Michael Colón of Inner Loop Blog only looks harmless
How often do you get pitches for the Inner Loop Blog that you have to reject?
All the time. Nonstop. We usually get them via Instagram, a lot of DMs, occasionally emails. I’ll give you an example, a guy sent a pitch of “Hey, you should do a meme or article about how horrible the sorority girls are at RIT.” And we’re like, yeah, we’re gonna pass on that. Most people just send us, like, just a smear campaign they want us to do. Like some sort of hate speech, like “Make fun of this area,” and none of it is clever. It’s just offensive, and they don’t understand what we’re going for. So everyday, we get those great messages … In the beginning, I looked at it nonstop when we were growing, because it was fascinating … I also want to mention, there’s a misconception about the blog. I created it in 2016 and the original name was The Plate. But an improv comedy group messaged me like two days later saying “Hey, our name is actually The Plate, could you please change it?” So I was like, “aw, shit.” So I did some brainstorming and I came up with The Inner Loop! At the time, the actual inner loop was just nothing, and I was like “This is a good thing to make fun of.” I love The Onion, I love the Hard Times, so I created it, and between 2016 and 2018 we had 700 followers. Then something happened in November of 2018, I don’t know which genius … it wasn’t me, but someone said “hey, why don’t we try memes?” Because at the time we were strictly articles. So I was like, “Sure, let’s try it,” and it took off like wildfire. So in January of 2019 we had 1,200 followers. At the end of 2019 we had 17,000. So … insanity. We won the city’s best blog award for Instagram and Facebook, so it was like overnight. So I say that because a lot of people think “Oh, they’re a new thing that got started in 2019” and I’m like, “No, I’ve been doing this for five years! You have no idea!” Just five years of posting stuff and no one’s liking or sharing it, but you know … I stayed on board, and with the memes it just took off. Now we’re at 25,000 … it’s great. In the beginning, going back to the question, I was fascinated by all the DMs. I couldn’t stop looking. It was like, “People! They’re interested, this is great!” And now I just don’t look at it. I post stuff and I just leave it. Like, I put it in the closet because it’s overwhelming. That many people, it’s nonstop. You can get sucked into this black hole of the internet. I’ll look through the comments section on a video I posted and it’s like “Good comment … good comment … this guy sucks” and my soul just dies. So I don’t look anymore, for my own mental sanity.
Are you a Walgreens or CVS man?
What a question. I’m a Walgreens. When I think of Walgreens, I compare it to, like, CVS is Walmart and Walgreens is Target. It’s a little bit fancier; I don’t know why but there’s something about Target that makes you feel like you’re not at Walmart [laughs]. Which is a ridiculous statement … but I do not like Walmart. It’s too much, it’s too America for me. Target is just that sweet spot of feeling fancy, like the quality is good. So yeah, Walgreens all day. I think what upsets me the most about Walmart is the bins. Like the sections you walk by and it’s just like a metal bowl and they’re just violently throwing things in there, and you’re like, “time to sift through DVDs!” It’s like a crane game but you’re the crane. It’s just the worst situation. Everyone’s rummaging, and I feel like an animal when I’m there. Walgreens. It’s even where I got my vaccine!
Why did you write a book?
To have a book! [laughs] No, I’m a writer at heart. I love writing. So before comedy, before blogs—I mean if you think about the blog, it’s writing. It’s satire. I was fascinated with writing at a young age. I wrote screenplays as a teenager; I took up books. I always wanted to write a book, but I never felt like I could write a full-length book on one topic, that’s not how my brain works. So, I read a book by BJ Novak, a writer for The Office who also plays Ryan. Very funny guy, talented writer, does children’s books and short stories. I read his book of short stories, and I was like “This is great, I think I could do something like that.” So, four years ago I started writing the book Don’t Look Down, and just kind of thought I could bang it out in a year. I didn’t realize what being a writer meant, and had periods of forgetting, or just life getting in the way, and then over the last year during the pandemic I was like “This is the perfect time to do it.” So, I finished it, got the book cover, got it edited, and now I’m trying to self-publish. I don’t know if I’m going to write more books but having that one was a little goal for myself. So, it’s short stories, weird shit. Very weird. I’m interested to see how the public perceives it!
When somebody in your car isn’t wearing a seatbelt and the *blip blip blip* is going off, can you still drive, or are you incapable of continuing to drive?
Ooh, that’s good. I am incapable. It has to turn off. I have to tell them to put their seatbelt on. Not because I care about them, but because I care about the noise going away. I care about me; I care about my mental health! [laughs]. Like, this watch I’m wearing—it’s not on because I hate the ticking noise. This is not a working watch. I just like that it looks fancy. But anything that’s ticking drives me insane; I hone in on it. I think there’s a term for it, but I’m definitely that guy.
What is the Inner Loop Blog Podcast like?
It’s a shit show. [laughs] … Shane Allen and I have been tossing the idea of a podcast around, because everywhere does a podcast you know? And with the number of followers we have, it seemed foolish to not get one off the ground. So, we finally said, “Okay, 2021, we’re gonna shit or get off the pot.” So in the beginning we had no idea what it would be like; we knew it was going to be a comedy podcast, we knew it was going to be a news podcast. So are we going to just be satire, or are we going to do real things? We decided to go down the “real things” route, for laziness; it’s much easier than being creative. I feel like we’re finally finding our groove now, like how we interact with each other and what we talk about. Because I’ve got to be honest, in Rochester … it’s depressing news. Every week we talk about something horrific, and it is very hard to put a comedic spin on some of the stories. Like we’re just sitting there like, “Here’s the news. How do we make it funny?” And we just decided not to joke about it. We’re not trying to be, like, edge lords or something. We’ve steered away from that; we’ll talk about it but we don’t stay on it too long. We did talk about the carjackings recently, which is insane, but we’ll also talk about funny stuff. We try to find a balance. My favorite is reading off comments that people leave on the blog. That’s my favorite segment we do. Because people leave some gems, some very good comments.
Were you resistant to get on TikTok?
What broke the camel’s back?
Seeing other comedians on it, seeing the potential of it. I actually have a really good friend, a comedian, who really pushed me to do it. He was doing lots of TikToks, posting to his story, and he was constantly bugging me about it. Like, ‘you need to get on TikTok.’ And it was like an old man syndrome, like “I’m not getting on TikTok.” And then finally I downloaded it, I started scrolling, and I was like “This is amazing. How did I miss this for so long?” It’s basically Vine 2.0. So yeah, I got on TikTok, I love making short films and little skits, so once I got the hang of it, I was like “Oh, yeah.” It’s addicting. I try not to be on it too much, if I’m being honest. I love making stuff, but you can also just fall into that hole where you’re just constantly scrolling… but there’s some funny stuff on there, man. It breaks me.
Do you tend to make a TikTok as soon as you have an idea, or do you write it in your notes app?
I write it down, yeah. I have a bunch in my notes app. What I find is that my most successful TikToks are the random ones. The ones I think are really artistic, like, no one cares. They’re just like, “eh.” But if I’m in a drive thru like, “Hey what’s up guys,” I get like a thousand views.
I noticed a lot of your TikToks are about Starbucks.
Why do you hate small local business?
[Laughs] I worked at Starbucks for six years, so. You gotta make what you know. I worked there six years, and I found that on TikTok some very successful TikTokers find a niche and they just go full force into it, so I was trying that out for a while. Like, “let me try this and see if it catches on,” and it didn’t. And I also don’t like it because I don’t like to pigeon hole myself. I like to be weird and creative, not just this guy who only does Starbucks videos. But I did work there a long time and so I have a lot of material. I love local coffee shops, but I worked at Twelve Corners in Brighton and it was chaos. Between it being busy and being across from the school, I have Frappuccino Frappy Hour PTSD. Kids with their mothers’ American Express cards, ordering secret captain crunch drinks, and me just stressed on two hours of sleep because I was drinking the night before, it’s terrible.
People order off-menu?
Yeah, my favorite is when people are in line for five minutes and then they come up and they’re like, “I don’t know what I want yet, I need to look.” It’s like, “You had such a long time to do that.”
Where do you go locally for coffee?
Before COVID I was going to Glen Edith a lot, Glen Edith and Starry Nites (RIP; super sad about that, I loved Starry Nites a lot). I’d go there a lot, the Glen Edith that was on Elton Street across from Three Heads, because it’s like the perfect place. If I’m looking to go out with a friend … Matilda, Fuego, those popular places. I do want to go to Joe Bean at some point but I always forget about them for some reason.
What is your dream pet that’s also the most unethical type of pet to have?
I think I’d want a koala. I thought of a pig at first, but I think people actually do pigs as pets, right? They’re not that foreign. Koalas seem pretty cool to have. Just, like, chilling. Although they are vicious! They’re scary. Someone called me a koala, actually. About my stage presence with comedy. Because when I go on stage, I feel like I look harmless. Just really nice. But I’m very aggressive on stage, like I attack people violently [laughs] I just love attacking the crowd, and it’s what koalas do. They’re very nice and loveable, but they will fuck you up … I’m sure you could look it up on YouTube. My favorite is people almost getting hit by cars compilations [laughs]. I don’t know what’s wrong with me; I know it’s a bad thing to get into … it’s really funny because, one, they don’t get hurt. It’s guilt free. And two—everyone does the same thing when a car’s coming at them. They all go [shuffles side to side], like there’s nothing funnier than seeing people do this dance and then dive out of the way … I don’t feel bad because they’re fine, you know? They didn’t get hurt. I’d be a sociopath if I watched people get hit by cars; there’s nothing funny about that. But people almost getting hit? Good ol’ classic comedy.