Sometimes, the world can feel like a relentless nightmare, designed by someone with all your pain points in mind. Being online, whether you have to be or just want to stay in the loop, can make all that worse — your therapist would probably tell you to close this tab and go outside. While that’s generally good advice, all due respect to your therapist, but she hasn’t seen these ASMR role-play videos in which a velvet-voiced Funky Kong soothes your world-weary heart with some gentle understanding and encouragement.
Going through a breakup? Funky Kong has some words of wisdom for you from “his people” (which may or may not just be recaps of various narrative arcs from Donkey Kong games). Love not your bag? Funky Kong knows everything is not for everyone. Funky Kong can also pick you up from the airport! And sing for you! He’s here for you, bro. He’s even more here for you if you listen to him with headphones on, to get every bit of his lightly-sandpapered-Barry-White positivity. (Caveat: if you’re one of those people who recoils at the sound of chewing, Funky Kong might not be for you.)
The two videos, which have since been parodied a few times by others, were uploaded in 2014 and 2016 by Topher Florence, a video editor living in northern Georgia. Inspired by several earlier ASMR comedy role-play videos, like this one featuring Bobby from King of the Hill, Florence created Emotionally Available Funky Kong as a corrective to the character’s “terrible and shrill voice” in Mario Kart for Wii.
“I just thought that giving him a very calm and soothing voice was a very funny idea,” he told The Verge in a message. “I also enjoy the idea of someone being gobsmacked by the title of the video alone and having to see it for themselves. People often [see a] video thumbnail and title and then there are comments like, ‘Wait, this was real?’ [I like] that kind of ‘friendly troll’ reaction.”
Ironically, for all the comedy of yes, there is actually a video in which the frattiest Donkey Kong character rejects toxic masculinity and gets gently vulnerable with you when you’re having a hard time, many people have actually reached out to Florence since he posted the first video to thank him. After all, who wouldn’t want to be told by a gravelly voiced cool-guy ape that “you are a radical person, and you deserve the most smoking life possible”?
“A lot of the response has been people surprised that it has genuinely helped them out or calmed them down, or that it functions as actual ASMR, and that was intentional,” he says. “I made it ‘real’ ASMR encouragement to make it interesting, so despite being silly, it still kind of functions.”
So whether you’re stressed out, or angry, or sad, or just tired, try to sit back, relax, and let Funky Kong do the work to heal all your broken, ragey parts. (Either that, or just let his absurdism stun you long enough to forget what you were mad about.)