I made a joke on the internet: http://www.cnet.com/news/guys-kickstarter-dream-making-potato-salad-possibly-with-dill/

It got a little out of hand: https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/potato-salad-by-the-numbers

Not everyone was happy: http://www.avclub.com/article/please-dont-give-kid-money-his-potato-salad-kickst-206584

But it had a happy ending: http://kotaku.com/the-potato-salad-kickstarter-festival-actually-happened-1640680938

I'm excited to be here. My only remaining goal in life is to be loved by Reddit. Ask me literally anything and I will answer or attempt to answer it.

Comments: 1312 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

TheKnightWhoSaysMeh1208 karma

Dear honorable Mr. Brown Potato.

Can you come Latvia be president?

Politburo can have no stop of people of Latvia, come hope of new spring in hands of Potato Salad sorcerer be president! You be like Lāčplēsis of modern!

You are only hope for us.


Edit: Thank generous strangers for gift of precious metals!

ztbrown617 karma

Yes. DM me details.

PorridgeEnema630 karma

If someone tried to hand you a crappy bowl of potato salad, would you slap it out of their hands shouting, "don't you know who I am?!"

ztbrown598 karma

No way! I want to include people as much as possible. Also, there is no such thing as crappy potato salad.

13supertech528 karma

i've actually got a couple more questions 1) did your friends and family support you in your potato salad endeavors? 2) how does it feel to have one of those funny little ideas you get in your head completely blow up on the internet to the point where people recognize the phrase "Potato salad guy"? 3) How would you list something like the potato salad kickstarter thing on a resume? edit: added another question

ztbrown703 karma

1.) Yep! They were all very supportive. Though, I could tell that it was putting a lot of stress on friends and family. There wasn't a LOT of trolling going on, but my friends would read every negative comment / article and get upset about it. My mom got in a (verbal) fight with someone at work because he said something like "have you heard of this idiot on the internet that raised a ton of money for potato salad?" So, TL;DR, they were super supportive, but you should never read the comments on the internet.

2.) Amazing. I've always enjoyed writing and telling jokes. The early response to the joke was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. This news anchor laughing so hard she started crying was one of the things that really made me happy: http://www.kare11.com/video/3660515027001/1/Kickstarter-project-created-to-make-potato-salad

chasethelight104 karma

I just wanted to let you know that I'm a current student at your alma mater, and am originally from Minnesota, where that news video is from. So we're basically soul twins. Also, can you please deliver me some delicious potato salad so I don't have to eat shitty dining hall food tonight?

ztbrown166 karma

Gross, that dining hall food is some real garbage toilet stuff. Good luck with it! I recommend driving to Heath and eating a diet of all-chipotle all the time.

zroschel344 karma

Why do you love John Cena so much?

jmaxcpr293 karma

Zack - Let's find time to do an interview for my movie about crowdfunding. You up for it? We've got Zach Braff, Amanda Palmer, Levar Burton - definitely need Potato Salad Guy. Check it out and let me know! www.kickstartedmovie.com

ztbrown190 karma

DM me! Or email me at zackdangerbrown [at] gmail.com

mrs-chokesondik291 karma

Were you pleased with the outcome of Potatostock?

ztbrown777 karma

Yes! We had 1500 attendees, which was on the low end of what I was hoping. In 9 hours, we distributed all 450lbs of potato salad! In the first hour, we sold out of our festival t-shirt (300 t-shirts, $10 from each went to the Columbus Foundation). We raised $18,000 from sponsorship alone!

We had cooking demonstrations for kids. The local, independent radio station had DJs doing stage announcements. We had 6 awesome local bands play. It felt like everyone in attendance was really happy to be there celebrating something so silly.

TL;DR: It was a huge success and I was really happy to be a part of it!

Backstop188 karma

The green shirts at the festival are so* much better than the shirts for the backers.

* so so so so so so

ztbrown276 karma

I agree. We wanted to make a shirt for backers and a shirt for the event. The event shirt ended up being better than the backer shirt. If I had it to do over, I would have given backers the option to choose. On the bright side, backers will be getting a limited-edition Homage t-shirt that will never be sold in stores.

Sorry for the disappointment!

beaujangles727246 karma

I think it is awesome that you donated a lot of the money to charity, and from the article raised even more at the festival... but lets get real... did you buy anything for yourself besides potato salad? You had to reward yourself with something?

ztbrown357 karma


Nothing! I rewarded myself by leaving my job to pursue some kind of living making people laugh. That's more than enough to handle at the moment.

beaujangles727105 karma

You are living the dream my man, I've been wanting to quit my 8-5 for the last couple years to do the same thing. It's hard to pursue outside of your local area with a full time job... I hope you thank the potato salad Gods for the opportunity every day!

ztbrown121 karma

I thank them EVERY day.

digitalmediamaster197 karma

After this started getting popular I went to try to buy the Domain name PotatoSalad.com in hopes of creating a neat website with/for you in my spare time, and document this historic event. They told me the current price PotatoSalad.com was 40k. My dreams were shattered.

My question is, what's next?

ztbrown110 karma

I wish I knew. My goal is to keep trying to make people laugh and hope I can make some money doing it.

two_off165 karma

What meal will you be kickstarting next?

ztbrown317 karma

No more Kickstarter for me.

EchoPhi145 karma

So did Kickstarter say "Hey, Zack, this is it buddy, live it up"?

ztbrown392 karma

No! They were really happy with it! I did a Q&A there in August.

I think this Kickstarter was funny because it was novel. If I did it again, it would be derivative.

Nailclippers258 karma

Please start working in Hollywood

ztbrown288 karma

You give me job?


I think he's referring to people in hollywood redoing things all the time. You understand that some things should only be made once.

ztbrown144 karma

oh, haha, I've been going through 'new' messages and not looking at context. Ima dummyman man dummy.

buttercupdefender51 karma

Just done with it, or are there other things to consider?

ztbrown132 karma

I won't be making another joke Kickstarter, I should say.

richardwrinkle152 karma

I am a HUGE fan of your band and cannot believe I am talking to your right now!!! What was the inspiration behind your song “Chicken Fried”? I love that song so much that my wife and I chose your song for our first dance at our wedding.

ztbrown229 karma

When I'm writing a song, I'm always discovering new things about myself and the world. Before sitting down to work on 'Chicken Fried' I knew that I liked fried chicken, jeans that fit just right, the radio, the touch of a precious child and the look of love in my woman's eyes, but I didn't understand how to put it all together.

assburp117 karma

What is your preferred brand of toilet paper?

ztbrown297 karma

I don't have a preferred brand, but I've started using those wet wipes recently and it has changed my life. I realized when I was at Bonnaroo this summer that my butt is always at its freshest at outdoor music festivals. Then I realized that the only thing I was doing differently was that I was carrying around wet-wipes in my backpack (and then wiping my butt with them, obviously). So, I'm a wet-wipeman now.

fappy_mcfapster184 karma

Dude don't flush those wet wipes, you'll back up your sewer line...I'm just looking out for ya

ztbrown150 karma

Are you serious?

dagnabbitfrancis71 karma


ztbrown124 karma

damnit. Why can't we have nice things?

faleboat44 karma

As a heart attack.

Wet wipes are not made to bio-degrade quickly like TP is. Ever used wet TP? Of course not, it crumbles into mush intentionally

Flushable wipes react with chemicals in sewage to break down faster. DO NOT USE regular wet wipes (or paper towels, for that matter)! Unless, of course, you're into your house eventually smelling like sewage for a couple years.

ztbrown86 karma

This is the saddest day of my life. MY BUTT WAS FINALLY CLEAAAAAAN!!!!!

ButterMyBiscuit10 karma

Whaaaat! I was also at Bonnaroo! I might have seen Mr. Danger and not even known!

I got to see a lot of my favorite bands perform, but imagine if I got to see that one guy who got a lot of money to make potato salad.

ztbrown20 karma


the_salt_life110 karma

Mr. Brown,

On a serious note, what is it like now that you're well known? Are you more egotistical or more humble? Has your life changed or on the verge of changing? Do you like the attention or hate it? Are you a different person now?

ztbrown242 karma

A serious question from the booty-eating guy?

I don't think I've changed outwardly, but it's pretty difficult to be objective. I know that I spend a lot of time now thinking about what I want to do next and that's new for me.

I don't hate the attention, but it is super weird to be out drinking and have total strangers shout "POTATO SALAD!" at you.

ZBRZ12388 karma

A really simple question. Why?

ztbrown294 karma

Real talk? I was feeling really down that week. I didn't want to go to work and I wasn't sure what I wanted to be doing with my life so I spent 30 minutes making this stupid little Kickstarter to make me and my friends laugh. I would have forgotten about it if I didn't get an email notifying me that my bank account had been verified.

spyhi50 karma

Thanks for not succumbing to the temptation of an awesome creation myth. A lot of awesome stuff has started for small reasons, and I'm always happy when more people learn that :)

ztbrown23 karma

Thanks! :)

rednax12069 karma

What does that even mean, your bank account had been verified?

ztbrown20 karma

you have to go through a verification process to get approved.

enderandrew4279 karma

Your Kickstarter lost a big chunk of money mysteriously in the campaign and there were rumors that there were large fraudulent pledges made to inflate the numbers to make the campaign go viral, encouraging others to jump on the joke bandwagon.

This chart shows how the Kickstarter lost over $20,000 in a single day all of a sudden.


How do you respond to claims that your project may have used fake pledges to increase visibility?

ztbrown115 karma

We didn't and I'm not sure it would have increased the visibility if we did. The earliest of those contributions came in on Monday afternoon after the thing already had a life of its own. I can tell you that it was a huge let-down to see those pledges disappear and none of us knew what was going on.

unassuming_squirrel76 karma

What is your favourite colour?

ztbrown176 karma

It's making me a little sad that this question is stumping me. Remember when you were a kid and this was a super easy question? I like all the colors in that new Ford Fit commercial.

jjppoo314 karma

Ford Fit

Honda marketing folks are crying at their desks right now.

ztbrown265 karma

It's a Honda!? I just know I saw that commercial a million times this weekend and thought "that car looks stupid, but fake Adam Scott is doing a great job of selling it."

mynameiselderprice75 karma

How do you feel about other ways of serving potatoes - Mashed? Boiled? Double baked?

ztbrown164 karma

Oh man, i forgot about double baked.

Zenling67 karma


ztbrown67 karma

Hah. I haven't delivered 100% yet. I will be super relieved when I do. It didn't hit me until midway through the first week that I would actually have to be fulfilling all of these promises (that were, at the time, all jokes).

HxRagexH64 karma

So how was the potato salad?

ztbrown213 karma

It was really fantastic!

Here is the recipe: One pound of potatoes, two ounces of mayonnaise, one ounce of sour cream, one ounce of Montamore cheese (or mozzarella as a substitute), one ounce of basil pesto, and then mix in the desired amount of pancetta (or bacon as a substitute) and sundried tomatoes with a splash of apple cider vinegar, black pepper and kosher salt.

HxRagexH24 karma

Sweet! How did you prepare the potatoes?

ztbrown65 karma

Boiled to al dente and then roasted in an oven briefly

Squalor-50 karma

Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?

ztbrown159 karma

Mayo. Miracle Whip is delicious, but why settle for not-Mayo when you can have Mayo-Mayo?

Here_For_Da_Beer44 karma

Do you acknowledge how stupid it is that you're famous?

ztbrown119 karma

It is SO stupid. I can't tell you how happy I am to be known for something so stupid that has almost no shame attached to it. That's a small needle to thread.

sawonne37 karma

When is your book coming out?

ztbrown56 karma

It should be coming out in June. I'm working with a publisher, but we don't have a contract yet, so I will be light on details for right now. I can promise you that it is going to be really silly!

USID_ent36 karma

how does it feel to be 'internet-famous' and allowed on /r/IAmA ?

ztbrown32 karma

Equal parts exciting and terrifying. I know that the next time I try to be funny on the internet, people will see it, so it better be good.

BlanketyTank34 karma

Hello Zach! I'm growing out my beard, never done it before, how do you keep your beard so manly and amazing? Any tips and tricks on keeping it looking good?


ztbrown67 karma

Bro, I can't even beard.

BlanketyTank31 karma

Well, this is embarrassing. I'll see myself out now, thanks for answering and stopping by. Have a great day!

ztbrown50 karma

You have a great day! No need to be embarrassed! Here's an embarrassing thing about me: I have to use spell-check every time I write the word 'embarrassed'.

BlanketyTank21 karma

I thought that's what everybody did? I didn't know there were people out there that can actually spell embarrass without using spellcheck!

ztbrown31 karma

Maybe wizards.

sapost33 karma

Now that you've got potato salad under your belt, what's the next food that will be unexpectedly elevated into the public consciousness?

123choji28 karma

What's your favorite book?

ztbrown78 karma

The Stand

ztbrown89 karma

With The Dark Tower books coming in close second.

nahashon22 karma

Ka is a wheel

ztbrown37 karma

it was also a net from which none ever escaped

heirtoflesh12 karma

Which book is your fav, and why is it Drawing of the Three? (kidding about the assumption :P )

ztbrown26 karma

Duh, it's Drawing of the Three.


The book opens with your gunslinger hero getting his fingers eaten off by a Lobster monster!! That shit is crazy!

kbgames3603 karma

Stephen King?

ztbrown5 karma


-TheWaddleWaddle-27 karma

Is Danger actually your middle name?

ztbrown42 karma

No. It's Tyler.

Shadou_Fox27 karma

What was your favorite PotatoStock event? And what is your favorite way to eat potatoes?

ztbrown58 karma

I really loved Jordan O'Jordan's 'History Of The Potato' stories. Jordan is a story-telling banjo player from Ohio and he researched and wrote a special story about the potato's journey from North America to Europe and back again. It was really wonderful and was also the first time I got to sit down all day.

____255525 karma

Since no one has asked the obvious question, how much of the money did you keep for yourself?

ztbrown51 karma

None! It's all going to backer rewards and our fund at The Columbus Foundation!

mewearhelmet24 karma

Is it weird to you that people wanted to be in on a joke so badly, that they wrote a check for it? Is that sad, or a new form of "meta comedy"?

ztbrown31 karma

No, it's heart-warming! I'd love to see more internet panhandling like this with much funnier people than me. Imagine if Loius C.K. released a half-hour comedy special with donation tiers. You can stream it or download it for free, but there is a suggested donation. I'd be interested in seeing how well that works.

lachiester24 karma

What is your favourite way of eating a potato apart from a potato salad?

BAM_you_have_HIV21 karma

I have you tagged as Woody from Toy Story, why is that?

WatNxt19 karma

What are you going to make next?

ztbrown98 karma

I thought it would be funny to do a TED talk where I roll out a 6-foot party sub and say that it was 3D printed. I couldn't think of anywhere to go from there.

johnnythelip118 karma

At what point did it hit you that the joke might have gone too far? If it didn't hit that point, then when did you realize you have to actually carry out the Kickstarter goals you laid out?

ztbrown23 karma

Three days after the project went live, I got a call from Good Morning America. That's when I realized that it was going to have some reach. We always knew that we'd have to fulfill promises, but it didn't sink in until the end of the first week that we'd be sending 1000 people a custom t-shirt.

Shy__RedheadV215 karma

How do you feel about redheads?

ztbrown50 karma

Their hair is not brown, blonde or black.

mRNA-14 karma

Couple q's, 1) whats your secret recipe if anything? 2) I really like waffles. Any suggestions regarding waffles? I only ask because you seem to have a knack for turning something so simple as a potato salad into something fantastic! 3) potato prices are rapidly rising in both the US and the UK. What are your thoughts on that, and advice for making cheap, delicious potato salad? Links for articles are below. Thanks for your AMA!



ztbrown27 karma

1.) Silly and serious always go together. That's why church laughter is a thing.

2.) Bro, you talkin' waffles? I had sourdough waffles for the first time this summer. They were fantastic.

3.) I blame the Organization of Potato Exporting Countries. Honestly, if you're looking for cheap, delicious potato salad, store-bought is always a good bet.

Frajer14 karma

What's the best side dish besides potato salad?

ztbrown34 karma

I'm not positive that potato salad is the best side dish, just the silliest. The best side dish is Mac and Cheese or Baked Beans.

cyclopsblue1313 karma

So what is next on your to do list?

ztbrown35 karma

I've taken a hiatus from my job and have been working on a book proposal for the past two weeks. I'd love to do a really silly "4 Hour Work Week" kind of book.

I'm also going to take the plunge and write and perform some standup at open mics in Columbus.

jasonmm197911 karma

Are you still here answering questions?

ztbrown27 karma

Are you still here asking questions?

you-know-whats-up8 karma

Was it good potato salad?

ztbrown20 karma

Yep! And you can make it at home:

One pound of potatoes, two ounces of mayonnaise, one ounce of sour cream, one ounce of Montamore cheese (or mozzarella as a substitute), one ounce of basil pesto, and then mix in the desired amount of pancetta (or bacon as a substitute) and sundried tomatoes with a splash of apple cider vinegar, black pepper and kosher salt.

TheHellion4 karma

Did anyone ever say to you "I'll take the job! Potato salad!"?

ztbrown3 karma

NO! That's fantastic. Thanks for linking this!

BrewCrewKevin3 karma

So what recipe was your favorite? I'm also a newbie at potato salad, so I'm looking for tips!

Also, have you thought about branding your own product with the kickstarter and starting a legitimate business out of it? Or was this a one-time deal and you never want to eat another bite?

ztbrown8 karma

I really liked the one from the event:

"One pound of potatoes, two ounces of mayonnaise, one ounce of sour cream, one ounce of Montamore cheese (or mozzarella as a substitute), one ounce of basil pesto, and then mix in the desired amount of pancetta (or bacon as a substitute) and sundried tomatoes with a splash of apple cider vinegar, black pepper and kosher salt."

I don't have any plans to continue with potato salad. I want to write / perform jokes.

jelatinman2 karma

I'm not gonna lie, I hate potato salad.

If you go back and do the funding for a new festival (whether it's for charity, helping local businesses, or making extra money) will you include macaroni salad next time?

ztbrown6 karma

I'll try to keep that in mind, though I'm a really shitty event planner and don't love it that much. If there's a next time, I'll let someone else take the lead on planning.

vertigounconscious2 karma

what did all the money go to? If it didn't all go to Potato Fest or whatever?

ztbrown8 karma

It's being used to fulfill donor rewards. Whatever is left-over is going into our non-profit fund at The Columbus Foundation to support charities working to end hunger and homelessness in Central Ohio.

hdpq2 karma

How do you bat away the women throwing themselves at you now that you've run a successful Kickstarter?

ztbrown2 karma

This has not been a problem. I don't think potato salad or crowdfunding really get the ladies going.

N8dork20201 karma

I read that you're coming to Idaho. When will you be here and what will you be doing while you are here?

ztbrown2 karma

I was already there! Sorry! I hung out with some awesome people and drove around in a giant potato truck. http://www.brooklynpaper.com/assets/photos/37/20/all-giant-potato-at-bay-fest-2014-05-16-bk02_z.jpg

LazyCouchPotato1 karma

Our hero!

Please visit /r/Potatoism more frequently!

That being said, the question, which is your favourite type of potato?

ztbrown1 karma

I really like yellow waxy potatoes. Also, what the heck is potatoism? I visited and COULD NOT even. Thanks!

ThatRooksGuy1 karma

What's your favorite college football team?

ztbrown3 karma

Ohio State. I spend a lot of time lurking in /r/cfb. I love OSU, but I hate following them or watching them on TV. I have much more fun watching random college football games (this weekend, amirite?) and NFL. Too much anxiety having a favorite team.

deathbybears1 karma

Alright pal, so spill it. Ballpark, how much money did this entire potato salad idea earn you, and how much monetary capital did it require?

ztbrown5 karma

Earned me $0.

Cost me whatever I would have made in 4 weeks. I left my job at the company I co-own and haven't drawn a salary since the end of August.

redheadedwoman1 karma

Are you a mustard-based or a mayo-based type? Do you think there is room for both types of potato salad in the world?

ztbrown3 karma

I thought mustard and mayo were compliment potato salad tastes and that vinegar was the real mayo rival. Turns out, you can put them all in one salad, so I love them all!

Learner-Vex1 karma

Why du you hate regular salad?

ztbrown2 karma

I'm an equal opportunity saladman

baggyrabbit1 karma

When did you realize your Kickstarter was getting big?

DogeCraftOne0 karma

Such Potato Salad, Much Question. How much stuff can you stuff in your stuffie until your stuffie has enough stuff?

ztbrown4 karma

African or European stuffie?

HeXeY1 karma

I don't know

VAPossum0 karma

How does it feel knowing you turned the previously-respected Kickstarter into a joke?

ztbrown6 karma

I'm not sure that I did. Kickstarter seemed pretty happy with it. How do you feel this marginalized Kickstarter as a brand?

[deleted]0 karma