There's no denying it: there are way too many terrible "Sh*t Blank Says" videos out there at this point. But that doesn't mean there aren't still some good ones being made, like "Sh*t Rocks Say" and "Sh*t Mimes Say." And this week, we highly enjoyed "Sh*t Native New Yorkers Say," the spiritual successor (or spiritual grandfather?) to "Sh*t New Yorkers Say." We spoke to comedian Anthony DeVito, one of the creators of "Sh*t Native New Yorkers Say" via email, to see what he makes of all this sh*t.
What did you think of the first "Sh*t New Yorkers Say" video? Eliot and Ilana Glazer, who made "Shit NYers Say," are friends of mine and I love their video; it’s a pitch-perfect satire of those young, spoiled New Yorkers we all love to hate. They knew exactly what they were doing and they did it very well.
How do you feel about the "Sh*t Blank Says" meme at this point? Is there anything else that can be done with it now? I really got a kick out of the first "Shit Girls Say" video and a lot of the ones that came after are great. I like how specific they are, and that people were inspired by the original to create videos that reflected their own experiences. I'm a big fan of comedy that's also social commentary and this meme is a natural for that. When people laugh, they can also learn! (Group hug.)
The thing about the web today is that it's a frantic race be current and to declare things "over." Nobody wants to be the jerk who gets called out for liking something that the jaded eye-rollers have already moved on from. It reminds me of that, "That's so 27 seconds ago" commercial that I hate. I think that, coupled with the fear of ruthless Internet judgement, actually discourages people from doing what they want to do. I want to give a shout-out to Carolyn Castiglia for getting this ball rolling and to Jason Cusato for shooting and editing it.
When it comes to memes in general I say, funny is funny and if you have something to say, then fuckin' say it, otherwise you wouldn't have said it, you jerkoff. (Sorry, that was my native Brooklynite coming out.)
Where did you grow up and go to high school? What part of the city do you live in now? I grew up in Brooklyn in Bergen Beach (near Kings Plaza) and now I live in Bay Ridge, so you could say I've lived all over the world. I went to Xaverian High School which oddly enough is like 5 blocks from where I live now. But when I went there it took almost 2 hours and 2 buses to get home. (The B9 and the B41 in case you were wondering.)
How many of the things in the video have actually happened to you? Obviously a lot of the stuff was exaggerated for comic effect, but a few things did happen to me. I got mugged at gunpoint when I was 13 and the rat bastards got my chain and Christ head, which was a Confirmation present. And many of the things Danny, Jenny, Ruby and Angel said were 100% true. And that's what makes it funny.
I will often walk down some street and look up and say "Wait, when did this happen?" Brooklyn moves a lot faster now that it has in decades and sometimes it takes me by surprise. But I didn't have to step over dead bodies to walk to school. That much.
What do you think of hipsters/"hipster culture"? It's very easy to bash hipsters, mainly because they make it so easy. Many of them are just young posers wearing stupid costumes and living their little ironic indie lives until they get married and move to the suburbs because their parents want to sell the condos they bought for them. But a lot of the young artists, designers, musicians, chefs, filmmakers, etc. are very talented and are doing good things. NYC never stops changing or moving forward and "hipsters" are just a part of that. As an artist myself I feel people like me are in a unique position, with one foot in "old Brooklyn" and one in "new Brooklyn." There's a lot of good in both, and one is not automatically better than the other.
What does your mom (and grandma) think of them, and the changing culture of NYC? My grandmother passed away a few years ago but she moved to Florida in the early 80s. I used to love telling her things like "We went to Smith Street to eat" and she'd say "Why would you go there? Are you trying to get killed??" She had a fixed idea of what Brooklyn was, and had a hard time picturing it getting better in any way. My mother lives in Florida too but she's much more aware of how things have changed. She never uses the word hipster but she really hates "yuppies" and has very fond memories of her own childhood in Brooklyn.
What's your favorite NY TV show/movie? Where do I even start with this one? I think for films, Little Fugitive tops the list. Also Moonstruck, Saturday Night Fever, Marty, West Side Story, Saturday Night Fever, Shaft, The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 (the original), Goodfellas, Dog Day Afternoon... the list goes on. And on. And on. My favorite NY TV shows are 30 Rock and Louie, Law & Order of course, and I also loved Welcome Back Kotter, All in the Family, Taxi and anything that mentioned Brooklyn. I think the all-time classics are The Odd Couple and the masterpiece of the art form, The Honeymooners. And yes, I would love to be on a sitcom, so please make that happen.