The Royal Tennenhaus

ShmuTube attacks Seattle.

January 15, 2009 Published in the February 2009 issue of Seattle Met

It’s not that we don’t believe Shmuel Tennenhaus doesn’t belong among YouTube’s constellation of instant stars, right up there with lonelygirl15 or Seattle’s own dancing Matt “Where the Hell Is Matt?” Harding. The wily, hirsute Hasidic Jew has garnered more than 70,000 views on his YouTube channel, OneParkAve, also known as ShmuTube, where his self-produced monologues vary between Seinfeldian banter (“I haven’t been told to go F myself on YouTube in at least a day”) and tirades rattled off with the self-deprecating ferocity of a Portnoy with a different complaint. It’s just that Tennenhaus has terrorized the Emerald City ever since he blew into town from Florida last year. And we’re starting to take it personally.

Take his “security breach” at the Seattle P-I. Tennenhaus raided the newspaper’s offices with his camera and, so it seemed at the time, harassed employees as if he were Borat in a buffet line, even getting stalkerishly flirty with online editor Mónica Guzmán. At the end of the video Tennenhaus is summarily escorted from the building. The clip shot around the blogosphere, the comments threaded with words like “creepy,” “embarrassing,” and “security please!” Turns out the joke was on us, Guzmán confessed. She and the vlogger were in cahoots.

But it was Tennenhaus’s latest prank that caused the biggest stir. In October he posted ad ideas for Microsoft’s Vista operating system on his site, One creation, a parody of the Life Takes Visa campaign, features a middle-aged man and woman and reads, “He Takes Levitra. Life Takes Vista.” The Softies sicced their legal team on him: Remove the Windows logo from the site or face Redmond’s wrath.

We contacted Tennenhaus to ask, well, Why so annoying? Then we chickened out and inquired, What next? The tech start-up gig that brought him to Seattle is over, and he’s moving to New York City. Big Apple, you have a big problem.

Required Viewing: “Appeasing a Tea Activist”

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