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July 21, 2017

Millennial whisperer Brandon Wardell claims to have Pied Piper power on the Internet

The 24-year old 'Dicks Out for Harambe' creator and comic takes his act to Chinatown this weekend

Comedians Stand-Up Comedy
Brandon Wardell submitted photo/for PhillyVoice

Brandon Wardell has enjoyed much comedic success within the limits of 140 characters or less.

At 24-years-old, Brandon Wardell may joke about his youth and claim to look like a little girl or an Anime character. In reality, Wardell – his level of snark and his brand of non sequitur laden comedy – sounds wise beyond his years. That anti-traditionalism will be on full display during Wardell’s three sets on Saturday at Good Good Comedy Theatre in Chinatown.

Wardell is more influenced by present day rappers than he is the foul language legends of comedy such as Carlin or Pryor, the usual starting point for comics. 

“Vince Staples is funnier than any comedian alive right now,” said Wardell of Staples’ dry wit. 

“Drake is pretty self-aware. Earl Sweatshirt is pretty funny. Tyler, The Creator, too. And Mac Miller, he’s hilarious."

submitted photo/for PhillyVoice

Brandon Wardell appears Saturday, July 22 at Good Good Comedy Theatre, 215 N. 11th St.

That said, Wardell has always been a huge comedy nerd, “like Brian Poshen and Patton Oswalt,” but not too many stand-ups beyond that.

Wardell isn’t pulling a genius and calling these rappers’ lyrics into question to intellectualize their work. He’s taking them at face value, much in the same way that Wardell hopes that fans won’t look into everything he does as a reflection of his true personality. “Don’t take anything that I have ever said in any medium too seriously,” said Wardell with a laugh.

For instance, his Twitter feed is as active a part-and-parcel of his comedy as anything else he does, but, unlike many present day stand-ups, Wardell is not using his Tweets as a testing ground for studying laugh lines or gauging responses. Wardell went on to state that he is not on Twitter as much as he used to be. 

“I cut back from my usual 20 to 30 times a day,” he said. “If you have an audience, it is a good tool, though, I am starting to think that it’s too powerful a tool. Doesn’t matter there’s no crossover from Tweet to stand-up, even though you can hear from its tone that it is clearly the same person.”

submitted photo/for PhillyVoice

Wardell is responsible for the whole “dicks out for Harambe“ meme.

Wardell is quick to agree, too, that a big part of him moving away from Twitter was the whole “dicks out for Harambe" meme that he started. That same meme went viral to maximum internet infiltration when Wardell Tweeted a Vine of Danny Trejo saying it, only to backfire (“and become a horrible thing”) when alt-right clod Milo Yiannopoulos picked up on the same meme and used it for his usual racist rants. 

“Probably that pushed me to get off of Twitter, but that whole thing was way beyond my control,” said Wardell of that memorable, but menacing meme’s debacle.

That level of Pied Piper power doesn’t exactly please Wardell, although he can’t exactly argue with its success. 

“That would be disingenuous.” He is not oblivious to political outrage during his sets, though he wouldn’t make them a hallmark. He’d rather diss guys who pretend to be woke on the feminist tip, “like this guy, Gregg Sulkin, who thinks he’s dissing Trump by saying we should grab women by the brain and instead is just advertising for his brand.” Or even making light of Justin Bieber, which he does often.

“My platform should help – be it stand-up or Twitter – not capitalize on resistance as a promotional tool.”

Brandon Wardell appears Saturday, July 22 at Good Good Comedy Theatre, 215 N. 11th St. Tickets are $12. Show times are 7, 8:30 and 10 p.m. For more information, call 215-339-1729 or click here.