YouTube Channel of the Week #1: CustomGrow420
For the first edition, we delve into the mind of YouTuber Jolie Olie, AKA CustomGrow420, a man who's turned smoking weed into an endurance sport.
YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.
WHAT: A channel where a man imbibes cannabis in a variety of different ways with a variety of effects.
HOW MANY SUBSCRIBERS AT TIME OF WRITING: 599,506
WHY SHOULD I CARE: CustomGrow420, a channel run by Joel Hradecky – or "Jolie Olie", as he refers to himself – is one of my favourite YouTube channels of all time. Here is a man with charisma, a seemingly endless supply of weed, hash oil, bongs, pipes, lighters, grinders and, most importantly of all, a stunning intro, in which he jostles his inevitably weed-related cap and goes:
What up YouTube-YouTuuuuube.
Jolie Olie coming aTCHA.
This 18-over channel designed
for cannabis patients and adults.
On first viewing of Jolie's intro your shit-for-brains might fool you into thinking it's annoying. But I guarantee you, after watching eight or nine of his videos you'll be mouthing it along with the rest of us. It's not just a snappy intro (and, come to mention it, outro) that makes CustomGrow420 such a special channel, however. What Jolie does, on a near daily basis, is imbibe cannabis in the most extreme ways imaginable.
Before we get into that, though, let's look at what we know about Jolie Olie. In the past few months his YouTube channel has exploded, with nearly a thousand new subscribers every day. This is owed, in part, to the large amount of videos he uploads, which, on weekdays, seems to be around three per day. The interesting thing about them is, unlike his contemporaries, they appear to feature almost no editing. They're all one-take jobs. There's none of the jarring, frenetic edited displacement you see in many videos where the uploader is the star of the show. But Jolie had a channel before this one – what happened to it?
Rumours abound on Reddit that his wife deleted the channel – but these are unsubstantiated. Googling "Joel Hradecky" also brings up a Fox News report from 2006 in which a 22-year-old man with that name was arrested, along with four others, after terrorising and robbing people in a park in Washington, Colorado, where Jolie is from. The men were all identified by onlookers as juggalos, fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse. Hradecky was charged with robbery and assault.
But everyone deserves a second chance, right? Even if they might have been a violent juggalo.
One of the most impressive things about the channel is the sheer amount of agony Jolie puts himself through. Below is his video marking 250, 000 subscribers, which he celebrates by doing 25 "dabs" consecutively as fast as he can.
For the uninitiated – which, in a nation where weed is still illegal, is most of us – a "dab" is a piece of concentrated THC oil pressed into "shatter", a substance that looks a bit like bubbly orange glass. The oil is picked up on a "dabber" and placed on a "nail", a metal catalyst that can be heated up using a blow torch or a machine. The potency of it is far greater than that of, say, a bong rip, and produces a different high. Jolie often uses these dabs to the point where his entire body is pissing sweat and he's struggling to talk for coughing.
The intro isn't the only catchphrase Jolie has in his arsenal. Before smoking he pauses before the pipe and says "cheers" to the camera. Often, when he's causing himself great pain by smoking an obscene amount of oil, he will blurt out, "Let's get it!" or, "It's major!" or, "Oh God!"
He also has a very large collection of paraphernalia with silly stoner names, like "the dabinator" or the "lung buster". It's a highly ridiculous channel featuring a highly ridiculous man doing highly ridiculous things. However, his pièce de résistance, in my opinion, is a thing called "the timebomb", which is a joint smoked through a bong with weed in the bowl. When the joint gets to the bottom it ignites the weed, like the fuse on a stick of dynamite.
Jolie Olie has charisma coming out of his ears, not something you can say about most stoners. His catchphrases, his intro, the studied yet light-hearted way he behaves when he has guests on all combines for the perfect blend of joviality and professionalism, which is why his channel is booming at an incredible rate.
There's a certain Jackass-esque quality to it as well. The best videos are undoubtedly the ones that find Jolie unable to breathe, drenched in sweat, staring helplessly into the abyss, quietly yelping "it's major" at the camera.
Jolie Olie's story is one of redemption. A man who appears to have a troubled past taking the thing he's good at, getting super fucked and high, and making a career out of it. But it just wouldn't be the same without him, without his stringy brown hair and porno moustache, permanently half-cut eyelids and vast collection of stickers, badges, buttons, hats, T-shirts and whatever else. God bless you, Jolie Olie. The world has never seen – and may never see again – a set of iron lungs like yours.