Just so we’re clear, Maddox was, is and will always be better than you. That’s the reason why his website, which he’s been running since 1997, is called “The Best Page In The Universe.” Long before the current glut of humorous Tumblr blogs, his satirical musings on everything that pisses him off and his hilarious evisceration of people’s hate mail have made his web pages some of the most viewed on the Internet.
Even though his website/blog brings back memories of the days when html was really simple, he’s not changing it one bit because he not only wants to save bandwidth costs, but also because he’s protesting websites that have awesome graphics but little substantial content. Although he’s still giving his two cents on a primitive-looking website, Maddox is slowly focusing his empire on social media sites like Facebook, where he commands a healthy following and has a web series aptly titled “The Best Show In The Universe.”
We caught up with the King of the Internet recently to get his thoughts on his slow approach to social media, hate mail, Ray William Johnson and why he’s way better than your children in pretty much everything.
What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?
Maddox: Probably about 36 hours. That was pretty common for a while. I was pretty notorious for my long stretches where I would sleep very little if at all. I hate sleeping. I absolutely hate it. I don’t go to sleep; I fall asleep. I’ll stay up until I can’t stay up anymore. I’ve woken up to 200 pages of the letter L because I fell asleep on my keyboard. I’ve ruined projects, I’ve ruined shirts, I’ve fallen asleep on the ground a lot. I hate sleeping. A waste of time.
Always a hard worker, huh?
Yeah, if I could just stay up all the fucking time I would, and I’ve experimented with everything. That’s actually why I drink a lot of Tabasco.
What are the kind of foods that go well with Tabasco?
Pretty much everything. I used to joke around with my friends that I would drink Tabasco, and then when I was driving home late at night from my old job I would find that I was so tired that I was nodding off at the steering wheel, and I experimented with everything a guy could possibly think of, from eating food to playing loud music to rolling down the window, and none of it worked. And I thought about it and thought the only time I am ever not asleep is when my mouth is on fire, so I kept a little bottle of Tabasco with me in the car, and whenever I felt tired I would just chug a little bit, and it fucking worked, because not only do you have the heat, you have the vinegar. But the problem is over the course of even a week or two I became used to the Tabasco, so it no longer worked on me. I can just drink Tabasco now like it’s nothing. So you either have to go to hotter stuff which is — you just become miserable at some point.
Since you are a food connoisseur, you did a post recently about the seven most overrated sandwiches. What are some sandwiches you would recommend?
Most pastrami sandwiches. Pastrami is a great meat except at Jewish delis. I don’t know why they fucking go bonkers with the shit. It’s just they bring out two pieces of bread and a baseball’s worth of — maybe a small Nerf football worth of pastrami — and I don’t know, it’s not even a sandwich anymore. It’s just a big pile of meat, which sounds like a complaint, and it is, because I want to eat a sandwich when I order a sandwich. I don’t know what to do with all that. I guess a Cuban.
Could you walk us through one of your typical days?
Wake up, take a shit, flush, flush again. Two-flusher usually [laughs]. Man, all I ever do is read email, and I can’t catch up. Then I do stupid things and then do research for articles for a few hours, take a lunch break, ride my bike somewhere, come home, make coffee, write some more — pretty boring stuff. It’s pretty much the life of a writer, and then sometimes at night I go out and do improv at improv theatres.
Where can we see you do improv?
Do people typically know who you are? Do you just go as George?
No. In fact, most my fellow performers didn’t even know. I like to keep that stuff separate, because I like to go there and not have to do a shtick. I want to do improv and see how that goes, as it’s own separate thing which is pretty fun. I used to do shows pretty regularly for about a year, but now just once a month.
What is your main gig in L.A. right now?
Just writing. My last book came out in November — “I Am Better Than Your Kids” — and I’m kind of deciding what my next big project is, but until then I’m updating my website. I’m pretty much back to regular updating.
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In “I Am Better Than Your Kids,” you went on a tangent about this Tomek guy …
Yeah, did you guys see that hate mail? Yeah, he wasn’t expecting that. I almost felt bad at the end because I have never gone this thorough in hate mail. Well, I have, but not in a while. Actually, I still save the really good hate mail, and I’m saving it for videos I am going to do down the line. I have tons of hate mail I need to take apart, but this guy was just such a prick about it; he was so arrogant. He’s a 17-year-old kid, and I didn’t even realize till I was writing my rebuttal to him, but I’ve been writing for 17 years longer than he’s been alive. My email address is older than him. Literally, so he’s sitting here and giving me notes, and I can take criticism — I take criticism all the fucking time — that’s all that comes into my inbox is criticism, but if it’s somebody who’s just not qualified in any sense of the word, I mean, he didn’t even qualify his opinions. If you want to tell me what is funny, great. Maybe your opinion is valid, but the only way it would be valid is if you had a similar sense of humor. Then you’re qualified. You wouldn’t go to Roger Ebert and ask him what his opinion is of a “Saw” movie, because he doesn’t like it. You would go to someone a fan of horror movies and say, “What do you think of ‘Saw’?” Right? So this guy I found out is not a fan of this kind of humor at all.
In your FAQ, you said the vast majority of your mail is from fans who love your stuff, and you seem to criticize them for their poor spelling. Are the haters better spellers?
No, they’re both dumb; they’re both idiots. I used to listen to the Tom Leykis Show here in L.A. When I was 16, I listened to Tom all the time, and he was awesome. And then I kind of stopped listening for a while, and then when I came back to it it was this Leykis 101 shtick which is justlike “dump that bitch” and “here’s how you get women” and that sort of thing, and something changed with Tom Leykis — he stopped criticizing his fans. You’ve gotta criticize your fans too, because I’ve got idiot haters, and I’ve got idiot fans, so the second you start believing your fans, the second you start listening to them is the second you start to buy your own bullshit. You can’t just listen. Yeah, people give me criticism all the time, but they also give me praise. But if the praise isn’t qualified, I’m not going to listen to it just like I’m not going to listen to the hate mail that’s not qualified. I’m not biased with that shit. I take the good and the bad.
A lot of people say that they feel like they have to cater to their fans and their bullshit, so it’s actually pretty interesting to meet someone who is like, “I’m my own person. I don’t need your views.”
Yeah, it is very liberating to not make money from the website — not directly anyway — because it lets you not give a fuck, and you post whatever you want. And sometimes I’ll be writing a post, and I’ll tell my friends, “I don’t know, man. I think my friends will hate this.” And I sit there debating for a few minutes, and I’m like, “Fuck it. Boom, posted. I don’t give a shit. Let the hate mail come in, let them unfriend me, let them unfollow me, I don’t give a shit.” What am I gaining by having fans to my website, because I don’t have ads so it’s costing me money to serve you content. I’m doing you a favor.
You’re notorious for that. Just buy stuff from your website, right?
You monetized your YouTube channel though.
Kind of experimenting with it, because again, a lot of my fans — the smart ones, anyway — have ad blockers. I didn’t even know there were ads on YouTube. I didn’t even know till I sat down with this guy who wanted to partner with me on YouTube, and he was like, “We can put ads on there,” and he told me how to enable them, and I still didn’t see them, and I realized my Ad Block Plus was running and it was blocking everything. And I didn’t realize how bad YouTube had gotten with the ads, and I was also surprised that people weren’t complaining about them. I would expect people to be up in arms about the ads on YouTube, so if you guys aren’t going to complain about it then I don’t give a shit. If you don’t give a shit, I don’t give a shit. With the YouTube ads, since it’s something that is completely separate from my videos, I don’t talk to the advertiser. I know how to make more money if I want to, which is to censor myself, but I’ll never do that because I don’t care, and I never see those ads, and I never talk to the advertiser. Whether I’m making money or not, I’m still producing videos.