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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Watch crying neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell's terrible early set as a "libertarian comedian"

Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images
Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

Chris Cantwell, the outspoken white supremacist whose trajectory from chest-thumping Charlottesville terrorist to crying, soon-to-be-arrested YouTuber, has a particularly fascinating chapter in his origin story: failed stand-up comic.

Video of a 2011 set shows a fresh-faced, distinctly unarmed Cantwell performing the hits from a man who its (definitely self-submitted) Funny Or Die page describes as a “libertarian comedian” with some “thoughts and punchlines on the current state of American Politics [sic].”


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It’s unsurprisingly terrible, running the gamut of amateur comedy tropes from a barely recognizable impression of a president to a set that gets rolling with the thought-provoking question, “Is it just me or is the world going to hell?”

Throughout all of this, Cantwell paces the stage like a caged baboon, working through a tepid series of jokes condemning “race-baiting in politics” and “the Nazis on Wall Street.” Watching now, knowing Cantwell from his more recent history as a proud racist and fascist, lends the video a surreal quality. Entirely unfunny and filled with a self-righteous, barely contained anger at everything around him, it also looks like logical first step toward his current career as complete, rather than just comedic, pariah.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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