John Elerick and his buddies have been flying under the radar for far too long. Crafting incisive rants against “the machine” and making two of the shortest feature films out there, they’ve racked up a steady following on the YouTube playground. Their latest offering, a skewering of the iPhone 5 and Apple’s jaunty Gap-like ad campaigns, is worth a damn good chuckle.
I sat down with John (in the metaphysical sense only) to discuss Apple, Tosh and space aliens. The following is a transcript of our discussion; read it, like it and then follow John on YouTube (I did).
You’ve been doing your “Banned” Apple product commercials for a couple years now — what’s your beef with Apple?
no beef with apple. they are an innovative company that design great products that people love… they just lay it on a little too thick when it comes to marketing those products. i’ve never heard so many adjectives in a 5 minute video.
You seem to work with a core group of guys. Can I get their names, for “the record?” And do you have an official group moniker?
i think it’s important to surround yourself with talented people that way you can feed off of each other. for me, those talents are travon free, roger roth, will stephens. no group moniker. this whole thing started accidentally and i think it’s important to not take yourself too seriously. somewhere on my channel it says “laugh you dumb son of a bitch…” i forget how to change it, so i guess i’ll go with that.
What has been the reaction to your videos from the public? Have you heard anything from Apple?
i’ve never heard from apple, although in the beginning i’d always email steve just to see if he’d respond. he never did. i’ve never tried tim cook. i’ll do it after this interview and let you know if i hear back.
I find it interesting that in your “Gentlemen’s Rant” series, in the one on “Starbucks” you complain that the name “John” is easy to spell “J-O-H-N.” Then, in your iPhone 4 ad we see your name is spelled “Jonny Five.” In the iPhone 5 ad, it is then Jony. I guess what I’m asking is, the name John is easy, but is the name Johnny difficult? Or were you intentionally shortening it as a measure of solidarity with the lightened and thinner iPhone 5?
ha. again, all of that happened by accident. when we did the first banned promo, i slightly altered all of the apple execs names and titles from the originals and the joke just sort of stuck. but let’s be honest, john, j-o-h-n, has a certain charm to it.
“Jony Five” is funny. Did you watch a lot of “Short Circuit” growing up?
i did watch short circuit growing up. steve guttenberg needs more work these days. solid actor.
You guys are no stranger to going viral having had over a million views on a couple videos. Any plans to do this professionally?
well… if you could get me a meeting, i’d gladly give you a #FF this friday.
I had to watch a bullshit “Subway” ad before I could watch your “Short Film.” Are you guys seeing any of that sweet Subway moola?
let’s just say we haven’t been able to quit our day jobs.
You’ve got the series, “Gentlemen’s Rant” in which you complain about a myriad of topics from sex to Halloween (and even sex on Halloween). At the end of your short film, “Short Film” you say, ” Special Thanks To: Nobody You Can All Go Fuck Yourselves and You Can All Go Suck It.” Is there anything you do like?
the gentlemen’s rant represents all of the things you wish you could say in those moments where you know you can’t. if i fire back at a screaming child on a plane, i’m an asshole. if i voice the opinion of the people in a youtube video… i’m still an asshole, but at least you can relate and laugh about it. i’m like the worst comic book superhero, the ROM of youtube. but in all seriousness, i’m like every other guy on the planet. i like porn.
I didn’t get to do this interview in person because you were at work. What kind of work do you do?
i’m an editor in television. i work on tosh.0.
Has anyone told you that in your “Sorry, It’s Over (Male Perspective)” video you look like Anakin Skywalker, circa Hayden Christensen?
nobody has ever told me that. my mom told me that i looked homeless and can’t grow a proper beard.
According to your iPhone 5 ad, your sole black employee is Senior Vice President in charge of a division entitled, “Black Apple Employees.” What does that division contribute to the iPhone?
their sole responsibility is to make sure that the white iphone 5, and every future generation, comes out on time.
I’ve enjoyed surfing your videos, but what are some of your favorite videos/channels that aren’t yours?
i’m a big fan of kassem g, epic meal time, college humor and the good neighbor guys. but there are tons of talented people on youtube that i really respect, jenna marbles, nathan barnatt… ray william johnson. i think “corporate song and dance” is the greatest youtube sketch ever made. roger just started a new channel, TheImprovNetwork, that i’m pretty excited about.
What are you going to do video-wise until the next iPhone comes out?
well the gentlemen’s rant keeps me pretty busy. i’m trying to venture into more sketches. i had a lot of fun doing the sex sketch.
You’ve been captured by aliens– they present you with two folded scraps of paper, one reading “you live,” the other reading, “you die.” Earlier though, you overheard your guards talking and they said that both scraps of paper read, “you die.” Held at laserpoint (also assume the laser isn’t one of those weak-ass ones that dumbasses point at the screen in movie theaters), you have to pick one of the scraps. What do you do?
simple, i say: “john elerick doesn’t negotiate with terrorists (even alien terrorist). then i think of the most insulting thing i can think of at the moment and pray that they understand english. and then piss my pants and say i had too much green tea that morning.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Ooh, the correct answer is that you eat one of the scraps and say, “I’ve made my choice, now lets see which one’s left.” Impressed with your craftiness, they set you free.)
p.s. and sorry for the spelling errors and lack of capitalization… i’ve never been a big fan.
(EDITOR’S OTHER NOTE: No worries, John. [raises fist] Fight the power.)