Making light of sexual assault and rape isn't usually the best way to get a job -- or an invitation into the family living room. But for shock cartoonist Andrew Woods, a few lewd depictions of rape scenarios and all-out sexism gave him a one-way ticket to local stardom.
After being fired for "being too offensive" from the Rocky Mountain Collegian, Colorado State University's student newspaper (where I also worked), the amateur illustrator from Westminster managed to land himself a spot on MTV's Real World XXIII: Washington D.C..
Woods' abrasive humor now permeates the long-running "reality" series, much to the chagrin of what he calls "a lot of angry, sexually repressed women" in Fort Collins who wrote letters and blog posts that eventually led to his ouster from the Collegian.
"It got me fired," Woods admits. "But that's what got me on Real World, so no big deal." The art student's comics -- a sordid assortment of booze-fueled rapes, pedophilia and even sexualized ageism (believe it) -- weren't entirely unpopular. The daily strip "Repeat/Delete," a play on CSU's grade-saving re-do policy, had quite the following.
"People love me here," Woods says, referring to Fort Collins, where he's returned to work as a bartender and finish school.
What kind of people? Bet you can guess.
"The frat guys were into it," he confirms. "Don't know what they saw in it. Probably the misogynistic tendencies." Even after being sacked, Woods remained fodder for advocacy bloggers and students after landing the Real World spot. Becoming one of the eight cast members was simple, he says. The key is not to oversell it.
"A lot of people like to go in there and put it all on the line," he said. "A lot of girls go in and say, 'You know, I like to party and suck cocks.'"
Despite an irreverent confidence that guides him down the windy bowels of media whoredom -- he recently gave an interview to TV Guide Canada -- Woods says his jokes are a cover, a defensive response to heartbreak that began when he attended Legacy High School in Westminster.
"Seventy-five percent of my interactions with human beings are kinda fake, you know. I don't want to put myself out there, if they're not going to reciprocate," he admits. "I'm guarded. It comes from never having good relationships with women... You learn to put up barriers."
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To combat this in real-life, and in Real World, Woods sports a trademark assortment of Davy-Crockett-like animal hats, which he says were originally a gift from his father to his mother. For the younger Woods, they're "the highest form of peacocking there is."
"Hey, it got him laid, so I started wearing them," he said. "And it got me laid, too." His difficulty -- er, creepiness -- with women is especially apparent in a recent episode in which a female cast member attempts to help Woods with his pick-up artistry, at one point even illustrating the intricacies of undoing a woman's bra with one hand.
Though the filming of the show has ceased, Woods is soaking up his "fleeting" fame as a bartender at Washington's Bar in Fort Collins. Wash Bar, as they say, is quite popular among fraternities.
Every Wednesday, he hosts showings of Real World. All are welcome -- especially women. But watch your drinks, or you might just end up in a comic strip.