I first heard of Mr. Smooth over at Feministing, and hemmed and hawed about clicking on any video with the title “Jay Smooth,” but with each one I have become more and more smitten. So, world, I announce this crush. Jay Smooth, you and me are official, your name is in my notebook, and if I passed a noted to you, it would say “I like your mind.” If I accidentally left this note in Study Hall and you found it, would you pick me up from my sister’s wedding? Would we be able to eat birthday cake while sitting on the dining room table? What if I added a PS about your willingness to engage with the responsibility of words and actions, and how that is a kind of dreaminess I didn’t know about when I was writing notes in Study Hall (where also tended to write undelivered notes based on movie monologues)?

More of the crushytimes over at:


3 Responses to Crushhhhhhhhhhh

  1. zunguzungu says:

    Yes! I now also have a crush on Mr. Smooth. And I find myself unable to stop focusing on the editing cuts between each sentence. Somehow it’s smooth enough not to interrupt his flow, but also almost subliminally perceptible. And something really interesting happens when you register the jump between one expression and another, but you don’t have to actually watch him change expression; perhaps you don’t see the vulnerability of the performed affect but you register its signifying content?

    I’m trying to think of a way to compare him to Jon Stewart; there’s something similar in the way each navigates the difficulty of being sincere without losing irony (or funny without losing sincerity), but part of how Jay does it, I think, is in the way his monologue is almost more written (and less performed) precisely because you understand that it’s a crafted and edited text rather than a spontaneous reaction? hmm.

    • Carla Fran says:

      My apologies for the length of time it has taken me to respond to your comment. Thanks for drawing my attention to the editing–I think you are right, there is a lot of power in removing the pauses to distract the viewer away from the vulnerability of the statements. It makes him appear definite and confident, and the lack of pause doesn’t give the viewer time to judge him either way (either as cocky or exposed). Instead, the words land quickly, demanding and releasing attention at the same time.

      This happens in different levels for me when I watch Jon Stewart and Peep Show. The compressed language is so sharp that there is nothing to do with it except consume, quickly appreciate, and then move on to the next bite. (The experience reminds me of reading, when a sentence has knocked my socks off, and I can’t believe that I am supposed to keep going and read the next paragraph as if nothing has happened).

      As for sentimentality/sincerity, yes, I think this is the crux of my crush. It is a hard walk indeed to appear sincere, confident, strong and unjerky. David Foster Wallace’s essays pull this off, too. It’s interesting that the irony can support the sincerity, when it so often warns us away from the discussion. Is seems that most of our cultural thinkers rarely bring up the big questions of responsibility, peace, love (I even feel itchy typing them here) unless they are friends with Deepak Chopra. It’s an oddity to find somebody that I want to hear talk on these subjects. The casual clarity (probably through intense drafting and editing), and the lack of the pitch to buy something are incredibly compelling. Maybe I should send him those roses that are dipped in gold…I saw them in the AirMall catalogue…

  2. Pingback: Archived Video of the Day: Bill Cosby as Mr. Tooth Decay, or How to Market a Smile « Millicent and Carla Fran

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