When My Cyber Buddy Died.
Ruby Mae has spent time honing her craft in a british TV comedy forum. She spent time getting to know the people on that forum, even if she never met them face to face. This piece is in honour of a friend of hers – a friend who died of a heart attack. A friend she never met face to face – but a friend, nevertheless.
Dedicated to Scott Mitchell.
Reading the paper the other day, I read about a man who fell in love with a woman he met on the net. She had asked him for £5000 to buy tickets to see him then kept the money and broke his heart. It’s easy to mock him. After all, you have to be pretty stupid to put that much faith into a person you have never met, right? We hear stories every day about people meeting online, building friendships, going into business together, and even marrying all through the medium of the keyboard. It’s easy to dismiss these relationships. After all these are not real people you would have met in your local pub and the likelihood that they are “Blonde, slim, and a model” is about the same as the odds chocolate favoured beer. But does it mean internet friendships are less important?
I own up to having a ring of cyber friends where we mainly discuss important topics like crisps. One such friend was a fantastic animator known to the world as the legend, Yielding Insanity. We met through our adventures at channel 4’s 4laughs. I can’t begin to tell you about how scary comedy is and how it can be worse if you are female, especially as there are many pitfalls easy for us girls to fall into such as the deadly “PMT gagbook”. The first email I ever got was from this man with the head of a dog saying “Hello there!”.
Mr. Insanity (or Yieldy as I knew him) was an unusual man as I found out after many months of hotmail banter. While some new comics would compete over superiority and sometimes the elusive, rare £4.99 mug with the 4 logo on, Yieldy, being a git and hogging the number one comedian spot with the ease of finishing a whole pack of gum, was shockingly humble. He would share any feedback he had and would even help others with techie problems whether it was websites or a rival animation. Even when his work was performed at the secret policeman ball by Chevy Chase (It’s on DVD, get it!) and the sound of grinding teeth was deafening, it never went to his head.
I adored him but I also worried for him. Aspergers made it difficult for him to interact with others in the real world. I did feel that his online family sometimes were not just there to listen to his Peperami musings and laugh at his jokes, but they had a duty to keep him sane too. The lucky guy hit the big time about a month ago when, along with impressionist Terry Mynott, they signed a deal with Time Warner to create more comedy gold.
Saturday, I got a message on my hotmail. Terry had left a message on the channel 4 forums. Scott “Yielding” Mitchell had died from a heart attack at 36. It was the same day that his Time Warner deal had finally gone though. I’m not ashamed to say that despite never even seeing Scott in the flesh or hearing his voice on the phone, I howled. I howled on the bathroom floor for half an hour. My head hurt and my face was covered in mascara. To those who laugh at the sad geeks and their internet buddies, sometimes it’s not so funny.
The Yielding I – All of Yielding insanities video’s, songs, audio, and script.
Yielding Insanity’s 4laughs profile.
Channel 4’s 4 laughs – the home of new comedy.