I have the very funny and talented @ObscureGent in the Beyond the Bio HoT seat today. If you’re not already following him, you’re missing out! So go follow him then read his interview!
While it's frowned upon to eat a carne asada burrito that's been abandoned on the street, you still gotta think…free burrito.
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) April 22, 2017
Things to know about @ObscureGent
Name: I go by many names @ObscureGent, Lord Goomba, Jams, Lucifer, Ifawanda Nubiduh, but friends call me Jim. (Most people on Twitter call me James for some reason)
Living in: Born and raised in southern California. I lived four years in Texas, but I shall never go back there. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO BACK THERE! The humidity is insane and the Mexican food is all covered in nacho cheese.
Number of followers: 12,200 people that like tweets about David Lee Roth and Pepsi.
Year graduated high school: The year was 1996. The year of mediocrity and more mediocrity. The year when everything was bland and nobody remembers.
Joined Twitter: I started tweeting in 2010 for my comic but that was mostly just links and me telling 10 people that I was playing video games. Really lame and embarrassing stuff (I’ve deleted most of it). I didn’t start really tweeting (humorous tweets) until about two years ago. My friend @PlainTravis bragged about getting 100 favs on a tweet that he directed at the band Reel Big Fish. I then made it my goal to destroy him, so I started attempting to tweet as much as possible in an effort to beat his record. I succeeded and his skull sits on top of my mantle.
Me: When you're older there'll be a place where you draft 140 word paragraphs for fun
10 Me: that sounds like prison
Me: It is Jimmy. It, is
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) April 27, 2017
Tell us about your family.
Married to my beautiful wife Kirsten for eight years. I met her at a retail job while in college. She was blonde, funny, and loved music and dating someone else. So I did what any normal person would do, I stole her from the guy. We have two kids, a five-year-old girl named Laila and a two-year-old son named Logan.
What do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
My career is that of a Manager at a global company that works with 75% of all fortune 500 companies. It’s a great job but for fun I write a twice a week web comic with my brother Aaron. It’s based on my tweets as well as random pop culture events. It’s a great break from reality. In addition to that I co-host a weekly podcast called 12 For a Penny where we talk about music and the meanings we perceive them to have.
Why did you join Twitter?
I joined to promote the Obscure Gentlemen. My wife was a social media expert and introduced the world to me. She regrets that.
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
I used to tweet to purely promote my comic and now I tweet because it’s fun and it’s where my comics ideas come from. In my head, I think an idea is funny but it can fall flat once created into a comic. Twitter has allowed me to test the waters and see if the joke is accessible and funny to other people.
If a gorilla stole my girlfriend and started throwing barrels at a construction site, the last guy I'm gonna call for help is a plumber.
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) May 27, 2016
Tell us about The Obscure Gentlemen.
The Obscure Gentlemen is a comic created out of my desire to keep in close contact with my little brothers Nick and Aaron when I lived in Texas. Aaron had a blog when he was younger and I asked him if we could just do a comic with the three of us. This was in 2009 and later we had other friends write as well to showcase their creativity. Then we took a one-year break and started the whole thing over again in 2015. Now it’s just me and my brother Aaron who draws everything. I write most of the comics based on my tweets or turn other people’s tweets into comics. The cool thing about that is searching through a tweeter’s archives and seeing what works best. It’s like directing someone else’s script. Seeing my brother grow as an artist has really been one of my favorite things about the comic. I get to see him express his talents weekly.
@obscuregent is where I tweet from. That’s where I test my tweets out for the comic and RT people (when I have time). I use @theobscuregents to post everything from the Obscure Gentlemen world. Comics, podcasts, Youtube content, Patreon links, etc. It’s an account for real fans of the comic and the Obscure Twitter Battle that we do.
Tell us about your podcast, 12 For a Penny.
My true love is music. Most people think it’s probably nerd based pop culture. That’s not the case at all. I grew up a long-haired metal head that loves music. I used to play bass and sing in high school. I’ve been to thousands of concerts and love talking about music, from Elvis and the The Rolling Stones to Slayer and Danzig. So every week I meet with two of my best friends, Joey and Yama, and we talk about music we know really well or don’t know well at all. As most of the things I do I love doing this as a way to connect with the people I love. Hearing stories about how music affected my friends and or myself.
I've never listened to music, is it any good?
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) April 8, 2017
Tell us about your Obscure For a Penny Zero Twitter battle. Why is this the last one?
Twitter has many contests and each one has some level of bias. I wanted to create something that removed that as much as possible. I basically wanted to create a contest that I would love to compete in (although I cannot). So I made it a one-on-one kumate /NCAA-type tournament with some of my favorite tweeters. Made the judging blind and made sure the judges had a good mix of men and women of varying ages and career backgrounds. Each use social media but none of them use Twitter, so even if they looked at the contestants they have no idea who they are. Follower counts, cliques, gender doesn’t matter. Then the last piece is just showing the text of each tweet to the judges for them to decide. It’s fun to do and it’s great to organize but it’s a lot of work. People seem to enjoy it and treat it like a sport. I’d love to continue to do them but there just isn’t enough time. Who knows, maybe five months from now we’ll do another, but for now I’m retiring it…for now.
Haha! Are you be posting the results for each round on The Obscure Gentlemen?
Yes, from the time the theme is given up until the submittal end time people are submitting. I take the link and post it in a battle draft that I’ve made. Then I copy and paste the text only to the judge’s room which is on an app called Group Me (a DM room for non-twitter people). Once they have all voted I release a tweet showing who the contestants are and what their tweets are. Then I wait an hour or so and post the outcome with the declared winner. So you find out in real time if you follow theObscuregents account. Once the round is over I post a new bracket updated with all the victors for all of the internet to see.
When is the final round?
There are six rounds so if you make it to the finals it ends May 15th. The victor will be announced on the 16th of May. The first round gets 1 week to tweet and each round after gets about a day and a half. This helps people with busy schedules.
I’m so curious about this contest. I imagine, like you said, that it has to be a lot of work. It takes me 3-4 hours of work per interview I do or Top 10 Tweets list I post. It’s got to be WAY more to go through all those tweets. At least it gets cut in half each round.
For this last one I went with 128 tweeters. So the first 2 rounds are the toughest. When my family is asleep I do all of the prep work by drafting the match up tweets, combining images and adding icons, then as the tweets are submitted I update brackets with the outcome and delete pics off of my phone. The judging is the easiest part. I just cut and paste and watch. The judges have busy schedules and we don’t move on until we have an outcome. Then they announce a victor and I announce the winner an hour later. I’m very organized with this and now have it worked down to a science. It’s fun seeing what people who don’t use twitter think about twitter tropes. At this point they have read hundreds of tweets so they are aware that people like wine and use the name Karen. So what won them over in the first contest we did won’t win them over in this one. They are a fickle bunch and it’s hard to say what they like.
Fact: Every 80s hair metal musician now looks like your older aunt who tries to look sexy.
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) September 24, 2014
Who are some comedians (or comedy shows/sitcoms) who have influenced you?
Growing up, my dad was big into stand up comedy (he even used to try open mic nights). He would take my mom to the Comedy Store and Improv on the weekends and come back and tell me the jokes that he heard. We watched comedies that I was way too young to watch so I have a lot of comedy heroes. George Carlin is by far on the top of the list. I watched every HBO special with this genius. My dad loved to laugh and started me down a great path. He was a sarcastic charismatic guy and liked making fun of people in a playful way. Another reason as to why I also love insult comics like Don Rickles and Jimmy Pardo. Of course later in my years I started going to see stand up and have the honor of seeing some of my favorites in small clubs like Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Mitch Hedberg, and many others. In the realm of TV: Larry David, Seinfeld and Always Sunny reign supreme to me.
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?
Just keep writing. Don’t be afraid to fall flat and fail. Personally I don’t draft, I want to see what works and what doesn’t in real time. Who cares if you get one RT and no favs. None of us are doing this for a grade.
What 80s movie do you identify with the most?
I would love to say Back to School starring Rodney Dangerfield. As I get older I feel like some idiot who’s making jokes that the younger kids don’t get. Also I’ve performed a triple Lindy 52 times.
I have 80 tweets ready to go once breakdancing becomes big again.
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) July 30, 2014
What is your favorite movie of all time?
Mel Brooks is a genius and Blazing Saddles is perfection. The jokes stand the test of time and the social commentary in it are still relevant today. I watch this movie at least once a year and it never gets old.
Have you interacted with any celebrities on Twitter?
Like a lot of people on here I talked a lot with Justin Guarini in DMs awhile ago. When I wanted to quit doing the comic he gave me great advice and has provided me with suggestions for songs to talk about on 12 For a Penny. I’ve also talked to a few stand up comics and been RT’d by Seth McFarlane and Michael Rappaport. My favorite “celebrity” encounter was with DC comics star Gene Ha. He didn’t like a comic we did so he started talking down to us on various social media sites. So I was able to see how celebrities are just like us, they’re jerks. We also made him stop by pointing out what a bully he was.
Wow! That’s really interesting. Being on Twitter has made me realize how much celebrities really are just like us too. It’s also interesting to have people with much smaller accounts think you’re a big deal because you have thousands of followers. And you’re like, seriously? I’m nobody – unless you count a parent that wipes their kid’s rear end.
Is there anything in particular that inspires your tweets?
Everything and anything. I love the randomness of it all. A good idea coming from nothing is powerful. The contest themes are a great writing exercise but I really prefer to come up randomly with something. Those tweets are more satisfying.
When you started out, how did you go about getting exposure? Did you do a lot of retweeting in the hopes that people would reciprocate, or did you follow a lot of people?
In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing. I followed a lot of people at first (mostly actors and comedians) and then unfollowed anyone not following me back. Then I started to RT, but nothing too crazy. I’ll admit that I’m a horrible RTer and I definitely did not get far with that. I know it pisses some people off but Twitter isn’t a job and I RT when I read something funny. Also who has the time to RT a thousand accounts? I really have to give credit to @bourgeoisalien, @wittwitbarista and @gobmentcheese for liking my tweets and RTing me in the beginning when I had only a thousand followers. They were the first Twitter people that talked to me and remain great friends. They liked what I was doing and shared it. I will always be eternally grateful to them.
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
I don’t know how to ride a bike. That’s right! I can’t! I’ve tried and I think a gypsy cursed me when I was little to prevent me from learning.
I never learned how to ride a bike because the TV show Different Strokes taught me that old white men who sell bikes would touch my pee pee.
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) March 1, 2016
Haha! I remember that episode. Freaked me out. I guess that’s a good thing.
Is there anything else you’d like to say/share?
I’ve met many cool people on Twitter. People who I can call friends, people who help support the Obscure Gentlemen and 12 For a Penny and it honestly makes me feel great. I started Twitter in search of website clicks and now I stay because I’ve met so many fantastic people that I hope to remain friends with once they shut this mad house down.
Name five tweeters whose tweets consistently make you laugh.
The most disappointing sentence in the human language is "This next song is off of our new album".
— Lord Goomba (@ObscureGent) October 25, 2015
Thanks for the interview, Jim! So funny and upbeat. Really enjoyed getting to know you better!
In case you missed it, last time on Beyond the Bio: @PerfectPending
A butt-load of the funniest parenting tweets all packed into one place! – The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, available on Amazon. Or try the original, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. They make great gifts!