I make fake ads, fake signs, and a real book. Eric Adams hates me. I'm Dennard Dayle, ask me anything.
Call me Dennard. Around NYC, you might have noticed fake election ads, MTA signs, and apocalypse survival tips. That's my fault.
I also write in legal places, such as The New Yorker, 1-900-HOTDOG, The Hard Times, Clarkesworld, and The Baffler. Along with extra nonsense on my home site and newsletter.
The pranks were covered by The New Yorker, The New York Post, AM New York, and Twitter. Mostly Twitter. NBC called me a "local prankster" last year, and I haven't stopped smiling since.
Tomorrow, May 24th, my debut book Everything Abridged comes out with The Overlook Press. It's satire and sci-fi stories framed as a mock reference book. You might like it.
And no worries, we're going kayfabe-free. Today, I'm a straight shooter.
You'll have to live with the uncertainty. Clawing at your mind and heart, day after day, until you give in to the siren song of madness. You'll leave the reality you understood behind, and embrace something new.
One of my better pranks, I'd say.
I get to leave the reality I know behind?? Is this a promise? Cause the reality I know is all kinds of fucked up these days.
Yes. Most cosmic horror is about meeting comedians.
Do you identify as an STD or just describe yourself like one?
More of a lifestyle.
Dennard, I'd like to buy your rock.
Idea you thought was hilarious but completely fell flat? And vice versa?
Back in 2020, I was very excited for SpreadCon, a fictional convention for the unvaccinated. I guess Sturges beat me to the punch.
As for the opposite, I thought of the original train parodies as a "just for me" kind of joke. Which left me at a loss for what to tell reporters. I settled on trying to seem like 40% less of a lunatic than I am on a day-to-day basis.
Wait, you created SpreadCon before the pandemic? That is absolutely hilarious, I love that!
I wish, it was an early pandemic joke. But let's pretend I'm that good.
Oh, one of the posts is dated for July 2019, so I assumed it was before that. Just read your sci-fi short story, I loved it! Also left me wanting more, have you published anything similar?
Yup, I've got a whole book of the stuff in Everything Abridged (out tomorrow). You'll like the story "Post-Atomic Stress."
Why does Eric Adams hate you? Is this confirmed or just your personal suspicion?
Let's call it fan-canon. He's a famously thin-skinned "law and order" booster, and graffiti-adjacent critique isn't the best fit for that.
I don't have a question, just want to say that “I Was Beaten by Cops. Now You Can Be Too” is a perfect joke.
Thank you! It sparked that whole project.
This comment seems familiar for some reason...
Quick What fake ad would you make to get me to buy heirloom tomatoes ?
As an heirloom tomato grower, this has me laughing on the outside, with a secondary feeling of being stabbed on the inside.
Truly a master of your craft
I'm glad you either really enjoyed that or need a doctor.
Is the inside of that tomato intended to resemble the Radioactive hazard symbol? Cause, if so, I’m impressed.
...Sure. Yup. I've got wheels within wheels.
Do you think you have more swagger than Eric Adams?
Whatever PR firm got "swagger" and "Eric Adams" in the same sentence deserves a lifetime achievement award. He's got the natural charm of a high school anime club treasurer.
He's been running for President since he got elected Mayor....if not before.
Hopefully he joins Bloomberg, Giuliani, and de Blasio in the Primary Washout Club.
Just followed you on Twitter; looking forward to downloading your book from an .ru site...
I keed, I keed. I love what you're doing, & looking forward to getting the book.
Steal books from IRC, those .ru sites are laptop death. Thanks for the follow!
Not gonna lie, at first read I thought it said “Eric Andre hates me”. How do you feel about Eric Andre?
I'm too much of a Wonder Showzen cultist not to love The Eric Andre Show. Still need to give Bad Trip a look, but the man's consistently entertaining.
Wait. What does Eric Andre have to do with Wondershowzen?
Oh Showzen’s just a huge influence on The Eric Andre Show, and it comes through. To be clear: seperate shows, love both.
Wonder Showzen was too good for this world
It's really inimitable.
Who's Eric Adams?
A crypto grifter with a jackboot kink. Also, mayor of New York.
Amazing. I’m so happy to have discovered this AMA.
Glad you're enjoying it.
When doing satire are you ever worried about the people who won’t understand it’s satire?
Originally, I took more of a brush-off "You get it or you don't" stance. And I still have a bit of that ego in me. I've given this more thought since 2017 or so, when it became clear that our misinformation problem is terminal.
At this point, I keep the likely audience in mind somewhat. When it's a public facing prank, I tend to make the jokes a little more overt to make sure a reasonable reader will get it.
Print/literary satire's a more captive and self-selecting audience, so I give them more rope. I'm sure there's still plenty of room for misinterpretation, but that's fine when it's not something I've forced into a random segment of the public.
Apparently Adams is considering a run for president if Biden doesn’t seek a second term. How will you personally sabotage his campaign, or will you sit back and watch and let historical precedent unfold?
I'll go full Spider Jerusalem. Only less funny, since Transmetropolitan is perfect.
Just let us know when you're going to hit him with the bowel disruptor, I want to witness the shit firsthand.
Any memorable interactions with strangers while you were putting up stickers or posters for a prank?
At one point, an MTA worker grabbed me by the shoulder. My heart seized up for a moment or two, as you can imagine. But she just wanted a few copies of the election postcards, which my relieved, non-imprisoned self was happy to provide.
Do you ever worry that someone powerful might come after you, financially/legally or…. otherwise?
I'm not oblivious to it. In fact, I've sampled the new-and-improved NYPD's elbow-twisting tendencies firsthand. But I'm the type to get possessed by an idea, so I tend to go for it if I feel a real spark.
what would you say is the best piece of writing of yours to start with, and do you have a favorite?
I tend to point people towards "Own Goal." It's a sci-fi short that achieves a lot of what I've reached for in my work for a long time.
As for a favorite, the story Apex Competitor from the book. I can't get through it without laughing.
Thoroughly enjoyed that. Just pre-bought your book. Thanks!
Very happy to hear you enjoyed it. I hope you get a kick out of the book too.
I just read Own Goal - I subscribe to Clarksworld for that kind of writing! So good
Thank you! Reactions like that are what it’s all about.
Just pre-ordered the book on the strength of the first 20% of Own Goal. Good stuff.
Thank you! There's a lot on a similar wavelength in the book, I think you'll have a good time.
What's some unexpected backlash you might have received from all this?
During the whole "Side Effects Include Survival" bit, I got a handful of well-reasoned threats from the anti-vaccine crowd. Along with accusations/confirmations of my role in the New World Order. It was very affirming, I'd never done anything worthy of hate mail before that. Or had my hard work in the New World Order recognized.
Ending up on TV for the MTA signs was a shock. I didn't expect to get more than a shrug and a retweet. Sometimes things work out.
You're in the New World Order too??
All of us vaccine takers are!
That's crazy though that people would go to such lengths to voice their anger ... That sucks you had to deal w that.
But that's awesome that you got to go on TV and get some recognition!
Definitely a net positive. And I was prepared for all kinds of lunacy going in, they aren't famous for their diplomatic tone.
There is a lot of effort in what you do. What is the plan to monetize this? I assume you're an artist at heart but much of this art is for public consumption and free. How do you take these works and then use that towards commissioned or other similarly monetized pieces?
Ah yes, my plan. My plan for money. My money plan that I thought of.
Give me a minute.
Well, I have the above book (Everything Abridged) coming out, so hopefully some fans cross over.
I also have a newsletter with a paid option for bonus articles. I call it the Dayle Bail Fund.
You don't have a site where you sell the prints of your posters, post cards, etc...? Hell, stick em on t-shirts.
I did, I should get back to it.
Edit: I had a scheme for a dedicated non-TeePublic site, then fell into book promo hell. You're right though, this is on the priority stack.
Hey Dennard, can Eric Adams take a bite out of crime?
Black people jaywalking? Definitely. Campaign finance reform? Not in this lifetime.
Have you seen the SNL Eric Adams sketch and if so what did you think?
As in the press conference, with Chris Redd? I thought it was a good time. Fun performance, though a little unfocused on the writing front.
Where did you get that hat?
I believe that's from a Spencer's Gifts in 2017. But it could be the monthly snapback that Central Command sends black guys in Brooklyn.
I've seen a lot of your ads and signs and love them! I'm eager to check out your book as well. Sci-fi reference novel screams Hitchhikers Guide and your style of humor is on par with Adams.
How did you get started doing the more public things like those along with the writing?
If you had to create an interesting job title for yourself, what would that be?
Thanks! Douglas Adams casts a long shadow, and I hope you get half as much entertainment from my work.
Honestly, the signs are the result of poor impulse control. I was stuck on the Q for about half an hour at one point, finally got off, and saw a sign about the situation. Then my wheels started turning.
I'd like to call myself a Spin Surgeon. Like a spin doctor, but more hand-on and self-important.
I've got two!
1) Apart from the people who cynically draw profit abusing the various problems facing society (greenwashing, etc.) do you think that people often tend to neglect their own impact on, for example the environment, but also such aspects as sexism or racism (e.g. by policing others, but not paying attention when they themselves draw on prejudicial stereotypes etc)?
2) What do you think of Eric Adams idea that he wants to be paid in bitcoin, particularly taking into account his the fact that ecological cost of cryptocurrencies?
1) Outside of professional guilt enthusiasts, I think most people see themselves as neutral or better forces in the world. It simply an easier way to live, perhaps even necessary for some.
As for moral policing, that's an eternal American hobby (I think Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a book about it at some point). It's much more fun to turn the spotlight on someone else. Self-improvement eats valuable grandstanding time.
Except for you and I, of course. Our perspectives are perfect.
2) I'm honestly surprised that he had the restraint to pitch the original ponzi scheme instead of his old spinoff. An approach that's sort of paying off, since Bitcoin declined less precipitously than the army of altcoins currently burning in a trash can.
What is peoples biggest misconception about your work?
I put less stock in humor changing hearts and minds than most interviewers think. I think of satire as relief for the sane people left, rather than a spell that makes lunatics change their wayward ways. Only Chris Rock can do that.
How do you like your first name dennard?
I enjoy the alliteration with my last name a great deal. It's very "Peter Parker."
Papyrus font. Why?
Which piece? I abuse a short list of fonts and that's not on it.
That said, I'm sure half my design choices are objectively terrible. I'm a writer by trade/job description/desperate self-image.
Oh, not mentioning one of yours, in general. Just asking what's up with it and what do you think? Haha
It's a born ally of lazy escape room owners. Think variations of "Welcome to the Puzzle Pyramid."
Should 1-900 numbers make a comeback?
Jokes aside, I think 1-900-HOTDOG saved the idea of endorphins on the internet. A lot of great comedy has died in the walled content gardens, and they've found a model to survive and thrive.
And they let me post, which is nice for my self-esteem.
I love your style of art / social commentary. It’s my favorite way of pointing out that sometimes “the emperor has no clothes.”
Do you ever find it hard to do commentary on positive things in society? Is it even possible or does your art only work with problematic subject matter?
Thank you! The encouragement is always helpful. I always wonder if I just sound like I've lost my mind.
On your question: it's more challenging to talk about the good stuff, but I do try every now and then in fiction. In Everything Abridged, the story "Ringside Easel" is a long-form love letter to pro-wrestling. "Free Panels" takes a dark turn, but the scripts are a similar paean to American comic book history. And "Space Glaive" does the same for siblinghood and tabletop gaming.
I may take a tilt at a more positive stunt. We're not short on dour headlines, so people might appreciate the change of pace.
Favorite tabletop games?
I find the mech game Lancer (by the author of Kill Six Billion Demons) is crazy amounts of fun.
I've also played two decades of Dungeons and Dragons. So I probably enjoy it.
If 1 is grid-combat min/maxing and 10 is theater of the mind roleplay, where on the spectrum is realD&D for you?
I'm currently a player in a 3 and a DM in a 5. I generally say "let the people do as they will," and personally enjoy everything between 2 and 8.
Your work around the city is greatly entertaining - I will say, I think Eric Adams hates anyone who doesn't think he's NYC's savior. Seriously, he speedran "More Disliked than De Blasio" any% and killed it in like a month.
Any forthcoming plans to strike again, and maybe a clue towards whom/what?
The next trick depends on a few external factors. One idea needs a new artist (the person attached just fell through), and the other needs a home (I'm cleaning up a pitch).
As for my general writing, the book just came out so I'll be doing promotional cartwheels for that, and the newsletter is ongoing. I also have more 1-900-HOTDOG and New Yorker stuff in the can, so you'll see both monthly.
Why do you think primary voters rejected the most pragmatic candidate, Paperboy Love Prince, in favor of a clear joke candidate?
They weren't ready for the utopia.
Not sure if you’re still answering but I just wanted to say that this AMA has been awesome. It definitely makes me think of the words ‘boldness’ and ‘courage.’ You have to be bold enough and courageous enough to follow through with satire because there are always those who just don’t get it, and you leave yourself open to criticism and (worst case scenario) arrest/death/the legal system. How do you get over any reservations you might have and find the courage to put your work out there?
Still here, and glad you've enjoyed it. And hearing you say that makes my brush against the law (an amusing arrest, the precinct computers looked older than me) feel more worthwhile.
In terms of getting over nerves, fiction was the gateway drug. Then I got hooked on stand-up, and finally this. Now I need to get clean before I start Tweeting my real opinions.
I had never heard of you until today (I live in Minneapolis) but I love it. And you write scifi and clarkesworld bought it? Sweet, fresh reading for me tonight.
A question: do you think irreverence is on the decline, or does media just focus on the humorless?
I don't think irreverence itself is on the decline, on an amateur or professional level. I think that popular reactions (both positive and negative, look at the sheer size of the fancam army) have a much louder megaphone with current outlets.
I should be more specific. When it comes to negative backlash to a stand-up set/prank/book, we're not dealing with criticisms more insane or numerous than the petitions, arrests, and fatwas of recent history. I think the backlash just feels more tangible with a thousand discreet comments easily available.
I guess my point is that moral grandstanding is America's oldest hobby, and jokes about it are its second.
Thanks! Keep it weird!
where there any of these pranks that you thought you werent going get away with but it went far smoother than you expected?
Honestly? The second I finished the election stunt I thought I was going downtown.
I live in Bay Ridge, and had a lot of fun trying to figure you out. First, I saw the Adams poster, and it took a while to come upon one featuring another candidate. Once I did, it seems like you upped your “placements” and I wonder, was all this only you? Or did you have a team at some point? And thanks for the laffs.
Glad you've enjoyed it.
Most of the pranks, including the election one you mentioned, are just me. Partially a budget constraint, partially not wanting friends arrested.
Occasionally, I prod a graphic designer that wishes to remain nameless, and they tell me if the visuals look off. Which has been invaluable.
I also collaborated with the artist Jake Lane on Climate Apocalypse Survival Tips. I still love how those came out.
How much of a corrupt fraud is Eric Adams? I suspect it's worse than we all think.
Hard eight on the Boss Tweed scale. Which does show an appreciation for city history.
Love your work. Are you a fan of fokawolf in the UK?
Thank you! Searching him up now, looks awesome.
Yeah I think he’ll be right up your alley for sure lol. He was responsible for that UK Conservatives “We plan to cut all homeless people in half by 2025” subway ad that went viral a few years back.
Inspiring stuff, I've become an instant fan.
You makin' any money from these shenanigans?
It's humbling to learn that everyone has better business sense than me.
I've got my debut book and this newsletter going. We'll see if there's spillover benefit.
As the author of a reference book, I’m counting on you to know: what makes a bodega a bodega and not just another deli?
A proper bodega has at least three of the following traits:
-Two lost NYU students.
-An ongoing Jamaican argument.
-An underfed cat.
-A dead-eyed Wall Street savant, staring silently at the menu like it holds the secret to redemption.
-Spillover traffic from a drill concert.
Quick tip: three spaces = line break
Ever considered a working trip to somewhere like DC?
I definitely have. I'm working on something that'll take me down South. Just have to finalize some boring prosaic matters first.
Awesome! I assume any details will be shared on your site and newsletter when plans are made?
I hope you have some signs you can post on/near the J. Edgar Hoover Building.
That's right, every new stunt/publication/semi-funny joke will get a note on the site and newsletter as they emerge.
As for the Hoover building, I never thought I'd have a crazier target than One Police Plaza. But I guess life is about evolving.
For the recent grads, yes or no on diploma burning parties?
Diploma burning bashes are terrible for emissions. It's all about Shredding Sessions now. We've only got one Earth.
Suppose you lived in a country, which just initiated some insane war and where a lot of people are brainwashed by propaganda and any direct citizen action is punishable by jail. Any tips on design or content or placement of signs to maximise reach and penetration of (anti-war or anti-government) message? Asking for a friend here, of course.
I'll message you about your theoretical question for a not-you friend.
Hi! Do you mind sharing yours tips to someone-not-me for totally-not-people-I-know about a similar situation, except there’s a civil war decades old, and the messages would target more a military junta that loves to jail people for lèse-majesté crimes?
Or point to resources freely available, that one might totally not smuggle inside said country?
I'll shoot it out this week, for our shared friend Fictional deNotReal Jr.
On an overall scale, how do you think the “normal” public feels about your fake ads and stuff?
Confused and amused are definitely the leading reactions. Which is good, if anger made the top two I’d buy new locks.
Why are all the links in your post behind a URL tracking service?
The form for scheduled AMAs has a character limit, so I used bit.ly to make them shorter.
I have loved your guest articles on 1900HOTDOG. Do you have plans to do more?
I do! I love the site and the format. Thanks for reading, it's great seeing the community enjoy it.
the little blurb for your book mentions Paul Beatty, which combined with the description is more than enough to make me want to read it. who/what are some of your favorite authors/books?
Paul’s a modern miracle, hoping to get half as funny. I’m a huge fan of Neal Stephenson, Warren Ellis, Fran Ross, Samuel Delaney, Terry Pratchett, and Julie Schumacher. The most recent great book I read was Black Buck, which is a great time.
A hip, stylish man as yourself presumably went to an equally hip college. Could you tell us about what I presume was an undergraduate experience embedded in the mainstream of popular thought? What was it like to walk out your door and instantly be immersed in the most contemporary of culture?
I went to a college remake of Get Out.
Do you eat food?
It's a bad habit of mine.
Which fake item of yours in the past still makes you laugh so hard your stomach hurts today and why is it still so funny to you?
I've got to go with the first edit on this page. It's a bleak spin on an impossible job.
How in the world did you get Nathan Lane to do your audiobook?
I'd sacrifice all of my nieces and nephews on an Aztec altar to make that happen.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?
I like that the Ankylosaurus comes with a built-in mace.
As a fellow NYer, I appreciate you. But why does Eric Adam’s hate you? You really turning it up that hard in NYC?
That's just a gag, my best/most covered prank was an edit of his fliers.
Based on his speeches, he invented law enforcement. Good for him, the royalties must be great.
How do I know the sign you are holding as proof that this is you doing the AMA isn’t a fake sign?
View HistoryShare Link