Originally published in the Brandeis University Justice
Feb. 14, 2012
“Hey man, I’m sober. Let’s go to Ollie’s.”
By now, this satirical quip has become ubiquitous on campus, thanks to Paul Gale ’12, Adam Lapetina ’12, Aaron Sadowsky ’13 and Joshua Seiden ’13. The four students released their first video through the website Brandeis Basement, titled “Shit Brandeis Students Don’t Say,” last Wednesday. The video, which follows the “Shit Some Group Says” meme format, quickly went viral. It has accumulated over 16,000 views by press time. For non-math majors, that’s five times the population of the student body.
“We were like, ‘We’re starting this website online,’ … and people could share it on social networks, and that would be the end of the day. Or we could do something that people would really want to share and would get our name out,” Gale said.
Campus Basement, Brandeis Basement’s parent site, is a platform for college students to broadcast humor relating to their individual schools. Seiden originally contacted the site to create the partnership. Now that their first video has proven to be such a success, a sequel is the first thing the guys are working on: The second “Shit Brandeis Students Don’t Say” project will be “a combination of both [new and previously shot footage], but mostly new things,” said Lapetina. Seiden added, “We made some allusions to the first video in the second video.”
Sadowsky said, “We established some really strong characters which we’re going to carry over to the second video.” The students cracked up as Gale mentioned perhaps the most-well known joke in the video, “J. Scott Van Der Meow.” This crack refers, of course, to Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid. Van Der Meid has apparently taken the joke in stride, even posing for a picture with the four video creators. “For the next video, we should just have a cat, … a cat studying abroad,” Gale offered.
The Brandeis Basement team is hoping to increase the number of campus celebrities in their next video, including University President Frederick Lawrence. “We’ll tone it down for him, … make it as tame as possible,” Lapetina joked. Though it’s unlikely that University policy makers will show up in the next video, “Shit Brandeis Students Don’t Say” has clearly made an impact on campus.
Many people, both students and professors, have complimented Gale, Lapetina, Sadowsky and Seidenon their work and encouraged them to create more content. “It’s been fun to have such a high response. It’s cool to see something that pretty much everybody at Brandeis liked, and that’s a unique thing,” Seiden said.
“Except for four people,” Gale interjected, referring to the four dislikes the video has gotten on YouTube.
“Yeah, well, those four people can fuck themselves,” Seiden teased in mock-anger.
All kidding aside, the video has had a real positive impact on its creators. Lapetina, who has not worked in front of the camera previously, remarked, “It’s been nice, because I’ve become a little more confident in my acting ability as a result of this. Working on [my] delivery and workshopping it, it’s been a really fun experience, and I’ve learned a lot. I think it will maybe lead into some other opportunities down the line.”
Students are already eagerly anticipating the new video, which, along with the creation of the Brandeis Memes Facebook page, has ushered in an surge of online student-created humor.
The memes page takes the popular picture-and-caption formats that have been on the internet for years—including Forever Alone, the Most Interesting Man in the World and Awkward Penguin— and alters them to apply to Brandeis life. One example is the page’s take on the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme, in which a picture of Ryan Gosling is covered by a cheesy pick-up line. The caption on the Brandeis picture reads “Hey girl, is your name Rabb Steps? Because you just took my breath away.”
The Memes page includes several GIFs from the “Shit” video.
As more and more humor goes from print to the web, and videos can go viral in a matter of hours, it will be fun to watch a group of Brandeis comedians gain a bit of cyber celebrity. Look out for the team’s second video, which will be posted after February break.