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TED2014

Ze Frank: Are you human?

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Views 4,094,782

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

- Humorist, web artist
Ze Frank rose to fame on a viral video -- in 2001! He has been making online comedy, web toys and massively shared experiences (like the addictive Young Me Now Me) ever since. Full bio

(Music) This is the human test,
00:12
a test to see if you are a human.
00:15
Please raise your hand if something applies to you.
00:19
Are we agreed? Yes?
00:23
Then let's begin.
00:27
Have you ever eaten a booger
00:29
long past your childhood?
00:31
(Laughter)
00:34
It's okay, it's safe here.
00:36
Have you ever made a small, weird sound
00:40
when you remembered something embarrassing?
00:43
Have you ever purposely lowercased
00:49
the first letter of a text
00:51
in order to come across as sad or disappointed?
00:53
(Laughter)
00:57
Okay.
00:59
Have you ever ended a text with a period
01:02
as a sign of aggression? Okay. Period.
01:05
Have you ever laughed or smiled
01:11
when someone said something shitty to you
01:14
and then spent the rest of the day
01:16
wondering why you reacted that way?
01:18
Yes.
01:22
Have you ever seemed to lose your airplane ticket
01:24
a thousand times as you walked
01:27
from the check-in to the gate?
01:29
Yes.
01:32
Have you ever put on a pair of pants
01:34
and then much later realized that there was
01:37
a loose sock smushed up against your thigh?
01:38
(Laughter)
01:41
Good.
01:43
Have you ever tried to guess
someone else's password
01:46
so many times that it locked their account?
01:48
Mmm.
01:53
Have you ever had a nagging feeling that one day
01:54
you will be discovered as a fraud?
01:58
Yes, it's safe here.
02:02
Have you ever hoped that there was some ability
02:05
you hadn't discovered yet
02:08
that you were just naturally great at?
02:10
Mmm.
02:13
Have you ever broken something in real life,
02:15
and then found yourself looking
02:18
for an "undo" button in real life?
02:20
Have you ever misplaced your TED badge
02:25
and then immediately started imagining
02:27
what a three-day Vancouver
vacation might look like?
02:29
Have you ever marveled
02:35
at how someone you thought was so ordinary
02:37
could suddenly become so beautiful?
02:40
Have you ever stared at your phone
02:45
smiling like an idiot while texting with someone?
02:47
Have you ever subsequently texted that person
02:52
the phrase "I'm staring at the phone
02:55
smiling like an idiot"?
02:57
Have you ever been tempted to,
03:01
and then gave in to the temptation,
03:03
of looking through someone else's phone?
03:05
Have you ever had a conversation with yourself
03:09
and then suddenly realized
03:11
you're a real asshole to yourself?
03:13
(Laughter)
03:16
Has your phone ever run out of battery
03:19
in the middle of an argument,
03:22
and it sort of felt like the phone
03:24
was breaking up with both of you?
03:26
Have you ever thought
03:30
that working on an issue between you was futile
03:31
because it should just be easier than this,
03:34
or this is supposed to happen just naturally?
03:37
Have you ever realized that very little, in the long run,
03:42
just happens naturally?
03:45
Have you ever woken up blissfully
03:48
and suddenly been flooded
by the awful remembrance
03:51
that someone had left you?
03:54
Have you ever lost the ability to imagine a future
03:57
without a person
04:00
that no longer was in your life?
04:01
Have you ever looked back on that event
04:06
with the sad smile of autumn
04:08
and the realization that futures will happen
04:10
regardless?
04:13
Congratulations.
04:17
You have now completed the test.
04:19
You are all human.
04:21
(Applause)
04:24

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About the speaker:

Ze Frank - Humorist, web artist
Ze Frank rose to fame on a viral video -- in 2001! He has been making online comedy, web toys and massively shared experiences (like the addictive Young Me Now Me) ever since.

Why you should listen

Ever since his "How to Dance Properly" viral video -- born as a party invite for 17 friends -- hit the Web in 2001, Ze Frank has been making people giggle, guffaw and gasp out loud whilst procrastinating at work. He defines, in many ways, the genre of online comedy, and continues to innovate madly on the form. 

In 2006 he launched a year-long daily video blog called The Show with Ze Frank, which Slate.com called "the best sustained comedy run in the history of the Web." His rapid-fire delivery and absurd explorations in audience participation (like Earth Sandwich) has influenced a generation of digital native YouTubers. Perhap his most brilliant move: calling on fans to write the show for him. Using collaborative tools, online viewers collectively put words in his mouth (and props in his lap); he faithfully performed this wiki-comedy each week for his "Fabuloso Friday" show.

In 2008, along with Erik Kastner, Frank launched Colowars, the first massively multiplayer game on Twitter, which featured two months of sponsored online events and competitions. Recently he has worked with his audience to create a series of projects based on shared emotions such as pain, fear and the pang of nostalgia. Frank works as a consultant to range of industries on audience engagement and is a public speaker on the subject of the virtual life.

In 2012 he returned to the internet airwaves with "A Show." About which a MetaFilter commenter wrote:

If this were a cult, I would join.

If this were a religion, I would attend services.

If this were a band, I would not torrent the albums, but buy them, full price, from a local independent record store.

If this were a telethon, I would buy multiple tote bags.

Welcome back, Ze.

More profile about the speaker
Ze Frank | Speaker | TED.com