Vic Berger was a freelance music video editor and Berklee College of Music graduate when he first found internet fame early in the primaries by messing with one-time Republican frontrunner Jeb Bush.
One of his first-ever political Vines – a six-second clip of Jeb Bush naming his Apple accessories punctuated by an embarrassed fluttering of the eyes – began to go viral in July 2015. He asked his Twitter followers to get the Vine to a million views; in return, he said he'd get a tattoo on his neck that read "Jeb4Prez." The Vine soon hit a million views, thanks in no small part to the encouragement of Jeb Bush himself, who tweeted his support.
Berger elaborately faked the entire tattoo, getting a local artist in on the joke, which only piqued the media's attention. Bush's campaign quickly moved on, but by then Berger had exposed its fecklessness and highlighted its inability to connect on a human level. "All these people from Bush's campaign were urging me to do it," he says. "It's the stupidest thing they could have done."
Since then, his Vines have gathered millions of views, and he's introduced the world to new sides of "The Twist" singer Chubby Checker, disgraced televangelist Jerry Falwell, Kanye West, Steve Harvey, and more. He's also inked a deal with SuperDeluxe for his very own solo vehicle, The Vic Berger Election Special. Co-starring and directed by Tim Heidecker, it shows Berger is a strangely compelling presence in front of the camera as well.
His satire is not loquacious all-caps EVISCERATION. His creations are not cooly-superior breakdowns of the logical fallacies and ethical transgressions of America's political class. Instead, he specializes in an almost-vérité rapid-response, finding moments that reveal a person's true character, tweaked and exaggerated to amplify an absurdity just enough to make it clear to anyone who's missed it.
The FADER asked Berger to scour the over 1,000 Vines he's produced, and to talk to us about a few of the moments he thinks people should remember. "I don't really watch network news," he tells us over the phone. "They have to keep repeating themselves and then they move on and everyone forgets. I think documenting these things as they happen with Vines or little videos just help us remember the significant and really crazy moments."