Please explain what just happened.

A co-worker accused me of stealing his stapler and I said, “I don’t have time for this; I have to fill out an interview.”

But I did. I did steal it.

What is your earliest memory?

Watching The Wizard of Oz and being terrified of that damned witch. I must have been around four or five.

If you weren’t a writer, what other profession would you choose?

What would I choose? Can it be anything? Billionaire. Sex Wizard. A doctor, but in space.


Please describe the current contents of your refrigerator.

There’s a bunch, but the centerpiece is this enormous pot of chili I made about a week ago. I made it from scratch, and you can never make just a bowl of chili from scratch, you make a pot that serves, like, 25 people. I’ve been slowly chipping away at it, and it’s so good, you’d love it.

What verb best describes you?

Verb…do present participles count? Because then it would be “sitting.” Or “typing.” My Spider Sense tells me that should have been adjective, but I’m going to follow through on this verb thing. Eat. Think. Those two also work.

What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?

I was a worrier, so I would assure myself that, no matter what I was concerned about, it wasn’t anywhere near as important as I thought it was and would have absolutely no impact on anything, and that I should just concentrate on having fun.

And then I’d say, “But don’t screw it up,” just to fuck with myself.

What are the steps you take to regain your composure?

If I’m alone, I go for a run. If I’m in a group of people, I don’t regain my composure. I have a terrible temper and am in no way working on improving it.

Define “success.”

Being happy and self-sufficient, and never compromising.

From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?

My parents, brothers and Elise, for personal inspiration, and my coworkers for creative inspiration, because they’re some of the most talented people around.

What change do you want to be in the world?

I like to be known for leaving rooms and houses slightly cleaner than they were when I arrived. If I can extend that to the global level and leave the Earth cleaner when I leave it, I’ll consider that a victory. And even if I don’t leave the Earth cleaner, really, I’d still feel pretty good about the whole “leaving rooms slightly cleaner” thing.  That’s nothing to turn your back on.

Are you pro- or anti-emoticon? Please explain.

Vehemently anti, but mostly as a knee-jerk for anything on the internet that works to replace words and sentences. If you’re feeling an emotion or making an expression, describe it to me in explicit detail, dammit.

How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?

I acted in a sketch alongside Brea Grant, who was on Heroes with Milo Ventimiglia, who was in Rocky Balboa with Slyvester Stallone, who was in Cop Land with Robert De Niro, who was in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon.

What makes you feel most guilty?

Probably all of those crimes I’ve committed.

Please list three things you never leave home without.

A notebook, my cellphone and pants.

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

“You can park wherever you want, because the campus cops aren’t technically allowed to enforce any of the tickets they issue.” I paid over $400 in fines that year.

What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?

“Don’t ask me for advice under any circumstances.”

What do you consider the harshest kind of betrayal?

That’d have to be murder, right? Any other kind of betrayal, being lied to or getting your stapler stolen, at least then you can say, “Well, it’s not like he murdered me.”

Of all the game shows that have graced our TV screens throughout history, which one would you want to be a contestant on and why?

Jeopardy. I watch it every day because I love it, and because I am a 70-year-old woman.

What do you want to know?

What hot dogs are made of, and absolutely nothing else.

What would you like your last words to be?

A tossup between “The Earth will live on thanks to my noble sacrifice” and “You’ll all be fucking sorry for this.

Please explain what will happen.

I’ll finish this interview but then pretend I’m still taking it until my co-worker loses patience and walks away.

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DANIEL O'BRIEN is the Senior Writer for His column, Dan Dan Revolution, runs every Friday on Cracked and covers Steven Seagal, pop culture, fast food and a variety of other things that in no way require as much attention as he's willing to provide. In 2009, he co-created the Streamy-award winning web series Agents of Cracked, for which he was also the co-writer and co-star. His work has been mentioned in USA Today, the LA Times, the AintItCoolNews and, most recently, a United States Government watch list.

His first novel, Bartender, described by one critic as "so full of unforgivable typos that I refuse to finish it," is available for free online.

13 responses to “21 Questions with Daniel O’Brien”

  1. Simon Smithson says:

    “What would you like your last words to be?

    A tossup between “The Earth will live on thanks to my noble sacrifice” and “You’ll all be fucking sorry for this.”

    This is potentially my favourite thing ever.

  2. Zara Potts says:

    I was going to leave an emoticon but in deference to your vehement opposition to them, I shall explain how this interview made me feel.

    from the moment you lied about the stapler, I felt a tender kind of joy sweeping up from my belly, past my throat and into my mouth. The feeling then escaped from my lips as pure laughter which was freeing and exhilarating.

    Ha! This was great. Welcome to TNB!

  3. dwoz says:

    Over on my website, we have a vuvuzela emoticon.

    I’m not sure what flavor of human body fluid it signifies, but…

  4. D.R. Haney says:

    Hey, DOB, if you ever revive “Agents of Cracked,” I’d like to volunteer my considerable thespian services. Maybe I could play a pair of Michael Swaim’s sunglasses. Or maybe I could somehow attempt to avenge T Bone. One thing’s for sure: my head, when exploded, is never short on gore.

    Hope you see this. I’m a fan — which I realize can be scary words, especially in a comment involving exploding heads and gore and stuff, but I’m a fan without embellishments. I mean, there won’t be any stalking or shit like that.

    I’m going to shut the fuck up now.

  5. Gloria says:




  6. James D. Irwin says:

    Recently Cracked became my second favourite non-social network website after The Nervous Breakdown.

    Possibly second favourite overall, because facebook is basically like crystal meth: you don’t want to use it, but all your friends are and you don’t want to get left out.

    An enjoyable interview…

  7. Greg Boose says:

    If you assholes aren’t visiting on a daily basis, you are missing out.

  8. Jessica Lane says:

    I love this guy. I would definitely sleep with him on the first date, maybe.

    • DowagerLady says:

      I’d be too shy to say anything to him should we ever meet, so good luck.

      I do invoke the girl talk protocol and demand that you share details, however.

  9. Patti Meyer says:

    Hello Daniel! I was just reviewing the “Your Presidential Dream Team” and was disappointed to note that Jimmy Carter was not included and Ronald Reagan was input as the 39th President instead. 🙁 Please consider a quick rewrite before you publish too many!

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