Andrew Bachelor nearly deleted his masterpiece, a six-second comedy skit that, today, provides him a comfortable income. “I wasn’t happy with it,” he says. “But I posted it, and it was doing good, so I left it.” In the video, Bachelor—adopting his far more exuberant Vine character, King Bach—offers to chase down a purse snatcher but executes an off-the-wall backflip in front of the victim instead. “Great, he’s already gone,” she says. “Yeah,” replies Bach, arching his cartoonish eyebrows at the camera, “but that backflip, though.” Two weeks later, he posted another Vine promoting “But That Backflip Tho” T-shirts by doing another backflip while wearing the shirt ($21 at Rodeo Arcade, an online store that primarily sells T-shirts based on viral videos).
“But That Backflip Tho” is tamer than most of Bach’s oeuvre, which could be described as what you’d get by putting WorldStarHipHop videos, three-panel comic strips, and Chris Tucker into a Vitamix, then running that slurry through a Shrink o’ Matic. Recurring characters include a hood genie who appears when you rub a grape-soda bottle and a rapper whose freestyles always include homoerotic Freudian slips.
“It wasn’t me being funnier than everyone,” he says of his success. “It was me being smarter than everyone.” He paid attention to what succeeded on Vine—fights and people getting injured, from what he could tell—and incorporated it into his own work, while ratcheting up the ratchetness. “White people, they just want to see what they think black people act like,” he says, and he was happy to deliver, creating a universe full of surprise stabbings and neck-snappings, disputes over Air Jordans and gas money. Six seconds only allows for so much subtlety.
It’s easy to assume a social-media celebrity’s persona matches his own, but Bachelor was raised in a Christian home, with strict Caribbean parents. Fans who meet him are often disappointed by his calm demeanor.
Recently, he appeared on Showtime’s House of Lies, and is currently taping Aaron McGruder’s new Adult Swim project, Black Jesus. McGruder has never even seen Bachelor’s Vines. (“Soon as I have a free 6.5 seconds, I’m going to check one out.”) Bachelor just nailed the audition.
The television appearances have given Bach’s Vine another recurring character: himself, dancing in front of his own TV set—which has King Bach playing on it. “That’s to show people what my main goal is,” he says.