Things I Missed While on Vacation No. 2,384


The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click “start” you’re suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they’re staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click “next,” instantly calling up someone else. The result is surreal on many levels. Early ChatRoulette users traded anecdotes on comment boards with the eerie intensity of shipwreck survivors, both excited and freaked out by what they’d seen. There was a man who wore a deer head and opened every conversation with “What up DOE!?” A guy from Sweden was reportedly speed-drawing strangers’ portraits. Someone with a guitar was improvising songs for anyone who’d give him a topic. One man popped up on people’s screens in the act of fornicating with a head of lettuce. Others dressed like ninjas, tried to persuade women to expose themselves, and played spontaneous transcontinental games of Connect Four. Occasionally, people even made nonvirtual connections: One punk-music blogger met a group of people from Michigan who ended up driving eleven hours to crash at his house for a concert in New York. And then, of course, fairly often, there was this kind of thing: “I saw some hot chicks then all of a sudden there was a man with a glass in his butthole.” I sing the body electronic.

I think I’ll let braver souls venture forth on ChatRoulette.


  1. I’m reminded of a comedian’s bit. I can’t remember who it was (it was years ago when internet access was still a bit of a novelty), but I remember the gist. Hopelessly paraphrased, it went something like this:
    “… my friends kept on telling me I need to get on the information super-highway, that I’d be connected to vast amounts of knowledge, the cutting edge of technology – so I got a computer and modem and got hooked up and I immediately, based on the knowledge that I was entering a new world of consciousness, entered a chat room… As I sat ready to entire this new age of enlightenment saw the words appear on my screen, ‘So, do you have a dog.”

  2. Went on chat chatroulette, and within a minute witnessed a child porn picture (a still–horrifying) and a girl fucking her dog. (real time).

    Not exactly the “entertainment” I was hoping for.

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