The Queerty Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Crocker On Being Impulsive, Making Porn And His Upcoming HBO Doc, Me @ The Zoo

Chris Cunningham, better known to the world as Chris Crocker, emerged as a viral-video star back in 2007, when his “Leave Britney Alone” clip garnered more than four million views in two days. But he’ll be getting more mainstream cred as the subject of the upcoming HBO documentary, Me @ the Zoo, which airs  June 25. The film—named for the first clip ever uploaded on YouTube—follows Crocker’s evolution from an Internet meme, with subsequent stops and starts along the way, to where he is today.

Queerty’s Benjamin Beaton spoke with Crocker at the Zoo‘s Tribeca Film Festival screening, where the 24-year-old native Tennesseean revealed directors Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch didn’t originally plan to make the film all about him at all:

“It was going to be about reality, the performance of just being yourself on camera,” he says. “They were interviewing other reality stars. They came to find that one of Chris’ close family friends was from ten minutes away from my house. As Chris and Valerie would come down and shoot more footage, [things] just started to unfold. I guess my story just overtook their original idea.”

Below Crocker discusses the film, his porn prospects and his plans for the future.

Me @ The Zoo debuts June 25 on HBO.

In Zoo, it seems like you have kind of a parental relationship with your mom. Is that accurate?

The minute I was brought into this world, I had a kid of my own. Because I have had to be a mentor and watch over my mother all the time. In that way, I know what it’s like to want the best for someone and feel parental.

Do you see yourself as a role model?

I’m not a role model, no. Maybe a mentor. I do things I don’t encourage other kids to do because I have a different sense of self, like posting naked pictures online. So I definitely don’t see myself as a role model.

But if kids write to me on YouTube I always write them back, and I always get kids telling me I make them feel more confident going into school, with my tell-it-like-it-is attitude. If I can impart confidence in kids I’m more than happy to write back.

Do you have any plans to leave Tennessee?

Yes, I’m moving to New York City this June. I’m very excited! I’m glad I have a network now, that’s why it has taken me so long to sort out where I want to go next. I have my friends from the film now, my music producers live here, and my new friends live here.

How is your music career going? What’s the status of your album, Beyond?

The music is going really well! I have sold almost 100,000 songs with no label.  [We are doing Beyond] single by single right now, and letting it compile. If it turns into an album then it does. But I’m also really impulsive. When I make a video, I instantly want to put it online, and when I make a song I instantly want to put it on iTunes.

I have about 13 or 14 songs on iTunes, so it is like there is an album already. I’m so impatient in terms of waiting for an album to formulate, I like to just get the singles out there. I’m addicted to reaction, I love it. As soon as I finish something I want to hear what they think about it.

Speaking of public reaction, you had announced you were going into porn. Is that still in the works?

I don’t know, I mean I already have so many nudes out there that if I’m in a nice hotel with great lighting and I want to whip out my penis, it might happen. I can’t take back the nudes I have out there already. After this movie came out I now have a lot of offers from producers and stuff. But doing a full-fledged porn is different from having nudes out, so I don’t know yet. We’ll have to see. The book is not closed or open, it’s just there.

Are you excited Britney is going to be a judge on The X-Factor?

I think she is going to chew her gum and be like, “That was really cool, you did great, you have such an amazing talent!” She will just talk in circles and bullshit—which will be great!