Adult Swim's 'TruthPoint' Is an Incredible, Glorious Mess Spawned from Weird Twitter
@dril has a web series and it's just as deranged as you'd expect.
The words "genius" and "social media" aren't two things you usually see together. When one thinks of a "social media star," images of obnoxious YouTubers or demonically photogenic Vine stars come to mind. The algorithm-driven incentive structure of various platforms causes toxic feedback loops that seem, always, to push the most insufferable personalities to the top; this usually continues until they inevitably collapse in on themselves through their own mistakes, like a souffle of narcissism and hubris presenting itself as "content." And then everyone forgets, starting the process again.
But there is one pure, consistent, and low-key cult figure who exists among the rubble, and his name is @dril.
@dril is an anonymous Twitter account who posts bewildering, often incomprehensible statements on a semi-regular basis. In the 10+ years he's been active, @dril has become synonymous with the loose connection of irony-poisoned shitposters known as Weird Twitter. @dril is, without a doubt, the undisputed king of Twitter humor. Speaking in a manic, overly aggressive tone that channels at once angry local news comment section baby boomers and disturbed young people, @dril has pretty much perfected the art of absurdist humor on the internet; his influence could be found on almost any internet comedian, even if his style is near-impossible to explain. In short, @dril is the singular comedic genius of social media.
Late Saturday night, @dril -- without warning, of course -- posted a trailer to a new Adult Swim web series named TruthPoint, to air that upcoming Wednesday at midnight EST. The internet reacted accordingly. Some people were pleasantly surprised that one of the few genuinely original social media personalities managed to monetize their content; others were disheartened at his apparent "selling out." For what it's worth, @dril's big break has been constructive for the thoughtful defenses of his decision that emerged; a revived discourse around just how, exactly, you're supposed to make money from being funny online is always well needed. All the show had to do was deliver.
Whether it did or not really depends on the degree to which your brain has been broken by irony. And that's sort of the point.
TruthPoint, which premiered its first episode last night, is a predictably bewildering, bizarro take on the pundit-hosted news/debate program. Think Infowars or Hannity and Colmes made in some dystopian universe where nothing makes sense -- so, basically our own. TruthPoint seems like it was made purposely to make you feel like you're going insane while watching it; it's the closest anything resembling "political satire" has come to accurately describing our deeply, deeply stupid cultural moment.
The show stars @dril, donning a cheap old-man Halloween mask to conceal his identity, and Derek Estevez-Olsen, also known as @eedrk, as his sidekick. The studio set-up resembles a B-movie version of CNN, with random images of Larry King (spelled Larrie King) illuminating on the backdrop. A CNN style-ticker flashes across the bottom of the screen as well, with fake headlines like "World's cutest dog announced in video by ISIS" and "Plummeting suicide rates are killing the noose-industry." The first episode lacked much of a focus, but once again, that was probably the point. The pair spent much of the opening segment riffing on their reputations as Twitter personalities and the reactions to their show's announcement, even putting a few tweets up on screen to react to. That @dril opened with describing Twitter as "a service for deeply broken individuals" that "feeds off of human pain and misery" seems apt. @dril clearly holds no pretensions about his online "fame," he's keenly aware of what Twitter actually is and his role within it -- he's a brief detour of unapologetically stupid, nonsensical content on a highway of narcissists desperately trying to be "relevant."
Despite TruthPoint's style of meandering inanity, the show did indeed have segments, and impressively started to establish its own canon early on. The show has a director and moderator called "truthbot," the "oldest living AI," and Derek's character was fired from his job running the Wendy's Twitter account for posting pictures of Burger King; a show as absurd-in-concept as TruthPoint would have much to gain from developing its own universe, like Tim and Eric with Cinco products or Eric Andre with "Kraft Punk."
The "debate" segment of the show featured an impossible-to-follow segment on the fakeness of money and the importance of cryptocurrency from Derek; a nightmarish motivational video about how to achieve "success" played beforehand, reminiscent of another absurdist Twitter account possibly run by @dril. The two filled out the last half of the show fighting over a pen, as well as taking calls from viewers, who were presumably the bastard spawn of @dril's irony-poisoned posting style. It then ended with a vote on the merits of the two's "arguments" over the validity of physical currency.
The show, in short, was a mess. At an hour long, the two hosts seemed determined to be as incoherent as possible, discarding flow and segment-structure in favor of riffing in their signature-style usually found scrolling down their twitter feeds. And every moment of it was incredible.
Political satire has been stuck in a creative rut during the Trump era. Despite stacked writer's rooms of undeniable talent, the genre is still effectively in the Bush era, trying to highlight the absurdity of the moment through snark and a singular focus on one man. While it is doubtful that @dril and Estevez-Olsen are seeking to "take down Trump" or "show America for what it really is" (whatever those two things even mean), TruthPoint is the perfect satire for our age.
TruthPoint doesn't seem real. It has no purpose, meaning or mission. No segments hold any weight and conversations don't seem to go anywhere; nothing makes sense and the stupidity of it all is almost overwhelming. If that doesn't seem familiar, I don't know what does.