Six Ridiculous Questions: Brian Alan Ellis


The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance. So, then, without any further disturbance, my first guest/victim is writer and publishing mogul Brian Alan Ellis whose social media feeds have recently attracted my fell attention with their healthy servings of black humor and surprising pathos.

Question one: Who is your favorite supervillain? Why?

I dig the dude from the Inspector Gadget cartoon because he had a metal arm and a scary voice and he’d sit around all day trolling Inspector Gadget’s Instagram stories while petting a cat. My guy.

Which of his evil attribute/accoutrements (attribruments?) do you find most compelling? As, in say, you were turning yourself into a supervillain from scratch, which attribrument (metal arm, scary voice, Instagram trolling, or cat) could you not live without?

Probably Instagram trolling. Fully committed to that cause.


Question two: If you had to go through life as a cartoon dog, who would you choose? Why?

Bummer to have to go through life as anything, but I’d probably go through life as Scooby-Do. Solves mysteries. High all the time. Gets to be in movies with Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and the sister from Freaks and Geeks. Seems real chill.

How do you know Scooby’s high all the time? Prove it.

I’m a BRIentist, not a scientist, which means I can’t prove anything.


Question three: Is there a difference between Manifest Destiny and Survival of the Fittest? What is it?

More importantly, what’s the correlation between the music of Destiny’s Child and the principles surrounding Survivor, the American television series? The answer could possibly be found in the song “Survivor,” by Destiny’s Child (featuring Da Brat).

That’s not exactly an answer. But, OK, you’re right. That is a more important question. And as good an answer as any I could come up with, to your own question, that is. More still, would you rather be trapped on a desert island with Beyoncé (with limited food, shelter, and medical attention but a full camera crew) or in one of Jay-Z’s lavish mansions with Jeff Probst (you’d get food and medical care, too, but no camera crew)?

Beyoncé and I were born on the same exact day, in the same exact year, at roughly the same time, so being on a desert island with her would be like I was trapped somewhere with a richer, better looking and more talented version of myself, which sounds nightmarish, so I’d gladly eat all Jay-Z’s food while Instagram trolling on his mansion Wi-Fi.

Based on your choice, what do you see as the end result of said confinement?

Obesity and fear.


Question four: If you were forced to spend ten years as Sting’s indentured servant what would you do? Discuss.

Are we talking Sting, the professional wrestling legend, or Sting, the new-agey guy who sang and played bass for the Police? I need to know specifics, Kurt.

I was thinking of Sting the musician. But…OK, let’s flip it. Say Sting and Sting became an October-December power couple and you were required to spend ten years indentured to Sting and Sting. How would you handle the situation? And do you think they would develop a corporate empire based on the whole Sting and Sting thing and how successful would it be and what products would it produce?

First, I would pitch the situation as a smarmy think-piece for VICE. Then I would just sit back and watch the popularity of my online brand grow and grow. Easy.

By the way, I am going to have nightmares about that entire scenario you’ve just concocted for a long, long time. Thanks, Kurt!


Question five: Say you were trapped in a remake of Dances with Wolves with no way out, what would you do?

I would immediately ask for the Wi-Fi password.

And if none were forthcoming? Costner is directing again. He has an unlimited budget he’s keen on squandering. However, he demands a sort of not-quite-cinema-not-quite-verite on the set. Translation: There is no wi-fi. By the way, who are you playing and will it turn out to be a good career move?

I have never actually seen Dances with Wolves. Is this one about the baseball player ghosts? I want to be a baseball player ghost. A good career move, however? Probably not.


Question six: What if god was one of us?

I would immediately ask them what the Wi-Fi password of life is.



Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Productions, and is the author of three novellas, three short-story collections, two books of humorous non-fiction (Sad Laughter is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms Press), and Something to Do with Self-Hate, a novel. His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, Talking Book, and Queen Mob’s Tea House, among other places. He lives in Florida, and tweets sad and clever things at both @brianalanellis and @HouseofVlad.

Kurt Baumeister has written for Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, The Weeklings, Entropy, The Nervous Breakdown, The Rumpus, The Good Men Project, and others. Now a Contributing Editor with The Weeklings, Baumeister’s Review Microbrew column is published by The Nervous Breakdown. He edits the Under the Influence feature for Entropy. His debut novel, a satirical thriller entitled Pax Americana, was published by Stalking Horse Press in 2017. He is currently at work on a novel, The Book of Loki, and a hybrid collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry entitled Superman, the Seven Gods of Death, and the Need for Clean, Romantic Poetry. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, or at


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