A Seeds interview with Left At London
Comedic vines and tweets about LGBT issues built the online presence for Left At London, the 21-year-old internet personality from Seattle. The multi-talented online star writes about her struggles through poetry and music when she isn’t making comedic videos and song mashups that have gained attention from the likes of rapper D.R.A.M. and rock band Smash Mouth. With many avenues explored, Left At London’s internet fame continues to increase with one final goal, to finally get her Twitter account verified.
SE: According to your Facebook page, Left At London is the name of your band which you are now the sole member of. Was this like with Panic! At the Disco in which Brendan Urie is now the sole member?
LAL: It was sort of like a Brendan Urie situation. When the other members left, it was mostly due to scheduling conflicts. I’m pretty sure Brendan Urie is too rich for those.
SE: You gained your internet fame through Vine with your comedy sketches. Though the app is gone, you continue to post videos on your Twitter. What is your process for coming up with your videos?
LAL: As far as coming up with the idea itself, it’s normally just from word association that leads me there. I’m a very distracted person. If I think about pirates, I’ll think about the sea. If I think about the sea, I’ll think about boats. If I think about boats, I’ll think of yachts and then I’ll think about Lil Yachty and then I’ll make a joke about Lil Yachty. It’s a weird train of thought. With my longest videos, I will start with the last joke in the video and build backward.
As far as filming goes, I use my selfie camera. I never found a necessity to have my videos be filmed by other people, except in one case. I had a vine about when your doctor says your new medication will give you diarrhea and stomachaches and you only get the stomachaches. The vine then cuts to me flexing to “Cum On Feel the Noize.” My girlfriend at the time filmed that vine for me because I needed someone to film me flexing. The best thing about that was literally ten minutes after I posted that vine, I actually got diarrhea.
I didn’t want to spill that secret to my Vine fans because it’s weird to post that shit.
SE: What do you want most out of your internet fame?
LAL: Revenge! Honestly, my main goal besides making people laugh is to show how multi-faceted I can be. I feel like we put limitations on people we have certain expectations for. I saw a thing about Anthony Hopkins, the actor who played Hannibal Lecter, and how he was a failed composer before he went into acting. He wrote a full symphony and never got to hear it live because renting out an orchestra is expensive. Years later, he was invited to a concert and all of a sudden, they start playing his work. He cried out of happiness once he realized the music was his. It was incredible to watch because it was about someone who considers himself a success and he gained joy from having one of his other avenues being recognized. That’s what I’m trying to do with my poetry book. I want people to recognize me in humorous ways and in serious ways.
SE: This summer, you started your poetry zine titled “Cry Like A Man.” How long did it take to put together the first issue? Is a second volume in the works and when can people expect it?
LAL: I didn’t intend to write a poetry book by any means. I wrote poems to help overcome the “bad times” and eventually I had so many that I figured I could make a poetry zine. Actually, I have enough for two poetry zines! The second one is coming soon. I still need to work on a few more poems, but it’s coming soon.
SE: Who are your influences for your poetry, music and comedy?
LAL: My main inspiration with poetry is my friend Marcosa. My stuff is disjointed because that’s how I comprehend regular writing. I went to the book reading for John Darnielle’s novel “Universal Harvester” and I remember the words being beautiful, but not understanding what was going on. I like how the words sounded. With how my poetry functions, I focus on the aesthetic first, like how the words sound together. I think that helped me find my voice for my writing.
For music, Death Grips inspires me with how I approach songs and song structures. I like how they separate and put together verses with the chorus. They helped me figure out the rules of music and how to say “fuck you” to them.
When it comes to my comedy, as much as I hate to admit it because he’s an asshole, but JonTron was hugely influential on my approach to internet humor and delivery. Now, I’m being influenced by the comedy of Chris Fleming. I think it’s weird to credit an entity, but the format of tumblr and Twitter humor helped me understand the setup of jokes and punchlines in a confined format. I wouldn’t have improved my comedy if I hadn’t seen Conan O’Brien’s tweets from when he started his show on TBS. This was all before I understood that there were non-popular content creators who have equally good content. It’s also hard not to credit the LGBT community because there’s a sense of siblinghood and mutual respect.
SE: Have you tried stand-up comedy? If not, would you want to try it out?
LAL: I tried stand-up once when I was in Olympia. I visited The Evergreen State College to see some friends and we went to a comedy show. There was an open-mic night and on a whim, I wrote down five scenarios that happened to me and talked about them on the stage. People were genuinely laughing and asked me after if I had done it before. I just talked about my life stories and said them in a comedic way and people just enjoyed it. It was a nice experience and I would like to do it again, but not too often.
SE: Do you plan on touring anytime in the foreseeable future?
LAL: I’ll tour the Northwest when I release my debut album, “Black Eyes Snow Angel.” I still need to work on it. I can’t tour on a single or acoustic demos. The album art is the profile picture on my Facebook page. It’s a photo I took from inside of an ambulance.
SE: What is the funniest hate comment you received?
LAL: There’s so many stories I can give for this one. When I was going through my transition, I had three phases of comments. First phase had comments asking why I was such a f**. Second phase comments asked if I were a guy or a girl. Finally, the comment asked “why is her voice so deep.” It was kind of nice seeing that as validation for my transition. In one of my Vine comments, one guy, who was a phase three person, commented “Damn, this chick’s voice is so deep, she probably has a bigger dick than I do.” I thought to myself: “you’re trans-misogynistic but you didn’t misgender me. How did you do that?” I don’t think he knew I was trans, but at the same time he insinuated that I was trans.
Another one involved my “Rick and Morty” tweet. Somebody commented “I’m also like Rick because I can prove you’re stupid, mathematically.” I genuinely don’t know what the fuck is up with people. I’m surprised. As a trans woman on the internet, how is the thing that got me the most hate messages is a fucking tweet about “Rick and Morty?” So many people are defensive about it and it’s hilarious.