When you start watching Cole Hersch’s Vines, it’s hard to tell whether he’s for real or not. The answer is a little of each. He plays with the conventions of the web in a way that’s simultaneously celebratory and deeply subversive. And that makes him captivating.
On the phone, the real Cole sounds very different from his Internet personae. He speaks haltingly, thoughtfully, in a deeper voice than the high, quavering yelp he affects when he plays himself, and a far cry from his character “Cornib Bleau,” a mushmouthed weirdo who, in a series of Vines and five-minute YouTube talk shows, comes off like a version of Cole’s web presence heightened to its illogical extreme. I asked him about some of his Instagram posts that caught my eye.
“The idea is that I’m so proud of myself that I’m overexaggerating a smile. I do that purposefully, to poke fun at the ‘social media influencer’ element of society.”
“I was in a skate park trying to make videos, and I kept getting yelled at by these teen skaters. I found this group of guys that were dressed up and hitting each other with styrofoam stuff. The guy came over and was like, ‘Hey man, you wanna try?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ So they let me try it. I got the shit knocked out of me. I had no idea what I was doing. They were the nicest people, too. So much nicer than those skaters.”
“I feel like honestly, the majority of ‘influencers’ don’t get it, but I’m hoping that’s why my audience follows me, because they get it. Sometimes I get a lot of comments about my appearance, which is flattering, but I’d rather be funny than attractive. That’s my main goal.”
Cole Hersch is a true original. In partnership with Miller Lite, the original light beer, we raised a toast to Cole, and asked him to create an original Instagram post just for us, showcasing his unique take on social media.
Tony Carnevale is a senior writer for Studio@Gawker.