"Keep on Rocking on a Free World, Duu dulu du du ...."
I laugh and almost choked on myself, thinking - who the hell will watch these weird interviews asking peculiar questions about celebrities’ lives?
I scrolled down to how many viewers view the videos on the interview on Nardwuar with Kendrick Lamar - it was almost 5.4 million views! I thought to myself, this is insane! Although he does look embarrassing in all of this interview, he gave great entertainment to internet viewers. Perhaps people want to watch the interview because a guy was asking silly questions to celebrities, and it is fun and entertaining. Hence, I try to look into all other interviews that this guy conducted, and I realized that he asked similar questions to all of his interviewees.
An hour passes by, and I am still watching his interview clip, asking exciting questions to celebrities. At that time, I noticed something. Even though I think his questions are peculiar and funny, I secretly do love his interviews. There is something unique and original in his conversation with all these celebrities that is unexpected. When he asked very personal questions that shocked the interviewee, that interviewee’s facial expression is priceless - and that is what the audience really enjoys watching. That is entertaining.
Besides all of the entertainment that he provided to his internet audience, I also learn three things that make his channel really popular among all peers.
There is no such thing as embarrassment on the internet
If you already in the media, no matter what you do - people will have different interpretations of your action.
“An interviewer’s job is to make the interviewee exciting; you cannot never say oh a prime minister is a boring person that you are talking to. No! It is the interviewer’s job to make the interviewee exciting.”
When Nardwuar was preparing the script for the upcoming interview with Jean Chrétien, the 20th prime minister of Canada, he wanted to find an interesting question to ask Jean Chrétien. He did a lot of research on Jean Chrétien and realized that he loves punk rock. He thought - wouldn’t it be great to create a Band called the ‘Nomads’; and, wouldn’t it be great if Jean Cretchen’s favorite band has a song called the “Suharto Stomp”?
Therefore, Nardwuar decided to ask that questions in the upcoming prime minister interview.
During the interview, he saw thousands of protesters were sprayed with pepper spray in front of the interview location. He thought, “wouldn’t it be great if I also add a Pepper spray init to bring up the drama?” And that is what he asked as he stepped out on the interview.
“Mr. Chrétien, regarding Suharto, there’s a song out there right now by a punk band the nomads called the Suharto Stomp. Earlier today as well, there are incredible protestors in from the UBC. Do you think, Mr. Chrétien, if you were forty years younger, then you too will be writing punk songs and protesting against a pack? Do you think Mace (Pepper Spray) equals Freedom?”
Chrétien replied that he didn’t know that protesting through pepper spray existed when he was young. Therefore, he replied to Nardwuar, “For me, pepper, I put it on my plate.”
The crowd blasted off laughing.
You must be thinking - it is embarrassing to ask such strange questions in a serious setting.
It may seem embarrassing, but it makes the interview context interesting - and Nardwuar did a great job by making the interviewee exciting.
The quote that Mr.Crechen said was viral, and it appears as one of the most exciting quotes that Mr.Crechen has noted in his political career.
Embarrassment is subjective. One person thinks that you are embarrassing, but the other will feel that you are unique. It is how other people think about you. Therefore, if you share your thoughts and appear anywhere on the internet, you can say that you are already embarrassing yourself. No matter how well-mannered you want to be, social media and the internet will always find ways to flip the original stories to an obscure one. If you’re going to be in this transparent space, you must be able to look past what others think about you.
There is a fine line between Unique and Strange
Unique is one word that people usually describe others as different than the mass. However, the definition of strange is the same as unique, except it includes the negative connotation.
In every single interview he conducted, either the interviewee thinks Nardwuar is strange or thinks he is unique. His interview with Henry Rollins in 1998 didn’t go as well as he expected. Henry Rollins didn’t like the fact that Nardwuar asked these unconventional questions. However, the interview that he conducted with Pharrell Williams in 2009 was also unexpected - but in the right way. Pharrel said that he has the best interview experience in his life.
Because of that interview with Pharrel, Narwuar was able to schedule a interview with Jay Z. When he interviewed Jay Z, Jay Z mentioned Pharrel was telling him to take this interviewer Nardwuar because he is very unique and original.
Original is usually the word that describes unique, and Nardwuar’s interview is original. Because his interview is authentic, many celebrities want to interview him because experiencing an interview with him is different. That experience is rare, and human being loves to have the rare occasion.
If you want to be an artist, you will need to accept that you are unique and strange at the same time. At a certain angle, you may look like odd individuals. However, a group of people also thinks that the art you produce is a masterpiece.
If you Want something, Do it yourself
Narwuar’s video wasn’t a one-night viral video. He sets the stage for unexpected situations and spontaneous reactions through hard work and meticulously preparing for the exciting facts and tidbits.
To top his previous political interview with Jean Chechen, he decided to ask politicians to do a hip flip. A hip flip is a game with hands-on on both ends. Two dancers will stand on either side so that each person was being held by the hand. In between the writing is a swingable hanging plastic piece. He wants to do a hip flip with politicians. He tried to sneak into the interviewer lists and ask each political interviewee to do a hip flip with him. He was booed in a town hall asking Stéphane Dion to do a hip flip. He also got kicked out by the security trying to ask Stephen Harper to do a hip flip. However, he managed to ask other politicians to do a hip flip with him.
If you want something in life, you have to do it yourself. If that means you have to study hours improving your craft, you have to do it yourself. Some people practice refining their craft for years before they can get what they want. However, the underlying thing is that they have to do it themselves. They have to take action to do it.
Nardwuar’s story is the definition of how one succeeds by doing what he/she loves. Nardwuar is not trying to be Joe Rogan or Megyn Kelly when he conducts political and entertainment interviews. Nardwuar is Nardwuar, and no one can ever replace him. If you are in the media industry, embarrassment is a matter of when, not a point of if. When I said media industry, I mean people who have created content; people who have commented on an article have done something on the internet. If you know that you will one day be deemed as an embarrassment, why not always just be yourself and be original. Finally, if you want to achieve something, you have to take action and do it yourself.