Liz Hynes (@chancellorliz) on Her “Twitter Voice” and (Accidentally) Getting Featured on ‘Breitbart’

liz-hynesLiz Hynes (@chancellorliz) is an aspiring corpse based in New York City who once vomited directly in front of Brian Williams. A renowned multitasker, she often writes screenplays and performs standup comedy while simultaneously decomposing. This week, Liz and I talked about a few things, but most importantly the time her comedy sketch went viral online and ended up on Breitbart News!

This Is Your Brain On the inflated sense of self worth you get when you a) read too many Young Adult Adventure Novels featuring a protagonist who is The Chosen One and b) spend twelve years as the only child of parents who probably loved you a little too much.

This is such a funny perspective. Is your voice on Twitter the same as your actual voice? What’s different?

They’re nearly the same, although I’m a little nastier on Twitter. When I was in high school I used to get in trouble with my parents for tweeting jokes that were a little too ~edgy,~ which is an incredibly lame form of rebellion. I mean, Judd Apatow left home at 17 to go live in a house in LA full of other standup comedians. When I was seventeen my mom called school to yell at me for something I tweeted. But I’m 22 now, and in my Infinite Adult Wisdom I tweet more things that my (very funny) parents and I can laugh about together. 

Also, my Twitter voice has fewer pauses, since I can save drafts and hone ideas until they’re PERFECT!!! (I have been crafting this response since 2004.)

I went to a college where Ring By Spring was a phenomenon, and it prompted some serious self-reflection on my part–compared to MARRIAGE, the things I can’t commit to could not matter any less. But also, I don’t feel too bad about this because it’s like ???? why do you have to screen your followers?? are some people not allowed to experience this boomerang of your shitty brunch???? sorry rachel didn’t know you were in fucking witness protection

now i’ve gotten myself so worked up i’ve drifted into No Rules Twitter Language, v srry !!!

Haha no worries. What’s been the weirdest or most unexpected reaction to a tweet you’ve posted?

A few months back, after Mike Pence was announced as Notre Dame’s commencement speaker, I tweeted this video I’d made called “Penance with Pence” where I pretended to call Mike Pence and confess my ~sins~ (riding my bike in a skirt, getting my period on a Sunday, etc). It got some traction, so another student interviewed me about it and featured the video on her blog, only to have it STOLEN by BREITBART!!! They reprinted it verbatim, with zero credit to her, and included a link to the video. 

As you can probably guess, this was not my target audience!! Commenters were recommending that my parents be “imprisoned for child neglect,” among other colorful suggestions. The most popular takes were that I’d “never find a job” and was being “bankrolled by George Soros” (in which case…why would I ever need a job?). And if they were this mad about me teasing Pence in a 2 minute video, imagine their reaction to us walking out on him at graduation a few weeks later! For a while there I thought someone was going to #Pizzagate my house, but it blew over. 

Also, shoutout to my BreitBabes: I got a job, and during the interview, they high fived me for walking out! Is it cool if we hold off on that firing squad idea you guys mentioned? This #LeftistLunatic is gonna be pretty booked for a while!

(Mr. Soros, if you’re reading this, I could really use next month’s check up front.) 

I try to take a quality-not-quantity approach when it comes to @ing politicians. One of the most inconsequentially sad things about ~These Days~ is that too many funny timelines have been lost to a deluge of well-intentioned screams into the ether. It’s difficult to be politically relentless and consistently funny (notable exceptions: Rob Delaney and @spookperson‘s roast of Roger Stone’s inauguration outfit)–so if I’m going for it, I want it be real mean. Pretty proud of this one.

Do you also avoid tweets that verge on satirical or social commentary?

Not at all! I just try to resist the temptation to blast off 50 furious tweets in a row and channel my rage into a joke instead. The best political comedy is usually subversive and brilliant and status quo-shattering, but sometimes the best thing about a politics-adjacent joke, even if it’s dumb, is that it just gives you a fucking break. On particularly awful news days, I might be glued to my phone for an hour straight, and it’s usually only after seeing something stupid on Twitter that I’ll finally crack and laugh.

Who are some Twitter users/accounts that you really like?

@GordonRamsay eviscerating one culinary detritus after another. @Seinfeld2000, which started as a way to make fun of @SeinfeldToday and has evolved into a beautiful absurdist brand all its own. @AnchorageDSA–all the DSA accounts playfully compete for the best Online Presence, but I think these guys have it in the bag. Also, my good friend and Student Standup Co-President Emeritus @jackriedy, who recommended me for this!!

 

Karen Chee is a writer/performer who contributes regularly to The New Yorker and McSweeney’s.

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