November 28, 2020 2 of 8
I really thought I was going to make it to eight posts today, but then I went back to bed and slept until I woke up naturally and now it’s 2:30 pm. So maybe not. But we’ll try.
I think I found Yes Theory because YouTube recommended them to me. Nothing really exciting there. Now I’m trying to remember which video I started with. I’m pretty sure it was the one where two of their members went on a bus ride from Miami to Seattle. Yeah, looking at it, I think that was it. That was in October of 2019, and I enjoyed that so much I went back and watched their entire body of work.
Yes Theory started out as a comedy channel called Project 30, which was three young men (Ammar Kandil (from Egypt), Matt Dajer (born in NYC, raised in Paris), and Thomas Bragg (born in Paris to Swedish parents)) spending 30 days doing things they’d never done before, like dancing in public with strangers. A fourth young man, Derin Emre (from Turkey) started out as just the camera man, but by the end of Project 30 often appeared on camera as well.
The four original members of Yes Theory met in Montreal. Matt and Thomas met during college and then Thomas met Ammar at a party. They then met Derin through a mutual friend. There’s a whole video about exactly how they met, and this is just a sort of Cliff’s Notes version.
They were searching for meaning in their lives and decided that they wanted to make videos that made an impact on the world. Their first impactful video actually was covered on the news. Right after the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, Ammar, Matt, and Thomas wore t-shirts explaining that they were, in order, left to right, from NYC, a muslim from Egypt, and from Paris. Derin also wore one saying he was from Turkey, but he didn’t really appear on camera. They stood in a train station in Montreal holding hands with signs saying that they’re roommates, best friends, and brothers. Then people came up to talk to them and hug them, which looks really unsafe from the COVID world we’re living in today, but the video still gives me goosebumps.
After Project 30, they stayed together and created more videos, evolving into what they called Generation Y Not and doing more elaborate things, including getting Matt into Montreal Fashion Week as a model, telling bad jokes in public places, sneaking into expensive hotels, and so forth.
After about a year, they were offered a chance to move to California and make videos for money and they changed their name to Yes Theory.
The meaning of the name “Yes Theory” is that they believe that saying “yes” to things that make you uncomfortable are the things that help you grow the most. And I’ve done quite a few since then and it certainly seems that they might be right.
Over time, their lineup has changed. Stress between the United States and Turkey led Derin to return to Canada. He still appears in videos from time to time. When they first moved to California, they opened their home to a bunch of their friends, who appeared in some of their videos. Matt’s younger brother, also named Thomas, started out as an editor but he spends a lot of time in front of the camera now. I’m sure that the lineup will change more in the future.
They’ve gone to a bunch of other countries (including, but not limited to, France, Egypt, Italy, Colombia, and Cuba). They’ve taken some of their followers, and also some strangers, on adventures with them. And if you’re aware that Will Smith went bungee jumping out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon on his 50th birthday, well, that was Yes Theory. It started with a dream that Ammar had.
And, for me, my life hasn’t changed too much from Yes Theory (it has only been a year so far). I’m still going to my regular job and living in my suburban house. But I do leave my comfort zone once in a while. I go to concerts in Spanish. I walk for distance in new-to-me parts of the city. I tried to go state parking by myself with Mila a couple of weeks ago. And their videos allow me to dream of the travel and adventures I want to do. Seeing them do it means that someday, if I can ever get my financial ducks in a row, I can do it too.
For our Gratuitous Amazon Link, we have Nancy’s Mysterious Letter, by Carolyn Keene. A while back, there was a lot of angst about Dynamite Comics killing off Nancy in honor of Nancy’s 80th birthday this year. My first thought was of this book. Nancy gets a letter addressed to Nancy Smith Drew (our Nancy doesn’t have a middle name) in Nancy’s Mysterious Letter. I wondered if that was the Nancy Drew who was going to die. Spoiler: No Nancys died in the comic book. Nancy faked her death.
I really need to reboot my computer. This post has taken an hour and a half. Much of that was waiting for pages to load.