If you squint, or maybe you’re three beers deep, it’s the metaverse. There are pretentious maniacs who preach that the body is the past, the future is a digital recreation where we all exist through corny avatars.
“I’m talking about a place that’s do not a website,” says our protagonist. “This is NOT a website. It is a different reality. It’s a whole new world.”
But this isn’t a promo for Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, it’s a lopsided video of the most deranged comedian out there, Conner O’Malley. It’s a hilarious short, in the sense that you have to be online, but it’s also weirdly prescient. O’Malley dropped this Youtube video/short film/art projectentitled endorphin portalmost four months before the big rebrand from Facebook to Meta in October 2021.
Water is best served at room temperature, not ice cold. Not me.
So it’s not, you know, in fact like a Meta promo. O’Malley’s character, donning an ill-fitting costume and tearing up cigarettes, goes on bizarre pseudosexual rants about this new reality.
“No one will be judged if they have a pussy, breasts or an ass: everyone will create their own avatar”, shouts the character, crossing a very real construction site, jackhammers rumbling. “There will be no excuses! It’s up to you to do what you want to do. A real one. Fuck. Heaven. You want to be Gollum, six feet tall, jerked off with a fucking huge cock and an ass like the mother of Incredible? Go a fucking early, mate.”
It’s an offbeat combo of parodying modern life, anti-capitalist, anti-tech and it’s something only O’Malley could do…and why am I trying to explain this? Here, just look at this.
But here’s the weirdest thing: This video, as psychotic as it is, might be the metaverse’s best possible send-off. And that hints at a bigger trend when it comes to O’Malley. His sensibilities and comedy portray the internet and its culture better than any comedian or, really, most people with an internet connection.
In endorphin portfor example, he sends out both the Tech Visionaries (eye roll) who promise a virtual world and online chuds who might call themselves “epic mind soldiers” as they blindly defend billionaires (cough, cough, Elon Musk, cough). Sneaking beneath the surface of the short is the sadness of O’Malley, uneasy in his body, chain-smoking and imagining the future of gaming. That’s the message O’Malley continues to send in his videos. The future is online. It’s strangers with undeserved confidence, misinformed idiots, and rich dudes overseeing everything — and it’s really fucking sad and lonely and deeply hilarious in a nihilistic sense.
Yes, almost certainly, I read too much in Conner O’Malley’s YouTube videos. But I’m too online, what can you expect? I’m sad and I laugh about it too.
It’s strange to see O’Malley acting, well, anything resembling normal. It happens, however. If you are not very familiar with his work, you might recognize it from the movie Palm Springs, or at Hulu Acute, Where Late Night with Seth Myers, where he played semi-normal characters. So yes, while it is weird internet’s favorite comedian he was also in vast city, I think you should leave, and wrote for all kinds of surprising shows to like Late at night, HBO How with John Wilson, and Joe Pera talks with you. Plus, not for nothing, he’s married to SNL’s Aidy Bryant.
But if you know O’Malley well, then you know him as the guy playing bonkers characters detached from anything resembling reason. And I’m not talking sitcom-weird — like the way TV characters have their goofy dials turned to 11. A Conner O’Malley character has no place in any functioning society. That’s the point. Our society does not work.
The best comment on endorphin port explains it very well. I think about this comment all the time.
“Somehow every time one of these videos comes out I’m extremely hungover and generally hurt and it makes my connection to reality very strained.”
The characters that O’Malley creates, then inhabits, are the Internet incarnate. They are overreaching, belching bravado, comically uninformed and confident in this misinformation. And they are often ahead of the evolution of the Internet, and therefore of the world. For example, remember all Reddit crashes the stock market, GameStop, Dogecoin? O’Malley kind of predicted it.
In July 2020, O’Malley posted a video of a cop-loving maniac riding a bike and screaming, professing his love for Bill de Blasio, then much maligned New York City mayor. It has the hallmarks of an O’Malley classic: filmed in real, dangerous conditions (on bikes, in traffic), screaming and blatantly blatant sexual references. The character is dressed like no human would ever do: a tight, tucked-in polo shirt, a backpack, and, oddly enough, a New York Stock Exchange hat.
Biking through town, camera on a selfie stick, the character praises Blasio before that throwaway line.
“I want to tell you this right now: NASDAQ is my favorite video game and I win it,” the character says. It was months before the online world messed with the financial system.
Of course, the next line from O’Malley was, “Bill, I’ve been so excited because of COVID, you gotta send some cops to my house with a Fleshlight and just draaaaaain I’m going explooood” – but my point is valid.
Or there’s O’Malley, showing the direction the online culture wars are taking, stir up anger as a man on the street, Infowars– a guy pissed off about Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime performance in 2016. Or he shows how the 4chan guys are convinced they’re special ops, playing a guy “protecting” his local mall in Illinois of ISIS, while professing his undying love for brands. Or his Trump love character Mark Seevers, who has absolutely no grip on reality, promote his god-king before the elections.
“Everyone in this town is a fucking idiot and I’m the only one who’s smart,” Seevers said, about seven months before the 2016 election, predicting the kind of refrain the nation would hear from Trump fans during four years.
O’Malley parodies the type of people who run the internet. Of course, that includes poking fun at tech leaders and politicians, but it also means slipping under the skin of online pariahs who really move it all forward. People poisoned by forums, overconfident YouTube videos, aggressive white supremacists, angry evangelicals who only post about God.
Dude must live online because he gets it. i mean he gets this. One of his latest series is to parody the “heartwarming” stories that are often dark as hell – as this town came together to get this person’s cancer treatment, even if it’s messed up, they even have to pay for this type of health care. O’Malley tells these stories from a fake site called “Damn 4 Real” which is a parody on Now This, an early social video that made a name for itself with these kinds of stories.
I could bend your ear with a thousand words that O’Malley is an internet oracle. I mean, the guy literally predicted conservatives get excited for green M&Ms. But that’s not the point, not really. If O’Malley gets the internet – and I think he’s been proven to do so – then we’re in trouble.
These types of the internet that he inhabits, they’re unbalanced, radically stupid, and complex in the things that they support. They’re oblivious to the outside world, walking down the highway, swimming in the East River, or wading through a porn convention. They are obsessed with sex and clearly have none. Of course, he merges Internet Guys, but these Internet Guys are often merged. The bad grammar, the digital future, the brand obsessive, the love of Marvel and the study of the Blade Guy is real – and Conner O’Malley is here to poke fun at it.
Online life and offline life are not separate and haven’t been for years. And if O’Malley’s gonzo, grotesque vision for our world is 1% accurate, that’s a chilling prospect.
His videos are disturbingly funny, but the world he creates is total fucking chaos. There is no way to predict them. But the people there are rooted in sadness. Lonely characters who are raging, angry, and addicted to an attention and content-based economy that tricks everyone into thinking they’re at the center of everything – or should be.
Ultimately, O’Malley’s characters are isolated and obsessed and broadcast to the world through it all. And, well, shit… he really predicts the future, doesn’t he?