Hey Reddit! I'm Mike Trapp - I was a writer and cast member of CollegeHumor for five years (and worked other, more invisible positions at CH for five years before that). I’ve written tons of internet sketches, popular shows like WTF101, and deeply unpopular shows like Ultramechatron Team Go!

You might also know me from Um, Actually - a game show where funny people correct inaccurate statements about nerdy things. I’m not with CollegeHumor full-time anymore, but we're still making new episodes for Dropout.tv, and old episodes come out regularly on the Um, Actually Youtube channel. We also launched a Kickstarter to make a home game version of Um, Actually, in partnership with games company, Wiggles3D (which closes in less than 2 days, so if you wanna back that, now's the time).

Additionally, I've been in stuff like Zac Oyama's The Rotating Heroes Podcast (a D&D actualplay podcast), Dimension 20: Escape From the Bloodkeep (a D&D actualplay show), and Adam Ruins Everything (which is not a D&D actualplay).

And now I'm here (starting at 1pm PT) to answer your questions, talk comedy, and repeatedly insist there’s no proof I killed Pat Cassels. AMA!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/1ok9d6yngc471.png

EDIT - That's it for me! Thanks for all the great questions. If you came in too late and there's something ya just GOTTA know, you can always try shooting me a question on Twitter or the Dropout Discord.

Comments: 751 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

mdl0100712 karma

Hey Trapp,

Long time, first time. Burning questions that I have:

  1. Why is Zac Oyama so precious?
  2. What is the line of pedantry that makes an answer on Um, Actually go from "That's exactly the type of shit we're looking for in this game" to "No Brennan, stop trying to break the game."?
  3. Did anything surprise you about the other side of Um, Actually on the episode that Ify hosted?

Thanks for everything you do.

UmActuallyMikeTrapp621 karma

  1. Because he plays a lot of characters that combine sincerity with child-like delight in simple pleasures. A precious combo.
  2. It has to be undeniable true for one. No, "well you could make an argument to the contrary." Hard facts. But it also can't be so specific that even fans of the property would be lost. And it should be surprising in some way. The ideal, then is something that would have been certain was true, but once you hear the correct answer you realize that the original statement was undeniably, inarguably false.

  3. Even though I KNOW the game is bullshit and doesn't matter, I STILL got annoyed if I felt a statement was just slightly on the wrong side of "too pendantic"

Thanks for watching!

hunchbuttofnotredame614 karma

Hey Trapp, I have a question about breaking news. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks true facts about grant Anthony O’Brien was absolutely insane and hilarious, but I’m wondering how it came to be. Did he like lose a bet or something?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp906 karma

This came about when we were shooting more Breaking News, but the cast was being pulled in a million different directions with Dropout, so we branched out a little farther than usual to find people who might want to write a script. This was from a friend of Grant's, who also knows that Grant is an EXCEPTIONALLY good sport about being roasted, and that Grant had final cut on the episode in case it went too far. Grant did not lose a bet, he is just very, very committed to a good joke, even when it's at his expense.

crumpledwaffle614 karma

So Trapp... where are you from?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp389 karma

Originally about 3,000 miles away from where Sam is from. You'll have to ask him for more specific info.

PittZee586 karma

Hey Trapp! How tall is Grant?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp987 karma

About as tall as Keith from Buzzfeed

bbwxjenna421 karma

Does it hurt you to know that I joined Dropout because of Um, Actually but then left you high and dry for Brennan and Dimension 20? Still love ya!

UmActuallyMikeTrapp404 karma

Absolutely not. Love to see people loving my talented friends.

sqlizer1432371 karma

The last 18-ish months have been brutal, and the CH/Dropout team has been instrumental in keeping me from falling into a pretty dark place. So I wanted to preface my question with a huge THANK YOU to you and your team.

My question: What has it been like moving to a "Zoom" style production on Um, Actually, and are there plans to move back to in-person?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp351 karma

I'm so glad our stuff has made a positive impact on you. It truly means the world to me when I hear stuff like that.

The remote shootings have been WEIRD. In some very obvious ways there have been setbacks -- technical issues and losing some energy of having everyone in the same room, for example. But there have also been some unexpected upsides. It's forced us to rethink some shiny question formats for the better and it allowed us to bring in players from outside the LA area. The current plan is to return to in-person shooting when we shoot our next chunk of episodes this fall.

Arbrax344 karma

before IAC dropped out of funding CH, was there ever a plan for the ending of the "Trapp killing Pat" saga (if it was to ever end in the first place)? you probably answered it in the Dropout discord, but I probably wasn't there, so I'd love to find out through here!

UmActuallyMikeTrapp609 karma

The plan was to never have an end. When we shot those Pat had already moved to NY and was just back in LA for a few days. We shot all of them in one day, and the intent was to drop them at the end of any sketch that mentioned Pat, then maybe shoot some more in the future, and keep it a perpetual cat and mouse thing. Like a mini-Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner dynamic. No matter what happened it would have had no satisfying ending at all.

drachenfels1303 karma

what Um, Actually correction that you get told grates on you the most?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp463 karma

I hate getting burned on a wrong pronunciation. I'm absolutely wrong, and you're absolutely right, but I haven't always seen the thing I'm talking about and the spelling is insane.

DharmaCub286 karma

Hey Trapp!

Love Um, Actually, but I specifically want to ask about 2 things non-Um Actually related.

1st question: Where did you draw the inspiration for Sokhbarr from in Escape from the Bloodkeep? He's my favorite character in that sidequest and I love the voice you give him. I know you stated that you always read the Monster Manual as a kid because you liked the illustrations, but where did you come up with the idea of someone needing to care for all the Wargs and other wild beasts? Also, was J'er'em'ih* a creation of yours or Brennan's?

  • u/bbwxjenna is a know it all and insisted that Um Actually it's J'er'em'ih.

2nd Question: So where did you hide Pat's body?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp304 karma

We knew we were playing as villains in a LOTR-inspired setting so a lot of my character pitches were about finding the relatable justification for these over-the-top evil characters. To me, the best villains have understandable motives taken to immoral conclusions. Sokhbarr came out of this idea that some animals are seen as "evil" or not worth saving, and that it would make sense for there to be an eco-terrorist who was willing to destroy society in order to save the ugly, unloved, monstrous animals of the world. J'er'em'ih was an outgrowth of that idea -- that there was an animal so horrific it had been hunted to near extinction. In the brainstorming process, Brennan and I talked about having this thing be a chimera of the worst parts of every other animal -- a disgusting horrific creature that only someone like Sokhbarr could love.

the_Francie280 karma

Hey Trapp, I have a bit of a logistical question. Are the guests of Um Actually? vetted before the show to know what sort of nerdy topics they're interested in, in order to make sure there are at least a few questions which would be relevant to some of them?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp370 karma

Originally they were. In early seasons we tried to have at least two questions per contestant that aligned with their stated interests. But we sort of stopped doing this because other conflicts would invariably end up shaking up the schedule at the last minute, meaning questions had to get shuffled around, and it ultimately didn't seem to make much of a difference. Now I just try to have a good diversity of question topics in each episode (unless it's a themed one) and hope that someone in there will know what I'm talking about.

the_Francie102 karma

Thank you for the answer. I also have another question about the show. What's the process for coming up with a statement like, do you start with which series you would like to make a false statement on, or is that discussed during the brainstorming phase?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp173 karma

We usually approach from a trivia-first direction. It's lots of spelunking down wikipedia holes to find things that are surprising, counter-intuitive, or interesting, and then figuring out how to make it wrong in a (hopefully) interesting way.

PieGuyThe3rd194 karma

How did you first get involved with CollegeHumor? and how was the transition to Dropout for people within the company?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp398 karma

I actually started as a Sales Planner at CH, which was an entry-level position doing absolutely nothing comedic. Maybe even hurting the comedy, since the job was to help the sales team put ads on the site. I managed to convince at least a few people there that I was funny enough to move into the editorial department and I basically just kept snaking my way through the company. Did editorial for a while, writing articles and comics, then made the jump to the video team.

The transition to Dropout was about as nuts as you would imagine. On the one hand we were pretty accustomed to adjusting things. Working for the internet means that your business plan changes every year. It's weird to remember that CollegeHumor existed before YouTube. Every YouTube, or Buzzfeed, or Facebook that came along would sort of force creative changes. Dropout was certainly the biggest one, since it meant that the cast was creating, writing, and starring in a whole platform's worth of content. It was A LOT of work. Most of us were juggling multiple projects at once. But it also gave us the freedom to make bigger, weirder stuff for a while. It was the one specific circumstance that let Ultramechatron ever be a thing.

RoboticCop187 karma

When did you realize Um, Actually was more than a couple of short sketches, and could sustain a show?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp245 karma

I think we almost immediately realized there was something repeatable with the show, but there was a big question of platform. At the time the first Um Actually came out it was very rare to have any video go longer than five minutes, so there was this weird push-and-pull trying to figure out how to have enough questions to make it feel full without going too long. Eventually, longer content became more popular and it seemed like a natural choice.

kellymckelly164 karma

Was the Parmesan-Lemon warm??? How would you describe it?

and would you take another bite?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp189 karma

The weirdest thing about the Lemon Parmesan was that it was sort of numbing. I assume just a lot of tannins? It was a level of bitter that made my mouth hum.

kuhanluke164 karma

Hi Trapp! Big fan.

Would you rather fight one Grant-sized Sam Reich or five Sam-sized Grant O'Briens?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp296 karma

I would not fight a Grant-sized Sam Reich because I'd have no idea how big it is, or where it's coming from.

beatboxtops156 karma

Regarding the Um, Actually game: I just backed it (yay!) before realizing that my friends and I are all pretty firmly on that gen z/millenial range, while I’ve noticed that most of the questions on Um, Actually skew towards older millenial/gen x trivia. Will we all be totally lost playing, or is there a good mix of different decades in there? Either way, I’m sure we’ll have a blast guessing!

UmActuallyMikeTrapp218 karma

This is something I've never been totally sure how to handle, but the questions in Um Actually do skew a little older, mostly because enough time has passed that you can see what things remain at least a little in the cultural memory, but also because it's the stuff that I personally know better. There's definitely a pocket of late 2000s/early 2010s stuff that feels too old to be topical, but too recent to be "classic." I always try to make sure that block has some representation, but it's for sure a but of a blind spot.

Shadowen17130 karma

Which guest surprised you the most with their geek knowledge? (Another way to word it is who was the most surprising winner)

UmActuallyMikeTrapp213 karma

If people are even on the show, I generally assume they've got a lot of trivia stored up in their brain, a good sense of humor, or both, so I usually expect people to do well. The most surprising moments are when someone manages to confidently answer a specific question I know to be very difficult. Jon Guttierez and Joan Ford have both done this multiple times. Awed by the depth of their knowledge.

clipperfury118 karma

If you could make one change to the rules/format of Um, Actually what would it be?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp261 karma

I'm always conflicted about whether or not to weigh the points in later questions more. Sometimes the winner will be a foregone conclusion long before the last question, but I also sort of like that this takes some emphasis off winning, the same way Whose Line has useless points, or QI has hidden inscrutable points. It's a sort of subtle reminder that we're mostly here to talk and joke around and ultimately the winner doesn't matter. I also like the simplicity of the rules when every question is worth the same. Still, winning does matter to some contestants, and I've wondered if it's worthwhile to futz with the actual gameplay mechanics a bit more.

mjdgoldeneye108 karma

I can only speak for myself, but in (I think) season 1, there was a sort of "Tournament of Champions" with winners of previous games and I liked that a lot. I love the regular format, but it would be cool to have occasional "all-star" games with players who are naturally more competitive (ahem Brennan) so you could throw in twists like doubling the point values and whatnot, and take the scoring more "seriously." Throw in a shitty trophy. Make a whole thing of it.

UmActuallyMikeTrapp116 karma

There are some real logistical problems with doing tournaments, because you don't know who's going to win, they all have to clear their schedules for the day in case they move on. And often our contestants are busy people doing a bunch of other streams and can't necessarily commit to that! Every season I've been like "maybe we do another tournament" and we immediately run into scheduling difficulties.

maxthescienceman101 karma

Thanks for doing this Trapp! My question is:
Was there ever a pitch or idea that you know is unproduceable, but still makes you laugh?

(p.s. I miss the Collegehumor Show podcast, and Rejected Sketch Theatre is still one of my favorite bits to rewatch)

UmActuallyMikeTrapp224 karma

So, so, so many. There are a ton of sketches that never got made, for a million different reasons. The absolute stupidest one was a sequel to "The President Pardoned the Turkey that Killed My Family" that would have been a Face/Off parody where I swap faces with a turkey puppet and everyone accepts the Trapp-faced turkey as the new Trapp even though the body is very obviously that of a felt turkey. That wasn't made because the effects would have taken a long time, and it was also very bad.

DogLoverWhoopWhoop96 karma

Hey there Trapp, super big fan of yours! When it comes to securing writing jobs (sketch comedy or otherwise) in the real world what are some tips you can give out?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp189 karma

I really wish I could be more helpful with this question, but (1) I'm not still where I want to be and (2) all the stuff I did to get me where I am kind of doesn't exist anymore. I remember graduating college, looking for guidance and being frustrated that there wasn't a lot, so I hate that I'm not able to provide much. Here's what I can say:

The advice I got was take classes at the UCB and get a job you hate, so you're not tempted to settle for an "okay enough" job. I did both of these things. UCB taught me a lot, and gave me a lot of opportunities, but it also had some downsides that were hard to ignore. Regardless, it's now almost non-existent. There also used to be a sort of comedy middle class of creators online, full writing staffs of up-and-coming comedians at multiple websites! This also doesn't really exist anymore. So that specific path has been brushed away.

I think the valuable stuff you can still take from this is find a community of people doing what you're doing. You'll learn from and encourage each other, and this is how you really grow a network. Make those connections when you're all starting so when one of you starts to get successful you can help the others.

The other helpful thing is to make stuff even when it seems like no one's watching or reading it. This is hugely dispiriting, but you DO have to make a lot of garbage before you start making stuff that's not garbage.

As for actually getting that job? I mean, I was at CH forever, so I have only one data point. I started with a non-writing job at the company and convinced them it was worth letting me write. That specific strategy might also still work at other places, if you can get an assistant job. Sorry I can't be more helpful with this. I wish I had the answers!

soupergiraffe89 karma

Hi Trapp! When coming up with the real life skills questions, have you ever dipped into your own non-nerdy hobbies for topics?

Alternatively, is there anything you want to ask questions about but you feel like it's not nerdy enough, or no one would get it?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp132 karma

I love cooking. It's also something I think is useful and requires lots of specific knowledge, so I have to actively remind myself to stop putting food and cooking-related questions into the real life skills section. I would happily talk about food for hours.

Kautiontape67 karma

Hi Trapp! Just want to say that you're one of the big reasons I'm a happy Dropout subscriber. Sokhbarr was one of my favorite characters on D20 and I think you're a fantastic host for Um Actually. Looking forward to the table game and psyched it feels like a perfect adaptation of the actual game, which is what I was hoping for.

Question: I know Um Actually has several question writers including Michael Saltzman and Brennan as well as yourself. Who tends to write the questions for recent seasons, and what's the process for coming up with them? Do you usually scour around the Internet for interesting trivia from wikias, or do you have a giant notebook of interesting facts that you fill as you hear about them (or both!)

Bonus question: were there any particular facets of geekdom that you were excited to include in the show as a question, even though you knew the subject was fairly niche?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp110 karma

Thanks so much! While I was full-time Brennan and then Saltzman were phenomenal at writing questions. Since layoffs, I've gone back to writing all the questions on my own, which is 90% scouring the internet, and 10% keeping track of weird, interesting stuff as a watch and read all the nerdy shit I already enjoy watching and reading.

Books are the real thing I want to talk about more, but it's really hard to guarantee that anyone has read whatever book I want to talk about. Anytime I include something about China Mieville or Animorphs it's because I just feel like talking about it. In those cases I'll usually give a back door to the correction -- I'll make the wrong thing something from another franchise, so you might recognize the wrong element if you're familiar with either property.

themorphingsquirrel65 karma

you are under oath here, did you kill Patt?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp91 karma

I'll plead the fifth.

RockManJJ56 karma

Will the Um, Actually board game be available for purchase after the kickstarter?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp72 karma

That's the plan!

defga249 karma

Hi Trapp. For people who have bought the Um Actually game, just wondering if you have recommendations for the host role? Certain things you try to do, try to avoid, or determining the difference between a close enough answer and not quite close enough.

UmActuallyMikeTrapp86 karma

The game is more fun when people are scoring points, so when in doubt, err toward the side of leniency.

SaladJokes42 karma

What are some of your favourite pop culture facts to learn through Um, Actually that you didn't know before?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp88 karma

Too too many to list here. I've learned SO MUCH from researching for the show. One of my personal favorites is that the song "Dance Magic" from "Labyrinth" pulls from the 1947 movie "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer"


Teive40 karma

I started my Dropout subscription for Dimension20 but it's gone from an expense to an investment because of your content. Um actually, Ultra Mechatron, and WTF 101 are all deeply satisfying to me.

If you could get a green light for a new season of one of your old projects (one I've listed or something else), which project would it be?

Does your answer change if I told you an old cooky billionaire was giving you an unlimited budget?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp62 karma

It's the least popular of the things I've made, but Ultramechatron remains my personal favorite, since I got to focus entirely on jokes and world-building. If I had the means to make a dumb comedy about robots and monsters forever, I would.

ZeanothTheCanadian39 karma

Are there any Shiny Questions that didn't make it into the show? Things you workshopped but just couldn't get right? If so, which one do you hope that you can fit into a show eventually?

UmActuallyMikeTrapp106 karma

We wanted to do something with a cosplayer coming out and having some intentionally wrong things about their costume, but it's a lot of work for a fleeting moment, and potentially opens the door to comments about the craftsmanship rather than the specific details.