A Review of Twitch Streamer Jerma985

Max Spencer, Writer

A Review of Twitch Streamer Jerma985

How He Uses Impressive Scale and An Intimate Understanding of Internet Culture to Expand How Audiences Consume User-Generated Content

Jeremy “Jerma985 Elbertson, a 37-year-old former substitute middle school teacher, turned Twitch Streamer and self-titled “E-clown”, is not your typical internet personality. Games streamers and react streamers (people who watch other creators’ content for money) populate most of Twitch, following the established formats created on YouTube and other sites. However, Jerma embraces his platform’s interactive nature. Unlike traditional comedians who challenge social norms, Elbertson uses his Twitch platform to push the boundaries of how audiences consume comedy. 

Twitch’s chat function, a free-for-all where you can speak directly to the streamer, allows Elbertson to interact with his audience all at once. For example, Jerma has hosted several streams where entertains his Twitch chat through bizarre interactive spectacle. In one of his more popular events, the “Jerma Dollhouse,” the chat controls his actions like a Sims character, which leads to expected chicanery. Rather than just entertaining his audience himself, Elbertson provides a way for his audience to entertain themselves by interacting with him and each other. Leveraging Twitch’s chat function, Elbertson amplifies the comedic talents of thousands of audience members simultaneously and highlights his comedic talent. Even if you refrain from participating, the circus is no less entertaining. 

Through his community, Jerma has, directly and indirectly, facilitated the creation of fan content using his likeness, often through memes, which have spread across the internet quicker and more widely than many of his larger contemporaries. Due to Elbertson creating multiple hours of greenscreen footage for his viewers and having a slightly strange set of mannerisms, memes derived from clips or screenshots of his content abound. For example, in 2020, when the game Among Us dominated popular culture, an edited version of Elbertson’s face where he smiles unnaturally wide became the iconic “when the imposter is sus” meme. Similarly, other memes labeling Jerma as “suspicious” or as “ deranged” weasel their way into the social media feeds of people across all corners of the internet. Through memes, Elbertson found a way to consistently advertise his content across the internet through entirely organic means without making any effort beyond continuing to stream as normal. 

Not every Jerma985 stream is a “Jerma Dollhouse” or the vector for some absurd meme, however. While Jerma’s regular streams rarely produce a new meme or reach the spectacular height of his high production shows, he is still consistently funny. Yet, Jeremy Elbertson is only one man, a hilarious man, but singular nonetheless, and save for his editor for his stream clips YouTube channel,  2ndJerma, he has no permanent production team behind him. Despite this, Jerma still consistently hosts high-production stream events or projects of a similar scale, pushing the boundaries of live-streamed content every time. That he manages to do so is astounding and absolutely worthy of your attention, whether you are a twitch aficionado or someone who has never even touched the platform.