Infamous internet troll Ken M is all over the place, invading comment sections galore with his persona of an old man who knows nothing but is 100% certain he knows everything. But how much do we really know about Ken M? For a guy who’s supposed to be anonymous, he’s actually got quite the backstory…
His rise to fame
Ken M — real name Kenneth McCarthy — actually never heard of trolling when he got started. He started out commenting on various articles with sincere remarks, but he was unable to get any sort of rational responses to what he wrote. “I was appalled by the Yahoo comment section,” he said. “It was such a toxic, s***** space.”
By April of 2011, he switched from thoughtful, rational comments to snarky and satirical ones, wanting to see how far he could get with being a moron, while hopefully dispelling the toxicity he saw online. As his comments became more and more popular, he branched out from Yahoo and hit the Huffington Post, ABC News, and pretty much any other place people go to consume serious news articles.
When not popping up on various comment sections for news sites and driving people crazy, he actually found a way to legitimize being an Internet troll. He became so notorious online for his ridiculous and inflammatory commentary, Collegehumor hired him to write a column called, appropriately enough, “The Troll,” which he wrote for a little over a year before cancelling his deal. He said the pressure to come up with new content where he wasn’t imitating himself became too difficult to maintain.
He’s not actually an old man
If you look at the profile pictures he uses on various sites, you’ll see an elderly man, but that’s not really him. He’s pushing the persona of the cantankerous old guy, while in reality, MacCarthy is in his mid-30s. He hides his real image because he feels his fans wouldn’t find him as funny if they see him as just another guy in his 30s “wearing a stupid hat.” Maintaining the image of the ratchety, blissfully ignorant old guy helps maintain his persona as how he thinks people see him.
A brief summary of what Ken M posts
One of Ken M’s favorite pastimes is to troll large companies. He has hit pretty much everything, usually adopting the persona of the angry or ignorant old fellow who doesn’t understand the Internet when it comes to customer service and just has to share his opinion, no matter how idiotic it might be.
He’s way more famous than you think
If you think someone whose claim to fame is leaving moronic messages under news articles online couldn’t be very famous beyond social media, you would be wrong. In 2016, Time Magazine named Ken M one of their 30 most influential people on the internet. Some of the people sharing this honor with Ken M include Donald Trump, Kanye West, J.K. Rowling, and Caitlyn Jenner — all of whom he would probably love to troll if given half a chance.
People’s responses to his commentary are half the comedy
His online persona of a moron who just doesn’t get it, but has some serious opinions about everything has been instrumental in creating some amazing responses from people who just don’t know they are part of the joke … actually, it would be more accurate to say they were the joke. Simply put, Ken M thrives on finding people who comment on his posts thinking he is the moron he pretends to be.
Commenting on an Associated Press article about a drone helping to ship fuel to a town in Alaska, Ken M wrote, “instead of blowing people up, this little guy decided to be a helper! Hopefully other drones will follow the example set by this plucky little hero.” While that comment is silly and somewhat humorous, the reply from someone named Daniel makes the troll all the better, “Humans control the drones you idiot” was all Ken M needed to make a small post go viral.
You don’t need to scan comment sections to find his stuff
Fortunately for us who loathe comment sections and avoid them like a horde of zombies, Ken M’s fan base has been tracking his comments for years, and it’s archived all over the internet. Someone even created a subreddit “dedicated to an awesome quirky old man,” which boasts 58,000 subscribers. Not wanting to leave social media behind, he also has an official Facebook page where he describes himself as a “professional dirtpig,” has over 65,000 likes, and regularly posts images of his comments.
In addition, when he got started, he had another pseudonym, HorseySurprise, which he used to create some accounts. You can find those in the usual places: Tumblr and Twitter. There are also countless collections of his posts spread all over the Internet.
You probably can’t interact with him
If you regularly post or lurk in the comments sections of major news outlets, chances are you might have engaged with Ken already. You can usually find his comments next to his name and a blank avatar. But good luck actually talking with him. Perhaps in order to maintain what’s left of his anonymity, Ken M doesn’t directly engage with his fans very often, and pretty much stopped entirely when his subreddit began to trend. If you want to get involved in his creative process, you’ll need to become a foil. Respond to his comments like you don’t know exactly who he is, and hope he replies back with a hilarious old-coot remark that’ll make you happy you took the time to get pretend-angry with him.