Dan Ryckert is a Minneapolis-based videogame journalist, Twitter personality and author who, like many people, loves to make fun of retired baseball legend, PED poster boy and Internet train wreck Jose Canseco.
Unlike many people, he has managed to turn this mockery into more than two thousand dollars, thanks to an online project he created on the website Fund Anything.
Called simply “I’m Better At Crowdsourcing Than Jose Canseco,” he started it as a reaction to this tweet last week from Canseco:
im launching a crowd funding project for my podcast, canseco knows best. there are rewards, including a custom painting by me for you
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) July 25, 2013
As it turns out, Ryckert is no idle boaster. “I’m Better At Crowdsourcing Than Jose Canseco” was fully funded by more than 60 people in less than four days thanks to intentionally dumb rewards like a whoopie cushion with the word FART written on it, an ALF puzzle that was “probably missing pieces,” your name on a sign he will hold up at Wrestlemania, and for a $5 donation, an inspired no-prize that Ryckert calls “nothing tangible.”
Ryckert also promised that if his project was fully funded, he’d write a book called “Jose Canseco Sucks At Crowdsourcing.” Meanwhile, at the time of this writing, Canseco‘s project has raised only several hundred of it’s $10,000 goal.
Ryckert’s working on the book now, and has even upped the ante, saying that if he can raise an additional $1,500.00, former World Wrestling Federation star The Iron Sheik will write the introduction, a claim that the Sheik has backed up on Twitter. The whole thing is so massively stupid and hilarious, we had to get in touch with Dan to ask him a couple of questions:
DUMB AS A BLOG: First off, who the hell are you? What in God’s name is this crowdfunding project you started, and how did you get the idea?
DAN RYCKERT: I’m just a dude that thinks stupid stuff is really funny. I made fun of Jose on Twitter for a long time, and he eventually got back to me and made fun of my book, saying “Hey Dan, how many copies did Air Force Gator sell? I’m a NY Times bestseller.” I kept mocking him over and over until he randomly offered to write the foreword to Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice. I got the idea for this stupid crowdfunding campaign the day Jose launched his. My boss sent me a text saying, “Jose Canseco is trying to crowdfund a podcast. He’s only raised $20.” I immediately wanted to make fun of it by raising more money than him while offering nothing of substance in return. I figured it’d be pretty funny if a gaming journalist with 13,000 followers could raise more money for nothing than a famous baseball player with 500,000 followers could raise for a podcast.
What’s your major problem with Jose Canseco?
You know, I’ve never actually met the guy. At this point, I can’t even say I have a major problem with him. He wrote the foreword for my last book, which was pretty cool of him. I just think that if you’re looking at his Twitter account, it’s a pretty safe assumption that he’s a total dipsh*t.
Are there any moments from Canseco’s career (baseball or post-baseball) that stand out to you as particularly obnoxious or funny?
I was aware of Jose as a kid, but didn’t follow baseball very closely. That said, it was pretty hilarious when a baseball hit him right in the top of his head and bounced over the wall.
Yeah, I actually kind of assumed this would work. It’s so weird and dumb, I figured people would be more prone to donate to what’s essentially a trolling campaign than they would for some dumbass podcast that no one would listen to.
How’s the book coming along?
Jose Canseco Sucks At Crowdsourcing is going to be super weird, and might be an incoherent mess. That said, it will be an actual product that you can buy on the Internet (as promised in the crowdfunding campaign). I need to look into the legal ramifications of using a real life figure in a fictional book. If it turns out that using his name is super illegal or something, it might have to be renamed Former Baseball Player Sucks At Crowdsourcing. If that happens, the main character would clearly not be based on Mr. Canseco in any way whatsoever. Any similarities would be purely coincidental.
Honestly, are you happy or angry that you actually have to write this book now?
I’m always happy when I get an opportunity to make something real dumb. I felt that way when I was 12, and I feel that way now that I’m almost 30. I don’t see that changing at any point.
Will it be a good book?
It’s going to be dumb as f***.
One of the incentives for giving to your campaign is “an Alf puzzle” that is “probably missing some pieces.” You are asking $2,000 dollars for that. What’s up with that?
That ALF puzzle is one of the coolest things I own. I figure that if I’m gonna part with it, I better be getting some decent cash.
Another incentive is a whoopie cushion that says “FART!” on it. Are you suggesting that anyone who would actually give you money for this might be so dumb that they need instructions on what a whoopee cushion does?
Nah. “Fart” is just a funny word and a funny thing.
How did the Iron Sheik get involved?
Sheik has also had a longstanding Twitter feud with Canseco, so I reached out to him to see if he’d be interested in getting involved with a foreword. He’s also running a crowdsourcing campaign right now for a documentary, and I liked the idea of both of us trouncing that dummy Canseco. At the time of this writing, I need about $1,500 more to get Sheik involved. Fingers are crossed that it hits that mark in time!
What would you say to someone who says, “Dan Ryckert is just ripping people off so he can embarrass a celebrity and get free wrestling tickets?”
I figure it’s not ripping people off as long as you clearly spell out what you’re raising money for. I said right on the FundAnything page that this is a dumb campaign, and that people shouldn’t expect a good book or anything in return for the money. That said, I will be sending out all of the rewards like my Air Force Gator books, the whoopie cushion, and that sweet ALF puzzle if anyone donates at that level. I’m also buying drinks all night at my favorite dive bar for anyone who donates at the $150 level. But yeah, at it’s core, this is all about reminding Jose Canseco that he sucks.
Now that this is kind of a popular thing, do you have any regrets?
Good lord, no.
Have you heard from Jose Canseco?
Yup. I offered him the chance to write the final chapter of the book, and he said he wanted $5,000 to do it. There’s no chance in hell this book is gonna make $5,000, so that’s out of the question.
If you could talk to Jose Canseco face to face, what would you like to say to him?
I’d want to have a home run derby with him so I can beat him at his own stupid game.
What’s next for Dan Ryckert?
I never really know what’s next until I do it. As long as it’s dumb and funny, I always get a kick out of it. Considering I take very few things seriously, I find most things dumb and funny. I got drunk with the Honky Tonk Man last weekend, so that was pretty cool.
Contribute to Dan’s dumb project at I’m Better At Crowdsourcing Than Jose Canseco.