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Preview – Former Badmuther – Mat Best

Photography courtesy Jarred Taylor

The Satirist Behind the MBest11x YouTube Channel Reveals How He Went From Army Ranger to Internet Sensation

Mat Best is the affably cocky, profanely self-deprecating young man behind the popular MBest11X channel on YouTube.
He is an irreverent, irrepressible smartass who will cut off the filthiest of jokes mid-sentence to hold the door open for an old lady. In short, he is almost impossible not to like.

Best is a former U.S. Army Ranger turned online comedian. Though his initial followers were largely military personnel, his audience has widened considerably into the civilian world. His online videos — which range from satirical tutorials to military-themed rap parodies — have garnered more than 6 million views. As of press time, his How to Work Out Like an Operator video has more than 800,000 hits, while his Epic Rap Battle: Special Forces vs. MARSOC has received more than 1.2 million views.

Also, he co-founded and is president of Article 15 Clothing, an apparel company that supports veterans and the Second Amendment. A veteran of five combat deployments, he’s a tattooed, whiskey-swilling master of vulgarity who was a fire-team leader and a platoon master breacher. He also has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, is unfailingly polite to waitresses, and will play acoustic guitar and croon lullabies to his buddy’s toddler until she goes to sleep.

Those are just some of the many complexities of Best. We recently had the chance to chat with him and get inside his head a little bit. He explained how he started up MBest11X, opened up about his time in the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and told us why the hell he’s so in love with Jameson Irish Whiskey.


RECOIL: Tell our readers a little bit about your background.
Mat Best: I grew up in Santa Barbara, California, graduated high school, and went straight into the military about three months later. My two brothers are both Marines. They were in the Iraq invasion in the same platoon. They deployed when I was a junior in high school, and it was when they deployed that I got really serious about joining the military. I had a best friend in high school who showed me what the Rangers were, and the second I saw what they were I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to be a Ranger.” I was 17 when I joined, and I turned 18 during basic training.

So you’re Army in a Marine family?
MB: Yes. My two brothers are Marines, my dad was a Marine in Vietnam, and my grandfather was a Marine. I broke the chain. [Laughs.] There’s always been a family rivalry thing since I went in.

What was it like once you were in?
MB: After training I got sent to 2nd Battalion. I showed up and the whole battalion was already deployed. There was hardly anyone there, just a few NCOs [non-commissioned officers] who smoked me. So I was there I think for two weeks. Then they were like, “Here’s your packing list. Here’s your gear. You’re going over.” I flew over with a Stryker and five other privates and met my platoon in Mosul.

How did you get started doing satire and comedy videos?
MB: It started while I was OCONUS for work. The first couple of videos were a joke, but the first one got 30,000 hits, so I said, “Hmm, maybe I can do this!” How To Be an Operator was my first real hit. It was my fifth video. It just sort of took off from there.

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