Avery Monsen Gets Emojinal


Emojis are the lifeblood of worldwide communication. When you really think about it, nothing is more important than expressing your ideas through tiny illustrations of really pointless things. Nobody understands that better than Avery Monsen, a comedian / Vine celeb / really funny author out of New York. Avery’s newest creation, Rejected Emojis, puts all those preloaded icons to shame by serving up such creations as “cool pube” and “a bald man reclines on a giant slice of pizza.” We caught up with Avery the other day and tackled important subjects like smiling red ogres, emoji freedom, and the power of evasive texting.


In three words, rejected emojis are:

Basically, they’re these (I ran out of words. I should have planned that better.)

Where did you come up with the idea?

I was thinking about the illustrators that created emojis in the first place. I imagined them trying to boil down all of human communication into a manageable group of icons. And they did such a great job! Happy face, sad face, kissy face. All the best faces! But somehow, some weird ones made the cut, too. Smiling turd? Why is that in there? Dragon head and full dragon body? What text message conversation could you possibly have where you’d need to specify a dragon head but not a dragon body? So I started thinking: if these silly emojis made it through, which ones didn’t?

What’s the best emoji on the market right now and why?

Shout out to my main man, Smiling Red Ogre Face Emoji! This dude brings the mischief 100% of the time.


When someone texts me a question I don’t want to answer, I almost always just respond with the Foggy Golden Gate Bridge because why not. What’s your go-to?

I think Twin Dancing Girls Emoji works well in any situation; those lil dancers create WAY more questions than answers, which makes them ideal for evasive maneuvers.

Why don’t we have more emoji freedom?

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. (I’m pretty sure he was talking about emojis.)

You’re a pretty funny dude. In your opinion, what’s the funniest thing you have ever said? No pressure but yes pressure.

I’m more of an “obsessively think about funny things that I couldve said for days after a conversation” kind of guy. While other people are joking, I’m usually standing in the background, quietly sweating. I’ll be re-thinking this answer for weeks.

Where does one acquire drawing skills like yours? I’m just confused as to how you make your emojis. Are you brilliant?

I’m actually not a great freehand illustrator — I’ve never taken a drawing class — but I think a funny idea will always make a mediocre drawing better. Like, when my friend Jory and I were writing All My Friends Are Dead, we decided that I would do the illustrations because we didn’t trust a stranger to do them. I had no idea what I was doing. But the ideas were funny, so people looked past the fact that I couldn’t draw hands. Or bodies. Or straight lines.

You’re not just making emojis all day. You also have a Vine! Where do you get your ideas?

Oh boy. I’ll try to keep this brief and not too pretentious. I like Vine. It sometimes gets a bad rap because people use it wrong. There are a lot of hacky racist and sexist jokes and bros shouting. But 6 seconds of looping video can be as weird and creative as you want them to be! People like Simply Sylvio, Marlo Meekins, and keelayjams are creating honest-to-goodness art on Vine. The ideas for my Vines come from all kinds of places. Some start from images I see in my dreams. Some start with a song. I make some because I just want to investigate a specific type of special effect; this one uses a theatrical magic technique called “black art.” With Vine, I get to experiment with video, animation, illustration, construction, special effects, writing, music, and acting. So many things! It’s a gesamtkunstwerk! (Sorry, I got pretentious there for a second.)