I was in my office the other day, typing away as I’m wont to do, when my friend Britta sent me an Instagram link. It was to a picture of Senator Cory Gardner, currently in the death throes of a flailing campaign as former Colorado governor and current Senate candidate John Hickenlooper smashes Colorado’s historic fundraising records, with an absolutely hilarious caption across his face. I clicked through to @YeetCoryGardner and I found a treasure trove of amusement predicated on a very simple idea of how Colorado sees itself, how Coloradans see themselves, and I was hooked. I reached out for an interview and Yeet responde, saying, “you can email me at… So I’m not just like, aggressively working out my thumbs”.
Yeah, Yeet, we can do that. And we did. A few quick notes before we get to the convo: She – yes, Yeet is a woman – is going by Yeet to avoid doxxing and remain safe and secure in her anonymity. To Yeet, according to the Urban Dictionary, means “to discard an item at a high velocity”. That is, Yeet wants to use the platform she built (over 15K followers in two weeks) to discard, throw away, and otherwise get rid of Cory Gardner. What could he have done to deserve this? Well…according to Yeet, he’s just not very Colorado.
For a self description, Yeet’s IG page says she’s, “Poorly serving the great state of Colorado in the United States Senate. (All posts intended as satire/Not affiliated with any political organization.)”.
Below is an edited version of our conversation. All images courtesy of @YeetCoryGardner
De La Vaca: Yeet! Thank you for talking to me. I’m sure you’ve had other people reach out to you as well. Such a weird account you have going on.
Yeet: It is bizarre.
De La Vaca: It’s bizarre. It’s a little juggernaut you have going on. You’re having fun. This is high level, social media, millennial, civic engagement, social activism. So let’s start at the beginning. Who are you and why are you?
Yeet: Why am I… At the end of the day, I’m just a girl who thinks she’s funny and I’ve always been on the periphery involved in politics in some capacity. When I was 15, I was really sad I couldn’t vote for Obama and so I went out and volunteered with his campaign and just convinced other people to vote for me. So I’ve always been interested and then I started working in marketing after college. I’ve kind of honed my craft that way. But at the end of the day, this is very deeply rooted in the fact that I’ve hated Cory Gardner. I was like, ‘he’s bad for Colorado. It’s very clear that he’s not a great fit’.
I didn’t love him and so then I was watching Monday night football, two weeks ago now, my fantasy team was losing, everything was a bummer. I was texting one of my friends about how horrible Cory Gardner is and I was like, ‘I bet he goes to Casa Bonita for the food’ or something. And she was like, ‘you should put that on a shirt’. And I was like, ‘I should put that on the internet’.
And I made the first few memes and I thought it would just be an account where I was sharing my jokes about Cory Gardner with 17 of my friends. And then it kind of snowballed into this thing that is not at all what I expected it to become, but it’s kind of hilarious and wonderful to have a surprise platform of people who are interested and do care and want better representation for their state.
De La Vaca: So when you say that he’s not a good fit for the state, are you talking about the state today? The future state you want? Or the past state? Because this is a state that is known for being purple and voted for Bush twice.
Yeet: Correct. I think Cory Gardner branded himself as a different kind of Republican. And that’s what the basis of his appeal was when he was running the first time. We’ve seen from the way he boasts, it’s 90% of the time with Trump, if not higher, that he’s not in fact a different kind of Republican, that he’s lining his pockets with money from the NRA, kind of selling out. I mean, his public lands thing is good, but it’s also kind of a last ditch effort after giving up on so much. It’s very clear that he prioritizes his party over his constituents, otherwise he would have made a statement about white supremacy and he probably wouldn’t be voting to confirm Amy Coney Barrett.
De La Vaca: Definitely. Talk to me about your sense of humor, because you started off by saying that you think that you are a girl that finds herself funny. And you’re also making jokes on the internet and, arguably, a lot of the things you’re saying about Cory Gardner aren’t implicitly political but just more ironic, or just calling into question his naturalness and fit as a Coloradan today. So, what’s the point of your jokes and how are you having a political impact making these up?
Yeet: Well, first of all, it is satire 100%. It is not intended as defamation or slander in any kind. I do want that to be on the record. So when I get my inevitable cease and desist…
So, all of the jokes are very Colorado-focused and designed to appeal to the Colorado pride that so many people in the state have, while pointing out that maybe Senator Gardner isn’t exactly right for the state and using, not his political stances to point that out, but rather to just be like, this is a funny thing, but as a Coloradan you do or don’t identify with, and maybe he offers his own little D.C. land, kinda doing whatever. And I think the reality is probably he doesn’t go to Casa Bonita for the food or whatever. But when you can rally people around something positive and lighthearted in an election cycle that feels a little bit like a nightmare and can keep it important and good.
A lot of people have messaged me and said this is the first thing that has made them laugh in days or weeks. That means a lot. I think everybody’s kind of seeing what they want to see, but in the scariest manifestation of itself. And so to bring some lightheartedness to a political climate that feels anything but, that’s kind of the intention.
De La Vaca: It is definitely lighthearted. There’s an understanding that Colorado has of itself and Coloradans have of themselves. And you’re painting a picture of him outside of that box without saying, well, ‘his policies are destructive for our communities’ or, ‘he’s clearly a white supremacis’t and whatever, right. Like you’re not saying that explicitly, but you’re saying he’s not Colorado the way we’re Colorado. And we have to think about that.
Yeet: Correct. And I think people already know kind of where he lies policy wise and stuff, but just to appeal to something besides people’s fear or concern… I think it’s definitely an approach that feels very absent with election cycles.
De La Vaca: Is your project more anti-Cory Gardener or more pro-Hickenlooper? How do you feel about Hickenlooper?
Yeet: I like Hickenlooper and I think he’ll do a good job representing the state. I think it’s going to be really important for him if he is elected to not only focus on the metro areas. One thing Cory Gardner has going for him is that he is Yuma and he is the small town Colorado nice boy. And Hickenlooper is like… He was a businessman, he’s from Denver, he’s got the city thing down.
But the goal of the account was mostly just to not support Cory Gardner, but the flip side of that coin is that the true way to not support him is to vote for John Hickenlooper. And that’s the only way he’s going to end up out of office. You can’t not support Cory Gardner and not show up because you don’t want to vote. You have to take action.
De La Vaca: Sure. It feels like Colorado’s currently a very safe blue state. So then I think it’s fun to not necessarily point at Hickenlooper as some kind of savior or antithesis to Cory Gardner, which I don’t personally think he is, but instead to have a little fun at Cory Gardner’s expense. So…What happens after November 3rd?
Yeet: I’m still deciding. It has been… Because of the scale of it, and the responsibility that I kind of feel like I acquired now, it’s been a lot more work than I had anticipated to speak candidly. And part of me just kind of wants to walk away from it after November 3rd, like give the people what they want and then hopefully the people will vote for what they want and get what they want and my work will be done. If that doesn’t happen, I guess I’m doing it for six more years.
De La Vaca: That’s fair. The work you’re doing is squarely in line with the political comedians that started since Jon Stewart, for real. I mean, you’re doing a different thing, but it’s in the same vein and it might even-
Yeet: That might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me
De La Vaca: Yeah? It’s the iteration, right? Like Trevor Noah does it, Lee Camp does it. There’s a lot more, right? And it’s important. Like you’re meeting people where they’re at, right? Young people are not necessarily politically engaged. Definitely not following a lot of the mainstream shows. I’m not a millennial but I don’t even have cable. I don’t watch that.
Yeet: Yeah, I don’t either.
De La Vaca: I catch a clip once in a while if somebody shares it. But they say all the young folks left Facebook and now they’re on Instagram and Tik Tok and whatnot.
Yeet: Yeah. The Tik Tok-
De La Vaca: So going to where they’re at, I think that’s that’s savvy and I think it’s crucial for the young vote. And so I applaud what you’re doing.
Yeet: Thank you.
De La Vaca: And I was going to ask…Do people automatically assume that a man that runs the account?
Yeet: Yeah. Everybody so far has thought that I’m a guy. Which, honestly, I’m not mad about it because I think just because of the world and whatever people are predisposed to think like men are funnier and now you’re like, ‘okay, well that sucks, but it’s true’. You can refer to me as Mr. Yeet if you want to. I think that’s great.
De La Vaca: I’ll be like, ‘Her name is Mr. Yeet. Not a real name, I just made it up’.
Yeet: Oh yeah. No, you can, you can just refer to me by pronouns. If you want to do she/her, that’s fine. I wouldn’t mind getting it out into the world that I’m not a dude. Just to clarify for the people who might be confused, but…
De La Vaca: Perfect I can do that. We’ll do that. I’ll just refer to you as Yeet. I’m calling you Yeet. Yeah.How many followers do you have right now?
De La Vaca: Jesus Christ, man.
Yeet: Yeah, dude. It’s insane.
De La Vaca: And this is a two week old account.
De La Vaca: Wow. That’s a testimony to both how funny you are and how relatable the content is, but also how much people dislike Cory Gardner.
Yeet: Yeah. I think it’s a testament especially to the second two things. And then I also think like Colorado as a state has done a really good job of branding itself. And I think giving people a joke to be in on, has been really important. I think that’s contributed to the virality of it a lot.
Well, Yeet, we love you. Thank you for the laughs and the activism and working to get our state out to vote. Hopefully you don’t have to do this another six years. Good luck and, for the record, your posts on my feed are my new Moment of Zen.