McMillan’s Codex #16 By C.T. McMillan
On the Pill
The day Let’s Players are considered comedians is the day I lose what remains of my faith in humanity. I understand the appeal of people like PewDiePie or Markiplier, but a video of someone screaming like a toddler having a tantrum is not funny unless you are an idiot. Since Jackass, reactionary comedy has been the basis for a growing paradigm where a person’s reaction is enough to make people laugh. The difference here is that when Johnny Knoxville runs from a stampede of bulls, we laugh at the shock of someone doing something outrageous and subsequent pain he endures. There is craft behind his actions and effort to be as crazy as possible in the creativity of the stunt.
With PewDiePie, all he does is sit in front of his computer, plays a scary game, and screams. It is lazy comedy and the only reason people like it is because they do not posses the intellect to see how boring it is. Like anything on the Internet, some people do this comedy better than most and BroTeamPill is that minority.
Describing BroTeam’s comedy requires a brief summary of his Character persona as it complements the man himself.
The first videos were basically game reviews, most of them recent, but also obscure. The Character is a parody of the hardcore gamer, someone who takes everything seriously to the point of explosive anger. Runtimes average about two minutes of nigh incomprehensible shouting of offensive rhetoric, shocking subject matter, references, and some singing. To make a video, BroTeam plays a game and recuts the footage with his commentary as the Character. A lot of what is used includes video of glitches, bad animation, voice acting, or whatever he can use to make it funny or offensive.
The Character often takes pleasure in games about war or ones that allow him to kill people. His Syndicate video is rife with sexual innuendo with the game’s theme of cyborgs and mass murder of civilians. In Hitman: Absolution, a game that rewards you for precision, he went on several shooting sprees while speaking like a preacher freeing people from their flesh. His most outlandish video was Medal of Honor: Warfighter where he played a soldier obsessed with America that took sexual gratification from murder.
At times he will make up his own narrative and reinterpret games in his own twisted fashion. In Call of Cthulhu, he made the protagonist a liberal arts student who cuts himself, does drugs, and killss the residents of Innsmouth. Playing a bounty hunter in The Old Republic, he made the character a prostitute willing to solicit any money he can from anyone available. He also took Metro: Last Light and pretended he was a Production Assistant behind the scenes of a movie.
The basis of the Character is a style of comedy I have identified as ironic nihilism. The man, who now posts stream highlight videos, is very much opposite the Character. He does not care about games or what happens in them. Shooters are jokes to him as he causally runs through levels with abandon, disregarding the story, characters, and everything that people find meaning in. He also does not bother with social issues in gaming. Gamergate and women in games are punch lines, yet he claims no side of the argument. He operates on a level beyond any defining classification because he knows better than anyone that videogames, when compared to the real world, do not matter in the slightest.
It is this lack of recognition for the medium that allows BroTeam to work the way he does. He is free of conventional belief and standards many abide by. Thus, he is able to enjoy games in an ironic fashion because if he does not care about them, he can find the fun in even the worst titles. That is why he can play a broken mess like Raven’s Cry and laugh to the point of asphyxiation. The game Life is Strange is famous for its LGBT characters and BroTeam made a drinking game out of its dialog on three separate occasions. It is similar in many ways to people whom like The Room or Troll 2 because they are funny bad, yet he sees the good and bad in things utterly devoid of either.
The best comedians draw from their own misery for material. Steven Wright uses manic depression for his personality on stage. Louie C.K. and Larry David adapt their frustration with society and the minutia of life and family. BroTeam’s misery is well documented in many videos where he described his medical history in vivid detail. Playing Final Fantasy VII, he lamented the time he used to enjoyed games and reflected on the expectations of becoming an adult and finding out it is not at all what he thought. Alcoholism and insomnia further exacerbate his misery as he drinks to excess and stays up all night editing or playing games. And in those restless, drunken fits he will talk about all manner of things like bad writing, his living situation, and random things that do not make sense.
George Carlin is one of my most favorite comedians. He challenged the status quo and used it as a platform to make you question the world. I have yet to find a contemporary comedian that matches his style and my hopes are not high. In the realm of YouTube and videogames, comparing jabbering of man-children to a genius like that is a sign we have truly regressed into insanity. But out of this capitulation, BroTeamPill has shown a gamer personality can have meaning and actually put effort into their work. If only more people understood him like I do.