I'm an American, so I have a vested interest in the democratic process and my elected representatives. I'm speaking, of course, about Reddit and celebrities, not the stodgy dorks in Washington. Unlike Senators, celebrities actually have to care about what I think, because while I can't compete with the NRA's money, I do like to see movies and listen to music—plus, on Reddit, I know my vote actually counts.
Besides memes and embarrassing misogyny, AMAs (Ask Me Anythings) are one of the defining elements of Reddit. It can be a way to learn about people with interesting professions or unusual life experiences; it can also be used as a promotional tool for celebs shilling their wares, and really, that's where the magic happens. Our charisma lords ain't so used to having such direct access to the unwashed masses. For them, contact with a normal person is enough of a story to share with Jay or Jimmy or Conan: "I was walking down the street, and this guy recognized me and wanted to say hello! I said, hey, buddy, I'm trying to eat dinner! I'm walking, and I'm eating, and this guy is wanting a handshake, well, I tell ya, I didn't ask for this sword to have edges on both sides, Jimmy, you know what I mean?" [audience applauds]
So, Morgan Freeman did an AMA on Reddit recently to promote his new movie Oblivion. Everybody loves Morgan Freeman! How exciting! I wonder what interesting things he will share that we wouldn't ordinarily hear on those late-night shows?
I mean, yeah. You're giving off such a "I don't want to be here vibe," it's bumming us all out, man.
And that's how you know you're in disaster territory. When you're being compared with Woody Harrelson and fucking Rampart.
Last year, Woody Harrelson came around to try out this newfangled Reddit and AMA thing to promote his new movie, Rampart. It went very badly for him. The top-voted comment was asking him if he remembered crashing a high school prom and then having sex with a high school girl.
He then proceeded to shut down and attempt to deflect attention only to Rampart.
Even if making the answer about Rampart was like fitting a square peg in a Rampart hole.
What was intended to be a PR pit stop turned into a lasting internet punchline. And that's the thing about allowing a wider audience that much access—there's no Jay to save you.
Which isn't to say that the denizens of Reddit are out for blood. I am not of the opinion that the internet revels in cruelty. The internet revels in playfulness, and it's going to have it whether you want it or not. For example, Louis CK may not have known much about Reddit when he began his AMA, but he knows how to play.
We like to see you enjoy yourself!
We're interested in you because you're, theoretically, interesting. Opening up is a good move.
You don't have to be perfect at Reddit. You can just have fun and be dumb.
Maybe just talk about how great drugs are.
Or how bad drugs are.
And if you can make it seem like you actually give a shit about being there, you'll have their love forever.
So take heed, celebrities! If you want to court the internet, be prepared… to have fun with us. Yeahhhh, I know, can you imagine? You? Having fun? Just remember, we're electing you to your position. Make it seem like we could have a beer with you, and we'll do whatever stupid thing you want.