Andres Walker ’18 does not remember much about his late-uncle– just a record player playing his favorite Spanish vallenato on repeat and a cream-colored poncho that he wore to every family dinner. Although the last time they were together was many years ago, Andres said rewatching home videos of family barbecues and birthdays has kept him close to his uncle.
Before every family gathering, Walker wipes off a film of dust settled on top of a cardboard box and chooses one out of dozens of VCR tapes to play on a boxy television set in his Los Angeles home.
In one of his favorites, it is an overcast day. His uncle sits at a table in the middle of the yard, dressed in a pale yellow button down and khakis, among other familiar faces belonging to aunts, uncles, and cousins living in Colombia. He is eating a sausage straight off of the grill, not even bothering to use a fork. In between bites, he talks in quick, fluid Spanish; the end of each of his sentences is followed by the table erupting in unbridled laughter.
“My uncle passed away in an accident when I was young, but he always had such a positive view on life and always had something great to say at the right time,” Walker said. “When I watch those videos now, I see a part of myself in him. It’s a real and authentic humor, and he just says the right things at the right time.”
Friends say Walker, like his uncle, also has the type of quick wit and humor that can easily be captured by a short video.
“Andres has a unique humor. It’s very short and to the point, but he’s so witty that everything he says seems like a punchline,” Sam Krutonog ’18 said. “It can be really funny when he takes something you say very literally.”
However, instead of VCR tapes, Walker has turned to Vine as a platform for his comedy.
Since it was founded in 2012, Vine has quickly become the most used video sharing application from the App Store. Users, or so-called Viners, can record video clips up to only six seconds long that loop continuously; thus, popular Vines must effectively be funny and engaging within the allotted time.
With the rapidly increasing popularity of the application, many Viners have also made a career for themselves by selling merchandise and earning sponsorships from companies looking to appeal to a social media savvy demographic.
David Lopez has over six million followers on Vine. Credit: David Lopez/VineKing Bach collaborated with Michelle Obama and other fellow Viners. Credit: King Bach/Vine
For his own vines, Walker incorporated music in the form of rapping and rhyming, and his humor reflected everyday situations that many viewers would find relatable. In one Vine, he poked fun at old people dancing at parties. In another, Walker took a literal interpretation of the lyrics “Money on my mind, you should think the same/J’s on, pinky ring” from Drake’s “All Me” by stuffing dollar bills into his cap and twirling Air Jordan Basketball Shoes around his pinky.
In one of Walker’s first Vines, he poked fun at old people dancing at parties. Credit: Andres Walker/VineWalker took a literal interpretation of the lyrics to a song by Drake in another Vine. Credit: Andres Walker/Vine
Although he recalls initially garnering only a few hundred views, his follower and view count increased exponentially with each Vine that he posted.
The hours Walker spent making countless drafts for each Vine began to pay off, he said. People approached him at school and complimented him on how funny his Vines were. His friends watched them enough times to be able to recite his raps from memory.
Walker recalls scrolling through Vines over a bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning, when something caught his eye.
“Hey mom!” he called to her from across the room. “I got 3,000 views on my Vine.”
But according to his friends, Walker’s larger than life presence on campus can be attributed to more than just his sense of humor—it stems from his unwavering confidence.
“I absolutely think that Andres is the outgoing person he is because he’s not afraid to be who he is, and I admire that quality in him,” Krutonog said.
Walker’s friends say that his strong sense of self and vivacious personality are even apparent in his style, which Krutonog describes as “classy but bold”.
“You can tell that Andres exudes confidence in the way he presents himself,” Chris Park ’18 said. “He dresses very well and both his sense of style and loud humor reflect how he isn’t afraid to shine in the spotlight.”
Walker said for the time being, Vine is just a hobby and not a practical career path. For him, Vine is an outlet for self-expression and merely another avenue, like his sense of style, to showcase his magnetic personality.
“I’ll always love making other people’s lives a bit more lively,” Walker said. “Just today, I had a really funny moment with a friend – then I thought, ‘Hey, I should make a Vine of this.’”