Funny is a subjective kind of thing. What one person finds hilarious another person is not even remotely amused by. The desire to be funny to other people goes far beyond the telling of jokes in the modern age, and extends into the very aspects and defining characteristics of a person's personality. With the advent of social media, every person has a platform with which to voice their opinions, share information and tell stories. One strange aspect of social media is the adoption of another's ideas and opinions as your own and the gratification one gets from simply "sharing" the message. While this was once simply a tool to share an opinion you agree with, in the modern age of the internet the "sharer" now gets personal gratification as being completely integrated into the process, and defines their personality through the transfer of information as if they created it themselves. Simply put, a person who shares something on Facebook gets the feeling of personal gratification as if they created the message. In the "sharer's" mind, they are the one getting the credit for being funny, clever and smart simply by sharing the information created by someone else.
The predecessor to "sharing on the internet" was t-shirts. A person wearing a funny t-shirt was not necessarily claiming to have dreamed up the joke printed on the shirt, yet they gained personal satisfaction as the one being witty simply by wearing the garment. They gained the trait of being a funny person by wearing a funny t-shirt created by somebody else. The boom in custom shirts was born, and companies began printing t-shirts with millions and millions of sayings and graphics in the attempt to cater to a very specific demographic with each individual design. The message of the shirt is used to convey an aspect of the wearer's personality, and t-shirt companies went into the business of personality creation. The actual aspects of the shirts themselves that were once considered important (fit, material, thickness, washability etc.) now became secondary to the humorous aspects of the messages and graphics. People began seeking out the personality of the t-shirt company as a brand, and began rallying behind the brands that acted most closely as their own personal voice.
One Las Vegas businessman and artist attempting to carve out a niche for his own personal brand of humor is Andrew Slayton, the founder and graphic artist behind Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, the self-professed "most obnoxious t-shirt company in America." Slayton's designs are all his own, and come from his own snarky sense of humor and unique take on events in the world and in pop culture. Funny t-shirts may be the way that some describe the product line, but many who stumble across the website find many of the designs offensive, obnoxious and outrageous. "Thats the point," Slayton said. "I want people who buy our shirts to get a rise out of people. I want people who see the designs to question if we have become too sensitive as a culture. I want to make people mad, and I want people to laugh about how silly it is for other people to be angry about the messages." While comedians have been doing this for years, from Andrew Dice Clay to Bobby Slayton (who happens to be the brother of Andrew Slayton,) Kitty Kitty Bang Bang takes it to an all new level. "Nothing is off limits," Slayton said. "If I think it is funny I put it on a t-shirt."
One aspect that is very important to Slayton is the quality of the shirts. While other t-shirt companies put the message first, Slayton feels that the funny messages should also be printed on quality shirts with a quality printing process that will make the graphics vibrant and well produced. "If the t-shirt isn't cheap to buy, why should a customer get a cheap t-shirt?" Slayton asked. "My view is to give people quality t-shirts that are also funny and offensive."
There is no doubt that Kitty Kitty Bang Bang and Slayton's work will offend many people. Slayton is unapologetic about this fact. The only fact in the t-shirt game is that some people will hate what you are stating on your shirt and other people will love it. Slayton doesn't care if you love it or hate it...he just wants to make you laugh.