This started, as so many of my ideas do, with a conversation about schadenfreude and Kanye West.
I was watching basketball with a friend when West appeared on camera and scowled like the petulant little bitch that he is and I said, “If something horrible happened to Kanye West, like, say, he said the wrong thing to someone and got his ass absolutely kicked, how many people would be openly happy about it? I know I sure would.”
“Oh, yeah, so would I. So would a lot of people,” she said. “Honestly, I would pay money to see that happen.”
Think about how much money you could make by getting celebrities and influencers to do things they don’t necessarily want to do, but would maybe do if they were shamed into it by a hefty charitable donation hovering in the background. (I admit that this idea is basically the same as if we took all the profits from Jimmy Fallon’s show and donated them to charity.)
Kickstarter would be a wonderful platform from which to establish and execute things like this. But Kickstarter doesn’t allow you to Kickstart charitable things. (Those start-up snobs, man.)
But I quickly figured out a loophole. All you need to do is make a Kickstarter that will yield a tangible thing (for example, a video of West being publicly embarrassed and/or shamed), and collect all the money under an LLC or sole proprietorship, which you will then pledge to the charity you and the public figure choose, at a funding goal they deem appropriate for the pain/humiliation that will rain down upon them. (Imagine the positive PR celebs would get from participating in these initiatives!)
If Kickstarter gave us guff for doing so, they’d seem like big ole’ dicks. Because these sorts of things could raise so much more for reputable charities than, say, a layman trying to raise money to run a 5K.
Anyway, here are a few thought starters that I think would be worthy of a charitable Kickstart. They’re all things I would definitely donate at least a small amount of money to see actually happen, and that I think the masses would also get behind.
1. Taylor Swift gets to pick one of the dudes from her security team. That dude gets to punch Kanye West, just once, right in his smug fucking face. The video will be scored by an original Beck song written and produced specifically to heckle West.
2. Chet Haze is accompanied by a documentary team for a month while he lives the life of a disenfranchised black man or woman in his or her 20s.
3. Tom Hanks raps a Chet Haze song.
4. Several women who have been hit by a man get to spend five or so minutes just beating the shit out of woman-beaters like Chris Brown and Floyd Mayweather. The men are not allowed to protect themselves or retaliate. (That means no biting, Chris!)
5. We crowdsource the things people would pay to see George W. Bush try and paint. We commission him to pain the top five.
6. We find a panel of the best and most assholish chefs in the world, and make Gordon Ramsay cook for them. (Seriously, has anyone ever seen that fucking guy cook anything? I feel like he just yells all the time, taking breaks only to try food people make to try and impress him.)
7. Sarah Palin has to tongue kiss a girl when the ball drops to ring in a new year.
8. We raise a fuckload of money to back a campaign where we urge the Catholic church to liquidate the Vatican and Vatican City. That money could feed the world, man. (Sarah Silverman had this idea initially, so I think she’d be a great celebrity to help publicize it and try and make it happen.) Of course, this would never come to fruition, but it could be a mechanism to promote positive change. And by positive change I mean that people might stop tossing their hard-earned bucks into a collection basket and send it directly to a cause more important than building and maintaining a church.
9. For a certain price, Bruce Willis will record outgoing voicemail messages as John McLane.
10. Paula Cole does a TED Talk on where all the cowboys have gone.
11. Billy Joel makes a movie that takes on an investigative documentary feel / arson mystery where he is a private investigator trying to figure out who, in fact, did start the fire.
12. Anna Wintour will wear JNCO jeans to work every single day for one month.
13. Elizabeth Olson will step up and play Michelle Tanner in Fuller House, since apparently her sisters are too good for all of that now.
14. President Obama declares a “National Friday” where, at 5pm on the dot, white collar businesses the nation over are required to play Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” over loudspeakers, and coworkers are permitted and encouraged to (in an orderly fashion) sprint out of the building and into their weekend.
15. Donald Trump ditches his…whatever that hairstyle is… for an entire week. He replaces it with cornrows.
16. Charlie Sheen and Chuck Lorre hockey fight each other.
17. Woody Allen sings a Hoodie Allen song.
18. Comedians from all over the world meet to do a comedy festival where the only jokes that are told are Dad Jokes.
19. Bill Cosby subjects himself to a roast where he has no say whatsoever on what kinds of jokes the guests will make about him.
20. George R.R. Martin publicly explains how his books will end—detailing every plot line—before even writing them. (This way, nobody has to worry about his kicking the bucket from any number of the maladies that can befall a man of such girth, and we’ll all be prepared for gratuitous rape scenes.)