As Twitter continues its uncomfortable writhing under the yoke of newly-installed owner Elon Musk, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz has secured what might be the ultimate in commentary on Musk’s nascent leadership of the site: An interview with Twitter user Dril, the online comedian once memorably dubbed “the patron saint of the internet” by former A.V. Club editor Clayton Purdom.
As many people have noted, Dril is sort of the prototypical form of the kind of online poster Musk seems desperate to be—funny, unpredictable, and deeply unconcerned with seeming cool, which is, of course, extremely cool. (Not for nothing that Musk once posted a meme that was a classic Dril joke with all identifying markers shaved off.) This week alone, you can find obvious evidence in the gulf in their posting abilities in abundance: As Musk “trolled” a disinterested Stephen King with all the flair of a seventh-grader playing “I’m not touching you,” Dril simply roasted Musk alive in the interview. “Elon seems like one of the classic comedic showmen,” he told Lorenz at one point during the interview. “Everything he does is a comedic bit. He’s always trying to get a laugh, that’s why he makes all his cars suicidal.”
Continuing the theme, Dril took aim at Musk’s pledge to begin reducing the algorithmic focus that “negative” tweets will receive, drawing accusations that he’ll be instituting so-called shadowbanning practices. “My freedom of speech has been eradicated,” Dril asserted. “Say a Tesla ran into my son and killed him. Maybe I think that it’s fine, it’s not negative that a Tesla ran into my son and killed him. That’s fine, because it’s a work in progress.”
The whole interview is like that—the kind of high-wire act of irony, self-deprecation, and just sheer weirdness that epitomizes a very specific breed of online comedy. (At one point, Dril states that he’ll never pay for a blue check mark, but that, if Musk offered him a job, “I think it would be my duty to answer the call. I would absolutely do it. I would be his dog, I would follow his every order like a disgusting dog. I would beg for his mercy and I would learn to code if it pleased him.”) Sentence-by-sentence, it’s one of the best interviews we’ve read all year—and a firm reminder of the very odd, very valuable world that’s now endangered by Musk’s handling of the service.