Nerdcore comedy | Ze Frank

Nerdcore comedy | Ze Frank

You know, when Chris first approached me
to speak at TED, I said no, because I felt
like I wasn’t going to be able to make that personal connection,
you know, that I wanted to. It’s such a large conference. But he explained to me
that he was in a bind, and that he was having trouble
finding the kind of sex appeal and star power that
the conference was known for. So I said fine, Ted — I mean Chris. I’ll come on two conditions. One: I want to speak as early
in the morning as possible. And two: I want to pick
the theme for TED 2006. And luckily he agreed. And the theme, in two years,
is going to be “Cute Pictures Of Puppies.” (Video) (Music) [How to Dance Properly BASIC TWIRL] [NEW SCHOOL] [OLD SCHOOL] [WHO’S YOUR DADDY?] [“RIDE THE PONY”] [MAKE LOVE TO THE CROWD] [SMACKING THAT ASS] [STIR THE POT OF LOVE] [HANGING OUT … CASUAL] [WORD.] (Applause) I invented the Placebo Camera. (Laughter) It doesn’t actually take pictures,
but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper, and you still feel like you were there. (Laughter) (Clears his throat) (Laughter) “Dear Sir, good day,
compliments of the day, and my best wishes to you and family. (Breathes in) I know this letter
will come to you surprisingly, but let it not be a surprise to you, for nature has a way
of arriving unannounced, and, as an adage says,
originals are very hard to find, but their echoes sound ouder. So I decided to contact you myself, for you to assure me
of safety and honesty, if I have to entrust any amount of money
under your custody. I am Mr Micheal Bangura,
the son of late Mr Thaimu Bangura who was the Minister of Finance
in Sierra Leone but was killed during the civil war. (Laughter) Knowing your country to be
economical conducive for investment, and your people as transparent
and trustworthy to engage in business, on which premise I write you. (Laughter) Before my father death, he had the sum of 23 million
United States dollars, which he kept away from the rebel
leaders during the course of the war. (Laughter) This fund was supposed to be used for the rehabilitation of water reserves
all over the country, before the outbreak of war. When the war broke out, the rebel leader demanded
the fund be given to him, my father insisted it
was not in his possession, and he was killed because of his refusal
to release the fund. Meanwhile, my mother and I is the only person who knows about it
because my father always confide in me. (Sighs) I made an arrangement
with a Red Cross relief worker, who used his official van to transport
the money to Lungi Airport, Freetown, although he did not know
the real contents of the box. (Laughter) The fund was deposited
as a family reasure, in a safe, reliable security company
in Dakar, Senegal, where I was only given temporary asylum. I do not wish to invest
the money in Senegal due to unfavorable economic climate,
and so close to my country. The only assistance I need from you,
which I know you would do for me, are the following:
one, be a silent partner and receive the funds
in your account in trust; two, provide a bank account
under your control to which the funds will be remitted; three, receive the funds
into your account in trust; take out your commission;
and leave the rest of the money until I arrive,
after the transfer is complete. Sincerely, Mr Micheal Bangura.” (Laughter) (Applause) This is really embarrassing. I was told backstage
that I have 18 minutes. I only prepared 15. (Laughter) So if it’s cool,
I’d like to just wait for three. (Laughter) (Laughter ends) I’m really sorry. (Laughter) (Applause) What’s your name? (Laughter) Mark Surfas. It’s pretty cool, huh? Pursuing happiness. (Laughter) Are you a virgin? Virgin? I mean — no, I mean
like in the TED sense? (Laughter) Are you? Oh, yeah? So what are you, like, a thousand,
two thousand, somewhere in there? Huh? Oh? You don’t know what I’m talking about? (Laughter) Ah, Mark — (Laughter) Surfas. (Laughter) 1,860 — am I good? And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. (Applause) Yeah, I was hanging out
with some Google guys last night. Really cool, we were getting wasted. (Laughter) And they were telling me that Google
software has gotten so advanced that, based on your interaction
with Google over your lifetime, they can actually predict
what you are going to say — (Laughter) next. And I was like, “Get the fuck
out of here. That’s crazy.” (Laughter) But they said,
“No, but don’t show anyone.” But they slipped up. And they said that I could just type in
“What was I going to say next?” and my name, and it would tell me. And I have to tell you, this is
an unadulterated piece of software, this is a real Internet browser
and this is the actual Google site, and we’re going to test it out live today. What was I going to say next? And “Ze Frank” — that’s me. Am I feeling lucky? (Laughter) (Shouting) Am I feeling lucky? Audience: Yes! Yeah! (Sighs) (Laughter) Ze Frank: Oh! Amazing. (Laughter) In March of 2001 — (Laughter) I filmed myself dancing
to Madonna’s “Justify My Love.” On a Thursday, I sent out a link
to a website that featured those clips to 17 of my closest friends, as part of an invitation to my —
an invitation to my th — th — 26th birthday party. (Laughter) (Clears throat) By Monday, over a million people
were coming to this site a day. (Sighs) (Laughter) Within a week, I received a call
from Earthlink that said, due to a 10 cents
per megabyte overage charge, I owed them 30,000 dollars. (Laughter) Needless to say,
I was able to leave my job. [WAS LAID OFF] (Laughter) And, finally, you know, become freelance. (Laughter) [UNEMPLOYED] But some people refer to me more
as, like, an Internet guru or — [JACKASS] swami. (Laughter) I knew I had something. I’d basically distilled
a very difficult-to-explain and complex philosophy,
which I won’t get into here, because it’s a little too deep
for all of you, but — (Laughter) It’s about what makes websites popular,
and, you know, it’s — [DANCE LIKE AN IDIOT
AND DON’T SELL ANYTHING] It’s unfortunate
that I don’t have more time. Maybe I can come back next year,
or something like that. (Laughter) I’m obsessed with email.
I get a lot of it. Four years later, I still get probably
two or three hundred emails a day from people I don’t know, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to kind of get to know
different cultures, you know? It’s like a microscope
to the rest of the world. You can kind of peer
into other people’s lives. And I also feel like I get a lot
of inspiration from the average user. For example, somebody wrote,
“Hey Ze, if you ever come to Boulder, you should rock out with us,”
and I said, “Why wait?” [rocking out] (Video) (Music) And they said,
“Hey Ze, thanks for rocking out, but I meant the kind of rocking out
where we’d be naked.” (Laughter) And that was embarrassing. But you know, it’s kind of a collaboration
between me and the fans, so I said, “Sure.” [rocking out naked] (Video) (Music) (Laughter) I hear a lot of you whispering. (Laughter) And I know what you’re saying, “Holy crap! How is his presentation so smooth?” (Laughter) And I have to say
that it’s not all me this year. I guess Chris has to take some credit
here, because in years past, I guess there’s been
some sort of subpar speakers at TED. I don’t know. And so, this year, Chris sent us
a TED conference simulator. (Laughter) Which really allowed us as speakers
to get there, in the trenches, and practice at home so that we would be
ready for this experience. And I’ve got to say that, you know,
it’s really, really great to be here. (Pre-recorded applause) I’d like to tell all of you a little joke. (Pre-recorded applause and cheering) Not just the good stuff, though. You can do heckler mode. Voice: Hey, moron, get off the stage! ZF: You get off the stage. (Laughter) Voice: We want Malcolm Gladwell. (Laughter) (Baby cooing) (Huge crowd applauding) In case you run over time. (Heroic music) Just one last thing
I’d like to say, I’d, really — (Laughter) I’d like to thank all of you
for being here. (Loud music) (Laughter) And frog mode. (Singing) (Sings) “Ah, the first time that I made
love to a rock shrimp –” (Laughter) [Spam jokes are the new airplane jokes] (Sighs) It’s true. Some people say to me, “Ze, you’re doing all this stuff,
this Internet stuff, and you’re not making any money.” (Laughter) “Why?” And I say, “Mom, Dad — (Laughter) I’m trying.” I don’t know if you’re all aware of this, but the video game market, kids are playing these video games, but, supposedly, there’s tons of money. I mean, like, I think,
100,000 dollars or so a year is being spent on these things. So I decided to try my hand. I came up with a few games. (Laughter) This is called “Atheist.” I figured it would be popular
with the young kids. OK. Look, I’ll move around
and say some things. (Sighs) [Game over. There is no replay.] (Laughter) So that didn’t go over so well. (Laughter) I don’t really understand
why you’re laughing. (Laughter) Should have done this
before I tried to pitch it. “Buddhist,” of course, looks
very, very similar to “Atheist.” (Laughter) But you come back as a duck. (Laughter) And this is great because,
you know, for a quarter, you can play this for a long time. (Laughter) And Chris had said in an email that we should really bring
something new to TED, something that we haven’t shown anyone. So, I made this for TED. It’s “Christian.” It’s the third in the series. I’m hoping it’s going
to do well this year. (Sighs) (Laughter) Do you have a preference? (Laughter) Good choice. (Laughter) So you can wait for the Second Coming, which is a random number
between one and 500 million. (Laughter) So really, what are we talking about here? Oh, tech joy. (Laughter) Tech joy, to me, means something,
because I get a lot of joy out of tech. And in fact, making things
using technology — and I’m being serious here, even though I’m using
my sarcastic voice — I won’t — hold on. Making things, you know — making things actually
does give me a lot of joy. It’s the process of creation that keeps me sort of a bubble and a half
above perpetual anxiety in my life, and it’s that feeling of being
about 80 percent complete on a project — where you know you still have
something to do, but it’s not finished,
and you’re not starting something — that really fills my entire life. And so, what I’ve done is, I started getting interested
in creating online social spaces to share that feeling with people who don’t consider
themselves artists. We’re in a culture of guru-ship. It’s so hard to use some software
because, you know, it’s unapproachable, people feel like they have
to read the manual. So I try to create
these very minimal activities that allow people to express
themselves, and, hopefully — (“The End” by The Doors) Whoa! I’m like — on the page,
but it doesn’t exist. (Laughter) It’s, like — seriously, though — (Laughter) I try to create meaningful environments
for people to express themselves. (Laughter) Here I created a contest called,
“When Office Supplies Attack,” which, I think, really resonated
with the working population. (Laughter) Over 500 entries in three weeks. Toilet paper fashion. (Laughter) Again, people from all over the country. The watch is particularly incredible. (Laughter) Online drawing tools —
you’ve probably seen a lot of them. I think they’re wonderful. It’s a chance for people
to get to play with crayons and all that kind of stuff. But I’m interested
in the process of creating, as the real event that I’m interested in. And the problem is that
a lot of people suck at drawing, and they get bummed out at this,
sort of, you know, stick figure, awful little thing that they created. And eventually, it just makes them
stop playing with it, or they draw penises and things like that. (Laughter) So, the Scribbler is an attempt
to create a generative tool. In other words, it’s a helping tool. You can draw your simple stick figure, and it collaborates with you to create
sort of a post-war German etching. (Laughter) In fact, it’s tuned to be better
at drawing things that look worse. So, we go ahead, and we start scribbling. So the idea is that you can really, you know, partake in this process, but watch something
really crappy look beautiful. And here are some of my favorites. This is the little trap marionette
that was submitted to me. Very cool. (Laughter) Darling. Beautiful stuff. I mean this is incredible. An 11-year-old girl drew this
and submitted it. It’s just gorgeous. (Laughter) I’m dead serious here. This is not a joke. (Laughter) But, I think it’s a really fun
and wonderful thing. So this is called the “Fiction Project.” This is an online space, which is basically
a refurbished message board that encourages collaborative
fiction writing. These are haikus. None of the haikus were written
by the same person. In fact, each line is contributed
by a different person at a different time. I think that the “now tied up, tied down, mistress cruel approaches me,
now tied down, it’s up.” It’s an amazing way, and I’ll tell you, if you come home, and your spouse,
or whoever it is, says, “Let’s talk” — That, like, chills you to the very core. (Laughter) But it’s peripheral activities like these that allow people to get together,
doing fun things. They actually get to know each other, and it’s sort of like low-threshold
peripheral activities that I think are the key to bringing up some of our bonding social capital
that we’re lacking. And very, very quickly —
I love puppets. Here’s a puppet. It dances to music. Lotte Reiniger, an amazing
shadow puppeteer in the 20s, that started doing more elaborate things. I became interested in puppets, and I just want to show
one last thing to you. Oh, this is how you make puppets. (Applause) Chris Anderson: Ladies
and gentlemen, Mr. Ze Frank. (Applause)

Only registered users can comment.

  1. can someone please tell me what 'reasure' is (or the correct spelling in that case)? in the line 'The fund was deposited as a family reasure, in a safe, reliable security company in Dakar, Senegal' Can't seem to google it. Thank you!

  2. if you look at his true facts videos and then watch this would actually realzie he is a genius..the presentation is random but what he is actually trying to say is that he keeps trying to be creative and random..and it works !

  3. Zefrank you’re awesome. You always make me feel better. I especially love your narration of the dear kitten series. How those folks got such amazing footage for that series is beyond me.

  4. NOT FUNNY. Also, why is this douche dressed like a homeless person who found someone's thrown away GAP clothes in the dumpster??????

  5. I want to hear more about these "low threshold peripheral activities that (enable access to) social capital" such as with a storytelling message board where even a haiku is several people maybe even 2 to a LINE!

  6. Wow, never knew ZeFrank did a TED. Really impressive, yet not shocking when everything else have been so good.

  7. Ah, yes. This starts with one of those old scam emails to launder money. I miss that… Those were such innocent times.

  8. all the internet panned out was , pretty much bad, like 98%.. i wonder if these people care? feel bad? are regretful in any way at all? maybe 2…no make that 1 % of them, and they get over it quick every day with their money, cars, trips, houses, food, and safty. thanks google and all. true facts is good, cause its cute. thats about it. gets old too however i have seen. sad sad world, no going back. ever

  9. He was in a bind, cuz he was way behind, and he was lookin to make a deal… TED… err… Chris…

  10. I don’t think he is funny. He comes off as if he thinks he is hilarious. I don’t even like the true facts videos besides the voice much. The jokes are just funny because of the voice, but he laughs at his own jokes in them and just meh. This here is bizarre, disjointed, and not funny to me at all.

  11. So he asks this Mark guy 'are you like 1000, 2000?' What does he mean? What is the joke of him then googling the guy?

  12. Social media sure killed off that collaborative thing Ze brought up near the end. It survives only spontaneously. Mostly, we react, we buy, or push the [ your stimulus here ] button. It's better for business, like most things that mass us without bonding us.

  13. This talk feels almost exactly like a Bo Burnham comedy show….guess we found one of Bo's primary comedic influences 😛

  14. I Love Ze Frank! Not only is he a total boss Stud… he's one of the gods of comedy. Check out everything he does. Top notch!

  15. Every kid knows Harrisson Ford, how many kids know Henry Ford… Is it just me, like this man actually had a profound influence on the progress of society… I mean, it makes me wanna say, go play with your powkeemohn and run in front of traffic and do us all a favour…

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