video accrued enough views for Nguyen–whose YouTube channel is JustCallMeMrRight–to continue his quest for Internet stardom. When he returned to Stanford for winter quarter, he noticed something else oddball: Freshmen everywhere, from vastly different backgrounds, seemed to fall into the same patterns of ridiculous behavior. Out of this observation, “Shit College Freshmen Say” was born.
“They all start off as direct quotes,” he says, referring to the sound bites that make up the clip, “but they all get more and more absurd.” This model hit the mark and in nine days rocketed to more than 381,000 hits. Emboldened, he followed with “Shit White People Say to Asians,” which in four days reached nearly the same number. And he isn’t planning on stopping. He has just recently created a comedy Twitter, @ralfwyn, and emphatically stated that he plans to continue making videos.
“Yes, definitely,” he began. “The one [that our] campus knows me for is ‘Shit College Freshmen Say,’ but I’ve also done really well with ‘Shit White People Say to Asians.’ 1,000,000 views is only the beginning.”