We are Matt Saincome, Bill Conway, and Krissy Howard, the crew behind the only satire site on the internet worth your time. We are releasing our first book The Hard Times: The First Forty Years. You might have a few questions about how a couple of punks with no money were able to build a comedy website (https://thehardtimes.net) into a comedy institution which later spun off into a video game satire website called Hard Drive and a presidential campaign for the only gamer running for the white house, Ace Watkins. Ask away and once you are done go follow us on Instagram @thehardtimesnews and on Twitter @REALpunknews. You can buy our new book right here (https://thehardtimes.net/book)


Comments: 212 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

WheatGerm4219 karma

Bill, what headline are you must ashamed of running?

ihatebillconway22 karma

The one I still hate more than anything "Man with barcode tattoo successfully returned for store credit" that headline sucks.

DustinForever12 karma

lmao I'm into it

MattFromZP18 karma

Bill hates everything, don't listen to him.

EdgarTowner14 karma

Who's the most famous Hard Times fan? That you know of?

MattFromZP28 karma

The guys from Green Day have supported the site from really early on. Ian Mackaye told us Hard Times is a real pain in his ass. He forwarded me an email chain of euro hc kids asking him if a Hard Times story about him was true and if Fugazi was really back together. Does that count? Here was the story: https://thehardtimes.net/news/martin-shkreli-buys-fugazi-jacks-ticket-price-up-to-9/

jjdanek10 karma

What's the weirdest submission packet you have ever received?

MattFromZP12 karma

We just got a poem. I just asked Krissy if she remembered what is was about.

"No. I read a lot of it. It rhymed. I don't remember what it was about though."

SonOfALich8 karma

Heya! Love the site and how obviously genuinely connected to the scene(s) you guys are - the way the place of sincerity that the satire comes from is what makes it so effective, in my opinion.

My question is, what was the motivation/impetus for changing Hard Style into Hard Noise?

ihatebillconway3 karma

Honest answer, there was slight brand confusion with the two so we folded Hard Style content into the normal Hard Times socials, and since we already had social accounts for Hard Style we just did a rebrand.

MattFromZP3 karma

Yeah, everyone on the Hard Style team got folded into Hard Times and all the same content gets published there just under the Hard Times name. Now Hard Noise is a space for our people to do non-satirical writing!

unreal95208 karma

How much does where you live influence your comedy?

MattFromZP6 karma

For me it's everything. Growing up in the Bay Area scene and experiencing that humorless, hyper political, hypocritical clique of scene leaders first hand really made me want to create some comic relief.

Danaged8 karma

Who are some newer punk bands people should be checking out?

MattFromZP8 karma

Gulch from the Bay Area. There is a HT writer who plays in a killer band I just found out about called Fixation. https://fixationphl.bandcamp.com/track/state-of-anguish-2

pilldozer7 karma

With all your wheeling & dealing to grow Hard Times into the media/publishing powerhouse we all know now, what's the least punk thing you've done, recently or otherwise, to ensure the success of the site?

MattFromZP18 karma

We signed a contract with a major publishing house who scheduled this AMA for us.

"We're answering it from the hotel they paid for!" - Krissy

belledenuitxxx7 karma

What’s the Hard Times official stance on Jews?

MattFromZP7 karma

@reddit @moderators please quarantine my lovely half-jewish gf before she gets the whole ama banned

22plus7 karma

What is your opinion of Snopes fact-checking obvious satire stories (specifically the Babylon Bee)?

MattFromZP13 karma

I think it's insane and that the Babylon Bee was right/smart to make a fuss about it. We've also been "fact checked" several times for clearly satirical takes and downranked in algorithms for being "fake news."

One of the weirdest times where we SHOULD have been downranked but weren't was when lemmy died. That day if you typed "lemmy dead" into google this article was the first result: https://thehardtimes.net/news/lemmy-waiting-end-tour-announce-hes-dead/

bonerjams997 karma

How long does a tour need to go on until asking the crowd for a place to crash after every gig becomes full blown homelessness?

MattFromZP17 karma

LOL. Longest tour I've done is 35 days.

One of the places we stayed at this guy had let 15 or so stray dogs come into his house. I go "hey man, what's with all the dogs?" he says "There's a heatwave and there's strays with no where to go." Fine, but there was no AC in the house. So it's just 100 degrees with 15 wild animals in your living room now. I was super tired so I said fuck it and put down my sleeping bag and tried to go to sleep. A blind dog immediately hopped on me and started humping my leg, then ANOTHER DOG got on top of that one and started fucking it. So I'm in a blind stray dog threesome now. I push the dogs off me, shake it off, then lay back done again. Blind dog jumps right back on me. At that point I gave up and tried to sleep in the van. It was prob 125 in the van. I put a bag of ice on my chest and one of my head and fell asleep. I woke up gasping for air. Felt like I was in a oven. I think I almost died.

This book tour has been much nicer than that so far.

QzJ0875crew5 karma

Who are your favorite satirists and what attracted you to the concept of satirizing punk and hardcore?

MattFromZP6 karma

Brace Belden of Warkrime and Hoagie from Omegas had the most charismatic stage presences and satirical wit as frontmen. I was very inspired by them. More so than any classic writers or comedians.

Brace had some great satirical interview responses in MRR that I loved as a kid.

I remember one time Hoagie from Omegas planted a fake security guard on stage. The guy was stopping people from stage diving and you could feel the tension in the room building, then Hoagie stopped the show and stood up to him all dramatic. Hoagie gave him a wrestling move then the guy ripped his security shirt off and had an Omegas shirt underneath and stage dove. Crowd went wild.

pilldozer4 karma

Which topic do you wish tracked better with the HT audience?

MattFromZP4 karma


mmm_tempeh4 karma

What happened to the MMA satire offshoot? I feel like it was only around a few weeks/months. Where you stand now do you believe that a creative/comedy endeavor that doesn't pick up interest fairly quickly isn't worth the investment.

MattFromZP5 karma

You were the only person who read it.

Generally speaking when doing a comedy project I think you should plan for success, take it seriously, be consistent, and put everything you have into it. But, if it turns out the target audience really isn't there, close up shop and put your effort into something else. That's what we did and now we have Hard Drive and Ace Watkins instead!

normal_cartographer4 karma

Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Thank you for your time.

MattFromZP3 karma

What weapons do I have? How aggressive are these things? Do they act like geese or like ducks? Ducks really aren't always that small, and I wonder what kind of pack-hunting the horseducks could pull off if they didn't fear death.

If I had a gun, the one giant horse-sized duck would be easy to defeat. But 100 rabid, aggressive duck-sized horses would be difficult to properly target and shoot. I could get overwhelmed while reloading.

So with a gun I'm taking one big duck. With a sword or bat, maybe 100 duck-sized horses.

kitfm4 karma

Is there a specific moment that you noticed the Hard Drive section of your site boomed in popularity?

MattFromZP5 karma

It was on day one! Hard Times posted about it and it just took off! It has been so great to see that project grow up and spin off into crazy stuff like Ace Watkins. I am so proud of that team, and to have been part of the early editorial decision making process. We actually tried a few sections before that that didn't work out. One was about MMA and pro wrestling, the other about conspiracy theories. The fact that the video game section took off was such a thrill. Punk and video games are the two biggest constants in my life. Getting to a run a site about both is a great feeling. I think Hard Drive is just getting started and has plenty of room to grow.

RonPortman3 karma

Any good stories about bands reacting to stories, either positively or negatively?

MattFromZP12 karma

Here is a real email we received from Floor Trends Magazine:

"Hello Matt - It has come to our attention that The Hard Times is using the FLOOR TRENDS® logo and name in a fictitious article. Please see the attached letter and copy of article written by Mr. John Danek, photo by Mr. Ryan Flanders, dated July 10, 2019.

Please be advised that BNP Media II, LLC (“BNP”) owns the trademark for the name FLOOR TRENDS®. BNP has been publishing print, digital, on-line products, and other services to those in the flooring industry using the trademark name. This registration along with other related registrations are valid and shows that BNP has exclusive rights to use the mark.

We are sending you this letter to inform you that the article, “NOFX’s “Linoleum” Wins 25th Consecutive “Song of the Year” Award From Floor Trends Magazine” posted on your website thehardtiems.net and circulating on social media was fraudulently written by Mr. John Danek. The article has no basis and has been fabricated. Our editorial team, mentioned in the article, has never had any communication with Mr. John Danek and did not make the statements quoted in the article. We also wanted to inform you that Mr. Ryan Flanders was never given the permission to use the FLOOR TRENDS® logo in the image he supplied to you.

BNP has exclusive rights to the name and logo for FLOOR TRENDS® and we request that you immediately remove the article along with any reference to and images of FLOOR TRENDS® from your website and social media accounts. Your use of our mark and false reporting is causing confusion in the industry related to the content you’ve posted. We are also requesting you cease and desist immediately from fraudulently reporting on FLOOR TRENDS®.

This is a serious matter and we trust we will have your immediate attention to these requests. Please contact me no later than Monday, September 9, 2019, to confirm the article “NOFX’s “Linoleum” Wins 25th Consecutive “Song of the Year” Award From Floor Trends Magazine”, any related images and all references to FLOOR TRENDS® on your website, social media accounts or any other media you have control over, have been removed. If we do not hear from you by that date, we will refer the matter to our attorneys and request they take the necessary action to ensure our rights are protected.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this important matter."

mmm_tempeh3 karma

Should I go to your event at Strand tonight?

MattFromZP4 karma

Probably. Should I?

Danaged3 karma

Would you consider getting bought by G/O or another company?

MattFromZP11 karma

Right now Hard Times is owned 100% by me, my co-founder, and various editors at the site who have put in time. I like it that way. It allows us to do what we want. If someone with money had a really great vision for helping us grow, and wanted to make some contractual guarantees to protect our people I would entertain the offer. I had one offer to buy the company for $800k a few years ago. Turned it down UP DA PUNX

your_mind_aches3 karma

I love love love Hard Drive. Do you have any ground rules for every satirical article you create?

MattFromZP8 karma

I guess our ultimate rule is things need to be funny. I think we're willing to bend a lot of other general guidelines and rules around that notion. I know Jeremy, the EIC at HD, is very careful about the subtext and overall message of HD, and about being a healthy non-toxic place for gaming comedy (which can be rare on the internet). Him and his team do a great job and I feel so honored to have them be a part of our company.

KnollingStone3 karma

I heard Nardwuar and you guys are beefing. What's the deal?

MattFromZP8 karma

One of the biggest moments for me running this site was when Nardwuar retweeted us. Guy is a fucking legend. Huge fan. And I will straight up whoop his ass if he talks shit.

Honeytata3 karma

Will Ace Watkins be in the debate?

MattFromZP10 karma

Not if the dirty, corrupt, rat BASTARDS at the DNC keep telling us our application is "not legitimate" and the "IGN polls don't count."

brunocar3 karma

Something something did you fuck someone else's date at prom, Matt?

MattFromZP7 karma

I already apologized to you about this. Please stop hounding me. I can't help it if I am 10 times the dancer (and man) that you are.

protochud3 karma

Do you believe billionaires should exist?

MattFromZP8 karma

Come on guys can we just stick to RAMPART?

NewMasterKush2 karma

How many times did your submissions get rejected from The Onion before you decided to start your own off brand website?

MattFromZP5 karma

I’ve never submitted to any comedy site, tv show, or publication. I wasn’t inspired by the onion. I actually didn’t even read it. I am now inspired by it and now read it. There are some very talented people over there and the fact that they’ve been able to get that Kleenex effect where people think all tissue paper = Kleenex and all satire = onion is a testament to their skill and legacy.

chintodachan2 karma

What were your MySpace profile songs that autoplayed?

MattFromZP2 karma

I believe mine was usually this Dcoi! song: https://dcoi1.bandcamp.com/track/eating-away-at-me

Also Whiskey Rebels, Monster Squad, Pressure Point.

anemotoad2 karma

chain punk or egg punk?

MattFromZP2 karma


I am at least partially responsible for a new "no chain" policy at several Bay Area venues, of which I am immensely proud.

RonPortman2 karma

What is a punk band that gets made fun of too much in your opinion?

peoplefoood2 karma

Green Day. and Weezer

MattFromZP2 karma

Yea, I saw Weezer live not too long ago. Great show.

L0LBasket2 karma

What are your favorite video games?

MattFromZP3 karma

I've got a few thousand hours in PUBG. Wanna squad up?

MattFromZP1 karma

@ihatebillconway who, out of the Hard Times editors currently sitting in this hotel room with you, would you consider a role model, mentor, and perhaps even older brother figure?