Neo Nazi's, Furries, Flat Earthers, UFO Hunters, for Andrew Callaghan they all got something to say
Andrew Callaghan has always been drawn to the absurd.
Born and raised in Seattle, the budding Internet star and host of the web series All Gas No Brakes described himself as a mischievous teenager. A "fourteen-year-old stoner" who divided his time between "anarchists and hip-hop kids," he regularly found himself surrounded by unsavory characters.
During his freshman year of high school, Callaghan enrolled in a journalism class, and his teacher actively encouraged him to write on the seedy lifestyle he experienced.
"I was already getting myself into weird, sketchy shit for my own enjoyment," Callaghan told me. "So being able to have a platform to share those experiences was like the ultimate gratification."
Callaghan wrote investigative op-eds on how to access the Deep Web and described how to buy drugs off the now-defunct Silk Road. He talked first-hand about life inside Seattle's tent city during the Occupy movement and about his experiences hanging out with Juggalos in Seattle's sleazy Westlake Center. His classmates and his teacher were fascinated.
Callaghan, who travels around the country in a beat-up RV and interviews people, has somehow made a career out of meeting America's strangest characters. Trump supporters, Flat Earthers, Furries, UFO Hunters ––he's even met Diplo.
While Callaghan regularly hears and sees abhorrent things on the road, he has an uncanny ability to remain completely unfazed. He often lulls his subjects into a false sense of security.
"I call it hyper-agreement," he said. "Just don't be a dick, and validate your interviewee with aggressive head nods and inquisitive facial expressions." It's a similar tactic to what you might see on "The Daily Show" with their 'man on the street' segments.
During the tense Anti-Antifa rally in Portland, Oregon, last summer, Callaghan became partially embroiled in an absolutely ludicrous standoff between a white supremacist and an Antifa supporter. "[Antifa] needs to go the hell away," said Callaghan's interviewee. "We need to go the hell away from our city?" called out a bystander on his bicycle, "F*ck you." As the two squared off, Callaghan documented it all, his microphone seen in the corner of the screen.
Even when things go off the rails, Callaghan somehow remains fearless. "You just can't convince certain people of certain things, especially when they believe that public information is controlled by nefarious puppet masters," he said. "Things often go wrong afterward. I've gotten a handful of lawsuit threats...frat bros try to fight me."
In fact, it's in the quieter moments that Callaghan struggles to keep his composure. At the 2019 Flat Earth Conference in Dallas, Texas, three separate Flat Earthers justified their beliefs by quoting Protocols of the Elders of Zion a propaganda book used by Hitler in the 1930s to sway public opinion against the Jewish people.
"I had a hard time holding my tongue," he admits.
While All Gas No Brakes is still in its early stages (he recently asked his fans for donations so he could start to put together a production team), Callaghan has amassed years of experience interviewing off-putting characters. At nineteen, Callaghan hitchhiked across the country for 70 days completely alone.
"After I took my last final, I basically sprinted out of campus," he told Office Magazine. "I left everything in my dorm, all of my stuff...I just didn't even think about it."
When his adventure ended, he composed an online zine, fittingly titled All Gas No Brakes, where he wrote on a few of his most noteworthy encounters.
From there, he wound up working as a doorman on New Orleans' infamous Bourbon Street. "I always thought of Bourbon Street as the last frontier of anarchy in the western world," he told Office. "It's this backward city of corrupt institutions. People come here from all across the world and they get possessed by this spirit...you're truly able to see what humans are like in their raw form."
One day, he abruptly quit his job and decided to document what he was seeing in a "smart and funny way." He became the anchor of "Quarter Confessions," a relatively popular Instagram and YouTube channel that documents drunk people on Bourbon Street. "Sometimes I miss the consistent, chaotic simplicity of Bourbon Street," Callaghan told me. "But [the yelling] got old."
As All Gas No Brakes has gained traction. The show has garnered the attention of a few notable celebrities, such as millionaire playboy Dan Bilzerian. "He's a fan and a mega-tool," Callaghan said of the infamous poker player.
The two were scheduled to meet up while Callaghan was filming in Las Vegas. Bilzerian thought it'd be fun to crash a party together. "[He] flaked at the eleventh hour with a text that read, 'sorry bro, I think I'm gonna smoke and bang these girls,'" Callaghan said.
"I could roast him further, but that's enough said. Dude's corny, take my word for it."
As the show has grown, Callaghan has somehow managed to turn a handful of his subjects into reoccurring characters, almost like it's a sitcom. On his most recent trip to Las Vegas, he hit the strip with Mr. Daddy and Luchi, two strange men he had met on two separate occasions a few months prior.
"I like the idea of recurring characters," he said. "Plus [they] embody two staunchly different but equally essential Vegas character types–the unstoppable coke dive and the aspiring promoter who whispers sweet dreams of exotic cars, Versace robes and 7 to 1 gender ratios [at parties.]"
Moments like this are everything to Callaghan. "Every day is a new adventure and because of the show, I have friends everywhere." While his passion project is only just starting to take off, Callaghan already has enough stories to fill a memoir. He's seen Juggalos pee on each other's heads at Mike Busey's Sausage Castle in Orlando, Florida.
He interviewed Kimberly Guilfoyle at Donald Trump Jr's book signing, as well as a woman who referred to the LGBTQ community as "witches" and proudly believed that people should only date within their race.
"Just today I crashed the press conference at the AVN awards, where I asked [adult film star] Alexis Texas if she's ever worried she won't get gifts at Christmas if her family sees she's been naughty."
He hopes to one day see All Gas No Brakes become its own "gonzo" journalism show, but for now, he's just focused on interviewing a man named Daryll. "[He] believes he's an alien named Bashar."
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