Published March 11, 2019
by Snails Cargo
Snails Cargo is actively archiving and producing content at Internet-Collective.com.
He cooks meals in the microwave by day and sells wands by night. He fills the time between his monthly showers with smoking found cigarette butts and casting spells on his enemies. He is a character so interesting that at times it seems he has an entire writing team calling the shots behind his grainy vertical phone videos. Joshua F. Saunders, better known as KingCobraJFS, is an online personality like none other. Best known for his outlandish and bizarre YouTube videos, the autistic self-proclaimed “Gothic Bad-Boy” stud has found himself to be the accidental leader of a cult following in the thousands. In this article, I will attempt to explain just how this unlikely hero came to be.
Before you read on, it’s important that I’m upfront with being completely incapable of capturing the essence of King Cobra in writing. I suggest after reading you head over to his YouTube Channel ‘KingCobraJFS’ and see for yourself just what he’s all about. For many the experience has been life changing.
To understand how someone as incapable as Josh can grow such an organic and devoted fanbase, we have to dive into his history online. Our journey begins in 2008. GothicKingCobra52 (his screen name at the time) begins his channel with simple, boring vlog style videos that you would expect to find on early Youtube. He would play some guitar, secretly smoke cigarettes in his parents basement, and perform some magic tricks for the camera. It was only when his father moved Josh out into his own apartment that the content would truly take an incredible turn. With his father covering the rent and groceries for the past decade, Josh has had the chance to really fester in his own creative juices. Literally and figuratively.
In his new kitchen, Josh begins to create what would ultimately be a staple to his Youtube channel – His cooking videos. Josh has time and time again floored his fanbase with some of the most grotesque and intriguing food combinations imaginable. From boiling sliced potatoes in attempt at making french fries, to refusing to clean his pans because it gives his burger recipes “more flavor”. Fires and raw chicken are just a few of the classic features to his long running series of cooking videos. When Josh opts to use his oven instead of his usual microwaved meals, he almost always cooks his food at exactly 420 degrees for 34 minutes. Oftentimes this leads to his food being either under or over cooked. Due to his tongue being caked in plaque and his taste buds baked from years of 24/7 tobacco usage, Josh always describes his meals as “delicious”.
Another crucial element to the king cobra formula is his staunch belief that he is a wizard. From the very beginning Josh could be seen summoning “chi balls” in videos. The real magic of the community began to form around this time. Many of his viewers began to play along with Josh’s delusions and insist that they too could see the chi balls in his videos. The playing-along attitude of his fans coupled with Josh’s extreme gullibility are two of the most important factors to his success. It’s gotten to such a point that Josh doesn’t even work a job and instead opts to sell “Cobra Craft Handmade Wands” online. For this he charges a reasonable $24 dollars for each spray-painted stick (which he spray-paints within a foot of his bed in his tiny apartment). Josh claims that the wands give him the ability to focus his natural magic powers. For demonstration, he often rides his bicycle around town aiming his wand at crossing signs and waiting until they turn so he can yell out “You see that YouTube!?”. Due to the non-stop encouragement of his fanbase, his claims have escalated to become more and more extreme. When Donald Trump announced that ISIS was defeated, Josh made a video explaining that the defeat was in large part due to his spell casting. A similar thing occurred with the de-escalation in North Korea, when Josh claimed that he shielded the world from North Korean nuclear bombs.
In 2014, filmmaker Joel “Trappped” Patrick released a short documentary titled ‘Gothic King Cobra’ which highlighted some small slices of Josh’s day to day life. The documentary has since gained 160k views and is available to see on YouTube. The video gained Josh a good handful of new fans and was even mentioned on an episode of the Mega64 podcast. It was around this time that Josh and his girlfriend broke up. Josh and his friend Chris (who had been sleeping on Josh’s couch rent free for months) decided to take a crackwhore up on her offer of fucking her in the back of a truck in exchange for a pack of cigarettes. Chris was the first to have a go at her. Meanwhile while he was waiting for his turn, Josh smoked half the pack. The allure of King Cobra is not only in the fact that he constantly finds himself stumbling into strange and hilarious adventures. It also lies in the fact that Josh always feels the need to tell his audience about every single detail of his life. Now that’s not to say that Josh doesn’t do a fair bit of lying and tale spinning, however due to his complete lack of self-awareness it’s extremely easy to tell when Josh is bullshitting. For example when fans sent him a sexdoll (that he spent months begging his fanbase to fund) and the doll mysteriously disappeared less than a day after he received it, Josh made a series of Facebook posts and videos explaining that the doll had been stolen by a crackhead and sold for scrap metal. Some prying over the phone lead Josh to eventually tell me the truth, where he had basically axe murdered the doll after being made fun of. However, just the fact that he would make up such an elaborate lie is part of what makes Cobra so great.
Whenever you think things are getting stale, he just finds a way to take his content to yet another new an exciting place. Watching Josh is much like taking a drug. Nobody thinks they’re addicted until Josh takes a week-long vacation from posting. King Cobra’s videos can quickly become a staple to your day. His long 3 hour rambles about how weed cures cancer are perfect for background noise. His shorter POV out on the town videos are great for watching with friends. He covers so many insane topics and niches that it’s impossible for you to not find something you’ll love. And once you start watching, there’s no going back. Once you understand how extremely entertaining investing some time into Josh can be, you’ll start to understand how a mentally handicapped man in his 20’s is the head of one of the most devoted fanbases the internet has ever known.
There are factors outside of just Josh’s content that most certainly contributed to the birth of an intense comradery amongst the fanbase. Firstly, he has an ever growing list of catchphrases and lingo that even casual fans will catch themselves applying to their own vocabularies. “That’s Whats Up” for example, is a term that Cobra uses in almost every single video and many members of the fanbase find ourselves using this term almost daily. Another term that Josh has adopted is the word “Troll”. Tell Josh a truth he doesn’t like? You’re a troll. Let Josh know that weed doesn’t actually grow on asteroids in space? You’re a troll. Anyone who doesn’t flower Josh with sarcastic praise is labeled a troll, and he is more than happy to “Unfriend, Unfollow and BLOCK” you with no hesitation. This has become a fan favorite as it tends to weed out anyone clogging the comment section or chat-box with low energy generic insults, and leaves only the commentators that understand and put effort into their interactions with Josh. Another factor to the creation of his cult-like fanbase stems from times of turmoil. When Josh was fired from Wendy’s is an excellent example of this. A troll had decided to call the company and harass his direct managers and head office until Josh was eventually let go from the company. Of course, Josh’s own actions were the fuel that the troll used to get him fired, but just that fact that someone would go out of their way to do a malicious act against him was enough to permanently fuel the fire that powers the community behind him. Fans came together to support Josh, and promised to punish anyone who tried to do him actual harm. Josh’s father was put into contact with the trolls mom and he was never heard from again.
Finally, Josh inadvertently has hooked many of his fans in with the sense of exclusivity that comes with his content. You never know when Josh is going to post an absolute gem of a video. And you never know when Josh is going to delete that video. Sometimes Josh chooses to do facebook livestreams and deletes them mid stream before anyone can even attempt to save them. This has led to a very active consistent viewer base on ever single video he does. We run an archive channel called “KingCobraJFS Archive” on youtube, that only exists because one day on a whim he deleted 5+ years worth of content. This feeling of not wanting to miss out is what drives viewers to watch each an every single shred of content cobra releases.
In summary, King Cobra has built the loyal fanbase that most creators could only dream of completely and hilariously by accident. Again I’d like to urge anyone reading to go dive head first into his channel. My words could never scratch the surface of the deep and insane lore and culture behind him. From wearing the same t-shirt for 23 days in a row, to lectures about why all couples should be thrown in death camps, to long ventriloquist sessions where he argues with the dummy. KingCobraJFS is a character that needs to be experienced firsthand for you to understand. You’ll love him and you’ll hate him. But you’ll find yourself in deep sooner than you realize.
Cobra Cult Forever.