On March 18, 2011, the body of Simon Korchowski was found in a Brooklyn Heights crackhouse, riddled with stab wounds, bullet holes and enough crack cocaine to kill three men. For most, the news went unnoticed. But as an Internet writer, I recognized instantly the loss we'd all suffered. It seems impossible to believe, but in just one short year, the world had somehow forgotten perhaps the greatest Internet sensation of our time: Simon Korchoswski. Otherwise known as Twitter's "Mehssiah."
The Birth of the Mehssiah
Although no one knew his real name at the time, on Febrary 15, 2009, Simon Korchowski started the Mehssiah Twitter account based on the simple, but timeless, notion that there is nothing funnier than "Meh." Urban Dictionary will tell you that "Meh" is a word used to describe indifference, but in the hands of the Mehssiah, it reached epic proportions.
Part of The Mehssiah's success came from the support he garnered from some of Twitter's most famous tweeters. One early fan was Twitter phenom and humorist, Michael Ian Black:
I'm still blown away by The Mehssiah. I mean, I'll take a topic like the appearance of my poop or maybe what kind of Pop Tart I'm eating and just riff on it, doing like 200 to 300 characters a day. Sometimes I even have to split up my jokes between tweets. But the Mehssiah, man, he was so disciplined. "Meh." Just three characters to say, "Hey, you're mediocre and my dislike of you doesn't rise to the level of generating a full sentence or even a real word." Brilliant. He may have not been the first to use the word, but he was the first to give himself a Twitter account with a Meh-based pun name in it.
Michael Ian Black wasn't the only one to take notice. Internet all-star, actress and sex symbol to millions of boys who previously only achieved orgasm with the assistance of Tolkien references or Vulcan ears, Felicia Day, was also enthusiastic.
The Mehssiah! OMG guys! So good! :) Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Support from Neil Patrick Harris came slightly later, helping spread The Mehssiah's message and humor to a whole new demographic:
I remember I was crafting a tweet about how much I love acting and being gay and suddenly I get a reply like two seconds later from The Mehssiah. You know what it said? Yep, "Meh." I LOL'd. Saw his point. He was saying, "Neil, enough already. You're apparently the happiest, nicest human alive and you love acting and being gay. We get it." But he didn't say all that. He said, "Meh." So good!
The Book Deal
With all the buzz, it wasn't long before Twitter Agent extraordinaire, Tyrtle Levine, swooped in to maximize The Mehssiah's commercial potential.
When I first heard of The Mehssiah, he only had about 4,000 followers. I usually don't pay attention before someone hits 10,000, but this was something extraordinary. I had just optioned the movie rights to the best-selling I Hope They Serve Roofies At The Frat Party, and I was looking for my next project. I was tempted to pursue another twitter blog called Stuff My Dog Says, but I was afraid it was too smart for the general public. Too meta, because, you know, dogs don't talk. But The Mehssiah? I believed in him fully. And after reading about 20 of his tweets I was positive I wanted to represent him, provided he could get 20,000 followers.
The Twitter followers Tyrtle Levine so hoped for came and kept coming. Given the success of the Twitter blog, a book was inevitable and on September 13, 2009, it happened:
Meh was a massive success, topping the New York Times Bestseller's list for an impressive 25 weeks. Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, Freedom, and the first author to be featured on the cover of Time magazine since John Updike spoke about the impact of Meh :
Man, I was in the middle of revising my thousand-page book when Meh came out. I had to shut down work for a week. Why was I writing and revising paragraph after paragraph of a novel about an American family in the attempt to create a lasting piece of art that would resonate with the public when, apparently, what resonated most was Meh. It was a pretty dark time for me. I called up Michael Chabon to talk it out, but he was busy doing a treatment for an X-Men spinoff about Jubilee.
Franzen's feelings aside, the book continued to sell well.
Continued to sell well? Fuck, the sales were sick. The Mehssiah took every other book on the Bestseller's list, bent it over and made all their pages stick together. Know what I mean? I mean, rape. The book raped other books. Nah, it's OK. Don't call the PC police. You can't rape a book. Because they're all asking for it, aren't they? Those dirty little whores with their jackets conveniently slipping off and sliding down their spine. . . . I'm sorry, yeah, the book sales were great.
I loved that book. I take it out whenever I'm feeling down, and I notice all sorts of things I never did before. Like did you know all the pages say "Meh"? Anyway, I tweeted that Amazon link like a gazillion times when it came out because I was such a fan. I even gave him a blurb for the book, but it never made it to the final pressing for some reason.
The TV Show
With the success of the book, the next step was inevitable: a television show. Tyrtle Levine sold the rights to CBS who quickly put the creative team responsible for 2 and 1/2 Men in charge of adapting the bestseller. The first decisions to be made: who was The Mehssiah and who should play him?
After several suggestions, consensus grew that The Mehssiah could only be played by Adam West, known to millions as TV's Batman and Mayor Adam West on Family Guy.
In the show, West plays a moderately curmudgeonly retiree who loses his life savings, but inherits a children's fat farm summer camp in Palm Springs, California. He manages the vaguely plump and irritating children with his own brand of mildly dissatisfied indifference. CBS invested heavily in the show, tentatively titled Fat Boys to Mehn. The pilot aired on February 3, 2010, to a reaction so negative that only 15 seconds are still in existence. Some claim the show actually wasn't that bad; it was simply a case of television critics being unable to resist a one word review: "meh." In any event, here, for the first time ever online, is the only surviving footage:
By all accounts, Korchowski took the negative reception to the sitcom very badly, and started popping speed. On March 21, 2010, he left his first and only post that was not "meh" when he tweeted, "AmphetiMEHns! Yum!" It was met with zero retweets and The Mehssiah returned to what he did best: tweeting "meh." Still, the damage was done.
Don't get me wrong. I followed The Mehssiah to the very end, but I could tell something was off. When he tweeted "meh" it wasn't like the old days when he tweeted "meh." Once when I was kind of disappointed with one of his tweets, I thought it would be pretty funny to reply "meh," but I didn't. I got distracted by the Pop Tart I was eating. Then I pooped.
The Mehssiah's downfall was terrifying. I was trying to close a deal on his follow up book More Meh by the Twitter Mehssiah as seen on CBS's Fat Boys to Mehn, and I didn't need his stock dropping. I decided to try to create my own hit blog using everything I learned from him. I called it the TL;DR-Meister. I would go to other celebrity tweets. Like the ones that were almost the full 140 characters allowed by Twitter and reply TL;DR. Funny right? Right. But for some reason, it just didn't fly. There was only one Mehssiah.
Oh no, guys! The Mehssiah. Awwwww. :(
The Mehssiah went from speed to cocaine to crack back to speed, then a week on just shrooms and a strict macrobiotic diet. Then to heroin, then back to crack where he stayed until his death on March 18, 2011. He was laid to rest in a simple ceremony three days later. Just one week short of his 15th birthday. What further contributions would The Mehssiah have made to literature in the future? It's difficult to say, but whenever someone says something worthless online, he is there. Whenever someone who stumbles ass-backwards into a temporary zeitgeist is a called a "genius," he is there. Whenever commerce triumphs over art while pretending to be art, he is there.
Rest in Peace, old chum.