Gladstone (humorist)

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Not to be confused with William Ewart Gladstone. ‹See Tfd›
Gladstone
Occupation Humorist: multimedia
Language English
Nationality American
Period Contemporary
Genres Satire
Subjects Pop culture, news media, Americana
Literary movement Post-postmodern
Notable work(s) Hate by Numbers
Notable award(s) 2010 Opium Literary Death Match

www.kafkamaine.com/hatebynumbers

Wayne Gladstone, who writes as simply Gladstone, is an American humorist and columnist. He is the creator, writer, and star of the Hate by Numbers Internet series,[1][2] and a regular contributor to Comedy Central's Indecision Forever[3] and Cracked.com.[4]

Hate by Numbers[edit]

Set in a fictitious jazz club, Hate by Numbers is a series of 3-5 minute videos in which Gladstone runs clips from television, movies and music videos and counts down "the various things that piss [him] off."[5] Topics include news programs, movie trailers, television programs and music videos.

Production[edit]

Gladstone selects clips, writes, performs, edits, and produces the show. About 15% of the episodes start with clips suggested by viewers. Commentary and skits, including guest performers, are filmed in front of a green screen (which according to Gladstone is actually just a $2.00 table cloth from Party City).[6] Each episode requires 4–8 hours of production time.[7][8][9]

Origins[edit]

The roots of Hate by Numbers can be found in the article "10 Things That Pissed Me Off About CNN The Other Night."[10] Before Cracked.com switched to its current column format, Gladstone wrote about a Larry King episode featuring American Idol for a blog piece. The article was accompanied by a clip from the show that included the beeps and numbers that would become the trademark of HBN. Cracked editor Jack O'Brien suggested Gladstone re-write it as a segment for Lex Friedman's weekly show, and the concept soon developed into its own series.[8][11]

Worried he would be compared to Lewis Black, Gladstone wanted to avoid a simple angry rant in his delivery and went instead for a "jazz cool" motif of repressed sarcasm, setting the show in a bar and selecting Morphine's "The Night" as the theme for most episodes. An alternate opening theme is the song "Everybody Else is Wrong", as performed by the band Utopia (on their "Deface the Music" album). The banner for the show was designed by Ian Cooper (one of the original Cracked bloggers) with a film noir tone.[8]

Notable episodes[edit]

The series kicked off in May 2008, criticizing CNN's reporting on Tiffany Shepherd—the teacher allegedly fired for part-timing as a bikini-mate.[11] HBN averages over 125,000 views, while Episode 25: "Twilight Sucks Edition,"[12] had over 300,000 views and the aforementioned Episode 39: "Black Eyed Peas Write the Worst Song Ever"[13] has over 935,000 and counting.[14] November, 2009 marks the beginning of Hate by Numbers' third season. The November 16 premier revisited the Twilight series, counting down the New Moon trailer in Episode 46.[15] It quickly topped 100,000 views in the first 24 hours after its release. Episode 12,[16] which counted off six things to hate about Miley Cyrus' song "7 Things," has gained more popularity on YouTube than on Cracked.com, with over half a million views there.[17]

Writing[edit]

Although he was already a frequent contributor to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Gladstone gained more notoriety after joining Cracked as a columnist in 2007.[11] His column "Throwing Stones" skewered pop culture, satirizing both the vapidity of celebrity life and the incompetence of those outlets reporting on it.[18] A year later, his HBN video series grew out of largely the same mindset, but with a greater focus on cable news and expanding into popular entertainment.

Gladstone often freelances for ComedyCentral.com, both at Indecision Forever[3] and Comedy Central Insider.[19] He has collaborated with a number of other notable humorists including Eric Feezell of the Morning News; Daniel O'Brien, Michael Swaim, Dale Dobson and Ian Cooper of Cracked; Man vs. Weather author Dennis DiClaudio; Comedy Central Insider's Editor Matt Tobey; McSweeney's Editor, C. Monks; and Kittenpants editor, Darci Ratliff. Gladstone is shopping his completed screenplay and has begun work on a second.[20]

In 2008, Gladstone was published in hardcover, being featured in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes.[21] Several of Gladstone's standalone videos through can be seen at his website.[22] In 2010, he has been appearing on WFNX Boston's morning show,[23] discussing recent articles and current events.

In 2010, Gladstone has focused more of his attention on political matters. In his Cracked column he has made strong statements about topics including Park51 (the controversial Muslim community center planned for Lower Manhattan), and the purportedly pro-Obama site WTF Has Obama Done So Far.[24] Episode 63 of HBN counts down the music video for Trade Martin's "We've Gotta Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero."[25] Gladstone has made several appearances on WFNX Boston's The Morning Show to comment on political issues and other current events.[23] He coined the phrase voterection, referring to "a visible sign from voters that they are excited about a politician and/or that politician's ideas"[26] in his controversial November 20, 2010 Cracked column on Barack Obama.[24]

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse[edit]

Gladstone's first novel, Notes from the Internet Apocalypse, is the first in a trilogy to be published by Thomas Dunne Books,[27] released on 4 Mar 2014. First appearing as a serialized novella on Cracked.com In 2011,[28] and written as a "found journal," the novel follows a fictional Gladstone on a journey to find the Internet, which has suddenly and inexplicably disappeared.

Stylistically, the novel is a sci-fi mystery, following many conventions of the crime fiction genre, but modernizes the noir atmosphere with both broad Internet-based humor and social commentary. Patton Oswalt has described Notes from the Internet Apocalypse as "An oddly heartfelt journey through the wasteland of a techno-collapse," and adds that "Gladstone takes an admittedly far-fetched and off-putting story idea and breathes startling life into it. He gambles here, but he wins."[29]

When asked in an interview how the expanded Notes from the Internet Apocalypse differs from the online version, Gladstone stated that aside from the novel being 65% longer, it emphasizes the "addictions, loss, and loves" of the protagonist "with social satire as a backdrop", and that "The novel is character driven ... It's ultimately a love story."[30]

Humor[edit]

Viewers and interviewers often ask, "Why all the hate?" and Gladstone has jokingly countered, "Love isn't funny."[7] On a more serious level, he adds, "It's more revealing the breakdown in logic...finding people who are bad at their job and calling them on it."[7]

In a discussion of Jewish humor in America, Gladstone mentions the “tikkun olam,” a Hebrew phrase for which he offers the translation "putting the world in order."[8] This concept can be found in the often darkly satirical humor of Gladstone's own Hate by Numbers web series. HBN, he says, isn't about hate.[7] There is more to Jewish comedy, he suggests, than complaining. One of the themes of this discussion is the rejection of cynicism. To teach through humor is not easy, but it demonstrates the concern of the teacher for the student. Referring to a character in his favorite Jewish joke, Gladstone says, "By taking the time and energy to do things the hard way, he confirms his faith in humanity."[31]

Bibliography[edit]

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References[edit]