Negative Nick

“I’m just trying to bring you back down.”

Nick (that’s not his name) and I were grabbing a beer in Salt Lake City somewhere in the fall of 2014. I had just posted a picture of my 95% naked body on Instagram as part of the inspiration for a video titled “Awkward Modeling” which we wouldn’t get around to filming for another year. It was raking in the likes and I was getting psyched about it when Nick facetiously muttered, “You’re really cool bro.”

“Why do you do that, why do you say stuff like that?” I replied defensively.

There’s a silent pause. We sip our beers. This type of energy had been an ongoing pebble in each of our shoes for the last year, and this was the first time I had said anything about it.

“I’m just trying to bring you back down.”

For the first time in a while, his voice carried a vulnerable tone of sincerity and pierced right through the buzz of our drinks. Slightly annoyed, I looked back down at my phone and continued to get lost in my shallow world of social media.

Another time in Vegas with a group of friends, we were all pre-gaming in the hotel room, surging our dopamine receptors with magnificently fake & euphoric confidence, gabbing about doing a sketch comedy show because we’re “So funny in real life! It would just be like workaholics! We’re all friends, we should do it!” Me: “Ya I’m definitely ready to try something new haha” Nick: “Ya, seriously, I don’t watch your videos haha” I roll with the punch like it’s nothing, “haha ya, they are all kind of the same…”

That was back in 2013. By that point I had been building LAHWF for about a year and was fairly used to criticism and ‘haters’, but when it came from one of my best friends who I considered really funny and had spiritual-like chemistry with, it just stung a little harder than normal.

I’m making it sound like Nick was a total asshole, and at times it certainly felt that way, but looking back now years later I realized how full of myself I actually was. The phrase “Don’t let it go to your head” flew right past me and left me floating around in a foggy, fabled fuck-I’m-great fantasy of falsehood. Hashtag alliteration. In my head, the more views I got, the more famous and richer and ‘great’ I became, and this bubble of ego just kept growing exponentially, parallel with my channel.

I distinctly remember one particular douchey thing I said that I never forgot. Nick had mentioned he ran into this girl that I had a dated for a month or two and I thoughtlessly remarked, “oh how is she? Is she over me yet? Hahaha”. Not laughing, Nick just looked at me confused and annoyed. I quickly backpedaled, “Oh wow, that was kind of a douchey thing to say huh.” His face eased a little, “uh, ya kinda haha.” This annoying, new aura I carried around naturally tormented Nick as well as a few of my other friends and I was completely oblivious to it. Nick was one of the few that called me out on it.

It’s interesting how you can sometimes look back at the way “negative” people treated you years ago and have a drastically different paradigm. My view of Nick and other “negative” people today is much more open-minded and accurate. He was only trying to bring me back ‘down to earth’. I could easily excuse Nick’s negative remarks as jealousy, or I could seek to understand where my friend of 15+ years was coming from. Your true friends will tell you when you’re being a douchebag. Of course, there’s always a balance.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew Hales

4:28pm

Los Angeles, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manic

I couldn’t sleep tonight. Just another one of those nights. I do this at least a couple times a month. It’s 6:38 am now and the birds are starting to chirp outside. I’m laying on top of my bed with my clothes on. I didn’t even try to sleep; I knew I wouldn’t be able to. Just one of those nights. I’ll think a lot and get excited about potential ideas and projects. We can celebrate once it’s completed, but for now, it’s just thoughts in my head on top of my bed. “I Fought Piranhas” by The White Stripes is playing softly in the background. Bluesy and raw, cutting to the bone. Soulful & Timeless. What would Jack White do? I’m gonna make timeless, works of art. Stories that melt your face with intrigue. The psychic said I have star quality, so I’ll be a fucking star. “Do More, Have Less”-Nah more like: Do More, Have More. I’m gonna get a house in the hills, 4 floors deep into the mountain, starting with the mini ramp, then studio, then bedrooms then main floor with a view of the city. Black Maserati in a 3 car garage. Organic produce in the fridge. giant kitchen and stove top for cooking world class paleo meals every night. Books on books on shelves in the living room. Hardcover collection of all the classics. Ample reading light. Today is the first day of the rest of your life motherfucker. Run a little faster. Don’t accept the pain, enjoy the pain. Be grateful for the pain. Have gratitude for life itself and all it’s interesting ups and downs that keep us busy and sane. Drink more water. Flush out the toxins. Think long-term. Stay focused. Stay calm. Play for your cards right. Don’t be stupid. Make mistakes. Fail faster. Fail harder. Go for the jackpot. Don’t tell me, show me. Wow me. Make me say, “wow, nice job”. “I’m very proud of you.” “That was very impressive.” It’s never too late to change. We can all change at any point in life. You can choose to think differently. You can be conscious of all the choices you make in your life. Fuck all other attitudes on the subject. You can read every day for 30 days and make it a habit. The act of picking up a book will be second nature and within a few years, you’ll be one clever motherfucker. Be here now. Enjoy the pain. Love the pain. Accept discomfort. Progress. This is your life and it’s ending 1 day at a time. Let’s fuck shit up.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Ben Franklin

Thanks For Reading,

Andrew Hales

10:09 pm

Los Angeles, CA

 

 

Beer

I’ve been in a good place lately. It sounds weird but I have to say it’s just not that ‘exciting’. It’s boring. I don’t have much to write about. I haven’t had any reason to write in a while. I’m in this weird, blurry, content state of indifference. Stable. A down-to-earth, “dumb” state of ‘happiness’. I don’t really have anything to complain about. Passion? I’m not passionate anymore. What’s fucked up is that I don’t care that I don’t care that I’m not passionate anymore. Maybe I was never passionate in the first place. Maybe all these years my pretentiousness & ego got the best of me and blinded me from what I really am: a Businessman. Sometimes my pompous, irrational ego gets the best of me and I think of myself as this suffering artist with all this passion. He’s so passionate about what he does! You’re so passionate! I dunno, at this point, for some reason, I just. don’t. fucking. care. and I’m fine with that.

I’m gonna keep vlogging my wonderful, “depressing” life. We’re gonna keep doing the “boring” interviews. I’m gonna stay on my medication and stay consistent. I’ll get married around 32-36. Have a couple kids. Die around 70-80 years old. and That’s it. I don’t wanna be a star. I just wanna be normal. Fuck perfection. Fuck “greatness”. I’m over it.

Also, I’m gonna wake up tomorrow and have a completely new, opposite paradigm.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew Hales

12:48am

Los Angeles, CA

 

 

Non-fiction

I had an epiphany today. I don’t like sketches. I mean I love Louie and Broad City and Key & Peele, but I don’t want to do that. Non-fiction is my calling. Documentaries and interviews (and real pranks, but that chapter’s over). I’m not a character; I’m just myself. I talked about this realization with Chad (aka Cherdleys aka Character Authority) at Coachella. We both laughed at the fact that my ‘comedy’ is a byproduct of my authenticity. If and when I am funny, it’s an accident. I don’t like acting. The amount of mental focus it requires is something I’m nowhere near passionate enough to hone and get good at. If I really did enjoy it, I’d be calling up Chad and Blake every day and scheduling the time to film sketches, but every time I think about doing that I get this uncomfortable feeling of dread and cognitive dissonance. Why bother?

After lucking out on Youtube, somewhere down the road you get all this pressure to better yourself and take your “career” to the next level. “So! What’s next! You’re so funny! You should have Show!” Everyone expects you to grow and be funny or be awkward or whatever and that can be stressful. If you think about it, most of Youtube IS non-fiction. Vlogs are non-fiction. Technically they’re little documentaries of people exposing their lives and personalities to the world. Some things I could do the rest of my life without any dread: Writing. Editing. Interviewing. Directing. Journalism. Non-Fiction.

I’m so relieved the Chatting With series is slowly gaining momentum. I’ll be putting them on the main channel starting next week, shooting for every Wednesday. Chatting With Wednesdays. Bigger guests, better questions.

Thanks for Reading,

Andrew Hales

2:39pm

Los Angeles, CA

Homeostasis

“What’s that?” My girlfriend asks pointing to the (now open) middle console.

I had strategically placed two Lexapro there to take discreetly while I visited her in Long Beach for the weekend. I take one a day, everyday.

“Oh that’s Lexapro, it’s an anti-depressant, I actually haven’t taken one today,” grabbing one and popping it in my mouth as nonchalantly as I could, as if I wasn’t hiding the fact that I take anti-depressants from her. I watched her face sink as I washed it down with a stray water bottle.

“Wow dang that suucks.” She wasn’t pleased. “What would happen if you stopped taking them?”

“I would just…be more…depressed than I already am!” a raise and smirk in my expression, trying to lighten the mood. She giggled a little.

“You’re not depressed though.”

“I know it’s because I take them.”

“Whatever, it’s a placebo.”

It’s difficult to describe what clinical Depression feels like because once you’re out of it and thinking clearly again, it’s hard to comprehend and remember how bad it really was. Your complete state of mind is in another dimension by itself. You’re entire reality is painted in relentless, ruthless negativity. The glass is half-empty and you simply can’t see it any other way.

I think the reason I started writing this post is because I’ve lately started to feel the Lexapro wearing off. Somewhere in the back of my head I knew it eventually would. Taking a pill to solve your inner struggle/growth?/am I really depressed or not-who knows!) with life is simply too good to be true. The natural laws of the universe won’t allow it.

Ok so I’ll taper off. I’ll be completely ‘sober’ again. Clean. Hell let’s maybe even kick coffee. Maybe if I simply stick to exercising hard as fuck everyday, drink lots of water, sleep, don’t prank people, don’t even worry about Youtube, just hide out and wait it out, write, read, be alone, over time my neurotransmitters will heal. I’ll achieve Homeostasis. 

I won’t laugh as much. I’ll be more serious. Quiet. I’ll stop weed completely. I won’t be able to handle it anymore anyway. I’ll stop drinking, well, I dunno about that. I’ll probably want to drink more. There is this thing people have told me about called self-control though. I should look into that.

I’m not worried. In fact, I’m a little excited. Music will sound better. Movies will be more moving. My orgasms will be more intense. It’s sounds totally backwards but I’ve kind of missed being miserable.

Oh well. Bring it on.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew Hales

3:15am

Los Angeles, CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work

I can’t think. I’m sitting here waiting for inspiration. It’s been 30 minutes now. I guess this is work. I’m doing it. I’m in the thick of it. I’m reading through all my notes and I’m not laughing. Nothing seems funny or interesting to me. It’s annoying. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to write a web series but I can’t. I guess this is what I’ve been scared of for so long. It’s actually pretty uncomfortable. I just need to keep staring at the screen. Keep sitting here. I was reading a self-help book before this when I suddenly, mysteriously thought, this is a distraction. I’m never going to feel ready. Do it now. So here I am. I’m just waiting here. I guess I’m distracting myself writing down this blog post right now. It’s making me feel a little better. Not really though, this is all fluff. Does Louis C.K. experience this when he writes his sketches? Probably. I hope so. I’m just gonna keep doing this. It’s not fun. I don’t like it. But I wanna do it. This is work. This is exercise. I’m doing it. I’m writing. The same as doing push-ups. I did 40 push-ups today. It wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t fun. I was glad I did it though. I now get to live with the knowledge of having done the pushups. That’s the reward. Stronger muscles and a better looking body is nice but the real reward is the knowledge that I consciously chose to put forth effort into something. It’s a mental reward. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m working. I’m waiting. I’m writing. This is work. Do the work. Ok, glad I could get that out of my system, back to sitting and waiting. Back to working.

Thanks for Reading,

Andrew Hales

3:55am

Bountiful, Utah

Comfort

“So what’s the next project?” My dad asks as we drive to Costco. “and I don’t mean videos, I mean what’s the next big venture.”

My jaded view towards pranks hasn’t been a secret for some time now. Naturally, my parents inquire what’s next for their day-dreaming, entrepreneurial son.

I go on autopilot, repeating the same variation of things I always say. “Probably documentaries or interviews. Music could be cool.” I’ve used this as an answer for the last couple years now.

“Huh.” He acknowledges. My dad is a very “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of guy. Realistic and cautious. My mom on the other hand usually responds, “Oh honey you’d be so good at that!” to anything I’ve considered trying. She has more confidence in me than I do.

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

– Tim Ferris

Straight out of my bible, The 4-Hour Work Week, I guess I took that sentence a little too literally. #KingofAwkward

The truth is that progress and growth is uncomfortable. The problem is I’m addicted to comfort. I must break that addiction now.

*Does 30 push-up*

Ok. Hold on. *panting hard and loud* Let me just rest for a second.

*Falls asleep*

*Wakes up, turns on TV to watch Mad Men*

*Drinks Coffee*

*Continues watching Mad Men*

*Kills more time.*

Life is so fucking weird. I don’t know what the hell to make of it. I’m glad I could write this blog post though. Took me a minute to think of what to write but I finally just started writing. Sometimes you just need to sit and stair at the blank white for a while. That’s work. That’s the process.

I’m gonna turn pro. No more Mad Men. Time to work again. Work is fun. Work is life.

To me, what makes art in all it’s different forms beautiful isn’t just it’s appearance but also the knowledge of the honest hours of work and effort that was put into it.

Work is beautiful.

There is no honor in easy. There is no happiness in comfort.

“Many a false step by standing still.” – anon.

Thanks For Reading,

Andrew Hales

5:06am

Los Angeles, CA