He is probably one of the most naturally, hilarious people on YouTube. We literally cannot get through one of his videos in its entirety without laughing our asses off. Maybe its because you wouldn’t expect him to be as funny or forthright by looking at him, but he continues to surprise us time after time. Whether he’s talking about his tattoos or bedazzling a vibrator, he is uniformly himself…undeniably. We love this guy. Not only has his podcast on iTunes made it to the #4 slot but he’s also had an internship at Allure magazine and had highly successful personal and collaboration channels on YouTube. His writing, which we hope to find layered between the pages of his book someday, is just as honest and amusing as his videos and podcast. Actually, his writing, found on his blog Cup of Joe, is so good it might qualify him to be the next David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs. If his answer to our first question doesn’t quench your thirst for all that he is, keep reading…Joseph Birdsong never ceases to amaze.
1. Describe yourself using 7 words and your age?
I’ll take another bottle of Boone’s Farm. And I’m 24.
2. How did you get started making YouTube videos?
I started college in 2006 and had no friends, so I started watching some vloggers. It all sounds pretty depressing, actually. I decided to start making my own videos in early 2007 and it kinda just took off from there.
3. Explain the difference between your personal YouTube videos and your participation in the collab channel “5awesomegays”?
5awesomegays was a channel I did with four other guys that was more about our friendship and interaction with each other. We usually had a theme each week or else caught up with what we were all doing in life.
My own channel is more of a free-for-all. I mostly do little comedy videos, but sometimes there are musical things or artsy things. This past week I rolled around in a pile of cardigans and sang a parody of Shakira’s “She Wolf.” I think that should sum things up pretty well.
4. What opportunities have come from your making YouTube videos?
I guess most people want to hear about the financial and job opportunities—and those have been great—but the most important opportunities I’ve found are the ones that include making great friends. Most of my best friends in life have been linked in some way with the work I’ve done online. There are so many exciting people out there. Without the online stuff, I never would’ve gotten to move to Philly or work in NY or travel all over the country. Right now I’m enjoying working with My Damn Channel for Answerly, which is an opportunity I don’t think I’d have had otherwise.
5. What advice would you give to a new YouTuber who wants to become a well-followed YouTuber?
Turn the other direction and run away as fast as you can. No, but really, I think that’s the problem now. Most people start now because they want to be well-followed and well-known. People use to want to be part of a community and find friends and express themselves through videos. Now that people have seen how it can be beneficial in other ways, everyone wants a piece of the action, and it’s just totally changed the dynamics of everything. It’s not all necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re really gonna go for it, find a nice brand of alcohol to keep you company along the way and start planning the funeral for your social life.
6. Tell us about your podcast and how it began.
The podcast started as a separate outlet to share the personal humor essays that I write about my life or daily observations. I didn’t really expect much to come from it, but I think it eventually peaked at #4 on the iTunes comedy chart and just became sort of its own monster. I don’t think I really ever intended for it to go on forever, so it ended after about twenty episodes or so. I’d like to include a lot of those short essays in a book someday, along with some other ones I never published.
7. Describe your experience having an internship at Allure magazine.
Working at Allure was terrifying and a lot of hard work, but I think an internship should be a lot of work. I steamed a dress for Taylor Swift once, but I never got to see her. And then one time I got to go on a photoshoot and worked for so long there was blood in my shoes that night. One time I got to photograph some male models in their underwear. That was a pretty awesome day, except it made me feel a little bit like a troll.
8. What are five things we wouldn’t know by looking at you?
I love reading manga, my favorite Pokemon is Staryu, my favorite color is purple, my favorite food is black olives, and I guess you wouldn’t be able to tell that I’m probably wearing granny panties.
9. Are you currently in a relationship? What are you attracted to in a partner?
I’m currently dating a couple people, but am not in a relationship. Gotta keep things spicy, you know?
I don’t think I really have a type of guy I’m always attracted to. Personality-wise, I prefer someone who doesn’t take himself seriously. Ever. Physically, I generally go for guys who are taller than me, but it’s the same with my friends, too. All of my best friends are taller than me, which isn’t that hard to do. I’m only 5’7”. And then, of course, I’m always on the lookout for a rich, older person who is about to peace out that I can marry. But hey, aren’t we all?
10. One of your projects is giving sex and relationship advice. What things are you most asked and do any of the questions surprise you?
Yes! I am the sex and relationships guru for My Damn Channel’s Answerly page. It’s probably my favorite thing to do.
Surprisingly, a lot of the questions are about long-distance relationships. I think there are a lot more of those going on these days now that we’re in the Age of the Online Dating. It’s really interesting to see. And then a lot of people want advice on coming out or sex tips.
Of course, some people just go all out and ask about S&M or bondage or anal beads. One guy wanted to know how to introduce bacon into the bedroom. Actually, they’re all (for the most part) pretty valid questions, and I’m glad people feel comfortable enough to ask me. It’s a good mix between serious and not-so-serious. It’s the best job in the world.
11. What is too serious to joke about? What is something too personal to talk about in a YouTube video?
I believe that nothing is off limits when it comes to jokes. I’m not a very serious person. Whenever I find myself getting a bit too serious, I step back and am like “You know, you’ll be dead someday.” And that just makes me laugh, which is a little morbid I guess.
There are definitely some things I wouldn’t joke about in videos or on my site, but it’s usually because I know people will take it wrong, and not because I don’t think it’s funny. I think we’d all be a lot happier if we just lightened up a bit. Live your life like you’re on a crazy reality show. Sing loudly with the windows down. Wear a few wigs and take on a few different personas. Scream your own name during sex. (I learned that last tip from Tumblr.) Mix it up a little!
12. What is your favorite hat? Cardigan? Object that is bedazzled? Favorite movie? Favorite book? Favorite band or musician?
Well, I just retired my favorite Pokemon cap and bought a new one. But that old one was with me for many years. When I pick my favorite cardigan, I feel like Angelina Jolie having to pick her favorite kid. I’d have to say just my oversized, heather grey cardigan from AA. As far as bedazzling goes, I’m really into these phone cases I’ve been bedazzling recently, but I also enjoy bedazzling sunglasses, wine bottles, shoes…and, of course, there’s my bedazzled ukulele, which is pretty damn glamourous. My favorite movies are The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Drop Dead Gorgeous, and I’ll read anything written by David Sedaris and Chelsea Handler. My favorite musicians are Robyn and Hilary Duff, and I’m currently really into One Direction, too. I just put up a poster of them in my closet. It’s out of control.
13. Who are your five favorite YouTubers? What is your all-time favorite video by someone else? What are your three favorite videos you have made?
My five favorite YouTubers are probably TheHill88, paperlilies, mememolly, communitychannel, and MelissaJenna. I say those because they were some of the first people I watched and I still love them, but I also currently watch a ton of different channels.
My favorite video is actually just some interviewer asking Britney Spears if she’s ever licked a battery. I swear it’s the best thing ever. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sk3eemlFQQ)
I generally hate all my own videos, but there are a few I’m a little proud of:
“Look Who’s Laughing Now” Definitely my favorite video I’ve ever made. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx8HuHXD9D4
“I’ll be your sea” This is a compilation video of vacation footage. It takes me back to some good times. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmhZBZlY1HQ
“The Cardigan Song” This is one of my most recent videos. I think it came together decently. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-TZCabINUs
14. What do you think are the three most important lgbt issues in our country today?
I think all of them are the most important. I think it’s an issue in itself that we have to refer to them as “issues” when it’s just basic human rights. The biggest issue is just treating everyone like a human.
15. If you could be invisible for an entire day, what would you do?
I actually just asked this question in a video and got some amazing responses. I think someone said they’d wait until Scarlett Johansson was in the shower and then flush her toilet. I’d probably do something like that except with Zac Efron. That way I’d get to see him in the shower and hear him scream, so everybody wins.
16. What does your family think of your videos and podcasts?
People actually ask me this a lot. I think they think my parents would disapprove of the things I say and some of the stories I tell, when actually they’re very proud of me. I’m sure my family doesn’t agree 100% with everything I do, but they understand why I do it. I try to be myself in videos so other people feel comfortable being themselves. I talk about sex and relationships because I feel like there are so many people who still think it’s such a taboo thing. I mean, I don’t think you should walk down the street shouting about how you just had sex, but I do think a lot of people grow up quite sexually repressed or sexually shamed, and that’s not good. Those are the people who grow up really confused about everything and end up having sex with goats or something. If I can save just one person from goat sex, then I’ll consider myself a success in life.
17. How often do you get noticed and what do people usually say?
I don’t get noticed too much now that I’m in Arkansas. When I was living in Philly or working in NYC, it happened every once in a while. And it only happens when I look my worst, like if I have a cold and boogers are everywhere. People usually say something like, “Oh! I watch your videos!” and then I stumble around awkwardly and turn red. But it’s fun!
18. Do you ever receive hate mail or comments and if so how do you respond?
Yes, and it’s quite fun sometimes. Occasionally, I read through them on the phone with my best friend. I try not to respond to them, but sometimes there will just be that one that really gets to you or you’re in a bad mood and just use it as an outlet to take out your frustrations. We’re all human and deserve to go a little crazy sometimes.
19. Where do you hope to be in five years?
Living in the English countryside and running a cat farm. Hopefully I’ll have a book out by then.
20. What are your three simple luxuries?
Playing the ukulele, obsessively replaying Tomb Raider games, and buying new cardigans.
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