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An Interview with The Report of the Week

I'll admit to initially watching Running on Empty Food Reviews ironically. The seriousness with which The Report of the Week approaches his work achieved a sort of profound comedy. Although it seems ironic by nature to be consuming fast food with such precision (critiquing it as though it was worthy of a legitimate critique) to watch his videos purely for comedic value undercuts the true genius of fast food vlogger John (who is better known by his uncharacteristically informal nickname, Reviewbrah). As I gave up all pretensions of watching this gentlemen's food reviews in a sarcastic manner, a more poignant appreciation for him and all of his work -- including his shortwave radio show and non-review videos -- emerged.

First of all, concealed in his delightfully articulate reviews lies intriguing commentary on classism. Fast food is the cuisine of the common man, why are the vast majority of people who devour McDonald's and Pizza Hut not entitled to reviews of the same caliber as those critiquing five star chefs? Reviewbrah levels the playing field, elegantly giving us a discerning analysis of food we would actually consume.

But Reviewbrah's best quality is his genuineness. In the age of social media branding, I think I at least partially assumed that Reviewbrah's formal attire, eloquent diction, graceful eating habits, and uncut videos were part of a public identity he crafted. But as I became a more avid viewer and listener, I learned that it was quite the opposite. John makes an effort to include his fans in his daily life (to the extent to which it is safe), giving us insight into his skincare routine, discussing the mental weight of having an online presence, and, of course, day-in-the-life videos. He is being authentically himself, and in modern times, where shock value and imitation are rewarded, that is an achievement.

What review are you most proud of?

I'm not really proud of any of my review videos specifically. Any videos that I do feel proud about are non-review related, mostly the video "And Still I Evolve" because I had been dealing with this issue for a while and I was finally able to get it off my chest and talk about it.

Do you have a restaurant (fast food or otherwise) that you visit frequently that you think stands out in terms of quality/consistency? Or/and is there a restaurant that is notably less consistent/worse in quality?

I've noticed the popular chain "Burger King" go down in quality quite significantly over the years. They still produce a few decent items here and there but overall things have been downhill.

How did you get into shortwave radio? And how did you get your own radio show? Do you have any other interests/hobbies not shared in your videos?

I got into shortwave radio about 5 years ago after reading about mysterious numbers stations and transmissions such as "UVB-76." After looking into the medium, I realized that there are many interesting stations and broadcasts to listen to and I've been hooked ever since. My radio show is listener-funded but it is made through editing software. I first got it on the air in 2015 and it's been a weekly program ever since late 2016. I never thought it would be at where it is but it's wonderful to see.

How would you describe your music taste?

My music taste is very eclectic, I enjoy alternative rock, indie rock, and music from the 90s and 2000s but I enjoy delving into all genres and eras.

Is your community of fans/audience pretty much the type of people you expected to watch your videos? Or are the kinds of people your videos attract surprising?

My viewer base is ever changing. I never created the videos with any set target audience in mind, sometimes I would find myself disappointed in some of the groups of people that watch my videos. Despite any trolls or haters, there are many wonderful people that watch this channel as well -- that I cannot forget.

If you had to pick, what fast food restaurant would you work at?

Pollo Tropical -- they're a Florida-based fast food chain and I enjoy their food and they seem to have a nice attitude toward their work.

How do you feel about your nickname reviewbrah?

Ambivalent. It's a far easier name for viewers to remember than "TheReportOfTheWeek so that's why it stuck.

Do you think that you're creative? Why or why not? Who do you think is the most creative person alive right now?

I don't think I'm naturally creative; rather, I'll have spontaneous bouts of creativity and that is when most of my work is done. As for the most creative individual alive, I'd wager that Elon Musk is up there. I consider him a visionary in many ways.

What's your motivation to continue to do what you do?

It gives me something to do.

Since you've had your channel for such a long time, are there any videos you regret doing/posting?

No. The past is the past and that's where that stands. On the subject of regrets, again consult my video "And Still I Evolve."

What's your favorite suit?

I'd have to say my favorite suit is a charcoal gray, pinstripe suit from the 1980s. It's a beautiful suit, very comfortable to wear and it has a lot of wonderful sentimental value to it too.

A lot of people have described you as sort of cinematic. If you were a classic movie character, who would you be?

Though I enjoy watching classic movies, I haven't come across a character that encompasses who I am. I think your question is really interesting though, and it's something I will put thought to going forward.


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