I found Jacob Pierce’s Twitter account by happenstance while scrolling through my newsfeed because someone I follow had retweeted him. I spent the next hour reading all his tweets (he is rather prolific online) and getting shushed for giggling in a library. Unlike most of the people interviewed in this column, Pierce is neither an aspiring nor a professional comedian, but his tweets are hilarious and topical, and he somehow manages to be both sarcastic and sincere. Many of his jokes are political, like the following:
Tbt to when the United States had a President— Jacob Pierce (@JacobPierce015) September 26, 2017
The earth is dying, but at least we spent an entire election talking about EMAILS — Jacob Pierce (@JacobPierce015) September 8, 2017
…while others center on daily life and are hilariously relatable to young adults:
Me: *checks my email at a concert*— Jacob Pierce (@JacobPierce015) September 18, 2017
When he’s not tweeting, Pierce is busy with schoolwork and is passionate about politics, policy, and social justice. This week, Pierce kindly took the time to talk with me about three of his favorite tweets.
Interviewer: tell us about a time you managed conflict Me: I frequently add “haha” to texts messages to make them sound less hostile — Jacob Pierce (@JacobPierce015) January 30, 2017
During tense situations many people (myself included) add “haha” to make text messages sound less hostile, and I thought this was a funny way to address the phenomenon.
Your tweets are consistently hilarious. Are you an aspiring comedian, or is joking on Twitter just for fun? What do you get out of tweeting?
Joking on Twitter is more of a fun hobby, which allows me to use Twitter as a platform to de-stress after a long day.
I literally contemplate transferring schools when I wave to someone & they don’t wave back— Jacob Pierce (@JacobPierce015) August 28, 2017
Over the past two weeks, I have been waving at people who don’t see me so I don’t get a wave back. I think being overdramatic, especially on Twitter, is hilarious, and I thought this would be a funny way to express my exasperation with people not waving back at me.
How does your voice on Twitter differ from your perspective in real life?
I think my Twitter is best understood if it’s viewed as my inner monologue. It’s not necessarily different from my perspective in real life, but more so what goes on in my head on any given day.
The problem with “imagine if Obama did what Trump just did” is that Obama wouldn’t do it — Jacob Pierce (@JacobPierce015) July 3, 2017
I’m an avid follower of American politics and deeply interested in issues of social justice, so I like to wade into the political conversations of the day. During the first six months of Trump’s presidency, I saw a lot of pundits wonder how the media would react if President Obama did the things President Trump did, but I believed that this thought exercise missed the point.
Who are some politicians or political pundits that you like following?
I follow quite a few politicians and political pundits, but some of my favorite politicians are Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former President Obama, and John Dingell. As for pundits, I like Chris Hayes, Matthew Yglesias, Laura Olin, Nate Silver, Adam Serwer, and Charles Blow.
How much of your newsfeed is funny and how much is serious? Is this a conscious balance?
I make a conscious effort to balance my newsfeed between funny and serious. The serious stuff helps to keep me up to date on current events and sometimes the serious stuff also provides me with an opportunity to be funny. I don’t want my newsfeed to be entirely serious, so the funny side is also important because it offers me an escape when the news gets heavy or overwhelming.
Karen Chee is a is a writer/performer who contributes regularly to The New Yorker and McSweeney’s.