Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, February 23, 2018

James Veitch transcends comedy by satirizing scam emails

The comedian’s uses technology in a new form of humor

James Veitch transcends comedy by satirizing scam emails

Comedian James Veitch

Scam emails: unsolicited emails that claim the sender is in need of support, typically monetary, for various reasons. You might ignore these messages.

Now, imagine if you responded to them.

That’s what British comedian and author James Veitch does. Veitch has spent about three years replying to scam emails, aiming for humorous replies. His skill in technology and making light of a fairly pesky issue is just one way for him to appeal to new generations. He has appeared a number of times on TED Talks, written one book, “Dot Con,” and has a YouTube series focused on scam emails called Scamalot. In “Dot Con,” Veitch elaborates on his process for replying to the scam emails, and even includes the unabridged transcripts from his email chains.

Scammers, like the ones Veitch replies to, target anyone with an email address used for social media or business. According to Lifewire, they typically use scam bots to go through hundreds of websites to find anything included in an “@” symbol and then create a list that is then sold to other spammers. The site also said that “while many of the results are incorrect, these dictionary programs can create hundreds of thousands of addresses per hour, guaranteeing that at least some will work as targets for spam.” It doesn’t matter how many are sent, as long as some are so there's a chance to trick their information or money. Veitch is able to take this issue and bring it to audiences’ attention through his wit which makes him immensely different than other comedians.

Veitch’s first solo show debuted in 2014 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Even his debut show focused on scam emails and the nature of the internet, showing Veitch’s ability to embrace technology in his stand-up routine.

"The Internet is, like much of life, full to the brim with uncertainties,” Veitch said during an appearance on CONAN in October. “On the one hand, it's allowed a doctor in Dubai to perform a life-saving operation on a patient in Peking. On the other hand, it's also allowed me to enroll a gerbil at Eton. I'm not sure where I stand is basically what I'm saying.”

He claims that by replying to these scammers, he is able to save potential victims. Instead of having scams trick ordinary people, scammers waste their time with him. He softens the seriousness of the issue that most people do not recognize: Veitch is able to scam the scammers.

Transcending above other comedians, Veitch is rising fairly quickly and even is a bit poetic. What makes him so different from other comedians is that he focuses on real issues that most people do not lend credence to. For example, Samantha Bee has her own television show where she focuses specifically on Donald Trump and politics. She tends to focus on the mainstream issues and doesn’t bring attention to smaller topics that still have major effects on individuals lives. She is very well-known because of her focus on these topics while Veitch goes against the tide.

Not all of his shows are on scam emails, but they all involve using either text messages or emails. Veitch is focusing on technology to match the current technological age we live in. He approaches his shows in a creative and innovative way by using PowerPoint presentations to showcase these elements. Not a lot of comedians or public personalities do this sort of thing.

Veitch’s wit is indescribably clever, and that is evident in his book, YouTube series and other appearances. The British comedian is the definition of a new-age comedian.


life@theeagleonline.com


Never miss a story.

Get our weekly newsletter in your inbox.