Web site of the week: Laughing with Ze Frank

Jason Hall

Alone in his New York City apartment, a 34-year-old man sits at a desk talking to a video camera. He talks about politics, the media, science, humor — basically whatever he feels like talking about. When he’s done talking to his camera, he edits the video and puts it online.

The man’s name is Ze Frank, and recording and publishing videos is his daily ritual. And it’s the daily ritual of thousands of people worldwide to watch them.

Frank began this daily habit nearly a year ago. He calls the series simply, “The Show.” In the last year, he’s managed to gain quite a following of what he calls “sports racers” — loyal viewers and contributors to the show. Frank’s show and its creator have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.

In his show, Frank tackles serious issues with his ever-present sense of humor. From the latest political news to breaking scientific discoveries, Frank manages to make just about anything funny.

Frank’s non sequitur attitude is evident at every step. In a May 2006 episode of “The Show,” Frank encouraged viewers to make an “Earth sandwich” by finding someone who lived on the opposite end of the Earth and organizing to simultaneously place a piece of bread on the ground. Hundreds of viewers worldwide participated.

He also has a unique knack for explaining everyday things in interesting ways. In last Wednesday’s episode Frank, gave a beginner’s lesson on how to procrastinate, saying, “For example … if (the thing you’re avoiding) is writing a thank you e-mail, try out all the fonts on your computer or search for a new quote for your signature line.”

Later, he explains more advanced procrastination techniques: “Start simply, but don’t be afraid to extend yourself … browse through your fonts, then download more fonts, then download pornography!”

He wraps up his procrastination lesson by saying, “a good procrastination addiction should feel like you’re inserting lots and lots of commas into the sentence of your life. It should get harder to complete that sentence without stuttering — and nobody blames a stutterer-er.”

Sadly, despite “The Show’s” success, Frank has announced that he will be ending the series on March 17, one year after his first episode. Until then, there will be new episodes of “The Show” every weekday.

View the show here

Contact ALL correspondent Jason Hall at [email protected].