My introduction to the Yes Men, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, came about from watching their recently released DVD The Yes Men Fix The World. To say I was awestruck by the audacity and daring of the form their protests against multinationals, globalization, and the "free market system" in general and corporations like Dow Chemical and Halliburton in particular is to put it mildly. In fact they have given me cause to believe that if you looked up the word "chutzpah" in the dictionary you'd see their happy faces grinning back up at you.
After reviewing their DVD I emailed them in the hopes of being able to interview either one or both of them in an attempt to find out a little bit more about who they are and what they do. Half expecting "no" for an answer due to the hectic nature of their schedules — working day jobs while trying to fix the world doesn't leave you much spare time — I was very grateful when Mike Bonanno said he'd be willing to answer my emailed questions. He's a lot better at getting to the point than I am so although some of his answers are shorter than my questions it's only because he doesn't waste any words.
Hopefully this interview will give you the incentive to check out at least my review of their DVD and maybe support their efforts by picking up a copy of it for your own pleasure. Those who want to get more directly involved can always check out their web site for a list of actions ongoing around the world which you can involve yourself in. Now without further ado, Mike Bonanno
Any special reason for the name "Yes Men"?
We started out wanting to be a funhouse mirror for big business. We thought we would say "yes" at corporate conferences until the ideas all seemed amplified and comic. Over time, the name seemed to be more reflective of our culture of capitalism overall: we agree with the people in power just for a little short-term gain, no matter what the effect on the planet.
So how did you settle upon this as a career choice? As a child did you say to your parents "I want to be a professional shit disturber when I grow up" or did you just gradually evolve into the role?
It happened to us by accident! We really did stumble into it... although we both had serious mischief streaks as kids.