One of the goals I set for myself when I decided to rebuild my personal website from scratch was to take a deep dive into my entire body of work so I could catalog in one convenient place everything I have ever done that's of any value. This website is to be my comprehensive portfolio and archive, after all, of everything I plan on doing in the future as well as everything I ever have done. In order to effectively do this, however, I needed to start from the very beginning. All oeuvres have to begin somewhere, so for better or for worst this is where mine began.
The first real creative venture of my life was the Reubnick Youtube channel. I uploaded my first video over sixteen years ago on Nov 18, 2006, about a week after Google bought Youtube, which makes "Reubnick" approximately as old as Youtube as we know it is. I was 12 years old.
While there is a lot I have done since 2006 that I am proud of, there's probably as much if not more that I am rather embarrassed about that I made along the way. I won't say I am ashamed of any of it, because I was an actual child when I started producing content. We all were children once and most of us made bad bullshit when we were. From doodles to paintings to comics to stories to poetry to home videos, I think most kids experiment with their creative side at least a little. Some stop and some never do.
The most germane and significantly marked difference between myself and those who are slightly older than me and everybody from before then is that I was on the bleeding edge of growing up entirely online. Up until those of us from the early 90s were born, everything dreamed up by particularly artsy and creative kids like myself was strictly contained in limited physical copies and remain relegated to dusty notebooks and photo albums in the attic and musty VHS tapes in basements throughout the world. This is not so of myself and other 90s kids. And to be sure, I was a 90s kid, not a 90s teen, which is a key difference. Due to modern technology of the internet age, every amateur home video I made from age 12 onward is still hosted on Youtube, which really, I dunno, lacks the patina of an old Kodak VHS tape with the vertical sleeve. I can find a video of myself with questionable tween clothing and a squeaky pre-pubescent voice and long greasy hair just as easily as I can find recaps of the most recent Brewers game. Thankfully, Youtube at least offers users the salvation of being able to unlist or privatize or delete videos, so the tools are there to regain control of one's online likeness to an extent. Facebook and Twitter are really the ones that get away from you at a certain point unless carefully curated the entire time, but that's for another post. It is, to be sure, a major downside of this era that having such readily available access to a proverbial megaphone like THE INTERNET when you are a child makes you sacrifice the option of ever having the effusive mystique of a Daniel Day-Lewis or a Bill Watterson or a Harper Lee or something. Each of them have carefully managed images and we have only seen what they have wanted us to see. Somebody like a Cormac McCarthy we know as one of the great American novelists, and that's mostly ALL we know about him. He is somebody who is distinguished and cool and elusive. So much as thinking of him requires imagination. Something you definitely won't find is a video of him doing the Harlem Shake in some annal of the internet. Of course, I know that becomining "terminally online" at such an early age was a choice of sorts. My parents could have prohibited it as well. But they didn't. There wasn't much oversight or moderation of that nature in the Glaser household, which has pros and cons that further reveal themselves as the years go by. It wasn't their fault, of course. My Dad is an eccentric German born in "the old country" in 1940 who still hardly knows what "the internet" even is, and my Mom was just happy I was doing something creative and having fun.
If, knowing what I know now, I could go back in time and voluntarily reduce my digital footprint to just about nothing, I would. But it's too late. And I know I could just delete every account I have and hope for the best, but it wouldn't be enough. That cat's out of the bag. Posting whatever stupid thought you have almost every day for nearly five thousand days straight just opens yourself up too much for things to get disseminated out of your control. You lose this option of control when you are too young to even realize it could have been an option someday when you're older. The best you can do is try to embrace it and reclaim it eventually. For this reason, I understand that all of me is on the internet, warts and all. I am not a secretive person and never have been. I am quite an open book. For somebody so worried about what people think about myself in person, for some reason I was never as reserved or inhibited online. My Reubnick videos reflect this and they also very effectively document my growth from a boy into a young adult, video by video. For that reason, in retrospect, I am still very grateful that Youtube came along when it did and that it still thrives. Ideally I would be about 5 years older, at which point I would have already been more mature and in college when Youtube came along so I might have really capitalized on a game-changing, once-in-a-generation form of new media like online video as individuals like Tim and Eric and Donald Glover and Bo Burnham did. They were well-positioned from the get-go and they pivoted this prowess into successful careers. I was just a biiiiiit too young, so my content was definitely not mature enough or of the caliber required to be "discovered" and to go to Hollywood, babbbbbby. Oh, who am I kidding. That's putting it very lightly.
As I will repeatedly emphasize too many times for the remainder of this post, my earliest videos were awful. Just terrible. It boggles my mind to contemplate how I even managed to achieve the small level of success that I did. A lot of it was good old fashioned kindness, I am sure. Maybe pity, I dunno. I was a googly-eyed little doof kid who really looked up to the "big" Youtubers at the time who actually knew what they were doing. To be fair, a lot of the time they would tip their hats to me or do a digital equivalent of Mean Joe Green saying "HEY KID" and throwing his jersey at me.
This strong sense of community on Youtube at its beginnings is what kept me so engrossed.
I was something of a sad and lonely child from grades 5-8. I was very confident and outgoing in the safe confines of my grade school, where I had wonderful teachers who encouraged me and and who tried to foster the potential they thought I had. Then in 5th grade I had a teacher who was very, for lack of a better word, emotionally abusive. I thought I wanted to be a cartoonist so I loved drawing cartoons, and I also liked to act and do skits and, even though this boggles my mind now, my school let me do stand-up comedy on a microphone a few times in the cafeteria during lunch which made me feel like hot shit. My 3rd grade teacher Mr. Kruse would sometimes play old episodes of SNL skits and Laurel and Hardy for us during lunch, and he taught me what comedy was, essentially. His writing assignments involved taking vocabulary words and writing them into skits and performing them in front of the class and it was the greatest thing in the whole world to me. Eventually he filmed our skits and lightly edited them into an episode of SNL featuring our class as the cast members and that's probably one of the most impactful things that ever happened during those formative years for me. I don't know what happened to Mr. Kruse but he remains one of the greatest people I ever knew. I stringently maintain that he is the reason I ended up in Chicago. He once mentioned Chris Farley and was flabbergasted that I didn't know who he was so he told me the story about how he was a goofy kid from Wisconsin like myself who went to Chicago and made people laugh and ended up on SNL. I remember thinking "okay, then that's what I am going to do too." That is my origin story. Anyway, I digress. I liked my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Yokers a lot too and that year was much of the same, but then 5th grade came along and my teacher that year shut everything down. She told me I wasn't good at cartoons and that I wasn't even funny and she prohibited the members of my class from laughing at me or else they would be punished. She would regularly take my cartoons and crumple them up and throw them in the trash and would make me sit in the hallway alone while the others did creative projects. It sounds like I am describing a Roald Dahl character but she really was like that. She had a vitriolic hatred of men, in particular, and she vehemently discouraged humor and laughter. She made me want to kill myself, and she effectively snuffed out the spark inside of me. She made me feel dark sensations in the deepest recesses of my soul that I was not familiar with. I recognize those emotions now as "clinical depression" but as a kid it hits different. So I became a sad and awkward kid. I stopped drawing cartoons altogether and struggled to make any friends. For three years none of my teachers would laugh at my jokes and I was constantly in and out of detention and I still honestly don't really know why. It's like they were just trying to smack the individuality out of me with a wooden bat. It was very strange and confusing to me. I wasn't a trouble maker. I did my best. I was just awkward and lonely at that point and being punished for it only made it worse. This is when I found Youtube. My approach was very much "Look at me! Look at me! Please validate my existence!" I tried to create a persona for Reubnick that was precisely what I wished Reuben was like. A real cool guy, you know? But that's not really possible at 12. Irrespective of that, however, I had unexpected success receiving the acknowledgment I was so desperate for. Even a comment reply from a Youtuber I liked that read "LOL" or something would put me on cloud nine. Eventually some heavy-hitter Youtubers at the time would really kind of give me the time of day, so to speak, even though they sure didn't need to. Nalts, bless his heart, put up with my grating comments on his WillVideoForFood blog every single time he'd post something. That a black hole didn't open up in the caverns of his soul as a result of cringe produced by each of my trying-way-too-hard-to-be-funny-and-quirky comments is remarkable enough in itself, but as of this writing I still consider him to be one of the closest things I have ever had to a "mentor" because not only did he not once express the annoyance or impatience he most certainly (and rightly) possessed, he also always encouraged me and gave me advice. It was like a baseball player telling an amputee "hey, keep it up, don't stop trying." He made me feel like part of the club, and it felt terrific. This kind of thing was not at all uncommon, either. I don't know what it was about early Youtube that brought about the better angels of our nature in a way that you just can't find these days. PeterCoffin, ZackScott, CharlesTrippy, and Nalts were all generous enough to let me be in some "collab" videos with them too, despite my presence almost certainly being detrimental to the overall quality. Even internationally beloved comedian/songwriter Bo Burnham somehow knew who I was when I met him after a concert in Milwaukee, or at least he did a very good and unnecessary job of pretending he did. This was probably just the overall result of my relentless "Look at me! Look at me!" efforts on Youtube. It should have earned me contempt, but instead they metaphorically pat me on the head and said "bless his heart." I recall one instance where I reviewed the "Top 100 Most Subscribed" and could say at least 75% were familiar with me or had at least interacted with me. And everybody(besides Renetto) was super nice, especially folks like CharlesTrippy and ShaneDawson and DaveDays and WhatTheBuckShow and Shaycarl. Good vibes all around. I think there was one Youtube gathering where I spoke on the phone with most of those guys which was such a big deal for me at the time and the kindness of which still isn't lost on me. I, myself, would have reservations about talking to a pimply weirdo kid from the internet on the phone, but those guys were not only nothing but kind to me but they even actively tried to build me up and make me feel like a hotshot. CharlesTrippy is why I started using Twitter, because he sent me an invite when it was still in beta. For a little bit there ShaneDawson and I used to direct our BlogTV viewers to one another's shows when ours was ending. Remember BlogTV, by the way? Yikes!
I wonder how many of these people even remember me now. Most probably forgot, which is what should have happened and which is what I prefer because I'd rather that version of myself be mostly deleted from everyone's memory to make space for who I am now. I didn't forget, though.
The Youtube I knew and came to age on is long gone and unidentifiable compared to the one we know today, and the original sense of community has all but completely evaporated and has been replaced with clickbait and shameless promotion and advertisement, but that's been a slow burn. I am even more grateful for Youtube because I still have access to everything I ever put out there but in such a way were I can carefully curate what people can still see while omitting entirely anything that makes me physically ill with discomfiture. Which is quite a bit. And make no mistake, even the ones that make the cut and that I will choose to highlight are tough watches. I will forge onward anyway, however, as I believe they provide fitting testaments as to how far I have grown as a creative and as a person in general since I started.
But still. These just ain't good.
The only comfort I can get is that by showcasing my work in this order we will, by default, go from the absolute ground floor worst shit I ever shat out and then from there it's all uphill as we work our way towards the present day.
Originally I was going to break this post into segments, but I decided instead that it would be better to just post one comprehensive retrospective of all notable videos I did during that five year period. I also didn't originally plan on reflecting so deeply on this and writing such an exhaustive and lengthy post. But as I watched more and more, I recalled more and more as well, so I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise (for myself at least) to just wax nostalgic and document every one of my thoughts. And when I am done, here all these recollections will remain as continue to age further and further away from my Youtube days.
With that said, let's get on with my nadir.
The first video I ever made was called "Everybody Loves Chad Wick," and it was the first in a series of bad claymation videos about a flamboyant and overly enthusiastic lifestyle reporter named Chad Wick who gets killed in every episode.
You cannot find that video or any of the other Chad Wick videos, as they have all been privatized by myself for unsurprising reasons - they were awful and did not age well, as they were made by a preteen during the year in which "Sexyback" was a top hit single. And I do mean awful. My tendency to cut corners was in full swing back then and such a nature does not lend itself to the meticulous and tedious artform of stop-motion animation. I managed to squeeze nearly three minutes out of what was probably 50 frames. The "intro" was pretty much just one frame and the same frame mirrored, alternating between themselves while the "film grain" filter was applied for the duration of an entire track that was preloaded onto the Windows OS at the time. You might remember it - it was from the same collection of songs that contained that one David Byrne song where he says "like HUMANS DO."
The next video I made was another claymation called "Bigfood Punked."
Again, it was 2006.
Kutcher was big!
It featured an action figure of Bigfoot choke-slamming an action figure of Willem Dafoe (voiced by my friend Jeremy) onto the hood of a car as a prank and then fleeing. It was also bad and embarrasses me now and you won't find it. I did show notable improvement as a clay animator though, which is encouraging. Eventually I really took that art form seriously for a minute and built a make-shift set in my room with backgrounds and a tripod and everything. I tried making some very ambitious sequels to Chad Wick but, as is also my nature, I apparently lost interest 85% of the way through and never finished them. Those ones do have the distinction of being banished to a dusty hard drive in a basement where they belong, and nobody will ever see them again, including myself.
Eventually I gave up my career ambitions of someday being an Aardman Studios style animator (just as I had with my ambitions of being a cartoonist in fifth grade) I finally made the leap from claymation to live action when I made my first video video. It was something called "Re: The YouTube Video Scavenger Hunt! WITH REUBNICK!" which I hardly even remembered and was hesitant about revisiting because I didn't think I could handle the cringe. The title is bad enough, and I filmed it with a camera that was meant for photographs and not video. I forced myself to watch it and, goddammit, fine, here it is.
Re: The YouTube Video Scavenger Hunt! WITH REUBNICK! (2007)
Good lord, why was I allowed to have that haircut?
This was back when "video replies" were commonplace and a thing on Youtube and they pretty much guaranteed a couple thousand views, even if the video didn't deserve them. I remember making a lot of these, where I would take a challenge video and give them a little "twist" to be witty or quirky or some shit. I was also posting videos on DailyMotion, Vimeo, Crackle, Metacafe, Google Video, Revver, something called Grouper, and all the other rudimentary Youtube competitors from the online video boom that didn't survive. I remember getting a lot of views on Metacafe in particular, for reasons likely weird and untoward that I would rather not think too hard about now. Metacafe is gonezo now, so thankfully so are all of the videos I posted on it. I must have deleted dozens of other "reply videos" I had made as well, because this is the only one I can find now. I only have faint memories of what they were, but I remember enlisting the help of my parents to appear in them because I didn't really have friends. All comments I received were very, very mean and involved many variations of telling me to kill myself and that I should die for being a gay bitch, but since they were digital (I guess?) they didn't bother me.
From this point on it would only be live action videos, and I veered away from reply videos at around the same time they stopped being a phenomenon. I don't think I was smart or sophisticated enough at this turning point to have actual skit videos, and without challenge videos to cling to, the creative process of my little pea brain seemed to be to essentially will into existence an aimless, half-baked idea to then film without any further preparation or planning. I don't know why, but I suppose I thought the idea of pogo-sticking in the snow was a compelling and badass enough concept to carry an entire video, so "EXTREME Snow Pogo-ing!!!!" came next. Oh, yes, those four exclamation marks are so delightful and necessary, as is the CAPITALIZATION of the word "EXTREME."
EXTREME Snow Pogo-ing!!! (2007)
Wow, look at that little obnoxious girl go. Is that five...maybe SIX whole feel of shoveled driveway of which the audacious 90 pound stuntman gave himself to perform this courageous feat? Astonishing!
And to think, I had the audacity to call the VIEWER "kiddies" when if ever in history there was a "kiddie," it was me in that video...
Thankfully you won't find many of these earlier videos (claymation, live action, reply videos, or otherwise) for all the same reasons. They were all toothless, indulgent, meandering (many of them were like 10 damn minutes) and horribly made. And I also had an eye-roll-inducing tendency to spend an absurdly long time introducing myself, as though "Reubnick" was some known celebrity people were eager to hear from whose every word they hung on.
It was merely the wishful thinking of the same deeply insecure child I introduced you to earlier in this post, who used over-the-top vanity as a veil to hide it, and the result of nobody ever sitting me down as a boy and telling me to get the hell over myself.
I've been ravenously hungry for attention and validation and praise my whole life, but especially at that age, which is something I should probably talk about with a therapist instead of delving into here. It was that same bloated ego and unearned sense of self-importance and narcissism mixed with just a dash of self-awareness that is probably leading me to write this very post right now.
Inside of me are two Reubens. There is the one who knows nobody is going to read this and that this isn't really *for* anybody. No future biographers will seek further insights into my past and the inner workings of my mind and uncover this post as a treasure trove of information, because no matter how much I may try to deny it I am not important or notable in any way. This is essentially a diary entry. Nobody gives a shit and I know that. But then there is the other Reuben who remains, deep down, an anxious, timid, self-conscious, awkward, and deeply depressed youngest child who would do anything for laughter and attention and who willingly clings onto his denial to keep the faith going so as to keep alive the dim, distant belief that if he shows enough people how much cool stuff he has made and that if he tells those same people that he is cool and funny and important and famous then it will just have to come true. It seems both Reubens are writing this post in tandem, and I guess in writing this I am able to further metastasize my denial and pretend to myself that it's for "the future," for a scenario that Reuben 1 knows for a fact is not actually coming, when I finally at long last am "discovered," and blow up and become a famous successful person that people care about. Reuben 2 is telling Reuben 1 to just do it anyway...just in case. Because Reuben 2 knows that if he loses his faint hope of eventually achieving success for good then he has nothing left.
Forever setting the table, I am, for a dinner I will never eat. I am a human paradox.
I do suppose that by the time I hit junior high school, though, I was just shy of being completely deluded, as I think I received a level of affirmation I didn't deserve that gave me an overinflated sense of self. Being the kid in junior high school with a regularly updated Youtube channel was at the time still a rather niche and exciting thing and with that slowly but surely came an echo chamber of my peers, all wanting to be in my videos, who told me I was very cool. As a reminder, I was not cool and I do not know how anybody could think I was. I was an overeager teen with an effeminate haircut and the gangly body of one of the those gray aliens. I was a deformed result of what would happen if you shoved Colin Mochrie and season 2 of Family Guy and a stack of MAD Magazines and some xeroxed examples of Stan Lee writing in the "Stan Lee voice" into a cloning machine you bought on Wish. I was the least cool and least funniest person of any group I was a part of. I guess I was just faking it until I made it. I still am, for what it's worth.
But by the time 8th grade rolled around, I changed schools once more and made new friends and people liked me again and girls started having crushes on me and I rapidly regained my confidence and suddenly hit my stride, and I sure felt cool for the first time.
Eventually, as many teens of the era who also felt cool did, I went through the phase where I tried to emulate Jackass. I discovered Jackass on my 14th birthday when my Momma, not knowing really what Jackass was, gave me the special edition comprehensive DVD boxset as a gift because it seemed to her from the cover art like something I might like. Though, the box art was just the skull and crossbones with the crutches so I wonder how she came to that conclusion. She was ultimately correct, accidentally, and soon Johnny Knoxville and Ryan Dunn had fully filled in any remaining blanks I had during my formative years of what "cool" was and looked like, and I fell in with the "skate rats" clique.
Shortly after I was running with my own stunt group of sorts. I assumed a sort of Johnny Knoxville ringleader role, always wearing a Ramones sweatshirt and skate shoes, and we called ourselves "Reubnick's Moron Crew" as a monument to my unchecked vanity. Like everything else we did, this also sucked and was bad. We pumped out a handful of the lamest and tamest 'stunts' imaginable (rolling down hills, doing "heel-clicks" off of ravines, riding an inflatable couch on skateboards down the driveway, pretending to drop and break an acoustic guitar in front of strangers, etc.) and this carried for a while until I pivoted towards scripted content from then on, which, like the stunt videos and everything before them, also sucked and were bad.
I do feel obligated to post at least one of those stupid so-called stunt videos, so this is legitimately the only one I can stomach watching all the way through. The rest are so saturated with that puff-chested swagger of hormonal teens posturing to look the most badass that I just...I just can't. This one is bearable, but only because of Eric, not me.
Morons on Ice (2008)
Wow, we found a patch of ice and slipped around on it.
That's it. How rad. At least my voice had dropped by the time this one came out.
These stunt videos didn't last too long, thank God, but for what it's worth my love of Jackass remains. It left a profound mark on me, and I even mean that in a literal sense because I have a tattoo in honor of Ryan Dunn on my foot that reads "5+4=9." IYKYK.
Bad as they were, and still are, and will forever be, these videos are all important to me because they are some of the first handful of what would end up being nearly 300 or so videos I made on Youtube during a five year period between the years of 2006 and 2011. I don't know how accurate that figure is, but currently the number of videos (public, unlisted, and private) I still have on my Youtube channel is 251, and I know I have outright deleted many through the years.
Reviewing them now, for the purposes of this posting, has damn near made me a bit misty as it's taken me back to a place in time when I had so much less to worry about and so much hope for the future.
Those days would begin with school which I would spend racking my brain thinking about what video to make next. I would then proceed to ignore my math and science teachers as I would hastily write scripts discretely on a notebook inside of my text books. The history textbook was best for this because that sumbitch was a HONKER. Then my days would end by going home and filming the video or videos I had thought of in the evening and then winding down in my bedroom with last night's monologues from Letterman and Conan that I had taped on the basement VCR so I could play them on my bedroom television/VCR combo. It was a good system during a time in life before work and taxes. I took my videos very seriously because I thought it was necessary. I was naively 100% convinced I would be a rich and successful celebrity eventually, and that it would absolutely happen no matter what if only I just worked hard enough. What an inoccent and uncorrupted kid I still was. And while OOF-worthy, these videos did very much set me on the path I still try to walk to this day and began my journey of establishing a unique sensibility and sense of humor that remains.
By some time in 2008 I was trying to make a video every week and to my credit I rather successfully stuck to this regiment and managed to generate a very modest but regular fanbase by doing so. I even had an oft-repeated catchphrase, used in the same spirit as when people say "WORLDSTAR," except it didn't involve anybody fighting each other. A more apt description would be to describe it as a prehistoric predecessor to the modern nomenclature shorthand for begging for engagement that we are more familiar with - "smash that like button!" Mine was, simply, "Subscribe to Reubnick!" It was a callout I used to sign off of some of my videos, and eventually there were graphics and shirts and I think stickers at one point and videos of my peers saying the same thing. If you were in Menomonee Falls during the aughts and early naughts, then you may just have...well, who am I kidding. You still wouldn't have heard it, unless you were in high school at the time. Then you definitely would have heard it. But only then. Life was a lot smaller then.
This was during a period where, in my eyes, the "Partnership Program" was the elusive seal of legitimacy, and I reasoned, you see, that if I got enough subscribers through any means necessary then Youtube would have no choice but to accept me into the Partner's Program so I could start earning pennies per year for my shit videos. I was very narrowly focused on this to such an extent that you could say it was an obsession, and I treated this almost like I was campaigning for office or something. I would submit myself every few months and eagerly await what I hoped would be acceptance but was only ever rejection. My Machiavellian efforts were in vain, and it sucked...my overall attitude and approach sucked, that is. And none of this ever did get me into the Partner's Program, because I did not belong in it. But boy oh boy, I sure was desperate.
Yuck. How annoying. I still couldn't even capitalize correctly, nor could I edit a video to save my life even though I'd been at it for a few years already.
I am glad that now I have at least a modicum of the self-awareness I lacked back then. However, my rule for posting old videos is that if they still make me laugh, or so much as smirk, then they can still see the light of day. That video featured above, despite its obvious flaws, still amuses me, and it also includes one of the first appearances of Dom, one of my best friends to this day, as well as the first utterance of "Reubnick Enterprises," which went on to become my actual LLC that still exists in good standing, as a matter of fact. My utter disdain for corporate culture and rampant capitalism is also very apparent, which I appreciate, and it features a pre-glasses and pre-braces teeth version of myself doing an inaccurate impression of a sad drunk years before I grew up some more and became an actual sad drunk in real life. Pants-falling-down gags never get old, either. Dig that studded belt / Ghostbusters belt buckle combo, too. Fun stuff. This was thirteen years ago. That video also includes a pretty good summation of my other creative efforts at and up-to that time and mentions I was making videos before Youtube, which is true. Earlier in this post I said there was a separation between my generation and the "making bad videos on VHS tape" generation, but that isn't strictly true. There is some overlap, and I was making videos before Youtube existed. I think the first one I made was probably when I was 8 or 9. I had a series I filmed on my VHS-C camera called Wubbo who was an ignorant sock puppet, and at one point I tried to make a film noir style movie with my one-eyed, 17-year-old-at-the-time dog Didi, who I accidentally pushed down a slide for. I think I had one too where I interviewed Ötzi the Ice Man mummy where I got angry that he wasn't responding and that it was a stale interview. Which, you know what, I'll give myself that one, too. Pretty funny. But all in all, you and nobody else will never see any of that, nor should you, and I will never bring those up ever again.
From this point on, the videos I will include are from the moment in which my output became much more frequent and consistent. I do wish I still had the work ethic I had back then when I was pumping these out. I pretty much leaned 100% into pre-written comedy skits in 2008 after I dropped the stunt videos, and that is what they would mostly remain. I made way more videos than you will see in this post, because I am highlighting only a hand-picked and carefully curated selection and omitting many of them that don't rise to the occasion.
A LOT of these videos had funny ideas but were way better on paper than in execution. Examples of those include the following:
- A video about a non-gender-specific baby doll for girls named "Kim" that has a secret setting where you can listen to easter egg recordings of the doll manufacturer's employees making jokes. I'd probably get canceled for this shit now.
- A skit where I meet a carnie at the park who is selling tickets to a ride that turns out to just be a trash can that you sit inside until he kicks it down a hill.
- Reubnick: The Musical.
- Idaho & U, a fake 1950s style informational video about Idaho, where I play myself, a realtor, a squeaky voiced backwards baseball hat wearing dumb kid named "Lil' Jimmy," and an abusive narrator. The quality is so bad that it is literally only in 144p. Woof.
- A video where my friends and I dress up in winter clothes and go Christmas caroling at the houses of strangers in July. If I tried doing this in 2023 I would most certainly be shot and killed.
- A three part video series where I befriend a pile of dirt that murders people. My dad plays the Grim Reaper in it, which is its only saving grace. I think it was supposed to be my attempt at horror?
- A video where I lightheartedly pretend that the production of my videos will be impacted by the 2007 WGA Writers strike. I was such a scab!
- A video where I slide down a staircase on a plastic sled.
- A video of my dog Jojo "rescuing" my dog Caedo from under the couch, notable mostly because of its pun name, "Indiana Jojones and the Under The Couch."
- One where my friend Eric gets locked in a bathroom for an entire week as a prank but he immediately forgives me.
- A documentary on what a "Youtube hater" is.
- Saint Geoffrick's Day, where my friend Geoff dressed up as a leprechaun and we ran around the village annoying people.
- A fake interview with somebody named "Dr. Travis Lane Stork?"
- Something about Brett Favre leaving the packers.
- 1 Minute Math Lessons with Fred Kendricks, where a guy named Fred Kendricks begins to teach you how to do long division but then suffers a nervous breakdown and babbles like Charles Manson.
- An expose of The Muffin Man (who lives on Drury Lane) that reveals he's not really that good of a guy.
- "The Ghost of Don Knotts," a Halloween video where I am harassed by the Ghost of Don Knotts.
- "Yatta'd," where I am driven insane by the Japanese song "Yatta."
- An unsolicited audition for the role of Peter Venkman's son in a 3rd Ghostbusters movie where we painted my friend Geoff green and made him wear a green dress so he could play Slimer.
- A fake children's show where a flamingo puppet sidekick named Vladimir threatens to kill me and everybody applauds him and boos me when I take exception to being threatened.
- Me documenting myself eating a condensed ball of flavor powder from the bottom of a bag of "Twisters."
- I try to coin the nonsensical catchphrase "That's Abnormal, Chormel!" and then confuse people with it.
- Me revealing that I learned I can break walnuts with my hands and then showing it off as though that's super cool or something.
- A video where I go to the basement to get a soda and discover there is an underground breakdancing crew that lives there and they challenge me to a dance-off which I win. Then one of the dancers named "Ace-Cold" (played by my real-life crush at the time. Sneaky sneaky!) becomes my girlfriend, at which point I then realize that it was all merely my imagination and I am all alone.
- Video where I get really angry at a Family Circus cartoon and throw a television at the newspaper in response.
- Mockumentary about being a body double for Zac Efron.
- An awkward run-in with a woman (played by a cross-dressing me) named Floral with a hideous facial scar who constantly insists on steering the conversation back to the injustice of everybody always pointing out her hideous facial scar.
- Me recounting how I was swindled by carnies at a carnival into spending $40 on a large stuffed banana toy. The actress Kat Dennings had liked this one so for a minute there I was convinced I was in love with her.
- Fake interview with Michael Cera.
- A green screen video where I put myself in the video game "Goosebumps: Escape From Horrorland."
- Fake trailer for a Candy Land movie. I tried to submit this one to Cracked.com and received the meanest feedback I had ever received for any single thing in my entire life ever.
- Some other dumb ones.
This next one is the oldest one I could find that's actually still kinda amusing. It's about Bigfoot, of course, because for as long as I can remember I have considered Bigfoot to be a goldmine of comedy. Don't exactly know why, though...
New Bigfoot Sighting, 2008
That's probably the first "good" video I ever made.
And as you can see, it features me playing a bald man and includes Bigfoot, Groucho Marx glasses, and wonton violence, which are themes that I stull find funny and regularly explore. Some things never change.
Look At My Junk, 2008
I am still quite fond of this one, an Antiques Roadshow parody, which is a weird direction for a 16 year old to go in. In it I play Webster K. Arnold, the glib and elitist host with a double-breasted suit jacket, who was, I guess, one of my first recurring characters.
Like the last one, this one also mocks rednecks and has a bald man, Sasquatch (his severed head, at least), and excessive violence as a punchline. I'm glad I started branching out more, content-wise, around this time. I sure relied heavily on Bigfoot for laughs. It also has Eric and Geoff, two of my first best friends. We've all gone very separate ways as we've gotten older and older and we've lost touch. But Look At My Junk will live forever. Eric and Geoff were and still probably are way funnier than me. We made a sequel to this one called Look At My Junk 2 which I assumed I was going to omit but that I decided to include (via just a hyperlink only though!) because to my surprise it also had some good themes and bits I had forgotten about. Spoiler - "Chen Wong" survives the first one, except his brush with death has filled him with such an existential malaise that it has transformed him into a nihilist. I introduce a guest named "Clark Bigwell" who is a sexually ambiguous playboy known for constantly being 'on the go,' and we filmed inside of a 1996 Nissan Quest and pretended it was a Lambo. Once again, Eric is the best part and always was.
Championship Swinging, 2008
This one made the cut because I still find the concept of a NASCAR-style organization dedicated to the extreme sport of swinging in a swing in a tree to be funny.
Extra points for my abusive athlete character's swing being sponsored by Mrs. Fields cookies, BIC pens, and Ron Paul for President 2008. Lastly, the decision to have the little kid character played by Geoff wear a Misfits shirt was also a bold one that I am glad we made.
Windswept in Missouri, 2008
In this one I take aim at pretentious auteurs and...Michael Moore, for some reason? The bit is that I want to be taken seriously as a filmmaker so I am reinventing myself as "Reubnick" with the R rolled and making the switch from comedy to independent dramatic cinema with a vintage camera I bought from Goodwill. The punchline is that I can't use any of the footage I filmed because I didn't know how to import it into a computer, which is actually what happened.
Come for the slightly funny bit and stay for the agonizingly long "film grain" montage of me fucking around in my front yard. The song played is an original composition by "Vanilla Shipwrek," which consisted of my friends at the time (who are still my friends) who were about 1-3 years older than me. The fact that they created an impressive and highly listenable original track at the same time I was making shit like this video is yet another testament to me being a real late bloomer. The best part of my old videos is definitely my Dad and any appearances he ever made. It's very clear where I got most of my sense of humor from and I will always appreciate how supportive he was when I was making videos. Like his boy, he also always enjoyed being in the spotlight and hamming it up any chance he had.
Those Darned 1880s Politicians (2009)
In this one I am visited by what I think is the ghost of Former President Chester A. Arthur who possesses the body of a toy elephant and then he makes me do embarrassing things only to reveal at the end that he had actually been the the spirit of former senator Roscoe Conkling the whole time, which upsets me. I don't know, man. This was the kind of weird shit I was always going on about back then.
Old presidents and Dick Tracy comics and Laurel and Hardy or whatever. There was never a time in history that a storyline like that wouldn't be too niche yet I went ahead with it anyway. This is merely further evidence if anybody needed it that I was a weird little nerd boy with bizarre interests. I should have been playing softball or something but instead I made this.
Crash the Civil War (2009)
I used Windows Movie Maker exclusively for many years, which is to video editing what MS Paint is to graphic design. It was a revelation for me to discover how to save audio to my computer from off of my computer without having to use a handheld microphone to the speaker, and you don't even want to know how long that took me to figure out. So for a while there I was making garbage videos on Movie Maker but at least the external audio was clearer. Somewhere along the line I got a slightly better camera and acquired Sony Vegas, which is an unintuitive and prohibitively limited editing software that is favored by exactly zero industry professionals and that, much to my detriment, remained my editing software of choice up until 2022. It was still miles and miles ahead of Windows Movie Maker, though. I think this video was the first video in which I used high quality sound clips and music and stingers AND did some actual light editing in Sony Vegas.
I'm pretty sure I was trying to do something of a Conan O'Brien style remote with this one, and what would have otherwise been another weird and uninteresting video gets salvaged by a group of very dedicated Civil War reenactors. To this day I question why such a large group of adult men in Wisconsin were so eager to play confederate soldiers, and who exactly it was that was rubbing their finger under my chin in such an unsettling way. I know they knew I had a camera running, though, so that's why they went all in and it did indeed make for some good content. Still proud of this one. At the time I remember one of them found the video and just laid into me about how disrespectful it is in Civil War reenactor culture to ever lay in someone else's tent. They wrote, like, paragraphs about it. I still feel guilty about that even though my brain knows now that it is not something I should carry guilt for over 13 years later.
The Big Day (2009)
This one was kind of a watershed moment because I can openly say that it was funny to us when we made it and it still is funny. First one with Baltimore and Dom, who remain two of my best friends and who I have worked with countless times since.
We really embraced a certain darkness in this one, which is a tendency that has remained in my comedy since then. Bleak and mean-spirited as it is, mocking a man for having an impractical suicide plan (in FICTION) is a good bit. Don't go running off and doing that in real life, though. Neither the suicide or the mocking suicide.
Time to Get a Watch! (2009)
Baby Fight (2009)
Dom being so excited to be in possession of a box of babies that he nearly falls down a staircase and spills them all over the floor is a very solid video intro.
Having a "baby fight" that somehow results in a nuclear holocaust is also good. What is not good is the lighting. Also, I still somehow hadn't learned that a long montage of an absurd thing was not enough by itself to do most of the heavy lifting of a video. The mid-video introduction of "The Crocmaster" almost saves the montage but it's not enough. Also, a fun fact - that crocodile hat is signed by Bo Burnham who was nice enough to wordlessly autograph it for us after we wordlessly presented it to him.
A Retro Reubnick Throwback (2010)
Interestingly enough, it seems that in my next video I arrived at the same conclusion about montages as the one in the last part I wrote. In this video, I begin by apologizing for posting another montage, at which point I am booed, and then I am physically attacked by the montage itself.
I'm glad I was self-aware enough to acknowledge that, but saddened that I was still deluded enough to think anyone gave a fuck about a montage of useless garbage I found on an old miniDV tape. Despite my questionable motivations for making it, however, I have found myself very thankful that I made this. This one, for me, was one I had forgotten about and upon rewatching it I feel almost emotional and sentimental as it's really just a pure and unadulterated snapshot of teenage innocence and whimsy in the year 2008. As I touched on earlier, this was a year that I remember things really changing and turning around for me. After wandering aimlessly looking for myself and questioning if I should off myself for three years straight, I finally found myself and I was the happiest I'd ever been. That year is still one of the few periods of time I can remember when I was living something close to pure bliss. It was a much simpler time, when we were introduced to Barack Obama and all the optimism and hope that came with him, and when my childhood dogs Jojo and Caedo were still alive and able-bodied, and when my pals and I got more mileage out of a gorilla costume than we had any right to, and when I thought the mere concept of Ron Paul was one of the funniest things, and when "Geoff dressing up as an alien and getting the shit kicked out of him" or "Geoff getting hurt and crying like a baby" was enough of an idea to film a video. I loved 2008.
Romantic Peril (2010)
This video features an unseen assassin or an assailant of some kind who pursues me and almost shoots me to death because they have a crush on me.
My almost dying words are, of course, the dying words of Woodrow Wilson because, again, I had a thing for old presidents and Woodrow Wilson's were the most dramatic I could find and feature the old woman name of "Edith," which is not a name anybody I have ever known has had. I got pretty creative with special effects here, save for the fake blood which is very obviously ketchup and bears no resemblance whatsoever to real blood.
Funny Noise My Dog Makes When He's Alone (2010)
Even though I am me, I am finding myself rooting for myself as I slowly get older in each video I watch. Of course - *spoiler alert* - I know how things turn out for me, but it's still encouraging to see me mature in these things.
And what's that? Did I finally get a goddamn big boy haircut in this video? Looks like I did! Still had a lot to learn about sound editing, but I'll give myself a pass because, boy, look at me go! I'm really growing up! I was even experimenting with shrewd marketing tactics, by giving this one a clickbait title. Not bad. What's weird, though, is that this is THE SECOND TIME the punchline of a video of mine involved beautiful opera bringing about a series of chaotic misfortunes. I don't even like or dislike opera, so I don't know what I was on about with that.
There are Ill-Doers About! (2010)
Here we have another video that features my childhood bedroom. My bed was lofted so I had kind of a sub-room under the bed that kind of gave it that quirky, Hey! Arnold bedroom mystique. It's nice to see my bizarre interests immortalized.
Yes, that is a picture of Biz Markie on the wall, and a political mailer for the doctor who delivered me and then later ran for state senator, and Dustin Hoffman as "Mumbles" in the Dick Tracy movie. There's a Frampton Comes Alive vinyl cover taped to the wall. There's a signed picture of Tim and Eric on the bookshelf, which is notable because I had only just recently discovered them. You'd think I would have discovered them sooner but it took me until 2010. I see an Obama poster, which was bittersweet because I wanted so badly to vote for him but was too young. (I voted for him the second time, though and that was my first vote.) There is a signed poster of OKGO, which aged well because they are still my favorite band. There is an autographed picture of Bill Cosby, which did NOT age well... I wish these damn videos were in higher quality, though, because I can't remember what some of the other stuff is. I think there might be a lewd picture of a scantily clad Sarah Silverman that I ripped out of a magazine, and I am not ashamed to admit that.
Let's Do the Hokey Pokey with Wacky Caedo (2010)
My childhood dog Jojo starred in a video earlier and this was my other dog Caedo's time to shine.
Caedo tragically died when was living in Kenosha working on a campaign in 2014, which was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. I still haven't recovered, honestly, and likely never will. I loved that dog so unbelievably much. This video, while not particularly funny (I mean, come on. A fiscally irresponsible dog? Not my best), captures his overall vibe pretty well. I miss him very, very, very much.
The Night Belongs to Phantom! (2010)
I am very, very conflicted over this one.
On one hand, this is the first appearance of Randolph Kupstik, my favorite character that I ever did. He is a hifalutin, irascible, aggressively pretentious failed radio announcer of some sort. His chosen profession was never explicitly stated, it was just implied that it had something to do with voiceovers and narration and, like, the golden age of radio or whatever. I have brought him back many times, first in what I wanted to be a recurring series on the Reubnick channel called "Kupstik Kwarterly," and the second time years later when I tried to fund and film a pilot so I could make a web-series about him called "Kupstik Now!" If I had ever made it to an SNL audition, he would have been my starring original character. I thought his combative relationship with his producer(?) or agent or publicist Jerry was comedic gold at the time. On the other hand, this video is a blatant rip-off of a very deep cut skit from The Ben Stiller Show. I am ashamed of this. In some cases I have ripped off my comedic influences unintentionally. Years after this one I would name a recurring character in Friday Night Weekly "Sam St. Hngus," which I was 100% convinced was an original name but that I would finally realize much later on had originally been the name of a Tim Heidecker character in Tim and Eric Awesome Show. That was purely unintentional. Obviously I had been subconsciously influenced by it, but I really didn't know. This one, however, I even knew at the time I was stealing, which is a huge no-no and which I have never admit to until now. Nobody will care but it bothers me so this is me coming clean! It was some skit with Andy Dick before he lost his mind where he plays a wine-drunk Jacques Cousteau narrating a video about a manatee. It's a hilarious skit and I suck for ripping it off. I justified it to myself by saying mine was just different enough, but I knew the truth. Fuck me for that.
John Boehner Exposed! (2010)
Hey look, I learned how to use a green screen. This is one of my lower brow videos, where I turn everybody at CPAC against John Boehner by calling attention to how similar his name is to "Boner." Sigh.
I see that of almost 7,000 views it has a mere 39 thumbs-up, which is appropriate. This did, however, get me tangentially involved in the campaign to unseat John Boehner when notorious leftist blogger Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny found it and posted it on his blog. I eventually made a sequel per his request, which I do not believe he nor anybody else was pleased with. He would later write me a letter of recommendation before I went to college but eventually he soured on me likely due to some dumb tweets I wrote and he has since blocked me. Never figured out what happened there and it makes me sad. That was a good connection to have that I guess I was too dumb and immature to know how to maintain. You live and learn.
Camden's Snack and Grocery! (2010)
I love this one and I still quote it regularly - particularly "ha-cha-cha, fella!" Dom really went method as Randy Camden in this, and there was some good improv too.
I appreciate the concept of selling crackers by the sleeve and trash bags at 13 for a buck. I like the gently implied predicament this grocery store is in where it is in possession of too many gallons of beans, as well advertising non-kosher salt by billing it as a "hot salt deal." There's too many. A grocery store advertising in a televised commercial that they have a total of three one-dollar bottles of canola oil in stock is also very good. Wisconsinites may recognize this as a loving spoof and tribute to Phil Woodman and his commercials for Woodman's. Living in Chicago now, I sure miss those. If I ever returned to doing skits I would want to bring back Randy Camden and his brother-in-law Sammy Stretcher, who was the cinematographer on that deal and who didn't like the assailant's tone.
I finally got a PRETTY GOOD camera and Dom wanted to make this video. I'd say this one is pretty evergreen. It's simple and effective.
I like to jokingly tell Dom that this video was the Reubnick equivalent of when Dylan went electric. I don't really have any videos after this one that I am embarrassed about. Give me a few more years, I guess.
A Japanese Tragedy! (2010)
Despite the progress I had made in my videos, I still had a while left of high school. For somebody who wanted to be taken seriously and for people to think he was older than he actually was, I sure talked about high school a lot. No wonder my following was stagnant. No adult wants to watch some teen talk about what he did in high school that day. I hadn't learned that yet.
One of the very most influential aspects of my high school experience was my Japanese classes. It was a very special experience for all involved. Most of the goofballs and eccentrics and misfits, if you will, found their way to the Japanese program. They were, for lack of a better phrase, my people. Nearly every good friend from high school I have to this day took Japanese classes with me. Under the tutelage of the tiny and fierce Mrs. Mieko Ikeno, we all coalesced around each other and built a really tightknit sense of community that I think impacted most of us for life. Some of my peers from those classes live in Japan now. As for me, I am still trying to learn Japanese over a decade later and still struggling to grasp even basic phrases. Eventually I had to drop out of Japanese class because I was such a bad student, but Ikeno Senseii, god love her, still let me hang around and go on field trips with them and film videos for them. She liked having me around but just didn't like giving me failing grades all the time. She called upon me once to represent the Japanese department in an international competition of foreign language departments by making a Japanese-themed video. I chose to make a music video to the theme of Miyazaki's Ponyo.
From what I recall, Ikeno ruefully informed the class about a month later that we had lost to the Germans.
This is my contribution to the time honored comedic tradition of dunking on lawyers by making fun of their commercials.
This tradition has helped give us critically acclaimed comedy shows like Tim Robinson's I Think You Should Leave, or critically acclaimed DRAMAS like Better Call Saul, which began with Vince Gilligan thinking Bob Odenkirk would be very funny as a sleazy lawyer with bad commercials, which he was right about. My crooked lawyer with bad commercials was Charles S. Blackberg, who appears to be based somewhere in the African savannah. He will never call your house like the other guys do and he vows to go after, in no particular order, stalkers, dentists, scowlers, pugilists, reschedulers, census takers, motorcycle crashes, and those who hit others in the face. He takes rhinos seriously and he probably died of blood loss. He is the phoenix.
911 Dispatch Call (2010)
We tried something new with this one. A new format. I enjoyed it and kinda wish we had made more of these but I think I was nervous it was too derivative.
It veers uncomfortably close to being overly reminiscent of an early Tim & Eric video, such as the one where Tim orders bees to punish his son, Spraynard Kruger. This also turned out being eerily prescient, as I play a disillusioned dispatcher who is bad at his job and who apparently works from home and then half a decade later I would become the same thing in real life. I still am that as I write this. I learned from experience that dispatchers don't dress that way. Also, wow, Dom sure died a lot in these earlier videos, didn't he? Death sure is a lot funnier when you are so young that it has seldom touched you.
Throw Me, Lieutenant! (2010)
This is my favorite Reubnick video. I really, really like this one and am still proud of it. This could be shown in a theater in front of an audience with me present and my body wouldn't implode in upon itself as my head and limbs retreated into myself in shame.
I didn't know anything about ranks and standings and titles of military personnel during the Vietnam era back then and I still don't, but if you squint hard enough it almost seems like I do. Despite Dom being older than me, he really nailed the rebellious 18 year old punk who was reluctantly shipped to Vietnam character. The plot itself is basically a higher ranking military official being bullied by his subordinate into bullying him back in a very public spectacle. I'm also pleased we were able to scrounge up enough olive drab clothing to look almost period-appropriate. I have no clue where that battered green hat with an American flag came from but I am glad we found it. And finally, our shitty camera and lighting quality almost seems like a creative choice, and the bad audio quality can nearly be overlooked due to the droning of insects I play over this video. Pretty creative that we just explained away the presence of a high school football field with a scoreboard and goalposts by calling it the "training grounds" located wherever in Vietnam this was supposed to take place. Can't put that one down as an IMDB "goof!" We acknowledged it! This is most certainly the peak of Reubnick. If there was a time where we actually sorta maybe deserved for people to start picking up what we were putting down, it was this. However, the modest viewership I had built when my videos were still irredeemably awful had fallen off. Nobody was really watching by this point. The nagging sensation in the back of my head of "What am I doing? What is this anymore?" had begun to quietly rap upon the rafters of my psyche.
100th Video! (Where Are They Now?)
My 100th video celebration wasn't actually my 100th video. I can't remember if at the time it was before or after my 100th video, but I recall deliberately making sure it wasn't actually my 100th video because that was amusing to me.
This one tries to play all the hits (Guest stars! Cameos! Throwbacks! My Dad! Dom say at the end despite not even being in the video until that point!) but watching it now, it's apparent that my existential malaise and anxiety about what this was all about and what this had all been for and where I was even going with any of this video stuff was taking further hold. I manage to insult myself, as myself, over my lack of success thus far. By killing off various characters I had played, I suppose I was shedding from myself the version of myself who had played them. This is something of a bad habit I have always seemed to possess. My natural instinct is to have contempt and disgust for the various "versions" of myself that existed before the present one. This still holds true, as evidenced by this post itself. I cannot ever seem to talk enough shit about my younger self and I guess this is an effort to disown myself. I'm still coming to grips with the concept of it being okay that I was a kid once. It isn't bad that I was an annoying kid and teenager. How many of us weren't? It's all part of becoming who we eventually become as we keep trying to end up wherever it is we think we are supposed to go. Despite my relentless roasting of myself throughout this entire post, I am really trying to sort of embrace this epiphany for the first time. There can never be any meaningful progression forward in life if I cannot let go of my past and accept that I was who I was. I was once the kid in these videos, for better or for worse. That kid wasn't a bad kid by any means. He just tried way too hard to be liked and accepted. His relentless pursuit of whatever exactly he was looking for cost him some friends and caused him many embarrassments and humiliations along the way. He also made a lot of people happy. Most everybody's past exists in a gray area and that's alright. Anyway, that surprise appearance from Dennis Haskins of Saved By The Bell that I had bought for $5 on some archaic predecessor of Cameo.com is still one of my favorite bits I ever did.
ABZ (The Newest Gossip) (2010)
Just a bizarre parody of TMZ where instead of celebrity gossip we just discuss gossip gossip that is going on in the present moment, such as a pizza man delivering pizzas or whatever fishy stuff is going on in the room next to us. Why not, right?
We had reserved a room in the library for an entire afternoon, so we pumped out a few videos that day. This was one we threw together pretty quickly. I hope you enjoy my half-assed Harvey Levin impersonation. Whatever, I still like it
Just a Bit Outside (2010)
Another odd one-off.
I am sliding back into my bad habits again with an overly long montage and meandering plotline here, proving even further that I am at my best when I am collaborating with others rather than working alone. I'm pleased I gave a bit of an homage to Wisconsin treasure Bob Uecker in the title, though.
Dangerous for Wisconsin (2010)
At the height of some political season, I was inspired by the deluge of political ads peppering the airwaves so I made an attack ad against myself where a critical narrator played by Warren Enstrom goes after me because I love dairy so much that it gives me diarrhea.
Very crude and quite formulaic and paint-by-the-numbers, unfortunately. I am mostly angry at myself because I take a swing at both Kesha and Linsday Lohan in there and insult them, which was gross of me. I like Lindsay Lohan and I like Kesha now and I liked her then so I don't know why I did that. I think she's great. Neither Lindsay Lohan or Kesha will ever know who I am and neither will ever see this but I still felt I needed to say sorry for that.
Alternative Ways (2010)
I don't think the recurring character I play in this video ever got a name. He's just the sort of generic all-encompassing catch-all annoying guy.
I do know that the voice I gave him is the very same voice I still use to this day whenever I need to impersonate an out-of-touch rich guy or CEO type of character, like the CEO of Chunky's Chops, Barry Marshall, that I portray in Dom's OmegleGameShow. I don't know what the point of this video was. I suppose I just wanted to compile all of my pet peeves into one place. Pet peeves I had at the time apparently include when people call me "soul soldier" or mispronounce John Lithgow and Weird Al Yankovic's name. The final straw is the guy mispronouncing my first name, which isn't even something that happens in real life, so I punch myself in my face. I used to have a very antagonistic relationship and fight with myself a lot in my videos. Whatever. I still like it.
Keep It Clean! (2011)
I'm trying to remember the full back story for this one but I can't quite. I just know we made this specifically so it could be played on the local cable access television network, and we had some constraints to work within.
This was about a year before I would accept my first real job working for that network (Falls Cable Access) and we just thought it was cool that our village had a TV station. I think we asked if we could play our videos on television and the station director or our media studies teacher or somebody said they would only air a video if it was a PSA. I don't know why that was the line the drew in the sand, but it was. So, we made a PSA in the loosest sense about the importance of washing your hands. I do think it played on TV for a while, which is surprising since it features guns and somebody who is implied to be a crime lord who is set to execute a man in cold blood for not washing his hands. I remember seeing this on TV once, at a random time of day, and thinking that whoever allowed it to play probably didn't watch the whole thing. This one is a real "bottle episode" or sorts and I'm hardly even in it, which is probably why it's so good. I enjoyed getting to really wear my director's cap for this one. Of course, it relies too heavily on randomness and inside jokes, but it has its moments. Jordan Jirschele, arguably one of the coolest guys I've met, plays the main henchman. Carlo Ruggeri and Mark Gawalek, also two cool guys, play the other two. And Josh Turner, now a long haul trucker, played the Bossman. He is low-key one of the funniest people I have ever known and few people have ever made me laugh harder than him. I wish I had made more than just this one video with him.
Reuben Loves Rosie Jones (2011)
I am going to try to not reminisce too heavily about this one, as so much in the world has changed since I released this video that it feels like it's from a different life and to dwell on it would be eccentric and maybe a little pathetic. But I still want to acknowledge it simply because this whole saga was just really, really fun.
This took place during the height "lads mags" and "glamour models" still being socially acceptable in The U.K. Page 3, where you could just go to a British newsstand and open up a tabloid to the third page to see a naked model, was alive and well. I am willing to admit that I was very much into this. Not just because I appreciated beautiful ladies who liked to be photographed nude, of course, but because I enjoyed the models themselves. Emma Glover, Stacey Massey, Vikki Blows, Holly Peers, etc...They had some dynamite personalities, and they were very active on social media so you really got to know what they were like. In these years I found myself particularly sweet on Rosie Jones. Okay, that's putting it lightly. Boy, what a crush I had on her. She was just so FUN, and NICE seeming. And also the most beautiful person I had ever in my entire life seen. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first discovered who she was. Angels sang. At some point a (now defunct?) peanut company called Big D Nuts hired her as a spokesperson and one time they held a Valentine's Day contest where you could write her a love letter and the best one would win a card from her or something. Naturally, being a notoriously longwinded individual who was very smitten with Rosie Jones, I saw a chance to shine and I took my shot and entered that contest. And I took it very, very seriously. And then I won, and I was sent a care package that contained much more than just a card from Rosie Jones. On the day I received it from England, I made what was basically an unboxing video. The video very speedily made it to Rosie herself, and she must have played it at a photoshoot or something because overnight a bunch of glamor models and people in their orbit knew who I was and were posting the video. Even more, everybody was SUPER nice and the girls were, like, really flirty to me. I think it was all pretty tongue-in-cheek on both ends, obviously, as it doesn't take a genius to know Rosie Jones, a literal supermodel and goddess of beauty of the modern world, wasn't actually making a move on a dopey schmuck like me, but I feel like the whole time everybody was laughing with me instead of at me so I was happy to ride the lightning for as long as it lasted. I suppose it was kind of a lighthearted reverse "Love Actually" kind of scenario we were all acting out; an inverse of the storyline where that awkward and unlucky-in-love British guy turns his fortunes around when he impulsively goes to Wisconsin and suddenly became a sex symbol and massive hit with the beautiful women of Wisconsin. In my case, I was a nobody in Wisconsin with a sudden legion of stunning British supermodels laughing at my jokes and interacting with me all the time and inviting me to party with them in Las Vegas. They clearly had as much fun with the whole thing as I did, and believe it or not I stayed in touch with many of them for about as long as Glamour Modeling remained a thing. Rosie's mom was particularly amused by me and for a few years myself and the Joneses exchanged Christmas cards and calendars. I mailed them a Wisconsin Cheesehead hat once. It was great. You would think a story about me befriending a bunch of nude models and their friends and families may have had the potential to be smutty or something, but realistically this is probably one of the most wholesome anecdotes from my entire life. Great people, all of them. All said and done, it lasted maybe 4 or 5 years. I was young, they were young, life was simpler, and it was a very enjoyable novelty. Now we've all grown up and gotten married or had kids or whatever, including Rosie Jones who is now retired, and the world is a different place. By this point, I doubt Rosie or any of her friends and family will ever think of me again and that's okay because that's just natural. But I sure had a hell of a time while it lasted. That was a very special time.
Let's Learn About Red Squirrels with Wacky Caedo! (2011)
This video, while very unfunny, was a significant one because it would unexpectedly become what is basically the last true "Reubnick" video, in my opinion. There were a few one-offs after this one, here and there, but they feel like they belong to something different.
During the filming of this video I had an existential crisis which I still remember distinctly. I had a moment where I was alone in a basement, dressed as a zoologist of some sort, ranting about squirrels in front of my dog. It wasn't going well and it didn't feel right. I didn't know why, but I felt it in my bones. I was in a terrible mood, the nagging kind of which somebody with a toothache might find themselves in. You can even witness my tell-tale nervous tick I always fall back to whenever I am nervous, which is picking at my thumb with my index finger. After a while I was getting as actually angry as the guy I was playing in the video and I needed to chill out. So I played some music. Regina Spektor's "Fidelity" came on and as soon as it did the world kind of stopped and something invisible hit me like a freight train. There I was playing dress-up in my dad's oversized clothes, making silly videos by myself that nobody was going to watch. My friends were going to college in a few months and moving out of the village. And what was I going to do? Stay behind and film myself doing little skits and remain in my safe little Reubnick bubble I had insulated myself with for the past five years while the rest of the world trudged onward without me? This was weird. This was silly. I was too old for this. Then I realized the feeling was familiar. Probably a decade before THIS revelation I'd had another one. I was a boy, probably 8 years old, playing with action figures. I had a big box of of them, primarily Marvel characters with am emphasis on the Spider-Man universe, and playing with them - making up stories, developing characters, making them talk to each other, narrating their adventures - was my favorite thing in the world to do. I'd run around in the yard with them and build small sets for them on the porch and use my remote control car, all that Toy Story kid type stuff. Then one day it felt odd. Doing the voices felt strange. Without warning, I could no longer access the place of "pretend" that I always had. The door was locked and I couldn't get it. It was startling and it was sad. I felt like an imposter. I felt like how a coyote trying to blend in with dogs might feel. I awkwardly smiled a strained smile and tried to pretend I didn't feel the way I felt, because it was scary, so I tried even HARDER to play, and to pretend to myself that everything was fine. But it was too late. I couldn't. The peg wouldn't fit in the hole anymore. The puzzle pieces wouldn't connect now. This was kid shit and I was too old for it. I tried to talk to my favorite childhood toy, a small grinning dog with a black ring around his eye named Tux, so he could comfort me like he always had when I needed it. But I couldn't get Tux to talk to me anymore. He smiled back like he always had, but Tux wasn't Tux. He was inanimate now. He was a toy. That week I put my action figures away and I didn't play with them again. I felt like Tux had died even though he had never been alive. All I could do was continue to smile lightly to keep from crying, and contemplate what feeling, exactly, I was feeling in my soul as I tried to go about my day, changed in a way that I knew had happened but that was intangible and implacable. The feeling I felt as I sat on an old green chair in my basement with my dog Caedo, dressed as a fictional person named "Dr. Francis Onkgeois," was the same feeling I had felt when I said goodbye to my toys. Like the first time, this was quite profound to me. My whole worldview shifted. I didn't want to be doing piddly bullshit in the basement. I wanted to get a job and drive my car around and kiss and date girls and drink beer at parties in Milwaukee. I wanted to cut my hair and fix my teeth and dress nicer. I didn't want to be doing this anymore. Not like this. Not on my puny little Youtube channel that I had been obsessed with since I was 12. I wanted to do other things. I wanted to make movies, man. I wanted to step up my game.
So, that's pretty much what I did. Since I didn't exactly say a hard "GOODBYE!" to it all, it wasn't a particularly poignant thing, per se. It's just something I remember acknowledging. I remember the moment. I remember the song. I remember feeling, in a sense, that something had just happened and that the wheel had turned and I had abruptly transitioned into the next phase of growing up. I had spent the last five years of my life being "Reubnick," the guy who makes Youtube videos. And then just like that, I was no longer "Reubnick." I was Reuben Glaser.
Con te partirò.
For years I contended with myself - in the end, what did "Reubnick" get for me?
Nothing, really. In terms of success, it got me no further towards where I really wanted to go than wherever I was before I had started as a bucktoothed weirdo kid in 6th grade. And though this is deeply personal for me, for anybody else this post is, at worst, just a washed up burnout reminiscing at a bar about some dumbass videos he made in high school. As much as I dressed and talked them up then and still do, I made some mediocre videos. Occasionally they were funny. Many times I touched on some good themes and had some bits that suggested something much further beneath the surface. They were all and all lousy, though. I think my biggest ambition at the time was that I really wanted somebody to find these and think "There's something there. These are bad, but the potential is there and I can work with that youngster and make something great." I'd wager this was my best case scenario when I compiled roughly the same handful of videos I did in this post into a "Best Of" DVD series. It's still on Amazon, but you can't buy it anymore. I don't even think I have a copy. Very few copies were ever made. The ones that did exist, I mailed off.
It never happened. And it never should have happened either. These videos simply weren't ready for primetime. So was it all for nothing? Nah. They helped make me who I am and they got me started making content.
And though "Reubnick" stopped, I never did.