Wooly Bully with Brett the Intern
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 3 years ago

Wooly Bully with Brett the Intern

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Brett the Intern is a lot of great things. He’s hilarious, successful and gay to name a few. But Brett the Intern is an intern no longer. Now he’s kicking ass in the entertainment industry and making a difference in the world. Let’s talk about interning, coming out, getting married, bullying and… Apple pie. Be sure to follow Brett on Instagram. Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Sebastian Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Straw media. If you displayed any amount of vulnerability as a kid or as a teenager, chances are you had a bully at some point. Growing up. It isn't hard to get a bully. People will torture you for just about anything, being too small, being too big, for being a different color or for being queer. Maybe you were too quiet or maybe you were too loud. Being bullied sucks. It's as simple as that, and the Internet brings so many more opportunities for people to be mean to one another. My guest today has found himself on all sides of that relationship. He's been bullied and he's even been a bully. Not any more, though, don't worry. Now he's a bully fighter of sorts. Bret the intern is actually a lot of great things. He's funny, successful and gay, to name a few. One thing that bret the intern is not an intern, at least not any more. I'm leave by chambers, and this is pride. What do Jerry Springer and Conan O'Brien have in common? Besides the random fact that Jerry Springer had a very brief cameo on a two thousand seven episode of late night? They're both worth a lot of money and they both employed a very special intern. Hello, my name is Brett. On the Internet people know me as breath the intern, but my name is Bret Lemeck and I'm a big, friendly guy who works in entertainment. Bret has been working in the entertainment industry for a long time. He got his start in turning at radio stations in the suburbs of Chicago where he grew up. Then he worked his way up to an internship with NBC universal on the Jerry Springer Show in two thousand and eight and that's when I started documenting what it was like to, you know, work there, to be an intern for the Jerry Springer show, and I even like, you know, I wasn't dumb. I got permission from like associate producers and I interviewed them and that's kind of where breath the are intern started. But I M A second to last day of the internship, I was brought into an office. I guess they flew a lawyer from La to Chicago to let me go and make an example out of me. So that was the end of that chapter of bread the intern. But it really just, you know, it just started from there and then my interest in putting my message and my content out there. That was just the beginning and it really grew from there. You know, it's actually pretty legit. You were like terminated at the top level from NBC Universal. They needed an attorney to do it. Was a big deal. Oh, totally, I was. And it was like the executive produce. It was Jerry springers boss, who brought me in and like started complimenting my videos and it was all like sneaky of about it, and I was like, yeah, you're doing some good things. Huh, you think you're pretty clever with your and then he was like mentoring different videos and, and this was before me crying, I was like, oh well, thank I hope you're subscribed. Obviously, getting the boot from Jerry Springer was not the end of the road for Brett. He continued making funny videos from inside his fraternity house. Yes, Brat, the intern, was in a front in college. He was even the fraternity president. He also played on the football team in high school and one homecoming king four years in a row. At this point, I was in the closet. There's a lot of things that I was dealing with and whether it was inward or outward. I was just making stuff like I wasn't really I wouldn't say that I was the closest and most connected to my fraternity brothers, because we were on different paths. I was afraid of like getting wasted and accidentally coming out, so I would just sort of be locked up in my room, like teaching myself video editing and and I had my internet friends and I sort of built a community there and and without knowing I was like rising through the ranks. And this was before you could make money...

...on youtube and I had a whole online community and and that's kind of where it started until after college when I came out online. But let's back it up a bit. Before he came out, Brett was making videos and living with his fraternity brothers and trying to figure out who he was and what he liked. It had been so long just me keeping this inside, me, changing my personality, me just like even being homophobic, you know, like if my if people were watching in our like Frat House living room, like uh, we're and watch brokeback mountain, you know, won some awards and this that I'm just like, I'm not going to watch that. I like no, not thanks, and I would just go up my room and just feel sorry for myself that I don't get to be exposed to the things that I want to the most. During the summer of two thousand and eight, when he wasn't working for Jerry Springer at NBC Universal, Brat was making extra money as a bouncer and security guard. Then gay pride rolled around and a local bar named roscoes needed a little extra muscle. So I was in the closet bouncing at a gay bar and it was just like it's a version of torture, like I I don't know why I put myself in these situations, but I did, and so I decided it was enough. You know, I didn't want to suppress my giggle anymore or cross my legs a different way intentionally because it seemed like this, or I didn't want people to know it was always on my mind, or the opposite, it was never on my mind and I was numb. So it's one of the two. It was either like torturing me or numbing me, you know, like in college it was was kind of like a quantitative study. I would be with different sorority girls and figuring out how how it felt and, you know, I really wanted to get it right before I, you know, brought the message public and coming, you know, coming out having never been with a guy to that. That was really scary and it's kind of like going around, you know, telling everybody like I love Apple Pie, I love it, I love Apple Pie, I want to commit to eating apple pie for the rest of my life. Haven't had it, but I like the idea of Apple Pie. You know, Brett changes facebook status interested in Apple Pie. Turns out it I really did love Apple Pie a lot. Like so many queer people in the public eye, Brett's coming out story had an online version and an IRL version. So I'd say you pretty straightforward. For all my friends and family, I just one by one, you know, met with each of them. I've been like scheduled, like Tuesday night at thirty, I'm coming to your house and we're going to have dinner, and I had like in my phone each like coming out appointment with every family member, and they all took it well, each each person took it differently. You have, you know, my eldest brother, who was just like laughing and and and told my sister in law like welcome to the family. He's fucking with you. You're not gay, and I'm like no, I am, and then I found myself for the next like five minutes trying to prove it. Liked, did I have like a business card from one of the bars or like? But eventually he understood that this was not a prank. I am a type of person who might prank, but yeah, this was like a important time for him to believe me. And and he was not the only one. It took some time for a few different people. And my mom, on the other hand, she thought it was she was she was really cracking up. She thought it was hysterical that she missed it. And you know she comes from the eater and you know she like went to, you know, study acting in New York. She left Chicago when she was like a teenager to pursue acting. So she has a lot of, you know, like gay friends and is very much accepting of all that. And so she was just she thought it was hysterical and and you know, at my wedding she she's like here's this seven reasons I should have known that Brett was gay. And Number One, the top thing I missed that Brett was gay. On Halloween, when the boys had decorated their Pumpkins or Jack O lanterns,...

I asked what their pumpkins names were. Dustin's was Ninja, Jordan's was dracula. Brett's was called Shirley. As you can tell, charm and humor running the family. In a minute will hear about how Brett came out to the Internet. I am just thankful that he found someone in the world who gets him and loves him as much as we do. On April first, two thousand and eight, brought the intern posted a video to his Youtube Channel called April fools is gay. Dear female viewers, I don't really know how to say this, but I'm gay. I don't know, it could be a joke. I don't know why I chose that day, but for the most part everyone believed it, you know. Obviously there were comments like Haha, April ful, I can see why you would choose April first, because it gives you an out for coming out if you decide like wait, I was kidding. You know what I mean? Yeah, well, said it gives me an out for being out. Exactly. I just kidding. This wasn't received like I thought it would be. I didn't April folds have a great day. Yeah, yeah, subconsciously, like maybe maybe that was the you know defense mechanism that I set up, which makes me sound so smart. Yeah, that was totally the intention. But you know, it was a fun video and what I was all well, the moment after I came out, I lost thousands of subscribers and back then I, you know, I didn't have as many as I do now, or grew to be. You know, I'd say I lost thirty percent of my viewers, which was really surprising to me. I did not expect that at all. So, you know, losing a couple thousand viewers over the you know, about a week, I started to get scared, like something that I loved had turned against me. And obviously, if you know, if this was a response to me being gay, then then then, you know, twenty four hours into me being gay, is is it sucks, you know, like people are unsubscribing and like maybe they don't want to hear what I have to say, maybe I gross them out, maybe like and you internalize all of this and and there's a lot of different ways for them to express this message. One is by UNSUBSCRIBING and not watching you or boarding you anymore. Another is comments, especially now where you can like, you know, up vote or thumbs up comments. If someone says something bad to you, that's awful, but if twenty five other people thumbs up that comment, because it even more weight. And back then there's video responses to fortunately, Brett didn't have to go through that alone. Fellow Youtube Star Michael Buckley reached out and sort of took him under his wing and Brett bounced right back. We collaborated and I got double the people I lost and they were all from his channel. They were all in the queerest sphere. They were all LGBT lovers and supporters and allies, and that's when the fun began. That's when my real journey to authenticity and understanding who I am and and that it's beautiful. It all started just from having like a gay friend. Two Thousand and eight was a huge year for Brett. He lost a hundred pounds, came out of the closet and moved to La to intern on the tonight show with Conan O'Brien. There were so many changes and understandably it took a minute acclamate. I was living everything for the first time and it was and I would go to, you know, the gay club by myself just kind of be awkward for a few hours and then leave by myself. I did that for a while just to sort of acclimate myself. It was informational, it was sad, it was lonely and ultimately I, you know, was able to get the common finance to...

...start talking to people and I don't think any of my online you know, with my online persona, I don't think any of my viewers would guess that I had this this this problem like where I couldn't, that was bad communicating with other gay people. I had suppressed what I was for so long, I had hated what I was for so long, I didn't understand what I was for so long that this was me just, you know, breaking through and it was a process. It didn't happen overnight. It was around this crazy time that Brett met his husband. Can you guess where they met? That's right, on Youtube. It started with a comment, then turned into messages and eventually a relationship. Now they've been married for five years and together for a decade, and that that started with Youtube and that started with me coming out. That started with me putting myself out there. Had I recoiled, you know, I couldn't say the same. So yeah, beautiful things came from it, for sure. Brett's husband, Ray, is from Ireland and when section three of Doma was repealed in two thousand and thirteen, Brett's many youtube followers work together to help him raise tenzero dollars in a month to pay for legal fees so that Ray could come to America and they could get married. So many good things happened as a result of Brett coming out. But it wasn't all fun. Still, he got through it, like he gets through a lot of things, by laughing. When I received like online hate, especially if it was about my weight or about my sexuality, I kind of got in the rhythm of laughing it off, which I was like naturally, my my gut reaction. Some things I turned into videos and I took their comments and sort of turn it against them and I turned it into like a rap video and I and their hate fueled my creativity. That that was most most of the case whenever I received, you know, negative comments, but that was a sign of growth, you know, as I you know, grew followers and I started to become more prominent on online I was going to get everything. I was going to get, you know, more of everything, more love, more hate, just more views, more everything. I think, if I'm speaking in reality, I think a lot of a lot of influencers, and this is generalizing, but I think a lot of influencers would rather receive comments of all sorts then not receive anything. You know, I'd rather have this. You know, I'm putting myself out out there and I want to gain traction and I want to get feedback. If it's good, if it's bad, it's whatever. It's better than one comment and that's it. You know, people are watching my stuff at least, and then the next step is, you'd hope, for acceptance, but that's not always the case. Long before me Youtube comments, Brad had dealt with bullies very personally as a kid. Up to the sixth their seventh grade, he was teased about his way. So, you know, growing up sort of a as a Chubby Kid, I you know, I immediately went to clowning around, you know, as a class clown, to kind of push away any bullying or people talking about my weight. And you know, I was talking to the school psychologist and you know, and my mom even gave me like permission if anyone makes fun of your weight, do what you need to do. If you get sent to the principle's office, you know, so be it, I support you. And she was giving me like a free do whatever you want card, like. So I just, you know, this scared Chubby Kid, like, if anyone calls me fat, I can, I could punch them and and I wasn't an aggressive person that that kind of scared me to because, yeah, one of the kids who was bullying me I actually kind of had a crush on to I was very much...

...in the closet, but he was this prepp cute short kid and ultimately, after I warned him and warned him and told you know, as I gained my confidence week after week after week, one, one last comment ended with me picking him up in the locker room and dropping him. And this was my first like act of physical like and looking at my body and I'm like, I'm not just fat, I'm I'm powerful, I'm big, and like it really, I think was a lifetony changing moment for it was a lifechanging moment for me and for him, but that's when I first started to see my strength and what I was capable of. This past summer bret was invited to be the director of Fine Arts at his childhood summer Camp Biber in Wisconsin, even though he hadn't been back in thirteen years. It was his ten summer at Camp and it was a really big deal. There were lots of opportunities to be on stage for various talent shows and events, usually filling time between acts, but during one of the first shows something happened that he wasn't prepared for. It just like blindsided me. I forgot about this side of camp and and it I didn't know that it still existed. I was on stage and I was introducing the next act and then from the back, the back right, it started smaller than it grew and it was a chant and they were chanting truffle shuffle, and anyone who's listening who doesn't know the truffle shuffle is, I think originally it comes from the goonies, and this was back in my day. At camp they had this as well. You chant truffle shuffle usually at a fat counselor at a fat guy, and they would raise their shirt you know, sometimes like above their head and and then shake their belly. So people will chant truffle shuffle until you do that. This isn't chanted at female counselors. This isn't chanted usually at you know, that's a average weight counselors. This is a fat guy counselor until he shakes his belly. Anyone who knows me knows that I have struggled with my weight all my life. It is a continuous journey body positivity all for it. I'm better at talking about it than acting upon it, but this is something that I don't feel comfortable taking off my shirt, especially in front of four hundred plus people, and shaking my belly. So they started chanting truffle shuffle and the chance grew from five people to ten people, to twenty people, and at first I just ignored it and introduced the next act, thinking you would go away, but it didn't and I had to figure out how to deal with this. You know, and I'm the one with the microphone. I'm the the Director of Fine Arts. I lead the narrative on what happens next. I should be in control. I'm on stage. This is the kind of situation that I never want to find myself in when a group of kids starts chanting for you to do something humiliating in front of a room of four hundred people. What do you even supposed to do? I just want to educate them on how is feeling in the moment. And in the moment I was taken aback, I was sad, I was a little embarrassed and I just spoke honestly. I sat down on stage and at I held in my hand and got them to stop chanting truffle shuffle for for a moment. Here I will I will never do the trouble shop. I actually feel comfortable to. I wouldn't feel person I would feel uncomfortable about to. Thank you. I drew a boundary right then and there. And then they all started applauding.

They everyone is cheering. The whole place lit up and they understood. Like this six foot two, three hundred pound beer dude, he's got feelings and and adults have feelings and and wow, like like when we chant truffle shuffle, maybe they don't want to do it. Maybe that is in a way intimidating them and and embarrassing them. And you need my consent. If I'm going to take up my shirt and if I'm going to take off my shirt and like shake my stomach, I need to be cool doing that, and I wasn't cool doing that. And I needed them to know that that when you chant something at someone, that's more of a demand than a request. I needed them to know that this wasn't okay with me. And when they were, they requested this, you know, in the form of a chant, like like crazed townspeople with torches truffle shuffle. It was not meshing well with with my mental health. Like I think bullying it involves a few different things, right. There's the verbal, the social and the physical. You know, there's verbal which is just, you know, like its name calling, its threats. There's social bullying, where you know that that involves a lot of like rumors or leaving someone out on purpose, and then obviously physical bullying, kicking, spitting, pushing. So bullying usually happens like it needs to be repeated behavior, and usually it involves an imbalance of power, where someone who has power will seek to intimidate those who are vulnerable. That's why I don't think this was bullying, necessarily because I was the you know, the director on stage with a microphone. It was repeated, but I don't think they sought to harm I just don't think they knew. I really don't think they understood that their words have power and and also, when you're kind of figuring out how vulnerable a type of person is, you wouldn't look at me and think that you know. So I think we all learned something that night and it's something that could have been a nightmare for me and I'm I'm ultimately glad that it happened. It was the learning lesson for everyone involved. In just a minute will learn a little Hollywood bullye theme Trivia About Brett and continue our conversation. As kids they were the best of the enemies. Now they're all grown up. When he was ten, Brad auditioned for the brilliant and Classic One Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety six movie big bully, starring Tom Arnold and Rick Moranz. The role was Tom Arnold's character as a child fangs, a bully bully. It was between me and this other kid and it like I got call back and call back and call back, but in the end I wasn't big enough. So I had been called fat and bullied all this time, but when it came down for this like acting role, I wasn't big enough for the role which in you know, it got a nineteen percent on rot tomatoes, so I don't feel that bad about it. It's a great film. Just as a side note, big bully may have a nineteen percent on rotten tomatoes, but there are plenty of positive reviews. To super reviewer ajv said, this is a good movie. I don't know why it's rated so low on here. The CAST is good. They do a great job. I especially love Miranis and Kane. The story is both funny and realistic. What's not to like about it? Another super reviewer, Michael E, said, rented it from stars on demand for free and watched it twice. I thought it was pretty good. Okay, moving on big bully. I you know, since I was ten, I was like in the world of bullying, whether being the bully or or a victim to bullying.

Yeah, it's something I'm constantly learning about, but it is important not just for me to internalize the things I've learned about bullying, but to pass them on to people who are struggling, who are in a more vulnerable position. I get to use my power for good and it's something I don't take lightly and and I love to empower the people who might feel powerless. So what can we do when we're feeling bullied, whether it's in person or on the Internet? Sometimes it makes sense to stick up for yourself when you can look your bully in the face. Sometimes it makes more sense to get a restraining order. But what about those anonymous trolls that lurk in the comment section? We all deal with conflict and resolution in our own way and it depends on our personality traits. I would say, looking at it from a scientific point of view, what variables can you control? No matter how much we teach society and culture, we might not be able to control the words that people say, and especially in a divisive time like like now, let's say we can't control that variable and it's going to be thrown our way. What we can maybe work on controlling is if bullying happens to the vulnerable, it's making ourselves less vulnerable, and that's easier said than done. It takes a lot of practice, it takes a lot of support from maybe other people who are also going through this and you know, it's kind of like, you know, you look at your hand and just a finger is kind of weak and just a couple fingers is week, but if you put it together and ball it into a fist, it's long. So if all of us come together, we can, you know, a let them know this is not okay behavior and and be this is how we will respond to this or not respond to it. You know, there's a lot of different responses we can do as individuals or as as groups, but I'd say in that time each person can handle it however makes them the most comfortable. If if talking to your therapist about it that week and not responding to it and not engaging, that can be an answer for a one person. Another person is is going back and forth and really challenging that feedback, that's maybe fine for them too. It's all I would say is think about it. You know you don't need to respond within five to ten seconds. Think about it, think about their actions, think about your response, because you might be in a larger platform, you might get retweeted and like, if what you say is broadcasted to the world, what would you want to say? I think my journey with my weight is something where I the biggest bully of my of of being overweight is me, you know, and what media tells me about about big bodies and how we view obesity, and that's that's going to be an ongoing journey with myself. But being, you know, my third my thirty three, I think I'm thirty three. Being being thirty three now, I can handle I can handle my body and what the world thinks of it better now that I could when I was a kid. But yeah, I was. I was definitely bullied as a Chubbier kid and that's why, being a Chubbier adult, I can stand up for those kids when I'm on stage and I'm, you know, telling people that these things are hurtful and, whether you mean to or not, you're hurting people that you might see as friends or people who you neutral your so to give a platform for picked on or fat kids as well, or gay kids in the closet. I want to make the world a more inclusive and accepting place and I want to be something for these kids that I wish I had. I wish I had like a fat gay role model who's like, it's cool that I'm fat, it's cool that I'm gay. It doesn't matter, and not just it doesn't matter. We should celebrate these things. They're beautiful and and I'm lucky that I got to do that for the summer camp at, being that role model for them. Brett's doing that online as well. Over the years he's received countless messages from fans...

...and viewers about how he's help them get through dark times. And Brett's point of view isn't exactly typical. You know, I've been bullied, but I've also been the bully. I've learned a lot from both sides. I've been every different variation of person and and I'm glad that the bad parts are diluted and and the good parts are raised, you know, like that's that's all I could hope I like technology a lot, so I hold myself to those standards. I see myself off a software constantly upgrading, updating. So I just want to evolve and I hope society, culture does as well, especially when it comes to bullying. I think with help from people like Brett, we will keep updating the newest versions of ourselves, kinder, stronger and more empathetic. Brett's YouTube channel isn't as active as it once was, but there's still plenty of great content to enjoy from his many years as a youtuber. He's been on youtube so long that his url is actually youtubecom slash Brett plus. You can find him on twitter and instagram. People can follow me on twitter at breadth the intern, or instagram at breadth the intern. This has been great. Thanks for listening. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple, podcast or spotify or wherever you're tuning in from. Share us with your friends, subscribe and follow us on Instagram, facebook and twitter. Our handle is at pride. Yes, at pride. It's that easy. You can follow me at Lea by chambers. Pride is produced by me, LEA, by chambers, Maggie Bowls and Ryan Tillotson. It's edited by Sebastian. I'll cola, green eggs and HAM. It's four thousand, three hundred and sixty two days overdue. MMM, it's the from bow yeah,.

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