What the F*ck is a Try Guy?

2022 is a year of societal collapse, environmental catastrophe and the not-insignificant possibility of nuclear war, but history will also note that it’s given us some extremely mild sex scandals. No sooner had Adam Levine’s DMs distorted the definitions of the words “sex” and “scandal” as savagely as his tattoos stretched the term “body art,” than we who are even moderately online had to learn about Ned Fulmer. So here’s the situation, direct from someone who is learning about it, and about them, and about Ned Fulmer, and about labor law, all at the same time and almost certainly in the wrong order.

If like me you are just now catching up, here’s the CliffsNotes: Ned is a Try Guy. The Try Guys are a YouTube thing, wherein four guys try things, like making cookies without a recipe or wearing bridesmaid dresses, and then are all like “what” or “oh no,” and millions of the world’s nieces and nephews watch and are delighted by them. Fulmer is married, a fact that apparently comes up a lot in any number of their six hundred billion videos. He kissed a woman who was not his wife, they sacked him for it, which is one hundred percent the correct thing to do for reasons I will get into later, none of it is our business, and everyone is looking for something safe and easy to be angry about, because we feel powerless to do anything about the first three things I mentioned in the first paragraph of this piece.

Over the weekend, the situation spun further out of control, as Saturday Night Live! aired a sketch about the Try Guys having fired Fulmer. It was the first sketch after the monologue, which meant two things: 1) it was the most important and culturally relevant of the night, and 2) we had limited mental bandwidth for it because we were still processing the fact that Brendan Gleeson was hosting SNL. Here it is.

Now, I will tell you that I enjoyed this sketch, and not only because it involved Brendan Gleeson. There is something inherently funny about people you’ve never heard of taking themselves very seriously. It’s why I only watch the reunion episodes of the Real Housewives franchise: it is hilarious to see strangers in gowns furiously guarding their brands. It makes me laugh, it’s probably my way of coping with the fact that the culture is leaving me behind, and if that’s true, that means it will happen to you too someday, so put that in your pipe and smoke it. Anyway, I thought: surely they are exaggerating the guys’ simmering rage and high self-regard for comedic purposes.

As usual, I was incorrect. Here is the actual Try Guys video.

Yikes.

But as soon as the sketch aired, the Internet did what the Internet does, which is react. They came quickly: the tweets, the Reddit threads, the YouTube videos twice the length of the sketch itself. And the reactions revealed a couple of very important pieces of information.

First, the Guys’ extreme negative reaction probably has less to do with their emotional involvement in their friend’s marriage and more to do with the fact that the woman Fulmer kissed was an employee of the Try Guys, which makes him her superior, which potentially turns it into a sexual harassment situation, which makes all of the Guys (as co-owners of the enterprise) vulnerable to legal action. It’s an important fact, one that maybe one of the Guys could have Tried making clearer in the video itself, but one that makes their anger understandable. Still a valid thing to write a comedy sketch about, I guess.

Second, one of the writers of the sketch went to Yale, and so did Try Guy Ned Fulmer, so there are theories that this writer was biased in Fulmer’s favor and therefore wrote the sketch to make the other Guys look bad. I will say that I find this less than persuasive, if only because I believe the Ivy League’s secret societies have bigger fish to fry, but I do know that at least two sets of parents are saying “we paid to send our child to Yale for this?”

The third and most important thing I learned from the reaction to the Ned Fulmer case and the SNL sketch it inspired is that the correct place to store my laptop and iPhone is at the bottom of my fucking pool.

So there’s the deal. Best of luck to all the remaining Try Guys, and to both of the women involved, who I will not name here because they have been through enough. Prayers up for the SNL writing staff, who I sincerely believe are sleeping through this. Public relations department at Yale’s prestigious Hot Ones School Of Trying Unfamiliar Foods And Being Like Ew, I am sorry about the meeting you just had.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to try drinking tequila on a Tuesday morning.

Dave Holmes is Esquire’s L.A.-based editor-at-large. His first book, “Party of One,” is out now. 

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