I’m going in a month to Japan. Are there any phrases I should specifically know?
“Toire wa doko desu ka?”, that means where’s the bathroom? You can also say, “Toire wa, doko?” which means like, “Where’s the shitter?” so those are really important.
Okay, those two are important. So your official first “My Drunk Kitchen” post was March 2011, so it’s only been less than two years since you posted it. To date that video has over 2 million views — were you expecting that level of success for that first video?
You won big at the Streamys. It was a fun little event.
Aside from “Burning Love” winning so much, I was really happy with the results.
It was weird ‘cause they did the whole I’m a creator thing — it was about being a creator, right? “Halo” wins everything. How’s someone who is making something in their house with a webcam going to win versus a $10 million production written by Hollywood screenwriters?
And that’s the thing, that’s the weird — it’s like I’m very happy with the Streamys, and I’m very happy with what they represent. I’m not happy with, I guess, kind of a change in value that might occur because of something like that. Like, “Oh cool, Hollywood’s gonna tip its hat to YouTube now.” Well that means Hollywood’s gonna try and be like — not tip its hat to YouTube — Hollywood’s gonna be like, “I’m on YouTube too now! Do you see what I do? Me!” But I mean, I won, and my friend Grace [Helbig] won, and she works so hard, and I’m really happy with it. It was like a weird mix mash, but it was great, and it was amazing.
Was there kind of a watershed moment for “My Drunk Kitchen” in your YouTube channel where you were like, “I know this is it. This is going to be my current career”?
Can I call that now? Like I think that this whole experience is a watershed moment because I try not to over-anticipate, so for me even to say this is gonna be it, this is my career for the rest of my life, I have no idea what’s coming. I don’t know what is gonna be thrown at me. For now, right now, I could not be happier doing anything else. I know that.
That’s excellent. So I watched the poutine episode last night — I was just in Montreal.
Oh cool! How did you like the poutine?
There is no way people like that dish.
No! Have you had it?
It was so insane. I literally had two bites, and I was gonna die.
Were you drunk?
Well, that’s why you didn’t like it. Duh?
I had to be drunk?
Yeah, hello! Do you think people really like bacon-wrapped hot dogs that they get off the street?
It was the craziest thing I’ve ever tasted.
No, but poutine is really good when you’re drunk. It’s literally everything you could ever want: it’s french fries, cheese curds and gravy. Just thinking about it now makes me kind of grossed out to be honest [laughs].
Is there anything that you’ve ever maybe wanted to cook or wanted to have on the show but either haven’t gotten around to or is maybe too extravagant or too hard to do?
Sushi, sushi, yo. I really, really, really want to do sushi, but I’m kind of holding out to be in Japan when I do the sushi episode, which I don’t know if that’s unrealistic or not, but I really want to do a sushi one. I want it to be all in Japanese, have the subtitles go awry. Do want!
That’d be cool. You have a really, really passionate fanbase — you guys all share a really deep and personal connection. As someone who has that kind of influence and that kind of fanbase, is it ever nerve-racking to give these people advice? People are coming to you with maybe life-altering advice, and now it’s up to you.
Yeah. I feel very responsible for them. It’s kind of amazing because they’re forcing me to be a better, more honest, more whole person. Actually went and started seeing a therapist after this all started because I was getting suicide letters. I was getting, you know — of course there is the whole coming out, the homosexuality, sexuality in general issue, relationships with your parents, relationships with your careers, relationships with your wife and kids. People confess to me, and I love being that outlet, and I love being able to be this anonymous, loving stranger in a way. But yeah, I’ve started consulting an expert being like, “Okay, so I’ve got all these 14-year-olds who keep telling me they want to kill [themselves]. A.) How do I not hold myself responsible and accountable for their actions? B.) How do I convince them that it’s going to be okay?
It’s tough. I can’t imagine that kind of pressure. At any point do you want to be like, “Listen guys, I can’t help you in these kind of situations”?
You know, it’s never for a second occurred to me that I would say “I can’t help” or “No.” Basically, it’s like, let’s find a way, let’s figure it out. Like saying “I can’t help you” is saying “You can’t help yourself. People can’t help themselves.” Yes they can, and it’s going to be maybe a little longer, a little slower. It’s not like taking a pill; it’s not a fast process, but I do think that it’s worth it ultimately. Yeah, I love my little Hartosexuals. They just give me all the patience and all the faith in the world.
It’s a really fantastic community you have there. It’s these people who genuinely care, and they’ll check you and you’ll check them.
Oh, they totally check me, and they’re right, and I respond. I owe it to them to be honest, you know? Which is why I think that YouTube is just kind of a beautiful creator community. If you’re gonna be somebody like me or somebody like Grace, I’m not gonna lie to you guys, this is me. It’s not exactly perfect — I’m pretty messy all the time, pretty bad mood today, pretty great mood today, you know? And I think there is more value in that sincerity than just sheer professional entertainment.
Absolutely. You’ve branched out from “My Drunk Kitchen,” and you’re now doing an advice section, original music. You just mentioned that you’re writing some stuff, and now you have a book coming out?
I have a book coming out January 2014 tentatively. I have a call about that after this, and I also have the tour show, Hello, Harto!.