Talking to girls can be terrifying. On the Internet, even more so. And on YouTube? Forget it, you need special lessons for that.
Thankfully, YouTube star Erik Hoffstad, on his aptly named letsGOtoCLASS account, is here to school you.
“Hello, and welcome to Internet Comment Etiquette,” says a glassy-eyed Hoffstad, surrounded by bottles of alcohol, as an old-timey patriotic intro tune fades out. “Today’s lesson is called ‘talking to girls.’ There’s a lot of girls on the Internet, and it’s important to know how to engage them in a respectful manner, while still being yourself. And what better way to do that then through YouTube comments!”
If you’ve read even a handful of YouTube comments, you know what he’s talking about—the site is a hotbed of almost reflexive misogyny. (His parody is as crude and not-safe-for-work as the typical YouTube comments thread, so be warned.)
The “girl on the Internet” used in the video is Jenna Marbles, the YouTube celebrity known for her arch sendups of sexist behavior. In the video Hoffstad watches, Marbles parades around in swimsuits and talks about her failed beach vacations.
Hoffstad piles on the layers of irony—in imitating a typical commenter who turns Marbles into a fetish object, while completely missing the points she’s making about misogyny online. In so doing, he’s satirizing both her and less-clued-in members of her audience.
Of course, Marbles wouldn’t get nearly as many views—or make as much money through YouTube’s Partners program— if she didn’t bare so much skin. (Most of the top women on YouTube play on sex appeal to some extent.) That’s part of the meta gag Hoffstad explores as he mocks men who let their genitals do the typing.
The Internet seems to be responding kindly to Hoffstad’s satire.The video’s view count is frozen at 302, a YouTube bug indicating the video is generating high interest but the site’s servers are having trouble updating the stats.
“Why aren’t you an Internet phenomenon???” wrote stubertos today, on an earlier “Internet Comment Etiquette” episode uploaded in 2009.
In fact, Hoffstad is. He’s the same fellow who did “Driving on Salvia” two years ago, which garnered more than a million views.
He’s not new to satire, either. With Chris Arader, Hoffstad created “Two Hipsters and a Bong.” It’s such a perfect sendup of hipster culture, even two years on. If letsGOtoCLASS isn’t an Internet phenomenon yet, perhaps it’s because the duo are ahead of their time.
In a comment today, letsGOtoCLASS hinted that they plan to make videos again on a weekly basis:
“By the way everyone, thank you for sitting through the ad on this video. I promise you I will make sure any money made from this video will go towards getting me drunk as fuck for next week’s video… and so on and so forth lol 9/11”
(That last bit is another jab at conspiracy-minded Internet commenters who insert off-topic remarks.)
We think Hoffstad and Arader may be on to something with their comment-etiquette videos. “Talking to Girls” appears to be a revival of Hoffstad’s earlier “Internet Comment Etiquette” series. Two previous episodes aired in 2009, with none since, but he recently registered a companion Twitter account, @Commentiquette, suggesting he’s got bigger plans for the franchise.
It’s long overdue. 9/11. Ron Paul.