Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Shane Dawson and Krystal Lake

Two years ago I met the man of my dreams. He made me laugh and when the laughter didn’t stop, even after the one hundredth joke, I knew it was love. Everything about this man made my feelings for him grow. His creative side ignited mine. His honesty, even in a jokingly self-loathing manner, made him relatable. His love of marshmallow peeps made me sick to my stomach, but we all have our flaws. All of these things make up this man I love, but what sold me was his knack for turning the most innocent things into something filthy and laughable. No, I’m not talking about my husband. I have never even met this person I speak so highly of. His name is Shane Dawson, he is a YouTuber and to say I am obsessed is the understatement of the year. 

Two winters ago, I was bored and freezing in six degree weather. I didn’t want to leave the house, I just wanted to mope around my home in warm clothes and curl up with my pets. I started scrolling through YouTube recommended videos and saw a channel called The Fine Bros. This channel belongs to two brothers who have a ton of videos where they have people react to viral videos (and other pop culture crazes). The first video I checked out was called “Teens React to Harlem Shake!” If you don’t know what Harlem Shake videos are, check that mess out ASAP! This video is what it sounds like, teenagers reacting to Harlem Shake videos. It was genius! I quickly became obsessed and started watching more videos on this channel. The Fine Bros have different segments of React Videos including: Elders React, Kids React, and even one for YouTubers. I watched one called “YouTubers React to Try to Watch This Without Laughing or Grinning.” This video is filled with YouTubers trying their hardest not to laugh at viral videos that are notoriously funny. This is how I was introduced to Shane Dawson. He was one of the reactors and at the end of the video I was more than happy to click the link to his channel and begin my obsession. 

Still from a YouTubers React episode

I dove into Shane’s world fast and hard. I binge watched every vlog, collab, and skit I could get my hands on! By the time I came up for air I had watched over four hours of Shane Dawson videos on YouTube. I wish I was lying. The next day after work I did the same thing and the next day and the next. I had a problem. Every video gave me a peek into his mind, his life, and his past. His early days of vlogging are what helped ignite his career and led him down a path he never though possible. His start is quite interesting and I think it helps paint a picture of who he is and his personality.

Shane used to weigh a lot. Like 300 pounds a lot. He started losing weight and also happened to work at Jenny Craig. One day he decided to vlog while at work and let’s just say Jenny ain’t like that at all! As a result, Shane and every employee in the video had their employment terminated at the weight loss center. This is the event that sort of lit the fire under his ass and started Shane on his journey to becoming a world famous YouTuber. To give you a taste of how big he is on YouTube, his parody video, “Fred Is Dead” has close to 24 million views. Since his Vlog incident, Shane has started three YouTube channels, has his own podcast, has been featured in television commercials, and has acted in films. More recently, he won a reality show called The Chair where he was able to direct his first full length film. to top it off, Shane has also become a New York Times Best-selling Author. Now I have that “All I do is win win win” song stuck in my head. Awesome. 

Shane Dawson and fellow YouTuber, Jenna Marbles on the cover of Variety Magazine, August 5, 2014 issue

Now that I have overloaded you with my obsession, let me tell you more!!!! Since I have seen his film a zillion times and have read his book cover to cover, I would love to give you a quick rundown of each… Let’s call it Krystal Lake’s biased reviews. Now, because it came first, I am going to talk about his film, Not Cool. Not Cool is Shane Dawson’s directorial debut. It was a part of a reality show called The Chair where two first time directors were given a script, a budget, and a city to make their movies. They had rules to follow which included not changing the names of the main characters, keeping it a holiday storyline, and sticking to the budget. Everything else was up to them. Re-writes, cast, crew, music… everything. What Shane brought to the table killed the competition and led him to winning this first season of The Chair. 

Still from The Chair. Shane Dawson with his competition, Anna Martemucci

Not Cool is a Thanksgiving film about a guy, Scott, who comes home from his first semester at college and is trying to deal with his own insecurities and the relationships he has. Or, as IMDb puts it, “A group of modern day Pittsburgh teenagers spend their Thanksgiving break experiencing a mixture of love, friendship, partying, and sex.” That description is why I love IMDb! Anyways, his first day home his girl friend breaks up with him, he finds out his Dad is selling the brick and mortar portion of his business, will be moving to another state, and gets hit my a car. I know, awesome! The person who hits Scott with their car is a girl he used to pick on in high school, Tori. They talk, argue a little, and eventually have sex in Tori’s car. #classicthanksgivingbreak They spend the next few days hanging out and Tori makes Scott a Fuck It List. Tori wants Scott to come out of his shell and loosen up so he knows that the end of high school wasn’t the end of his life. In the mean time, you have a nerd trying to hook up with his dream girl, crazy parties, insane parents, and lots of crude jokes. This script was originally written to be a drama/comedy and Shane kept some of the downer parts, but really turned this into something hilarious. This very quickly became my favorite holiday film and not just because I am a super fan. I have recommended it to numerous people and everyone of them has said they loved it. My mom loved it and has seen it several times. My goth friend thought it was well done. My friends older brother who is the Downton Abbey sort said it was hilarious and the best out of the two films made for The Chair. I think, if a film can make this many different people like it, Shane must have done something right. I won’t lie. This film is raunchy. It has a lot of dirty jokes, nudity, vomit, men playing female roles, and even a glory hole. It you don’t like this sort of humor, it probably isn’t for you. However, if you like those sorts of jokes, then I say give it a whirl! Just make sure the kids are asleep first.

Not Cool Movie Poster

After the movie came out, Shane released a book called “I Hate Myselfie”. This is an autobiography filled with several short stories of events in his life. Some are embarrassing, some are serious, some are even a little sad, but they will all make you laugh. He has a way of turning everything into a joke, typically self-loathing, but a joke none the less. It’s a defense mechanism, lots of people do it. He talks about his weight loss, his lesbian best friend from high school, first girl friends, meeting celebrities, and even bump ins he had working at Jenny Craig. One week after the book was released it made it onto the New York Times Best Seller list and has been on there for about 2 months now. If you don’t believe me when I say this book is a great read, just look at the numbers! 

Cover of I Hate Myselfie

I keep saying this book couldn’t have come out at a better time. The day it went on sale I bought it and was beyond thrilled to finally crack it open and get a better idea of who Shane is. This same day, my grandfather passed away. I was beyond wrecked. This is the first family member I grew up with that I had lost. I was crying everyday and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. That night, after all of the phone calls were made to tell everyone PopPop had passed away, I was drained. I needed a distraction. I thought about picking up Shane’s book, but I was worried I would read it and forever look at  this book and be reminded of pain and heartache. I didn’t want that, but I decided to start reading it. Despite everything that day had brought with it, I was literally laughing out loud and smiling. It gave me hope that this dark time in my life would pass. The things that were making me cry because they reminded me of my grandfather would soon make me smile. My friends and family were there for me, in a strange way, Shane was there for me too. Who would have thought that a book called “I Hate Myselfie” would be able to give someone so much hope during some of their darkest days. I don’t know that Shane Dawson will ever know how he has impacted my life, but if we ever cross paths he has a huge hug and a big thank you coming his way.

~ Krystal Lake