The current controversy involving This Andrew WK Video has lead me to realize I must make a confession.
First of all, let me say that having watched all three parts of the video, I enjoy this version of Andrew WK, no matter his origins. Still, people are complaining that they feel “let down” or even “betrayed” by what they infer from his statements. Indeed, some see this is a confession that his career has been completely fabricated, and that there is no part of the “real” him in his performances.
If people can fault a PERFORMER for constructing a role (with or without help) with a backstory that may not completely match his own, how much worse my own deception?
The following is completely true.
Most of you know me as “Paul Gude,” and enjoy my cartoons, stories, performances, and public appearances. I must confess, however, that “Paul Gude” is not my real name. It is a name that I assumed in the summer of 1973, a name designed FOR ME to appeal to a certain demographic.
If you find an original copy of my birth certificate, you will find my name (most likely blacked out) is:
Baby Boy Bliujus
“Paul Gude” is a construction, a fabrication, and every action I have taken since the summer of 1973 has been in support of perpetuating this “brand” and getting others to accept it as legitimate.
This decision wasn’t mine alone. The role of “Paul Gude” was conceived before I came along to fill it. At first he was just going to be a baby, brother to a sister (“Mary Gude”) whose role had already been established. I played the baby fine, but as I got older, I realized I wanted to branch out a bit. I started walking on my own, talking on my own, and making decisions independently from those designed for me.
That isn’t to say that I abandoned the “Paul Gude” brand. I had become the embodiment of it, and therefore felt I was free to change what it meant. Over the past 36 years there have been several disagreements over the direction I’ve taken it. I’ve even thought of abandoning it on occasion. Still, I’ve made quite a few connections as “Paul Gude,” and I don’t feel it would be right to abandon them at this time. Plus, I’ve gotten used to being him so much, I think he’s become more a part of me than Baby Boy Bliujus ever could hope to be.
So there you have it. The person you know as “Paul Gude” is actually the result of an almost four-decade long piece of performance art.
Or am I?
I think most of my friends and family would argue that I’ve lived as Paul Gude so long, that I really AM him. Ask them, “who’s Paul Gude?” and they’d point at me and say, “That guy!”
I am Paul Gude. You’d believe that, wouldn’t you?
So what is it that makes me legitimate and Andrew WK not? The longevity of my embodiment of my role? The fact that I’ve had so long to develop it? The lack of backstory for Baby Boy Bliujus, so Paul Gude has nothing to butt up against?
Does Roddy Piper let people down when one learns he’s not from Scotland? Is Bono *not* Bono because Paul David Hewson lived more of a life?
I think all of this stuff about Andrew WK may stem from the current rumor that the “role” has been played by more than one person. The folks watching the video “hear” him say it.
Is it true?
I don’t know.
Might there be two simultaneous guys, like STOMP! or Santa Claus?
All I know is that the Andrew WK in the video above seems smart, fun, and interesting, and as far as people I don’t know go, that’s good enough for me.
Whatever “me” is.