If you’ve never experienced the joy of HowToBasic, let me set the scene for you. You’re looking for an instructional video on Youtube, maybe on how to bake a cake or make a salad. You find this popular video with an appealing thumbnail, and before you know it everything’s ruined, you’re no better off than when you started and oh god the eggs, not the eggs.
Welcome to the madness that is HowToBasic, a channel that thrives on the premise of teaching you to do something and then veering off the cliff into the pits of hell. It is a wonderfully absurd and nonsensical twist on everything from instructional videos, oddly satisfying video compilations, cooking shows, and the nature of Youtube itself.
Beyond just the excessive egg use, and growing complexity of the videos as time goes on, one thing about How To Basic is the fact that nobody knows who makes them. Nobody. The one interview online was conducted under guarantee of anonymity. And though we see much of his hands and bare thighs (don’t ask), we never get any indication of anything specific besides the incredibly uncomfortable way he grunts. There’s a mythos that’s grown up around him. Some say he works at a grocery and he just uses all the expired food. Some say he has arrangements with various stores. All we know is that he lives in Perth, and his neighbours are probably not happy with all the commotion, chaos, and mattresses being covered in cakes and then set on fire (once again: don’t ask).
So what’s the point? Why is it so enjoyable? And why the eggs? Well, while the first video may genuinely shock you, the rest quickly devolve into guessing when things go off the rails, and how it devolves. They’re quick, bite-sized packages of abstract chaos delivered by a grunting man throwing eggs at things. It’s a way to vicariously experience just making a mess and not have to clean it up. And it’s rather fun to show them to others without telling them what’s going on, and just watch their faces go from confusion, to disgust and maybe to laughter – if they’ve got good taste.
Intrigued? Or, at least, morbidly curious? Well then, I offer you a chance to go down a rabbit hole of fast cuts and uncomfortable sound effects. Just watch out for the eggs.