Huff Post Live reminds me of when I was 22. I lived in Tucson, AZ. There was this public access station out there where basically these people would make variety shows and news hours and such. It was like watching a million versions of Wayne’s World with a telephone number plastered at the bottom of the screen like a telethon. One day, my roommate Craig and I got bored and started prank calling that phone number (Crank Yankers was popular at the time). From that point it became a video game to see who could talk the people on screen into doing or saying the craziest thing.
We realized we could aggravate the hell out of these people, but it was only cool as long as their audience loved us. You can get away with pretty much whatever you want if you make your numbers in this world. We’d call into the “Juggalo Hour” with these clown faced gangstas using a Ken Kaniff voice. There was a couple of Gangsta kids and Death Metal kids, and some guy who thought he was MacGyver. It was a fun time of my life.
What struck me about Huff Post Live that keeps drawing me in is that unlike MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, or Comedy Central, I could actually interact with the people in the TV. I was always the kid in school who sat in the back half paying attention, but always muttering smart remarks under my breath. When I saw a chat going on during a segment, I couldn’t help but type the occasional smart remark as I had it on the background…
…Then Alyona Minkovski popped my HPL S/O cherry by reading my comment and saying my name…and I was intrigued by the possibilities, so I did my homework. HPL has become my Siri. I’m pretty much only using it and dealing with the annoyances (seriously…move the Conversation Driver anywhere away from the chat frame) because I know what it can be. I know what I want it to be. I know they’re listening to me, and to all of us.
As much as I’ve loved HPL thus far, I still recognize it as Public Access so I do what I can to make someone crack a smile during a serious moment. I want to see what it takes to catch each personality’s attention. I test these people’s boundaries or time for laughs. I’m enjoying this show. Even the few times I’ve participated in a show, I’ve managed to develop a bit of a character. I’m excited to see where the project leads. My personal best in on Tucson’s Public Access station was to get a guy to stand up on command 5 times in one phone call. He was pissed by the end.
For now I just keep trying to make each “Anchorman” or “Anchorwoman” say my name…
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance consultant, and troll. He’s a frequent contributor to The Street, Cannabis Now, and Fast Company, Huffington Post, Mainstreet, Lifehack, and HardcoreDroid.