The Questionnaire

By Dotan Schachter and Sinai Gez

The Questionnaire with Ben Claassen III / By Dotan Schachter

Jul 6th, 2010 • Categories: Comic Aritsts, Random Questionnaires

What are you doing these days?
I’ve mostly just been drinking a lot of tea & sticking my face into a cat’s face over and over.

Other than that though, I draw a weekly comic & illustrate an advice column, do freelance illustrations & design work, build websites, paint paintings, play music, eat a lot of spicy food, play lots of nerdy (mostly German) board games, watch a lot of documentaries…

I’m basically awesome.

What turns you on creatively?
The middle of the night. I usually hit my peak at around 4am (which oddly enough is right now).

I get inspired by lots of things though…
dreams, showers, tits, toilets, big hair, angry people, old photos, movies about con artists…

If you were a mind-reader whose mind would you like to read?
Brad Deason’s. He’s a guy I’ve hung out with quite regularly for about 15 years who has made very little sense to me throughout all that time. He once bit into a potato chip and got it stuck in his eye.

Here’s a picture of him where he looks like he has an Ewok’s mouth:

Brad Deason

This, however, is not him:

If you could travel in time, which era would you visit?
I’d travel to the end of civilization, to the apocalypse or whatever. Just so I could crack bad jokes & make people feel uncomfortable.

What is your favorite sound?
Cat licking butthole – hands down.

Slurp slurp slurp. He really gets in there too…
I’m also quite fond of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

What is the album or song that influences you the most?
I like the Muppet song “Movin’ Right Along” a great deal. The whole soundtrack for “The Muppet Movie” is pretty great actually (tho I think the best overall Muppet record is probably “The Muppet Show Album”).

I spent a couple years just listening to that one Neutral Milk Hotel record “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”. And all the Yann Tiersen records.

I also like black metal. And hair metal.

I like a lot of things.

Who would you like to collaborate with? And why?
I’ve always wanted to make a movie where Paul Reubens & John Waters head rival secret societies of pranksters. Kind of like if two rival Fight Clubs tried to out silly each other for the good of the world. There’d probably have to be a part for Werner Herzog as well.

Other than that though, I’ve always wanted to collaborate with my brother on something. And my sister for that matter. And my childhood best friend Jeff Gerhart.

What drives you crazy?
fine print, stressed out people, deadlines, billing departments, places that claim to have authentic “New Orleans food” but actually don’t, not having a place to play a bingo in scrabble, inaccurate depictions of New Orleans in general (most are), Wolf Blitzer, people who have expectations, religious fanatics, trying to make things look right in Internet Explorer, stupid people, know-it-alls, anything that’s supposed to be important, not being able to get into a conversation without “facebook” being mentioned at least once, deliberately trying to be funny in email interviews, being far apart from people I like a lot, snoring, mayonnaise, the daytime…

basically everything

What makes you laugh?
when I can step back and identify the ridiculousness involved with hating all of the above

If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
1. a pony
2. that no one had to work & instead got to do whatever they wanted to do without having to worry about money or food or the basics of survival
3. let’s go with the “to have as many wishes as i want” loophole
4. that a robot would come from the future, enter my body, and demand a slice of lemon meringue pie
5. you will give me a slice of lemon meringue pie

What is the craziest thing you ever did?
lied in an email interview

What makes you feel embarrassed?
Not many things really. Though I get real nervous being in front of a crowd sometimes. Until a click happens in my brain and I realize I don’t really care. And then I get embarrassed that I cared enough to get nervous in the first place.

Sometimes that click never comes though & I get embarrassed pretty immediately. Like when I try to do something I know I either can’t do well or hate doing but try to do it anyway or think I can do it but then really suck at it. I guess that’s pretty much just a lame long-winded definition of the word “embarrassment” huh?

I think I’m actually pretty shy around most people. Possibly because I hate everyone. But then, I guess I never shut up around some other people. I think that might be because I love everything. I’m sure when I’m old I’ll look back upon an entire lifetime of embarrassment with great joy.

What are your favorite web-sites (not including the ones that you are participate in)?
Them ThangsWooster CollectiveCartoon BrewBoing BoingJosh Sisk (photography), Hello CraftLuster Kaboom

What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
my taxes

How would you make the world a better place?
By convincing someone else to do it so I could sit back and make fun of them for having to work.

What is your biggest weakness?
Self sabotage.

Or maybe the winter…

Where will you be in 10 years?
Tap dancing in a banana suit on Broadway. Maybe, anyway. That might be stupid.

Write a question that you’d like to ask yourself and answer it.
Why does a chicken? I don’t know why

Who would you like to see answer this Questionnaire?
Brad Deason

Love – rod
Death – metal
God – damn it
TV – killed the radio star
Family – matters
Politics – are boring
Internet – won’t leave me alone
Happiness – freedom
Music – bubble
Ben Claassen III – 1000% awesome

Ben Claassen III is a freelance artist & designer, and is the creator of the weekly comic strip Dirtfarm. His work appears regularly in the Washington City Paper, Baltimore City Paper, Chicago Reader, Metro Pulse, the Washington Post’s Express, and several other publications. To see a running archive of his work, please visit his website @

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