Right around the same time that Pope Francis was chosen as the new head of the Roman Catholic Church, Daniel Sulzbach of the YouTube channel Mr. Repzion posted a video delicately titled “Fuck The New Pope Francis.” The Pope was subject to Sulzbach’s criticism due to his outspoken anti-gay agenda. Saying “Fuck the Pope” moments after he is elected is a bold move and something totally in tune with the Mr. Repzion YouTube channel.
But it’s not all barbed criticism over at Sulzbach’s channel; the YouTuber also taps into the secret, or not-so-secret, geek in all of us with gameplay videos and a terrifically shame-free “Harlem Shake” video done entirely in a Deadpool costume.
It’s this mix of social consciousness and pure unadulterated acceptance of oneself that has put Sulzbach on the map as a rapidly rising YouTuber and had him picked to be a part of YouTube’s NextUp program. I wanted to find out if at the Mr. Repzion channel, Sulzbach ever felt nervous about tackling controversial topics or if he ever feared the bane of most vloggers’ existences — the dreaded troll. Read on to find out what he had to say.
On your channel Mr. Repzion, you tackle very controversial topics. Why take to YouTube to talk about these subjects? Why not blog or podcast?
Daniel Sulzbach: Because no one else does. If they do, it is usually vague because they don’t want to be “too controversial” or stimulate discussion. So much of YouTube is centered around entertainment and not about education, rational thinking and learning. While I do take the entertainment route on my channel from time to time, I like to focus on real world issues that we face day to day. YouTube is expanding and growing, and I personally feel it is one of the best places to communicate one’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas. Just recently YouTube hit over 1 billion users, and I think it is just getting started. To me, being able to connect with my audience is the most important, and running a radio show, blog, or podcast just can’t offer the interpersonal communication that YouTube can. They can hear me, see me, but most of all, relate to me more personally by the topics I discuss through my YouTube Channel — it is almost as if they’re sitting down and talking with me.
There is this idea on YouTube that you can’t be too controversial or else you’ll get trolled endlessly. Obviously this isn’t stopping you, but was that ever a concern for you?
The moment you believe you’re “too controversial” is the moment you sacrifice the ability to expand, help, and educate people on issues that need to be addressed in our day to day lives. In my opinion, subjects such as gay marriage, equality, abortion, rape, religion, and other such topics are lacking in the YouTube community. Trolls will be trolls regardless of what you you talk about. You can be the most humble and kind person on YouTube, but there will always be people who will troll your channel or write pretentious hate comments . It is part of the internet. I, personally, think trolls are great entertainment material and have used them many times in my videos where they send me ridiculous email. I simply take what they say and turn it into an awesome dramatic reading, something my subscribers and viewers love.
You were part of this year’s NextUp program. What were your collaboration ideas? Were other YouTubers comfortable working with your channel, which is often so vocal about controversial subjects?
I was absolutely shocked when I was selected for YouTube NextUp — it has been an interesting experience so far. The majority of people here involved with NextUp make skits, vlogs, reviews, or comedy sketches, while my channel is the only one heavily centered around religion and other controversial topics. It has somewhat forced me to get out of my “serious” mindset of content creation, and it feels great to try something a little different. My first week at NextUp I took the time to get to know my roommate, who just happened to be religious! I instantly jumped on the opportunity and asked him if he would be interested in a interview for my channel regarding Christianity. I wrote out some controversial questions that would pertain to his religious beliefs and we went from there. Currently right now I am in my second week at NextUp and will be doing another simliar interview with two same-sex couples.