In the torrent of often asinine texts he sees every day – i.e. “ohhhh f*. chick’s a dude.” and “I’ve created a drink called, ‘watching the sound of music with grandma.’ it’s straight vodka” – Ben Bator, Texts From Last Night website co-creator, sees something rather redeeming.
“No matter what you’re doing, no matter what happens – a crazy thing, an incredibly mundane thing – you’re sending a text because someone else will want to know what’s going on,” he says. “A lot of texts on the site are about crazy situations – ‘I lost both my shoes,’ ‘Half my house is on fire’ – that remind you that no matter where you are in life, you have people who will care.”
He’s sure glad they do. That willingness to share rescued him and his Michigan State classmate/site co-creator Lauren Leto from law school and has them – at the ripe ages of 25 and 24, respectively – at the helm of one of the hottest dot.coms out there. In a year and a half they’ve already put out two books, are in negotiations for a sit-com and have a smart-phone app that’s selling like a hit Notorious B.I.G. single.
“We’re not drinking champagne when we’re thirsty yet,” Bator says. “But we’re drinking champagne.”
The reason is simple: People read the submitted texts and laugh their asses off. Bator cites that in explaining its runaway success (they got a million views in the first week they replaced their among-friends blogger feed with a legitimate website).
“It’s no secret a lot of the audience is in college,” he says. “When we introduced it in April 2009, it was around finals and a lot of people were looking for excuses not to study. One person at a table starts laughing, everyone wants to know what’s going on. Ours went viral in an old-fashioned way.”
“When the amount of traffic to our site crashed our server,” Leto adds, “that’s when we knew we had something big on our hands.”
The most challenging thing isn’t wading through the texts, however heavy the flood. (The tide rises dramatically around the holidays, peaking with an estimated 20,000 submissions on Halloween.) They have a full-timer who goes through the 3,000-to-6,000 texts people send in by phone (to 76843) or e-mail (text@textsfromlastnight) every day.
“From there we have someone go through and read each,” he says. “It’s 5,000 text messages, but only one line each, so it’s like reading a New Yorker article, only lowbrow.”
The toughest thing, rather, is describing the texting phenomenon to the elder members of the family – only not what texting is, or why it’s so insidious.
“The hardest part is explaining to them that I’m not a billionaire,” Bator says. “That I’m not Mark Zuckerberg, and I don’t know Mark Zuckerberg, and nobody’s working on a movie about me.”
But they are texting like crazy. And giving us something to laugh about.
The increasingly popular Texts From Last Night website allows viewers to search by area code. Here’s some highlights from the old 831:
It’s mornings like this that make me happy to have a clean pair of underwear in my purse.
Is it bad that when I see babies I feel bad for them because its going to be forever until they are 21?
i just heard a guy call his kid “Google” in a way that leads me to believe that’s his name. this day couldn’t get worse.
I don’t care where my tongue is but it’s going to be in all the pictures.
I puked off the balcony.
Into the hottub. There were six people in it. I had eaten all their pizza.
i saw the 3rd guy i ever had sex with last night and kept calling him #3
theres a middle aged lesbian couple holding hands on the bus and a 17 or 18 year old christian girl visibly staring freaked out and audibly praying about it
Nothing is worse than puking naked in front of strangers
You should get sea herpes. I mean sea horses
She knew it was going down when I had her search for “condoms” in my iPhone Maps.
I just saw a homeless man dressed as a pirate. I love san francisco.
dunno bout you, but i grow tired of beef curtains
There is a man on the balcony beside me who claims he is a triceratops. He roared and asked me for a cigarette, telling me he’d eat me if I refused. I love college.
No more tipping the bathroom attendant with your phone.
So I have some interesting news. The pizza guy called the cops on me…
she’s laying in my bed with an ice pack on her vagina. how do you think it went?
I was cleaning out my bag and I found some xanax wrapped in plastic with a note that said “use in case of emergency”
It totally doesn’t make me a groupie if I hooked up with him before he was in the Olympics
No i dont need Magnum Condoms, that would be like putting MC Hammer pants on my dick
i came out of my blackout when my grandma called last night. it kinda sobered me up and i realized who i had been making out with. should i call and thank her?
I wanna tell red shirt guy I’m pregnant and use the abortion money for Coachella.
I made a vision board specifically for the purpose of boning john mayer.
It just hit me that i made out with someone’s mom last night
I got a lot accomplished today, and the day is still young! I built a fort, hot boxed a fort, had a tea party in a fort, and now realizing how high I am.
period poops. best. ever.
omigod im sitting here with ben and he and i both got that… chick you totally just mass texted that…
I don’t remember coming home but there is cereal EVERYWHERE
I said ACK before Andy Samberg made it even remotely funny. That tool is stealing all my lines.
Yeah, you’ve definitely been jizzing in your pants years before he made it socially acceptable
Pretty sure I only gave out my other # though. You know, 777 777-7777
Hahaha. So was it a Freudian slip, or wishful thinking? ;)
Could be either seeing as you’re in my phone as “3rd bar” and I couldn’t pick you outta a line up.
you ended the night by relentlessly sucking on my hips bone and hand demanding milk. you said it was because you were a tiger
Kirsten Dunst is sitting next to me in a bar in NYC
Tell her I want my money back for Elizabethtown.
I think i really like him… he was super cuddly and kept me company.
stop. you already have a dog
my vagina is like the nba. its where amazing happens.
Hey, what are you up to?
Drinking wine with the guys and watching 7 Pounds.
Looking back I guess I could have changed that to beer and Die Hard.
My boss’ voice literally gives me gas
just woke up to two already rolled blunts and a full explanation of what happened last night. I love my gf
i was so enjoying being single until i read that
No worries, I am blow drying my ass