It’s almost funny: Comedians write comedy but all they read is hate. Though it’s a problem theoretically easy to solve: Don’t write hate comments. Don’t read hate comments. But the problem with online hate for comedians lies deeper, beyond the comedian’s ego.
This week, I performed at a comedy show that is streamed online on youtube. From previous experiences the comments are brutal, so I’ve heard. Especially, and this shouldn’t be a surprise, for female comedians. But: more comments, more clicks. Right before I went onstage, one colleague read to me out loud the mean comments people wrote during his performance just minutes before. I wondered why he did that.
Because I don’t care if someone presses thumbs down on my videos. I don’t care if some dude leaves an expert comment like „unfunny cunt“. If you don’t like me, you’re probably not my target audience. Case closed. For me.
What I do care about is that hate online propagates hate in real life. It radicalizes, moves boundaries of what’s considered acceptable, away from empathy to apathy. Simply put, words matter. They change how we think and thoughts change how we behave.
People who write hate comments live among us like normal people. They don’t wear an asshole badge on their forehead. We sit on the same bus, work together, we might have matched on Tinder. Somewhere some guy, who insults me online, might go on a date. If she’s lucky, he shows his hate as bluntly as online. Worst case, he slowly dribbles his misogyny on a women, who might not have a hard-boiled fuck off attitude like me. I cannot protect these women and that makes me sick. My only hope: if you meet someone who lets your asshole radar ping: run, block, repeat! You’re better off alone.
Comedians often say they’re dead inside. In fact, I still feel something: pity – for those who tragically think their poisonous opinion online matters. Who waste their time hating instead of looking for something they love. Or have you ever seen jazz enthusiasts heckle a rap concert? I want to hug them, give them the attention they so badly need. Face to face. I want to show them love, listen to them, talk to them about what they find funny. What scares them, what do they feel threatened by? I want to look them into their eyes while we talk about hate. Marina Abramovic style. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for all of them.
So I can only say: Do not indulge in hate, but dare to show love.
In May, I was invited by the speaker convention Rednergilde to speak at their business and networking event in Hamburg. I performed a stand-up comedy set in combination with my cartoons. It was my first time performing at a nice, fancy business hall. And not like usually, inside a dingy back room in between passed out drunks. The theme of the night was “future” (in German “Zukunft”).
The first thing I did to prepare myself? I googled it!
Surprisingly, when you google picture search “Zukunft”, you only get signposts. Is creating the future as easy as following a signpost, as google suggests? Hint: no. Even more surprising: when you search for “future”, google picture only gives you images of a guy named Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn. He’s a rapper and his alias is future. He obviously wanted to challenge Search Engine Optimation. And succeeded. I’m happy when people google my name at all. And then find me.
It was fun creating a witty and insightful stand-up set about one certain topic. And now I’m a speaker. I only need other businesses to find me when they google “speaker, comedy, cartoons”. Let’s hope for the best. Until then, let’s have a look at some impressions of my performance, thanks to photographer Peter Walther (c).
The google search term, that (mis)directs most visitors to my page is: „Luke Mockridge Freundin“. (Luke is a German comedian and Freundin is German for girlfriend.) Since when did my website become just the girlfriend of someone else? Isn’t it so much more than just Luke’s girlfriend? His father maybe? (This is the first and only Star Wars reference on my website ok). So now, whenever my website gets extraordinary traffic, I get immediately suspicious. I mean I’m awesome but not that awesome that thousands of people a day check out my open mic dates. Damn right: Whenever visits go up, I found out it’s either Chinese hackers or Luke’s fans. (Don’t think they overlap).
According to google, there are four Ingrid Wenzels in Germany. One has a hardware store, one is a doctor and one runs a gay club in Bochum. I’m the comedian, just making sure okay. I get it why some look for a different Ingrid and accidentally find me. Just recently, a man emailed me and asked me if I can rent out the gay club to him. But also every day, people search something completely differently – not even remotely Ingrid-related – and still get directed to my website. And thanks to google analytics, I know now what these people were originally looking for.
How did it happened that my number one search term is “Luke Mockridge Freundin”? And why do people search/wish/are afraid that I’m Luke’s girlfriend? The answer is pretty dull. (And if you belong to the elite, that has read my old infamous blog, before it got hacked, you can skip this paragraph.)
Google’s algorithm simply mismatched my usage of the word “Freundin” in one of my old blog post with the picture of me and Luke from a comedyshow in another posting. So whenever you try to find out who his girlfriend is and click on “google picture search” – you’ll see that pic of me. To make matters even worse, it’s a pic where we hold hands – just for fun. It’s not what it looks like. I deleted my website months ago for safety reasons (damn hackers). But that rumor is still out there. The internet doesn’t forget. Not even rumors it created itself. So here’s the Corpus Delicti:
Besides that, these many searches may have changed the algorithm and thus the suggestions, that pop up after my name, when searching for me. You know, it’s like when you type into google “why are all Russians…”, “all men want…” and you’re shocked by what google presents you after those dots. Actually, nowadays you can sue google, if you’re not happy with whatever insults pops up after your name. So did Germany’s former First Lady, because google suggested “prostitute” for her name. One of my girlfriends googled my name recently and was suggested „Ingrid Wenzel girlfriend“. She was like „do they mean me?“. Or are people trying to figure out if I am a lesbian? I’m totally cool with it. As long as they stop googling “Ingrid Wenzel Weight” and “Ingrid Wenzel Age”. Like I’m sort of a quartet card game. “The Comedians edition”. Ah, my Louis CK card beats the Ingrid Wenzel card, in weight. But there are more absurd search words! May I now present to you marvelous search terms, that mislead people to my homepage:
Best of Search Words:
Even though I finally found an explanation for this “girlfriend situation”, I often can’t explain other search words. How big of a disappointment is my website to those, who got here searching „getting tattooedod today“ and „Männerstrip im Dorfkrug“. Sorry I can’t provide that (yet).
Other search terms are more personal, e.g. „wedding first night with Inge“.
I mean, I’m also dying to find out how my first wedding night will be. Maybe I should google it, too. Or maybe they were just searching for my favorite Baseball player Brandon Inge. And his wedding night. Which is weird, too. Unless there was some crazy Baseball action involved. Then I wanna know as well.
There are some more search words, which lead to me, that I’m actually happy about. Someone googled „room heater for comedy events“ and somehow got to me. Thanks I guess? Where I perform the room blows up. Also, do “room heater for comedy events” not work in other facilities?
Others are random like “bean art project”, “German party snack” and “DJ Ingeborg” (Granted: Sometimes, when I think my name „DJ Ingrid“ is too cool, I name myself „DJ Ingeborg“ to not intimidate people). One other recurrent search word theme is “trash”. Totally fine with that. I love trash. How else would I craft my collages and low budget birthday presents.
I now installed new SEO programs. Because Ingrid means big business. No, geez, I just hope to provide you with more silly search words soon! Keep googling!