Spotlight on an Awesome Imgurian: Graehall

This month we’re celebrating Original Content in every shape and form, and you’re invited! There’s a new theme each week between now and October 24th, so grab your paint-brush, your editing software, or your sewing needles, and join us in celebrating OC-Tober!

To kick off Imgur’s first-ever OC-Tober we’re chatting with @graehall, an Imgurian pioneering a new type of original content on Imgur: Written comedy.

While written comedy has probably been around since the first human chiseled “Why chicken cross cave?” into a rock – beyond the meme formats we know and love, written comedy on Imgur is very much in its infancy.

In championing this format, Grae is crossing that road to bring OC comedy writing to Most Viral, encourage fellow writers, and lift the spirits of Imgurians everywhere with his own unique brand of humor as one of Australia’s comedy goods.

OC: Zamboni is a fun word to say in anger

Comedy isn’t Grae’s first rodeo, and his pedigree in the world of content creation is extensive, spanning decades. As Grae explains, his journey from a digital art and print creative to Creative Director wasn’t all Mad Men and smooth sailing; “Working in my 20s was always a struggle. Meeting deadlines, staying organized and focused was difficult and I found myself in a cycle of self-destruction.”

“At 28 I finally got the help I needed with a solid diagnosis and treatment. After reading about ADHD and OCD in adults I suddenly had clarity – so much of my past made sense, like being bullied, failing out of school, and my bevy of terrible mistakes.”

Struggling and failing to find a work-life balance, working 6 – 7 days a week, Grae was feeling burned out and was questioning whether he even enjoyed this field. A wind of change was in the air.

That we know of…

It was 2013, Grae was neck-deep in a game design project working with people around the globe. Struggling with a lack of face-to-face interaction, he found himself desperate for a way to improve his written communication. “I went hunting on Google for practical writing advice. The most helpful article I found suggested I practice writing jokes — one a week. If you can write a funny joke, you can write a convincing paragraph. The skills transfer, or so they claimed…”

I was noticing the funniest stuff people were sharing was coming mostly from one place, Imgur. I started to go to Imgur too.”

He went on to explain, “I found myself constantly surprised at how often the comments were as funny or funnier than the post. So I figured, what better place to practice writing that elusive one joke a week?” Like many people taking their first steps into Original Content, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, “I started terribly, but slowly improved.”

Comedy is notoriously challenging, and introducing yourself as an original comedian to Imgur can be even tougher. We were curious, given all that, exactly why Grae got into comedy full-time. Was it unrequited upvotes? Or, in his own words, does he just like disappointing his parents?

“Writing jokes, making people laugh, it reminded me of baking with my Finnish grandma,” He continued, “Indulge me for a minute if you will, ‘cause she was an awesome nana…”

“I used to sit next to her and watch cooking shows as she wrote down recipes in her notebook. She was a legendarily good cook and an even better baker. After she passed I started a tradition of baking muffins every Sunday night in her memory.” He goes on, “Watching the ingredients baked into something that tasted like happy and sharing them with my friends, family, and anyone who got within throwing distance, always felt a bit magical.”

“Not long after I started with the jokes I made the connection, writing and telling jokes gives me that same feeling as baking muffins did. It makes me happy, I get to share it with other people and it makes them happy. So I guess I feel like The Muffin Man.” The Muffin Man said.

Joke Mixtape No.6 – Is this ok?

Keen to graduate from humble comment farmer to a fully-fledged original contributor, Grae set himself a challenge to branch out from his medium and embrace Original Content in its truest form.

“125,000 words into a novel and feeling pretty isolated, I needed a way to let off some steam and get some direct interaction with an audience. So in March this year, I started focusing on writing my own jokes on Twitter.”

“That joke format is well-recognized across the internet, and has become a hub for comedians. I wanted to try writing the style of jokes I saw in posts every day. With the hope that one day I’d see one of my jokes featured in a post.”

With his background in creative and advertising, Grae has worked to establish a unique and punchy brand for his comedy work which stands out from the crowd on Imgur and beyond. No small feat in itself. In creating a new brand that conveys his message and communicates his spirit – an iterative process – Grae reminisces on a trio of people who have helped give life to his image.

Grae explains it was a trio of Josh’s who each had a hand in this process, “I was a month or two deep into writing, publishing jokes on Imgur with little success. It was then another Imgurian, @CloakerJosh, asked a question right in front of my face. ‘Why was my brand so angry looking?’ Simply put: I had illustrated it 13 years ago when I was younger and angrier.”

“I had a week illustrating the new face to show the world, but when it came to drawing my mouth I fell mute. To my rescue rode my nephew Josh the artist, who wiped the smile back on my face with a sketch.

I heard he got divorced 'cause he hates any form of union

“Finally, my housemate Josh – who has worked in comedy for 6-7 years and witnessed well over a thousand comedy shows – who today gave me some much needed tough love. It’s about getting out there and performing, not just talking. Certainly helps to have that wealth of experience, and advice like that at home.”

“All told, and with the help of The Three Joshateers, I was rebranded, re-energized, and ready to shine.”

“Sounds like a lot of joshing around.”

Joke Single: The first of the Gear Wars

Grae prides himself on his ability to pull a joke from thin air; so during our interview, we decided we’d put him to the test.

Imgur: “Grae, tell us a joke”
Grae: “How about we write a joke together? Pick six words, ideas, or phrases.”
Imgur: “Make us a joke out of: Giraffes, ska music, Italian food, bananas, shoes and powertools”
Grae: “So right off the bat, we want to look for something surprising, which is the key to funny, but something that’s simple and right in front of our eyes. Like, what do bananas call their grandmas? Bananananas.”

Since March, Grae has been setting himself ever more ambitious goals in his pursuit of comedy gold. What started an objective to write just 50 jokes for an OC comedy collection, has since exploded – With the intense goal of writing 1,000 jokes before Halloween. “Writing so many jokes so quickly, a few people took notice and asked for some numbers. After bit of screwing around in calc.exe, I came up with these two stats which make me proper happy, I write 4.53 Jokes Per Day (JPD), and every hour of every day – even when I’m asleep – I’m apparently writing 19% of a joke.

In pioneering this new format on Imgur, Grae is also keen to encourage others who might be looking to dip their toes into the world of comedy on Imgur, and beyond. He explained, “There’s a world of great comedy writers and performers out there, and people willing to teach and nurture talent in all forms.”

And if it WAS murder, who killed her?

Jenna Moreci – Her writing advice videos are equal first to my high school speculative fiction teacher’s lessons in terms of who has taught me the most about writing. When the audiobook of her novel was released it hit #1 on Audible in both Scifi/Fantasy and in Romance. She was a crucial influence on my comedy writing journey. If you want my advice, it’s take her advice on writing.

Jimmy Carr’s Five Interesting Things About Jokes – Short, simple, explains an invaluable amount about writing a joke in the briefest of times.

Joke Mixtape No.10 – Waka Waka Waka Wiki Wiki Wiki Waka Waka Waka

“Thanks to @SullenPlatypus for her brilliant commissioned illustrations, @MrPuckett and @FrozenFoodGuy for posting my work and encouraging me, my parents for not being disappointed in me when I said I was going to be a comedy writer, and @Sarah for being awesome.”

Thanks to Grae for spending the time chatting to us. This month is the perfect time to get involved and share your creations! So dust off that unseen classic, finish that promising project you put on pause, or create something completely contemporary, because the best way to celebrate Imgur’s OC-tober is to share your OC!

Be brave, be bold, be original! (And just a little bit spooky)

Source: Imgur