Epic Mike graciously decided to sit down with me and have a chat.
Blabbering Collector: How did you hear about Geeks + Gamers?
Epic Mike: I met Josiah around back in 2015… it was a long time ago. Anyways, years later, Josiah goes, “Hey, bro, I found this really cool group on Facebook called Geeks + Gamers; check it out! I know the guy who runs it; his name is Jeremy, and there are a lot of cool discussions and nerd talk.” And I was like, “Okay, cool!”
I just went back and looked, and one of my first posts that I did in the group was back in 2016, and I was talking about Batman v. Superman.
BC: That’s a long time ago!
EM: It’s been a hot minute! I went back and looked at all of my other posts, deleted a few – including one defending The Rise of Skywalker before it even came out. I didn’t know what we were getting into. I was like, “Hey, guys, stay positive. It hasn’t gone completely bad yet.” That was a long time ago… in a galaxy far, far away.
BC: How did you join G+G?
EM: I joined back in 2020 because Josiah was looking for another guy for the Wednesday Call Of Duty streams. Josiah and I had been gaming for a while already, and he was just like, “You want in?” And I was like, well, I already know Jeremy, I’ve known him for a long time, and I always thought it would be fun, and I like COD. So I joined, and over time Jeremy kept having me show up on more and more things. Jeremy was like, “I really like your personality,” but at the beginning, there was some tweaking. Jeremy would be like, “Can you not say certain things because people are watching?” And I would be like, “Yeah, that’s fine!” Everything grows and evolves over at G+G.
BC: Do you like to collect? If so, do you have a focus?
EM: I don’t collect. There’s two main reasons for it. One, I grew up very, very poor, so I did not have a lot of room to collect things. I also moved a lot, so a lot of things were lost. I kind of became jaded over the years and just stopped collecting things. I used to have a giant toolbox that was just filled with action figures from everything that I could get my hands on. The second reason is that now I have kids. When they were younger, I had more than my fair share of awesome things get chewed up. I found an entire collection of DVD boxes that have bite marks all over them. So I don’t really collect anymore. Maybe one day! I have started to get into 4oK. I have a bunch of boxes of figures I need to make. So maybe that will be my first real display!
BC: How did this whole “murdering Josiah with a shovel” debacle begin?
EM: It’s a difficult thing to talk about. Murdering your best friend is not something I typically discuss.
BC: Does it bring you a lot of pain?
EM: Well, it brings Josiah a lot of pain.
BC: You, not so much.
EM: Well, no, I didn’t hurt myself with a shovel. The fake story is that I killed Josiah to take his spot in G+G and rise to the top, and slowly but surely weed out the rest of the members that I need to take out with a shovel. I have methods of bringing them back, so they won’t be gone very long.
The real story is that Josiah moved and didn’t have any internet. Josiah and I had this really cool idea that if I pretended to kill [him] or pretend that [he] died, then we could do this really cool promo. We could shoot this promo of Josiah resurrecting from the dead [because Josiah Rises]. I had made this joke to Josiah behind the scenes, and we shot it months in advance.
One day, on Tuesday Night Main Event (TNME), Ryan just went off and was like, “You killed Josiah! You murdered him!” The chat just blew up! The next thing I know, on Sunday night MarioKart, TNME, gaming streams… any time I would appear on a stream, someone would be like, “You’re a murderer! You killed Josiah! Why did you kill him?” It kind of got away from me, and I was actually surprised! Then, I was kind of worried for a little bit because the longer it took Josiah to get internet, the longer it actually started to look like I had killed him! I was worried the police would show up at my door because people were like, “You murdered a man in cold blood!”
BC: Oh, my gosh! That’s wild. What are your goals for the rest of 2022?
EM: Oh, that’s a good one. Look at you, Blabs, asking the real questions! The current short-term goal is getting back into Twitch. I had some life stuff going on that slowed me down a little bit. But I’m back! The next big goal would be to start a YouTube channel, that way, I can have a place to rant that doesn’t require me going on other people’s YouTube channels to do so! I’m working on a couple of projects with Josiah for the rest of the year. I can’t really talk about them right now, though, because we haven’t fully announced them yet, but they all kind of involved the EpicVerse Studios channel. I have two scripts that I am working on for myself that I want to get done this year. I’m also expecting a baby this year, too.
BC: Little baby Epic Mike. If I were to make you a sandwich, what would you want?
BC: What is the story behind EpicVerse? What can you tell us about future projects?
EM: Josiah had just finished a feature-length film, and I was helping him out on the back end of it with some production stuff, but we were also planning future projects together. Things didn’t go as we’d hoped they would; we are a much smaller community in a much smaller area, and it’s hard to get the support you need when you don’t have the resources around you. We put a lot of stuff on the back burner, but throughout the years, as long as I’ve known him, we’ve always been working on something together. Whether it be a video game, movie, TV show, we always just get together and spitball ideas! Then, he got really busy with YouTube, and he doesn’t have time for a lot of creativity. So, we started a podcast in 2020 called The Epic Man Podcast, and we also started a YouTube channel called The Epic Man Channel, and we did food reviews, and goofy stuff, and stuff like that. The podcast was about crazy theories and conspiracies. That was always fun. But we were like, we should do something more with this. We should rebrand it because “Epic Man” doesn’t really work if we want to do more content in the future.
So we decided to rebrand it to EpicVerse. We changed the name of the podcast to EpicVerse Podcast, and the goal is to create content so that they have an alternative to mainstream. The goal isn’t to battle the mainstream. The goal is to just create good content that can be an alternative because it’s that good of quality.
BC: So the goal is just to be good!
EM: Absolutely, because I think that the problem that everyone has is, if you set out to be “anti-woke” or “anti-this,” that’s your entire goal, and all of your creativity is through that filter. Creating content with the goal to be really good at that thing, and to make good stuff just to have people be entertained, will get you a lot farther, and you’ll have a lot more traction.
BC: How did you get into Twitch?
EM: Josiah has been yelling at me for a long time. I always needed an outlet. Jeremy was wonderful enough to give me a spot on TNME and different streams, and I’ve been blessed with being on other people’s streams as well. But Josiah was pushing me to get my own channel. At the time, I was thinking about YouTube, but I just didn’t have the time to dedicate myself to it, so I went with Twitch. I do a lot of gaming behind the scenes. I can game and still be a part of things but still have my own platform. It’s a lot easier and a lot less scary. I have a lot of anxiety, and gaming gives me something to do with my hands so I don’t feel like I’m being watched. Twitch was the answer, and it just took off really well! I’ve only been doing it, like, for four or five months, and I just passed 800 followers. I started back in February.
BC: That’s pretty great; good for you! If you were stuck on an island, what are 3 objects and 2 people you would want to have with you?
EM: If this were real, I would want to be stuck on an island with my wife and some animal like a goat, so I could have some food! Like goat cheese! I don’t want my kids there, because then I would have to pick one of them, and even though I do have a favorite, I won’t tell you which one is my favorite. I’d just leave them both at home. Or, like, a survivalist…
BC: Like Bear Grylls?
EM: I don’t wanna be stuck on an island with another dude, though. She needs to be female.
BC: So you want your wife and another chick so you can have a good time?
EM: Nah, I just don’t wanna be stuck with another dude. I don’t know; it would just be weird! Like, it would be me and my wife… and then Bear.
BC: Casual, just Bear eating worms over there in a corner.
EM: Yeah, like drinking his own pee. And then, three objects? Shoot. I’d probably pick a portable DVD player, a copy of The Princess Bride, and then… I don’t know. This is a good one. Well, we don’t have power, but I dunno; you’d have to figure it out by then. Maybe solar panels? I’m trying to be practical about this. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to do this! If I had power, I could bring, like, an iPod or something because music is a really big part of my wife and my life.
In a fake world, I’d bring a genie from Aladdin, my wife… and the three objects would be a portal gun from Rick And Morty, the tents from Harry Potter that are way bigger on the inside than on the outside… that would be pretty dope! Then, the flying DeLorean from Back To The Future, just because.
BC: Just cause why not, right?
EM: They are gonna be like, that is the stupidest answer I’ve ever heard.
BC: How do you keep your private life private?
EM: By being very selective about what I share. I do mention that I have a wife and kids, but I’ve never shared my kids’ names on the internet. I went back and deleted all of my kids’ pictures on my Instagram. I have one picture of my wife and me on it. I do have a Facebook; I’m very private about it. I don’t just let random people on if I don’t know them. I do think it is important that people know who I am, and I’m fine with people getting to know me and my personality. I’m not creating a persona, although I’m a lot calmer in person than on the internet.
BC: When you rage.
EM: Yeah, when I rage and scream at people. I can be loud with people, but I’m pretty calm and collected. At day, at home by myself, is a great time. I do take a second to think about what I share. If I was talking to someone, and we were having a conversation on the internet, I wouldn’t share something about you because it’s not my place to share! So I treat myself in that way. If I wouldn’t share something about someone else, I probably shouldn’t share that about myself.
BC: That makes a lot of sense. How did you get into writing? Are you currently working on something?
EM: This was before I even met my wife – this was around 2009 – I had just gotten out of high school and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was working this dead-end job at a factory, and since I was a kid, I had always been obsessed with stories. By the time I was around ten, I had read a ton of classics. Jules Verne, I had read The War Of The Worlds, The Time Machine, Oliver Twist… I read a lot of them! I watched a lot of movies that had knights and swords, and sorcery, stuff like that! I had a lot of ideas, and I would just fill notebooks up with ideas and concepts all the time! In high school, I got caught up with sports and girls, and that was kinda my focus. I didn’t write as much then. But I got really focused around 2009 when I was working. I was so bored; I was like, “I’m just going to come up with my own ideas; I haven’t seen this kind of concept for a show.”
So I came up with this idea for a show, and I would think about it in my head and play out the scenes, and by the time I left the job, I had about two full notebooks about this entire show plotted out from first to seventh seasons. I had the characters, the character arcs, and where they were going, and why they were established as they were. I still have those notebooks around somewhere. I loved it so much and the idea just so much. I think writing TV and movie stories could really be something that I do in the future. I was always really invested in creativity.
BC: That is awesome. But weird, you won’t even read Harry Potter! The films only cover, like, half the story!
EM: Are you ready for this? I grew up in a Christian household that didn’t want me reading Harry Potter. I wasn’t even allowed to read it with my classmates in school. I had to sit out in the hallway. I had teachers who straight-up told me that I shouldn’t be so close-minded about stuff. I was around eight or nine then. These teachers were telling me not to listen to my parents’ suggestions. It made me hate Harry Potter.
BC: Because people were sort of bullying you. I understand that.
EM: Yeah, if I didn’t want to do something, why should I get bullied for it? Maybe that is where my streak of nonconformity comes from. I’m just going to do the thing that no one wants me to do. I’ve gotten a little bit better about that. When I met my wife, she had read the books and watched the films, and she told me that I would probably like it.
I just think I’m too old to read the books now. I just don’t really have any interest. When I was around eight, I had a college reading level. So I read Oliver Twist when I was, like, nine. As soon as I had learned to read, I was reading all these classics. The library was separated by reading level, and Oliver Twist was one of the books in the section that I was reading. The other was a biography of Abraham Lincoln. I read like half of it and was just so bored by it that I put it back on the shelf and read some kids’ books and was like, “Whatever.” Like I said, reading was always a big thing for me. I haven’t done it a lot recently because I just don’t have the time because I got so involved in TV, movies, and video games. I have the complete works of Sherlock Holmes, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which is actually my favorite series.
I watched Harry Potter, and I liked them. I’m sure the books are better, as they usually are, but they are just so low on my list, as I’ve already seen the films! I still have the stigma of not wanting to read them because everyone is like, “Why haven’t you read them yet?”
BC: Oh no. What goes into your film critiques? What are your guidelines?
EM: Yes and no. What’s a junk food that you really like?
EM: Let’s say you eat Goldfish, and one day you go to a Goldfish factory, and you find out that Goldfish are made out of mashed-up hamsters. You might not want to eat them anymore, right?
BC: *In disgust* Right!
EM: Right, so I used to really like movies for what they were. But now that I know and have seen what goes into writing and making movies, and I’ve seen the process of it… but I know what I’m looking for. I don’t have a checklist, per se, but I don’t just go for the enjoyment of feeling anything. I typically go into the movie with, “What are they trying to do? What are themes? What kind of setup is this? Does this make me think of something I don’t want to think about? Oh, the music is great! Is the music trying to manipulate me into seeing something about the plot?” I’m constantly looking for “the hamster.” Is this the best cheese to make the Goldfish in all of the land, ya’ know? I can be very critical about movies, probably more so than I should be. It doesn’t make me hate movies. When I find a movie I love, I love it. I’ll never tell someone that they can or cannot enjoy something, but I can tell you why a movie is good or not.
For Harry Potter, the best movie is the third one. It’s not even a competition. From a story perspective, from a film writing perspective, it’s the best one! But some people are like, “Well, I like the sixth one the best!” Which I actually love too; the Half Blood Prince film was when I fell in love with Harry Potter. When you get the big reveal… spoilers for those who haven’t seen or read it yet… but if you haven’t at this point, that’s on you! But the big reveal of Snape was just genius. The fact that Rowling told Alan Rickman about the secret before the first movie was just genius-level acting. You can see it throughout the series once you know the secret. There was an idea that blossomed throughout the series.
BC: Besides Tuesday Night’s Maine Event (TNME), where else can we find you on G+G?
EM: I’m going to be doing some videos soon that coincide with me starting my own channel on Geeks + Gamers Play. I know when Modern Warfare 2 drops, I’ll be doing a lot of videos of that, playing on the Play channel and on my own. I’m sure down the line, Jeremy will have me in more things. He’s been very gracious because he knows that I have a lot going on behind the scenes and allows me to work on things with Josiah and stuff. But I think we will see a lot of collaborations with G+G. It’s just that all this stuff takes time.
BC: Anything you would like to say to your audience and viewers?
EM: Do not ever doubt that you can create something amazing. The world is filled with people who have amazing ideas but never did anything with them because they either talked themselves out of it, or were too scared to do it, or were too practical to make it happen. I think that the world is designed not to let people take risks because risk-takers change things and change the status quo. The fact is that no one can tell a story from your perspective. Two people can come up with the same exact idea and concept but execute it completely differently. If I can do it, you can do it. The thing is, maybe you won’t see the success that you want, but typically, taking the risk about something that you’re passionate about will lead you to find other things you are passionate about until you find something that works for you.
I wanted to be a professional wrestler when I graduated from high school. I moved to a school to do it. I had to move back, as it didn’t work out for me, and I still regret that it didn’t work out. But I realized that me taking that risk gave me the perspective that if I don’t take risks like that, I will never see anything happen in my life. So… take risks, take chances. Ms. Frizzle said it best. “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”
BC: Frosk’s two front teeth or Brie Larson’s left foot?
EM: Brie Larson’s left foot.
BC: Jonas Brothers or OneDirection?
BC: Do you like Abba?
EM: Yeah, I love Abba
BC: Favorite film?
EM: Oooooo… umm… ummm… *puts fingers to face* The Princess Bride.
BC: Favorite composer?
EM: Hans Zimmer, hands down.
BC: How do you take your coffee?
EM: I don’t. It is the devil’s lactation. It comes from boiled bean juice. The only person I can think of who makes you drink boiled bean juice is the devil.
BC: Pineapple on pizza?
EM: Hell no.
BC: Go-to snack?
EM: Flaming hot Cheetos.
BC: Lightsaber color?
EM: Silver or purple.
BC: Narnia or the Shire?
BC: Hogwarts House?
BC: Jedi or Sith?
EM: Sith, hands down.
BC: Star Wars sequels or prequels, or originals?
BC: Favorite video game?
EM: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II.
BC: Do you like Nickelback?
EM: I like three of their songs.
BC: Favorite color?
Twitter: Why is your Afro so majestic?
EM: Years and years of training and prepping and preening.
T: No potions?
EM: No potions! This is all natural.
T: What happened to your ears? Were they stolen? Did your hair devour them? The world must know.
EM: They created a house under my hair. They are there.
BC: They live in the basement.
EM: They live in the basement and are happily protected there.
T: When will you hang that second picture on your wall?
EM: You mean the Batman one? That one is never going up! I have to mount that one, as it is incredibly heavy. I have two custom pieces of art that are nearly completed, and I will hang them up, and those two will make up for the lack of artwork on my wall.
T: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
EM: This is a split again! I have a practical answer and a real answer. The practical answer would be telekinesis. It is the most overpowered superpower. You could do just about anything. But since I was a young kid, I have always wanted to fly.
T: Do you share Josiah’s love of Tom Hanks Photos?
T: What is the complete lore behind JHalestorm?
EM: There isn’t any lore. He is just the devil. I don’t know when he was made, I don’t know when he came into existence, but he has been around for a very long time, and he is the worst being to ever exist in history.
T: Who are members of “The Conspiracy”?
EM: Well, if you have to ask, you’re probably in on it.
BC: Oh. Interesting. Interesting. The plot thickens.
EM: The conspiracy is those that know and those that are ignorant of knowing.
T: Is it true that Josiah is haunted by the ghost of Dolly the goat?
EM: I haven’t seen it. But Josiah probably is. I’m sure when he was dead for the time that he’s been dead, he probably saw Dolly.
Lethal: In the spirit of pride month, who would you go gay for?
EM: Jason Mamoa.
EM: Come on, Blabs! Look at him.
BC: He’s so cocky.
EM: That’s fine. He’s arrogant, but he believes in himself. I can get behind a man who believes in himself.
Lethal: Why do you like saying “eshay”?
EM: I don’t like saying “eshay,” but the language of the Australians is so interesting and fascinating that it is so contagious that I just can’t help it!