HBO doc sheds new light in Internet celeb

There is a moment in the documentary Me @ The Zoo where Internet sensation and mega-Britney fan Chris Crocker says, “People already saw me as this celebrity-obsessed cartoon. That’s what I’ll perform.” And does he.

Famous for his YouTube breakdown (“Leave Britney alone!!!!”), Crocker’s life is revealed with surprising fascination. Web celebrities come and go, but it’s easy to forget there are lives there. And Crocker’s is both tragic and thrilling.

Growing into a small-time viral celeb, Crocker found himself on a triumphant rise only to have it all crash down as he was reduced to “a fucking faggot from Tennessee,” as he described himself. But Crocker’s admission that the web saved his life is heartbreaking. The outlandish gay kid in a small Tennessee town fought back against bullies at school and with his webcam and in a way, he won.

Love him or hate him, Crocker’s story is more important than you may realize.

— Rich Lopez

Three and a half stars. Premieres on HBO July 25 at 8 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 22, 2012.