Think of Christian Dumais as the Bruce Banner behind @DRUNKHULK. While the latter smashes and stumbles across Twitter in fits of anger and cynicism, the reserved writer responsible for the popular Twitter account is actually a published author and university lecturer.
“I always imagined Drunk Hulk as an overweight man with no shirt on sitting at the end of the bar watching the television,” Dumais told the Daily Dot.
“He’s constantly talking to the TV, commenting on what’s happening, and though a lot of what he says is terrible gibberish, every once in a while he says something weirdly profound.”
Just as the giant, irradiated superhero emerged as the byproduct of an occupational accident, Dumais thought up @DRUNKHULK in a flash of inspiration while procrastinating after a “particularly heavy short story.”
“With Drunk Hulk, I’ve learned that all I had to do was hit the Caps Lock,” Dumais related during his TEDx talk, “and write in broken English.” The first time he wrote like that, he said, “all of a sudden, everybody notices.”
That’s not entirely true.
Created in October 2009, Drunk Hulk took a while to fight its strength, with retweets and followers coming in small increments before his breakthrough that Halloween.
“Getting the amount of followers I have today has taken a lot of work,” stressed Dumais, whose personal account, @PuffChrissy, boasts only a fraction of the followers of his alter ego. “It’s really, really important to remember that this wasn’t an overnight thing.”
Now when the Hulk gets hammered, however, people certainly take notice. The account boasts 164,000 Twitter followers and has been praised by everyone from NPR to Time magazine.
While there are at least a few hundred Hulk accounts out there, Drunk Hulk tramples his competition with all-caps missives that are reactionary, riotous, and heavily inebriated.
“KEVIN SMITH MAKE FIRST HORROR MOVIE! THAT SURPRISE! BECAUSE DRUNK HULK THOUGHT ALL HIS MOVIE PRETTY HORRIFYING!”
“WOMAN SUE APPLE STORE AFTER SHE WALK INTO GLASS DOOR! NO COOL APPLE! IT BAD ENOUGH WOMAN GOT WORRY ABOUT GLASS CEILING!”
“DRUNK HULK WANT TO STUDY A BROAD IN COLLEGE! BUT SHE SAY NO!”
Having published his first collection of short stories, Empty Rooms Lonely Countries, in 2009, Dumais said the parody account helps him loosen up as a writer and not take life so seriously. It’s also smashed open some doors. A number of agents, publishers, and television networks” have been in contact regarding his work.
“Everything about this experience has been a surprise,” said Dumais, 38, whose wife is expecting twins in August.
“Writing Drunk Hulk is a wonderful challenge that has managed to carry over to my other writing projects . . . And most importantly, every day I get to read responses from amazing people all over the world on Twitter or by email about Drunk Hulk.”
Dumais moved from the Tampa Bay area, Fla., to Poland to focus on his finishing his debut novel. While he confessed his Polish is “terrible,” he’s built a large volume of Polish vocabulary after certain life events: the words for “suspect, arrest, handcuffs, lawyer, escape, fugitive, hostage, stand-off, apology, and terrible misunderstanding,” he joked.
According to his Twitter bio, Drunk Hulk has taken up residence in Poland too. The image of the green giant sitting at the end of a bar in Wrocław, throwing back Slivovitz while yelling at the TV in broken Polish is slightly terrifying.
Photo by Christian Dumais