Tuesday, May 27, 2008

J Blogger Interviews: Frum Satire!

It's been a while but I'm back to the J Blogger interviews (cross post).For those who are unfamiliar Frum Satire is one of the newer J Bloggers who has been making a real impact on the J Blogosphere with his witty and funny videos and posts. He has agreed to be interviewed by J Blogmeister so without any further adieu, here is the interview!

JB: Tell our readers a little bit about your background.

Frum:I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan- most famous for its bagels and singles scene, I attended Manhattan Day School and went to Matov Day Camp, I think these were two modern orthodox institutions that all kids from the west side had to take part of. We always said the folks from the East Side were just snobby and rich.

My mother died when I was 6 so I pretty much raised myself. I also gained this totally different perspective of Judaism because we were very modern behind closed doors- but in the open my father was just this old school orthodox guy that happened to have learned in some very prestigious yeshivas. I remember being driven to yeshiva chofetz chaim in Rochester and stopping on the way to get an eggplant farm at some non-kosher place, I also remember watching TV on shabbos afternoon.

JB:How did you come up with the name frumsatire? What other names did you consider?

Frum:It just flowed off the tongue, I thought about "frum rants" but it didn't sound as cool, although "frum sarcasm or irony" may be a better fit as I have progressed along the humor scale.

JB:How did you get introduced to the J Blogosphere?

Frum:I started blogging as someone who had no idea what a blog was- I started it just because I had a lot to say. The day I was introduced to the fact other Jewish blogs existed was when I got my first big links. Krum as a Bagel and Aidel Maidel both linked me up when I wrote about different categories in orthodoxy- and suddenly I was thrust into the J-Blogsphere.

JB: What do you do for a living and what's your dream job?

Frum:I work as a an Internet Marketing Manager- for all those techies out there I am really an SEO/SEM guy who dabbles with Google advertising and shopping all day long, but this allows me to work on my own stuff by learning the field.

Dream job would be a back country forest ranger in a National Park- so many reasons it wouldn't work, shabbos and proximity to frum communities have consistently worked against me when I have tried to get into the outdoors field.

JB: I understand you are 26 and single. How is the single life?

Frum:I love every minute of it. Of course I would love to meet someone, but I don't spend too much time worrying. I have a philosophy about living life to its fullest and being single really allows for lots of leeway. I have taken at least 10 one month long road trips since I was 18 and last year drove to Alaska- not even retirees get to make the drive.

Cons: the winter is awfully lonely- especially when there isn't enough snow for skiing. I wish I could have someone to show all of the beautiful things I have seen. In the words of Chris McCandless- experience is nothing unless shared.

JB:Do you ever fear that your videos will have any consequences in shidduchim?

Frum:I go through stages- I am constantly taking stuff down due to philosophical debates about how I want to present myself. I used to not care- but now my audience is too large not to care. I have cleaned up my act and try to only put kosher things up- its better for business in general

JB:How many dates have you gotten due to the popularity of your blog and videos?

Frum:How many dates have I gotten or how many have I been on? That's important, I have been on many dates with fans, even had a short relationship with one. I have also turned down offers and am constantly getting emails and facebook messages that contain an obvious request to hang out or date- but I usually am not interested. I find that people expect too much out of me, I am funny in person, but my blog and videos are not my life. I lead a public and a private life, like any actor.

JB:Which do you prefer more blogging or your videos and why?

Frum:Well they are both different experiences, I am definitely talented in both venues. I find that I love to do the videos- but cannot make them as long as I like, I would rather be doing performances. I would have to say the writing is better because its more interactive, that may be because anyone can comment, on you tube you need an account which is prohibitive to further the discussion.

JB: Where would you say you got your sense of humor from?

Frum:My father definitely has a big part to do with that, he was always saying whatever was on his mind, he was always himself. Other then that I have no idea, I never even knew I could do anything with it, people always found me funny- but I never paid any attention to trying to get it on paper.

JB: The funniest Blog you ever read would be?

Frum:You know I really don't read blogs that often unless people send links.
But Bangitout.com consistently has the best and funniest stuff around.

: What part of being Jewish do you enjoy the most?

Frum:That's a hard question- never even thought about it. I could be funny and say the food- because the food is not only good, we are the only community in which you can pretty much get free food any time. I would say shabbos is my favorite part of being Jewish, the natural breaks in which we have time to reflect upon life, chow down, stare over the mechitza and hang out with family and friends. With our fast paced electronically driven lives I think many people have lost a connection to regular old relaxation and family time.

JB:How long do you see yourself continuing this blog ? 1yr-10 yrs?

Frum:My audience is changing slowly, as I become more known so it continues to develop into something different all the time. I always think I am going to run out of things to say and suddenly I have a flood of things to write. Its almost 2 years and realistically I have no clue. I have some cool stuff coming up and am starting to collaborate with several popular Jewish personalities so who knows where I will end up. But realistically I would like it to become a full time job.

JB: Do you have a favorite fan? Have you been subjected to any stalkers?

Frum:Wow favorite fan, I get a lot of emails saying how awesome I am. Commenters come and go, I will have one person commenting for 6 months straight and suddenly they are gone. These commenters are usually women by the way. Some guy just contacted me the other day, he is the director of a large Jewish political not-profit in NYC and he says he's been reading my stuff since I started and loves me. In two weeks time he got me a spot on some cable TV show, and wants to write me up for some of his newspaper connections. Is he my biggest fan?

Stalkers is an interesting subject. I do have stalkers, people will stalk in various ways, usually through comments and then I'll get messages on facebook and if I'm on frumster they will find me- but specific cases are way too many- I have them and usually they are quite fun.

JB:What new ideas do you see yourself putting forth on your blog other than your videos?

Frum:Well I was just contacted by Y-Love and he asked me if I wanted to do some sort of podcast with him, personally I would love to get on the radio- or do some sort of podcasting, I have lost to say and can just keep going- but I need people top feed off of. I would also love to start a new humor blog with multiple contributors- that's been floating around my head. I think it would be great exposure and mix things up a bit- since strictly humor wise there really isn't anything besides for me and Bang it out.

JB: What is the coolest place you traveled to and why?

Frum:By far the Yukon Territory in Canada, last September I drove with two friends from NY to Alaska with we spent time driving and hiking in the Yukon. I am completely fascinated with remote and rural areas. Prior to the building of the Alaska Highway in 1942- there was no road connecting this area to the outside world. Just the vastness and beauty of the land. They have towns that are only accessible in the winter when the rivers freeze and they make ice roads. Its so cool to be in an English speaking country on the same continent as NY and be so distant from the lives we know. 200 miles between gas stations, grizzly bears and hiking with my shotgun were also exciting.

JB:Have you ever been to Israel and if so tell us a bit about your experiences.

Frum:I have been in Israel twice, first time on a Hillel Birthright trip with the University of Rochester in 2002 and then again a couple years later when I took off 5 months to learn at Ohr Someyach. I love Israel and will undoubtedly live there someday- who knows when. I brought my mountain bike and saw the country from the 10 mph perspective, I went on rides with random riders through ruins and the desert and saw a lot, learned very little. I look at all my experiences through that of my bike, I used to ride to the kotel at 2 in the morning to daven maariv- its eerie let me tell you. I especially liked staying in Chevron during the whole Chayei Sarah weekend events- camped out the Baruch Goldstien memorial park- found that kind of ironic. Oh and the food- one must not forget the food- luckily I rode a lot- or else I would have blown into a blimp- like the first year seiminary girls do.

JB:What Jewish Music are you currently listening to?

Frum:Well I'll tell you I just got the AKA Pella adaptations album and am very impressed- just wrote a review. I also just got Yossi Greens The 8th Note and its wonderful, besides for that I am addicted to Avaraham Fried and the Marvelous Middos Machine of all things.

JB:Your current favorite Jewish Solo Artist is?

Frum:Well in terms of innovative and up and coming I would have to say Mendy Pellin, he's funny and completely kosher and appeals to both kid and adults. I think Matisyahu and Y-Love are amazing thing for Jews as a whole, because they allow Jews to feel comfortable being Jews. It makes more people want to take off their baseball caps and don yarmulkes.

JB:Based on the amount of comments you receive your blog seems to be very popular. How much traffic do you get?Tell us about he most traffic you ever got in one day and the corresponding post for that surge.

Frum:I don't think I get many comments for the amount of traffic I have and I attribute this to the fact that I rarely comment on other blogs- therefore most of my comments come from people outside the blogging field. If I get over 20 comments on a post its amazing- the big J-bloggers I see getting 200-300 comments per post every day. Right now average about 800-1000 unique hits per day with about double that in page views. You know my traffic has been pretty steady. I do remember this one day I received almost 2000 unique hits but couldn't figure out why- it was inexplicable.


Chaim said...

awesome, one of the best interviews ever.

chaviva said...

Awesome post :) I like the JBloggers interview thing, very snazzy.

And Frum -- I want *so* badly to hit Alaska. I keep telling people that's where my honeymoon will be. Alaskan cruise. People look at me like I'm nuts.

Rafi G said...

great interview. thanks

Jack said...

Nice job.

Anonymous said...

What big J-bloggers do you see get 100 comments a day? Aside from, say DovBear where it's the same 20 people snipping at each other all the 9-5?

hesh said...

Besides for dov bear!
Existential Angst
Baal Habos
Unorthodox Jew
Hasidic Heretic
I have 2 posts with over 100 comments- although my current has 94- so who knows.

hiker said...


That gets over 100 on a day to day basis.

Oy said...

And I think you just caused the 'digg effect' on his blog.

frumhouse said...

Great interview!

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone actually gets 200 unique comments a day. If they do hit 200 its because two people are arguing with each other in the comments.

Good interview.

Lucky Wolf said...

good job. cute stuff. i dont know why i allways thought hesh was from monsey!

Dave said...

As an observationalist - I think he's right on the money with Mendy Pellin as the next best thing... I've been keeping my eye on Mendy's work for a while and have to agree with Mr. Satire...