Andrew Callaghan’s journey began on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, where YouTube fandom worked as a doorman by day, while interviewing drunk tourists at night. It was the fruit of these night works quarter confessions, DIY video series by Callaghan and his college friend Michael Moises. Callaghan’s unbridled sense of humor and candid interviewing style made waves on the internet, and it wasn’t long before the 24-year-old Seattle native signed a media deal and took his show on the road under a new name –All gas without brake. Over the past few years, the trio has roamed the country in an RV, interviewing Americans of all stripes—from Furries to raucous springtimers and QAnon diehards.. But all things must end: After the onset of the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd, Callahan felt it was impossible to continue his deceptive coverage and split with his media partners to cover more complex social and political issues. Callaghan and his collaborators and friends rode Nick Mosher and Evan Gilbert Katz, and created their own Patreon Show: Channel 5 with Andrew Callahan. Today, Los Angeles-based Callaghan has complete creative independence in terms of the stories he shares with her. Channel 5Over 1.3 million subscribers, and recently announced that he’s making a movie about the 2020 elections with AbsoLutely. To celebrate this new project, Callaghan sat for the inaugural batch of search history, Our new survey of rabbit holes, back alleys, and weird corners of the web that our favorite internet personalities run in. Below, Callaghan sat down with us to reveal his internet habits.
Jackson Wald: Do you remember your first name on screen?
Andrew Callaghan: So, it was actually my grandmother who taught me how to buy domain names. I started rapping when I was in the fourth grade, and the rap name was Philly MC. The domain name Philly MC was the first name I bought.
Father: What are three places on the Internet where you spend an embarrassing amount of time?
CALLAGAN: I watch vlogs about a lot of rap dramas. Like, beef between rival rapper bands in Jacksonville, Florida, and Chicago. I’m full of information about rap feuds that no one knows about, and I’ll definitely never talk [to anyone] About. So, this is very embarrassing.
Jungle: Where can I find this mysterious beef rapping on YouTube?
Callaghan: One is called Swamp Stories. I found it because they made a documentary about the Huff twins, which We’ve done that too. They broke the entire street history of the Huff Twins, and we didn’t even know half of that shit. crazy.
Father: When did you do? Have you started photographing man of the street?
Callaghan: Quarter confessions It was my first video project. I had made two small documentaries before that in Louisiana. One was about a homeless man on French Street named King David. Another one was about the Angola Rodeo Prison in the Louisiana State Penitentiary. But those were for my journalism courses – I handed them over as final projects. Quarter confessions It was my first comedy video series. Confessions of a late-night tourist was on Bourbon Street, where I worked. When I graduated from college in 2019, I was like, “I don’t want to stay in my college town and keep filming drunk tourism videos.” I wanted to travel, like I did when I was young on a mobile trip.
Father: Was it scary to do that on Bourbon Street, or did it feel so natural to you?
CALLAGAN: It’s definitely scary to cut your teeth as a lecturer in a place like this. I graduated two years ago, so this is still all very recent. I almost feel like a war reporter. It’s three in the morning, everyone’s drunk is dim, you’re outside in a suit with a mic, flashing light and a fake mic, trying to have a heart for hearts with people. People tried to fight us all the time. Now that I’ve been on Bourbon Street a lot, I don’t get scared anywhere else.
Wald: What do you think viewers will gain from these interviews that they won’t find in print?
CALLAGAN: Well, the main thing about print is that you can lie absurdly. Printing is like a podcast, where you can just bullshit. It’s a big word contest. These esteemed posts are full of, like, people in an armchair throwing hot shots. I mean, there’s great written journalism, but then again, I’d rather just watch a video. Many people think it’s about attention span, but why rely on a printed story for something you could have depicted? When I published my hiking magazines that day, I noticed two things. First, people didn’t read every story. This is just a fact. Also, a lot of people thought I was throwing shit. So from that point on, I didn’t want to be seen as one of those edge reporters who’s like, ‘Oh man, it was so crazy out there. I had bullets whizzing through my ears. I had to give this baby CPR’ “. If some crazy nonsense happens to me, I want people to see it, so I don’t have to gas it.
Wald: Another criticism, is that reports that focus on the truth are less important than reports that lead to “clicks” at the moment.
CALLAGAN: The media fails. That’s why they all turn to purity rather than press. If you look at TV, it’s a continuous post-9/11 shock machine. No matter what happens, you know exactly how the mainstream left-of-center and center-right TV media will respond. Is this journalism? It is not, and it will lead to the complete destruction of American society. There is still a large portion of people who think critically about the news they consume, but I mean take a look at what COVID has done to these people. My grandfather went from conservative Mitt Romney to a fully reptilian mutant QAnon. The vector of extremism created by the binary news media machine is popping people’s brains.
Parent: When creating content, do you ever worry about the 24-hour news cycle?
Callaghan: A key choice we had to make 5th channel Kan: Shall we chase the news? When we were filming the 2020 election movie we’re making with Tim and Eric, we got to know a lot of Riot Press pretty well — the people chasing chaos — in person and off-camera. Got it, I mean, that’s where the story is. This is where the chaos lies. But there are people who make their money by filling the void with chaos. Right now in America, nothing really happens, in terms of frenetic political nonsense. I mean, issues like poverty are constantly unfolding, but it’s not what it was in 2020. So, I’m not about to go to Portland to shoot Antifa and the Proud Boys facing some parks. I’m going to cover things like Utah Rap Festival, like Talladega, until something worth covering happens again. I’m going back to Minneapolis for the Don’t Wright trial. Depending on Rittenhouse’s judgment, I might go to Wisconsin. There are certain things that I think are important, but the past few months have been pretty dry.
Father: Where do you get your news on the Internet? What ports do you read?
CALLAGAN: Frankly, in terms of political news, I just follow the banners. I’m only watching raw footage of events.
Father: Are you a big Twitter user?
Callaghan: No, I don’t like Twitter. It’s dirty.
Father: Is there such a thing as “the Internet is too much?”
CALLAGAN: I think it depends on what you do. If you’re online, like me, and do interviews and do journalism, I don’t think there’s such a thing as being online much. I think if your brand is pointless, or if you’re marketable only for your beauty, or if your whole feeling is like, “I’m so sexy, I’m so in love,” there’s definitely something like online.
Father: A lot of your work in the past has covered the ways in which subcultures spread online, from QAnon to Furries, in real life. What is it like to see boundaries that exist online — anonymity, for example — fade away in the real world?
CALLAGAN: It’s great to watch the people who have been indoctrinated by the Internet get together in person, because in fact they are all very different from each other. If you go to the QAnon conference, most of these people are fundamentally different. You have stones, it’s all about UFOs. Then you have the Oathkeepers, who believe in re-establishing apartheid. But they are all in some way on the same page about Q. Q is just an umbrella to unite every conspiracy theory. Whoever made it is a fucking evil genius. Q content, especially at the time, was terrible. It had some of the worst memes, and some of the least effective publicity. At least, that’s what I thought. But look what they did.
Father: I’ve been face to face with a lot of these people. Do you have any ideas as to why some of these people fall into these rabbit holes? Have you noticed any overarching themes or trends?
CALLAGAN: Personal shock. This guy we’ve documented a lot is named Kelly Johnson, aka SoCal Kelly, aka Kelly J Patriot. It was January 6th, Trump’s most hard-line soldier. He went down a rabbit hole because he took a predatory loan from a dirty mortgage company before the 2008 financial crisis. I’m sure there are people out there having head sex. But a lot of these people got it wronged by someone. I think switching to therapeutic plotting is almost taken for someone to be taken in a sloppy way, because they’re like, ‘All the cards are stacked against us, the real Americans, the really good guys, and there’s a bunch of demonic people out there, and they’re ‘playing us too much’. I also think it probably has a lot to do with entitlement. Many of these people, are baby boomers. They grew up in a different time and were promised a future different from what exists now. They came in Leave it to the beaver White America, and they thought they would grow up and have some kind of class mobility. Many of these people have not been able to build wealth. The American Dream didn’t work out for them, so they have to think things are getting worse.
Father: We’ve discussed your work on the QAnon and Furry agreements, but you also make sensitive and tender videos, like your coverage of the George Floyd protests, for example. How does the process turn out for these types of videos?
CALLAGAN: It’s a complete transformation. Mass Imprisonment, Restoration, and Police Brutality. This shit is real. It is not a “leftist” media hoax. I am really interested in these issues, and I think they are serious and ongoing. I heard people say things that changed my perspective. In Minneapolis, I was talking to a kid who said, “Is this the way we go about things? No. Is everyone perfect? No.” Someone told me, in another video, “The system doesn’t work. We worked.” Derek Chauvin would not have been indicted had it not been for the protests. You can summon mob justice if you want. I wouldn’t call it that. I just call it cause and effect. Now that that has happened, we hope it will strike fear into the heart of every police officer in a similar situation to Derek Chauvin, or any of the cops who have been with him. I think it may have already saved lives.
Father: The Internet is full of bad, man-made content on the street. What is the perfect interview recipe for you?
Callaghan: Interview like a little kid. Be endlessly curious, listen to people as hard as you can, don’t cut them off, and go with their show. The worst thing you can do as a journalist is try to frame someone’s statement. Like, “Can you make a statement about this and that?” Nah. Just be like, “What’s up? What are you thinking about right now?” It sounds basic, but if they are a good interviewer, they will take the initiative and go with it. Never try to force a good interview out of a bad topic.