Who is Ken M?
Who is Kenneth McCarthy?
Kenneth McCarthy, known to many on the internet as Ken M, has been called the "Rembrandt" of internet trolling by Uproxx and one of the "most influential" people on the internet by Time. Natasha Umer with the Reddit Blog says that Mr. McCarthy is an "enigmatic and polarizing figure." So what is it about the 35-year-old Comedy Central copywriter that has attracted so much attention?
It's his ability to make people laugh in the otherwise often unpalatable world of internet comments sections. McCarthy says, "What I do is turn a toxic space into a source of belly laughter, so it’s not gross anymore. That’s what I do."
He has explained that he became discouraged with the "toxic" space many comments sections had become, and began writing fake comments as a way to cope. Ken M has stated, "I wonder how idiotic I can be, but still be believable."
McCarthy's grasp of absurdity attracted a following, and eventually the chance to write internet comments professionally, for College Humour. Of the position, Ken M has stated, "It became difficult to churn out content. The content started suffering. I started to imitate myself in a desperate way." The position ended, apparently sometime in 2014.
In a recent Vox video, Ken described the character he plays as a "well-meaning moron" and compares his entire comment section act with "bringing a banana to a gun fight." He also explains his view with regard to how his anonymity seems to add to his level of performance, and that people who follow him aren't interested in seeing what he looks like. Many of his public profile photos are blank, or photos of an elderly man.
He also described brands with online presences, as "unwittingly" taking on the role of the straight man when he comments. He calls the dynamic of making absurd claims and requests with brands "hilarious." Ken recalled receiving "eight pounds" of sausage as a result of an online interaction with Jimmy Dean sausage. He explained that the "funny thing" was that by the time he received the sausage it had become "rancid." Ken M described this as "they won."
Ken M memes found across internet
Examples of memes created based on Ken M's internet trolling can be found across the internet. Some are NSFW. Sites like me.me and OnSizzle.com keep archives of memes centered around Ken M's comments.
One conversation thread with Bush's Beans on Facebook shows Ken M asking "how come they don't do a refund for your beans".
A representative of the company thanked Ken for contacting them and offered a toll-free telephone number to facilitate what appeared, to them, to be a refund request.
"Store clerk made me pay for my own refund even though the beans had no flavor," Ken responded. He later asked the representative to deposit the money to his PayPal account. He seems to have a special ability to make inane requests without giving away the fact that he is spoofing people. Uproxx describes this as a "funny, brilliant mix of confident ignorance, meandering and disturbing personal anecdotes, and surreal facts which are just close enough to the truth that unsuspecting readers might believe he’s a real person."
In another outing, responding to an article entitled "The iPhone 5 Scores Well, With A Quibble," Ken M responded, "your an idiot of you buy an whole new phone just so you can use the quibble app."
"You're an idiot if you say 'your an idiot,'" a trolled user responded.
Even though he doesn't appear to be commenting, or trolling, professionally anymore, when the Reddit Blog spoke to him in 2015, he was still active on a number of sites.
"Yahoo has the most beautifully gullible people. The people on Huffington Post are humorless and pedantic. I tried it with Fox News, but that group is such a furious wasp nest."
Time calls Ken M "something of a folk hero." According to the Reddit Blog, if you've read the comment section of the Huffington Post or Yahoo, you've read his comments. A Ken M subreddit and Tumblr, Horsey Surprise, also exist.
Ken M poll
Have you seen Ken M's comments online?
© 2017 Stephen Sinclair