By Littleg 0 Comments
Excessively talkative, esp. on trivial matters.
I don't really know what a Summerjam is. I couldn't pull Wilford Brimley out of a line up. I never owned any "rap tapes" and didn't grow up watching the Pac Man cartoon. I don't even know who or what a RiFF RAFF is. What can I tell you? I'm boring and English and middle-class and also old. Well, I say old. I'm 35 but trust me, on days like today, 35 feels at once bone wearying-ly old and also heart-chillingly, heart-breakingly young.
I first found GiantBomb by following a recommendation from JamEnslaver (of this parish) to watch the Persona 4 Endurance Run. That rapidly became a staple of my day and once I made the move to also regularly listening to the Bombcast, the first 'voice' that I became familiar with from the Bomb Crew after Vinny and Jeff was, of course, Ryan. What pulled me in to the show was the way the guys would embark upon long, rambling asides on topics that barely, if at all, touched upon video games. Obscure, Petaluma-specific fast food reminiscences; potted reviews of the film 2012; visits to Fresno and the survival thereof; the content of a satisfying Thanksgiving dinner. All of those minutiae-obsessed topics were covered in the first few Bombcasts I listened to and at the heart of it all - leading, conducting, cajoling and laughing - was this Ryan Davis guy.
I've always said that the best podcast hosts make you feel like you could be there, in the room, sharing in the laughs. That was certainly one of Ryan's skills and now, after 4+ years of regularly hearing him and the crew talk in Bombcasts and various videos, I have this library of in-jokes and references that I feel I share with them and every other member of the GB community. Just like the group of friends you might have had back in school with whom you almost spoke a different language, Ryan's fascination with the dumb, pointless fluff of modern life has become a regular part of my everyday parlance. Even his puns and plays on words have become in-jokes that I share with pretty much no-one in my real life but still make me laugh. 'Tuesday' has become 'Teuusdeee', large quantities of blood seen on TV or in movies is 'Bluuurd', you can't talk about a ghost - you have to say 'Ghoo-o-o-oo-o-st'...
And Ryan's skill at pulling you into what he was doing didn't stop there. Live streams like TNT or the Friday shows often open on him sharing a joke with someone off-camera, the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face encouraging you to join in the fun.
Of course, that wasn't the only way you could get to know Ryan a bit better. You could also follow him on Twitter. On there, you could feel like you were getting to know a whole other side - taswell; a mischevious imp with an ever-changing avatar who would mock, provoke, share and entertain in equal measure. You could sense the trivia that he would enjoy immersing himself in and you could also tell the degree to which he enjoyed being at the heart of a community of passionate and dedicated fans.
So, naturally, I don't actually know Ryan and never got to meet him. But after seeing the outpouring of tributes and thoughts from everyone affected by his passing, I felt like I wanted to write something and explain why I felt like I did know him and why today I felt like I had lost a friend. Shortly after the news story went live on the site, Vinny shared this gif from the 2011 GOTY feature:
And that to me seemed to sum up Ryan perfectly: a dumb, worn-out joke played to the hilt with relish and joy precisely because it's dumb and worn-out. It's that warmth of humour, that ability to draw laughter from the simplest things, that garrulous-ness of spirit that I loved when watching or listening to Ryan and that I'm sure I'll miss the most.
I've not been sure where I was heading with this (my first!) blog post since I started writing it - I felt I needed somewhere to put some thoughts down in one place. Just like everyone else, I'm shocked and saddened and will enormously miss Ryan - I can only imagine what it must be like right now for his friends, family and of course, his wife.
God Bless, all,