The Story of Karl Welzein, According to @Dadboner Creator Mike Burns
We drank gatorpagne and talked internet comedy.
For some reason or another I have always held a great amount of respect for Michigan. Somehow, that led to me following Karl Welzein of Grand Blanc, MI, née @dadboner, just to get my Rust Belt kicks. His tweets–like “Starbucks acts like they're so fancy. You sell hot black water and muffins. Calm down.” and “Never understood why people count how many drinks they have. A real man drinks by body feel. More natural. Boozin' ain't math, you guys"–landed home. I knew I had to meet this man someday.
By the time Motherboard started working on the video series My Life Online, I knew the man behind @dadboner, which had been confirmed to be a fake account, would be perfect for the show. While sites like Deadspin and Ology had found that a comedian named Mike Burns was behind the account, but Burns had neither confirmed nor denied if that was the case. Burns is repped by Creative Artists Agency, so I cold called the general LA number for CAA. Luck put me on a conference call with Burns and his agent, who then told me he would give me the Dadboner exclusive (whatever that means).
When I met Burns outside his apartment in Echo Park, he seemed a bit tired and rough around the edges. He gave me the wary eye, as only a veteran to the comedy and entertainment world can, before lighting a smoke and asking me what we should do. In other words, Karl Welzein is the perfect alter ego for Burns–or is it the other way round?
I ended up getting to know Mike and his crew while drinking beer and watching pro wrestling. Ultimately, we talked about the internet as it relates to comedy–or tragicomedy, as I like to think of it–and how much effort it takes to live a fake life online just for the sake of some laughs.