Brian Abrams is the author of Obama: An Oral History, 2009-2017 (Little A Books) and the best-selling Kindle Singles AND NOW...An Oral History of "Late Night With David Letterman," 1982-1993, Gawker: An Oral History, and Die Hard: An Oral History. His first book, Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief from the Oval Office (Workman Publishing), was featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and NPR: Morning Edition.
For three years he ran the pop culture/politics site Death and Taxes Magazine, which, with a newly hired editorial staff, transformed what was then a part-time blog into a morning-noon-and-night reliable source for insightful commentary, funny quick hits, and the occasional bombshell. They were first to obtain and publish audio of Hulk Hogan’s infamous racist tirade, they discovered comic Jen Kirkman’s outing of Louis CK’s sexual misconduct two years before his downfall, and they revealed a bible-thumping Karen Pence’s secret first marriage — all while keeping on top of a perpetually-shifting news cycle. DT’s increases in traffic and content generation helped propel the indie site to acquisitions by SpinMedia in summer 2014, and again by Billboard Media in winter 2016.
As for Abrams’s oral histories, the storytelling abilities required more than dogged research and shrewdly conducted interviews. These were all unauthorized projects, forcing him to approach their respective worlds as a stranger. Zero sources were cultivated before beginning each grand narrative, and in every instance he built the story from the outside/in — getting participants on record one by one until he created enough of a critical mass to where the “central characters,” if you will, eventually buckled and agreed to speak. The persistence was learned at an early age, e.g. when Brian was eight years old and refused to let Mel Brooks work in peace.
But Abrams’s skills go beyond rigorous reporting. As BuzzFeed’s first-ever weekend editor, he single-handedly reigned over the homepage and social media feeds at a time when the burgeoning site was pulling in ~30 million monthly views. He also launched audience development programs for media companies such as Dennis Publishing and Viacom to help them continue their missions to own smart spaces online. For four years at the satirical Heeb Magazine, he produced tongue-in-cheek ad campaigns, wrangled celebrities for irreverent photo shoots, and managed live events in multiple cities.
Abrams has written for Washington Post Magazine, Film Drunk, and The Lowbrow Reader. He lives in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter @BrianAbrams.