Thought this might be of interest to all the Dlisted fans around here. It's long, but worth it. He's such a cutie, the anti-Perez!
Friday, July 17, 2009
A Friendly Chat: Michael K, Web Entrepreneur, Blogger, Pottymouth
Michael K runs and writes the website Dlisted, which gives a rundown on the day’s celebrity comings and goings with crude humor that often verges on the vulgar (though he disputes this point). Our 3 p.m. conversation took place between a post that featured some pap photos of A-ha! singer Morten Hackett (“For being almost a half-a-century old, dude is….still doing things to me. Take on my no-no, Morten!”) and one that questioned the authenticity of Soulja Boy’s Twittered pic of his groin (“Is that a bottle of Strawberry Suave in your boxers?”). Michael K lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side with a roommate and a chihuahua named Elvie (he admitted the breed with sigh: “it’s such a gay man’s dog,” he said).
THE AWL: You were apartment hunting recently. How did that work out?
MICHAEL K: Oh, it didn’t really. I’m really picky, and I don’t know why, because it’s New York. I’ve lived here six years, and I’m still looking for the perfect apartment even though it doesn’t exist unless you’re a zillionaire.
THE AWL: What’s your work day like?
MICHAEL K: I roll out of bed and get on the computer, and then at night I roll off the computer and go to bed. I don’t shower until like 7 at night, and I usually don’t eat until later either. I leave the house in the morning to walk my dog and then am just in front the computer all day.
THE AWL: So what time does this start?
MICHAEL K: I get up at like 7:30, which is like really early for me. I’ve never been a morning person. When I had an office job I would start work at 10 and get up at 9:30 and roll out. I hate getting up that early, but I have to start picking stuff out for the day. It’s really hard to be interested in that stuff at 7:30 am, hard to be funny. Usually the night before I try to get a couple of things going in my head so I’m not totally brain dead in the morning. I usually just start writing first thing when I get up, which is like, painful.
THE AWL: So you’re literally just in front of your computer all day.
MICHAEL K: I watch TV, I’m at the computer, I try to multitask, but it’s hard to watch TV and work at the same time. I’m just stuck to the computer, and if I have to take a break I’ll watch TV. I’m sure I have cancer or whatever you get from being in front of the computer too much.
THE AWL: Are you writing in character?
MICHAEL K: No, it’s totally me. Sometimes it’s an exaggeration of me, but it’s me. I’m not creating a character. There’s not two different people.
THE AWL: Can we talk about vulgarity? Your site is pretty vulgar.
MICHAEL K: It used to be worse! It used to be so much worse. I think because I’ve gotten a little bigger I’ve tamed it a little bit, but in real life I’m a lot worse. But I don’t think it’s that vulgar! I’ve always been around that, that’s how my friends and I talk. I talk like that around my mom, just because I like to shock her, so I think I get worse and worse to shock her, and she’s like oh my gosh Michael, don’t say that. But I think it’s kind of tame. What I think is vulgar isn’t like sex or anything like, but sites with exploding brains and stuff, people send me this stuff for Caption This! pictures. I can’t remember the site name, I used to link to it all the time. But that’s vulgar and gross to me: exploding assholes, exploding brains. And Christian sites are vulgar to me, too.
THE AWL: You started the site for fun. Now it’s your job. Is it still fun?
MICHAEL K: Mostly it’s fun, but it’s become a job, so it’s like with any job: “I don’t want to look at pictures of Jon Gosling again, I don’t even want to know he exists today.” But when I get into it it’s really fun, people send me things, and it’s fun, but there are days when it’s like, "God, I don’t want to even think of these people.”
THE AWL: Do you just hammer the posts out and throw them up or is there an editing process?
MICHAEL K: It’s so obvious I don’t edit them! My mistakes are so bad. I don’t really edit. I write it once, and then I go back and read it a couple times to make sure it’s somewhat legible, and then I’ll go with it. I don’t change a lot of things. I want it to be first instincts, whether it’s funny or it’s not, just first thoughts.
THE AWL: Do you feel a kinship with other bloggers, that you’re part of a bigger community? Or does it really feel like just you and your site.
MICHAEL K: It isn’t as lonely as it sounds, I talk to other bloggers all day, to readers all day. It’s not completely lonely.
THE AWL: Do you ever meet your readers?
MICHAEL K: When I started I’d meet people all the time, they’d be like, oh let’s go for a drink. Now I don’t do that as often. It’s still kind of weird. It’s like a blind date. And now it’s so much pressure. So I do it, but I kind of have to be liquored up before I do it.
THE AWL: How did you end up in New York?
MICHAEL K: I’m from L.A. I always wanted to live in New York, ever since I was a kid. I knew I would like it. I visited a few times, and I lived in Florida for a little bit, but that was just awful. So I just moved here.
THE AWL: After school?
MICHAEL K: Yeah, after college, in L.A., in Orange County.
THE AWL: What did you think you’d end up doing?
MICHAEL K: I never really knew, honestly. I thought like, oh, maybe I’ll be a writer. It always changed. I’d watch a movie about fashion design and think, oh maybe I’ll be a fashion designer. I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grow up. And I still don’t. I don’t see blogging as a real job. And people don’t either, people are like, oh when are you going to get a real job? It’s like, good question. It just doesn’t seem like a real job. I think because it’s still fun, and I feel like I’m just messing around.
THE AWL: I read that you’ve been able to live off the blog for awhile.
MICHAEL K: I’ve been living off of it for a couple of years, which is crazy to me, I didn’t think I’d make one cent, it wasn’t about that. It’s still crazy. I got advertising probably the year after I started, and when I started selling ads, it was like, okay, we’ll see. I never thought I could be making a living until I started making a same amount that I made at my job.
THE AWL: Is it a lot of work to run the site?
MICHAEL K: Blogads does all my ads. I have a programmer, but not fulltime. Updating it is just the most work.
THE AWL: And what were you doing when you started the site?
MICHAEL K: I worked for a gay website for dudes to find sex with each other, and no I didn’t jerk off on webcams or anything like that. I did the administrative stuff. When I started the blog I would do some at work, some at home, some on the weekends. They knew and were totally fine with it, which was good.
THE AWL: How much longer do you see yourself doing this?
MICHAEL K: I don’t know. I just take it day by day, I don’t put a time limit on it. I don’t know if it’s still cute if I’m talking about assholes when I’m 40 years old. There’s definitely a time limit on it just because it’s so time consuming, it takes your whole life. I can’t go on vacation, I can’t have a day off. There will come a time and it’s going to be a sad day for me. It’ll be a like a chicken without its head for me.
THE AWL: Have you ever had guest bloggers so you could take a break?
MICHAEL K: A couple years ago I decided to go on vacation and I had some guests post, and it was a disaster. I came back and I had so many emails that were like, don’t ever leave again, they were total idiots, and the people who did it were like, don’t ever ask me to do that again, those people are crazy. But I might have to do it again. It would be nice to have a Saturday.
THE AWL: Wait. You blog on the weekends?
MICHAEL K: Yeah. Seven days. I don’t blog as much on the weekends, but I spend 3 or 4 hours on it on weekend days, yeah.
THE AWL: Are you actually into celebrities still?
MICHAEL K: I think it’s unhealthy how obsessed I am. I have dreams about celebrities every night. Last night I had a dream about Lady Gaga, or Lady CaCa as I have been calling her. I think I’ve always been into it, TV, movies, celebrities. It’s just the way I was born. I was always into gossip and talking shit. It’s been the biggest part of me I think.
THE AWL: Is there anyone you won’t write about?
MICHAEL K: I think the boundaries change each day. Some days I’m like, okay you’re not going to make fun of children, and some days its like, you’re not going to make fun of Michelle Williams because of the whole Heath Ledger thing. But then here are some stories you have to do whether or not you can make them funny. But there are some stories that if I can’t find any humor in it, I don’t touch it.
THE AWL: What do you think about reality TV “stars"?
MICHAEL K: I love them. I think it’s because they are such an easy target. It’s so easy to write about the Goslings, so easy to write about Heidi and Spencer. They have really no talent, so it’s such an easy target. When it’s easy it’s fun. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. They want to be famous so bad, it makes them so desperate, it’s easy to slap them around a bit, and they love it because it gives them attention. People write me and are like, stop giving them attention! But they don’t mean it. They love to slap them around, too.
THE AWL: Okay. So besides the reality kids, any other favorites to write about?
MICHAEL K: Britney was my favorite, favorite when she was a wreck. But then she got her shit together and washed her hair, since then there hasn’t been anybody like that.
THE AWL: Not Lindsay Lohan?
MICHAEL K: Sometimes I see pictures of Lohan and it’s just too sad, it’s too easy. Then sometimes I’ll read her Twitter, and it’s like god, what is she doing. I’m kind of sick of her. I’d love to see more of her mom. But with Lindsay Lohan it’s the same shit. She’s no Amy Winehouse.
THE AWL: Speaking of. What happened to her?
MICHAEL K: She went to St. Lucia and became a drunk instead of a crackhead, and now she’s back in England. She’s such a mess, but she’s so endearing for me. I just have a thing for crackheads, I like them. When everyone is standing on the street and it’s quiet, a crackhead will always talk to me.
THE AWL: Do you mostly write sober or do you turn to substances for help?
MICHAEL K: I’m mostly sober. I think people can tell when I’m drunk because I have more mistakes then, usually.
THE AWL: What TV shows do you watch?
MICHAEL K: Oh my God what don’t I watch. I watch it all. Well, all reality shows, not real TV. Everything on VH1. mostly reality shows. Reality crap. Big brother, I love that.
THE AWL: When you go out in the world and meet people, what do you say you do?
MICHAEL K: I just say I write things on the Internet, ha. Usually that’s all I say, and that’s fine, because that’s what I do. Or I say I’m a blogger. I think mostly people understand, they know what a blogger is. My mother doesn’t understand, but mostly people know.
THE AWL: Does your mom read the site?
MICHAEL K: My mom reads the site, she does. People are shocked by that, but that’s how I am with her; she doesn’t expect anything less. I talk to her everyday. I have a lot of friends that don’t talk to their parents for months. I feel weird going a day. Maybe I haven’t left the nest yet.
THE AWL: Do you have siblings?
MICHAEL K: Yeah, I have a younger sister who lives in Brooklyn. She’s a kindergarten teacher.
THE AWL: Ha! Sorry, I don’t know why that’s funny.
MICHAEL K: Yeah, we’re complete opposites, different sides of the planet. But I see her all the time. Our family is really close because it’s just us three, my dad left when I was three. But she reads the site, too.
Logan Sachon is a writer in Portland (Oregon).
Previously: Michael Anthony Steele
Published at 11:50 am, Friday, Jul 17, 2009
A Friendly Chat: Michael K, Web Entrepreneur, Blogger, Pottymouth | The Awl