After seven years at Jalopnik, Andrew Collins is leaving. So, in traditional Jalopnik fashion, staffers have contributed to a “roast” as a way to hide their sorrow. Read as many of us try hard to say rude things about Andrew, but ultimately fail because Andrew is too good of a person, and we don’t deserve him.
It was 2 A.M. in the middle of January, 2018, and Andrew Collins—a man whom I only knew as the guy I frequently vibed with in the Jalopnik chat room because of our shared love for off-roading—and I were about to instantly become best friends.
Jacked up on the excitement that comes with new car debuts, the two of us sat in my living room in Troy, Michigan awaiting the late-night press release dump that always happens the morning of the Detroit Auto Show. Andrew and I knew we’d be behind other automotive outlets, since they agreed to embargoes (i.e they received information on the new vehicles in advance) and Jalopnik doesn’t, but that just meant we had to be quick. And my god were we.
It may seem silly to a non-journalist, but adrenaline pumped through our veins as we saw for the first time the new Ford Ranger’s sheetmetal and then, the next day, the new “DT” Ram 1500's enormous 12-inch touchscreen. Andrew and I read the press releases, looked through the pictures, quickly brainstormed headline and “take” ideas, banged away at our keyboards, chatted with automakers over the phone to gain more insight, and published lightning-quick stories that we were proud of.
AC and I “clicked” that night in a way that I know neither of us will ever forget. It felt as if we were in a championship game competing with other outlets, and—as we sat there on those couches watching in awe as hundreds of thousands of people read our stories—it was clear that we had executed the coverage perfectly. That was the most invigorating night of my professional life, and that next morning, Andrew and I felt like the kings of the world, walking through the Auto Show like we were hot shit.
I don’t know if I’ve ever worked as well with someone as I do with Andrew. We’re almost always on the same page, and I bet I’m not the only one who feels that way. He’s the best team player there is, and also the best road-trip partner there is.
Andrew and I drove Project Redwood—an $800 Jeep Grand Wagoneer—from Michigan to Moab and back. That was over 3,500 miles, and roughly a week and a half of just Andrew, me, and an old red Woody. All that time, and the mechanical issues we faced along the way, should have created some strife between the two of us. But there was none. The trip was just epic, because that’s what Andrew does: He makes sure that whatever he’s doing is as epic as possible. It’s almost as if that’s his life’s mission.
Anyway, I’ve said lots of nice things about Andrew, which means I should have bought myself enough goodwill to really rip into him. But I’ve really got very little, here, so I’m going to just let my coworkers lay into him a bit between their golden retriever metaphors. Jason takes it a bit far, here, so that should make up for all of my gushing:
Okay, here we go:
I remember some commenter—I can’t recall if it was in the cruel thunderdome of YouTube or the warm embrace of the Jalopnik comments—watched one of Andrew’s videos and said that he seemed like “a Golden Retriever turned into a human for a day,” and I can’t get over just how dead-on that description is. Yes, that’s it exactly—right down to the part about it being only for a day. Andrew has the warmth and eagerness and bemused delight of a Golden Retriever suddenly able to open a refrigerator and work a computer and drive a car, and he knows he better cram in all the good stuff before it’s back to shitting on lawns and getting scolded for eating whenever you want.
That’s pretty much Andrew, good and bad. The unbreakable enthusiasm of a dog loved by children, but perhaps a bit limited in the thinkery bits. Remember, Andrew is the only Jalopnik staffer to somehow manage to lose one of his fingers, on his wedding day, even. That’s the kind of fuckup only a big friendly dog-person would make, and even as he bumbles around now, a wonderful, dopey, 9-fingered goofball, there’s always the possibility that, given an appealing and fun enough set of initial circumstances, it could happen again.
Look, Andrew’s great. He’s a bit of goodness in a world so often flooded with sewage, putting his custom stickers on his various cars and making his little dioramas and reminding you that sometimes it’s the people dumb enough to lose a chunk of their hands that are the ones you really want to keep around.
Cruel, cunning Patrick knows this, too, which is why he’s come in and stolen Andrew from us. I hope he treats him right. He likes to be scratched behind his ears.
When I first heard the name “Andrew Collins,” it was because he was talking shit.
There I was — a young, innocent little blogger — three months into her first real job at a small regional newsletter called Road & Track and still learning the ropes of aggregating news stories and writing for the internet. I’d seen a rumor about a Ford Fiesta RS potentially happening (which didn’t) and thought it’d be a nice story the R&T.com readers would enjoy. So, I wrote it up (with proper hedging and gratuitous backlinking, of course) and then went about my day.
The next thing I knew, Jalopnik had gone and published a blog titled, “Ford Fiesta RS Reports Are A Great Example Of Why You Can’t Trust Anything Anywhere Ever.” It specifically called out my blog as part of the problem.
The fuck? What piece-of-shit asshole did this? Andrew P. Collins, that’s who.
Who the fuck was Andrew Collins? I’d certainly never heard of this person before. I had no idea what warranted such an attack. But they were now indisputably on my Shit List.
As luck would have it, I got hired at Jalopnik six months later. Who emailed me in welcome but the asshole himself.
“Howdy!” he wrote, like an asshole. “Ignore whatever Ballaban and Raph told you about their hazing rituals, they’re really decent human beings to share an office with. See you in Slack soon!”
You see? Such an asshole.
I wish I could say my opinion of Andrew improved after that, but it didn’t. Not after four years of working together, where we toured the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show (my mom demanded to know who my long-haired, jean-wearing slob of a co-host was), went to a party on Amazon’s dime, made Ballaban scream in a fast wagon, he edited damn-near every single one of my reviews, and we all did what we could to support him after his wedding.
Not even after all that.
Today, Andrew leaves Jalopnik. Godspeed, you sloth-loving weirdo. May you enjoy scorching desert sun wherever you go.
Ah, yes, I’m back once again to do this “roasting” thing where I shamefully admit that I am bad at roasting because I am #blessed to have friends and/or colleagues who put up with me anyway. So instead of roasting Andrew, let me tell you a story!
Last year (? I thought last week was last year), the Jalopnik staff had a track day because we had money to spend and you know, why not. Being the idiot I am, I went to IHOP the day before and ended up with some of the worst food poisoning I’ve ever had, ruining my track day and likely everyone else’s day in general because we were all sharing a small trailer with the bathroom right next to the sitting area. (I went back to IHOP that night, with everyone collectively shouting “NO!” as I walked away.)
Andrew, a saint and a friend, saw that I was probably near death and offered, with his kind soul, to go buy me a gallon of Pepto Bismol. Some time and many bathroom breaks later, he returned with my special juice. I’m pretty sure he advised me to “follow the directions on the bottle” as I opened it and began gulping, but it was too late by then. I’d already drank half of it.
Most people in that situation would be like, “Damn dude, you’re really sick, can you go somewhere else?” but Andrew salvaged half of my track day for me, and he benefited in no way other than getting to see my face become slightly less ghastly as I recovered.
What I didn’t tell Andrew (at least, I don’t think I did), was that I didn’t want to waste the Pepto he bought, but TSA wouldn’t let the full bottle on the plane. So, I combined all of my hotel shampoo into one container and proceeded to wash out the little bottles and pour Pepto in them individually. I was sick this week and was out of my big bottles at home, so I drank my soapy Pepto — which tasted terrible — and I thought about Andrew, my dear friend who saved my track day.
That was a really weird and roundabout way to say that Andrew is a good person who continues to save my day, and he will continue to be a good person at his next gig.
So long, Andrew. I’ll see you at noon somewhere.
Thank you for the years and years of slack therapy and gossip. Did you hear slack will now let anyone with an account DM each other on the platform? You may be leaving, but as far as we’re concerned it doesn’t sound like much is changing.
Andrew Collins is an A+ human being and one of the finest talents in automotive journalism. Every single day, his intelligence, his kindness and his passion for cars made Team Jalopnik better. That is why I poached him to come work with me at TheDrive.com and also at a new project we’re starting together this fall.
Andrew Collins. AC. Seems like I met him just yesterday. He was standing in my kitchen during a Detroit Auto Show Party, drinking my booze and eating my pierogis. Do I need to mention that he wasn’t technically invited? That David brought him? This is my first roast, I don’t know. Regardless, it was a real joy to meet him, I was already a fan.
And now just a few months into my tenure, he’s headed off. Really abandoning the people who love and support him the most, if you think about it. I don’t want you to think he’s a shitbag. I know it’s easy to think of him as a shitbag right now, an asshole, piece of shit, etc. Don’t do that. He’s a wonderful person, despite what he’s doing to us. To hurt us.
Andrew, Andrew. I can’t be mad. When I started at Jalopnik, it was Andrew who took me under his wing, showed me the ropes and told me when people were mad at me and why—in really the kindest, most patient possible way. What a sweetheart. I’ll miss him.
I’ll miss his advice, his leadership, his writing and his editing. I’ll miss how he gently tries to talk me out of buying off-road gear we both know I don’t need. I’ll miss hearing the exasperation in his voice when I ask him to explain some byzantine piece of the intricate Jalopnik puzzle. I’ll miss seeing his smiling face on the other end of a Google Hangout. I wonder if they’ll make him get a haircut where he’s going? A website, that is as far as I can tell, for people who are really into the different kinds of missiles and bombs? Just kidding. It’s a great website for people who like cars as well as different kinds of missiles and bombs.
I wish him and his new colleagues, my friends, every happiness and fulfillment. And I hope Andrew looks back with love and pride at a site and a community that was made better by his presence.
Honestly the only thing I can think of when it comes to Andrew Collins at this point is the time we shared a cube when he came into the city earlier this year, and he did this. I am still appalled to this day. I know you’re a LA boy or whatever and may not know any better, but this is just so insulting. THAT IS A BAGEL NOT A DONUT, jfc. Bagels deserve respect. If you had some lox would you put it on top too? Make a pizza? Andrew, do better. Have some fucking dignity.
[Editor’s Note: I was there when this happened. The entire city of New York was up in arms, torches and pitchforks held high to protest the audacity of a man who chose to smear schmear onto the outside of a bagel. We were able to extricate Andrew to safety via a series of underground tunnels, but our effort did affect the quality and quantity of our blogs that day. -DT]
Andrew gets to enjoy warm weather, cool cars, and goes on awesome adventures. So you really want to give him a hard time. But you can’t because he is such a nice and helpful dude.
I couldn’t possibly roast Andrew Collins! He’s the best ever! A great friend with the finest hair in motoring journalism.
Here’s a quick Andrew Collins story.
We went to King of the Hammers, an off-roading event in the desert of Southern California in a press-loaned Ford F150. Andrew told me that we’d be camping, so I thought it would be a cool experience to sleep under the stars in a sleeping bag. Cool turned to cold, turned to arctic, and my sleeping bag was more of an open ziplock bag that you left in the back of the freezer for a few months. In the middle of the night I got out of the tent, went into the loaned F150 and idled it for 5 hours while trying to sleep with the heater on. Andrew slept like a baby because he had a sub-zero sleeping bag, something I didn’t know existed until he mentioned in in the morning. It would have been great to know. Having said that, that night stood as one of the most incredibly stupid that I’ve ever experienced, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Good luck to Andrew wherever he goes, I just hope he brings the right sleeping bag with him.
Andrew had this take about how unnecessary speedometers are (maybe I’m misremembering it, but I think I’m close). It was a valuable lesson that I’ll never forget.
It’s supposed to be a secret so don’t mention it to anyone, but it’s a fact that Andrew Collins is actually Dax Shepard. I have no idea why he feels compelled to blog about cars under a pseudonym.
I really want to roast Collins, but he’s such a genuinely nice guy that I find saying anything rude about him, even in jest, absolutely impossible. He’s so incurably positive about everything. His joie de vivre, the way he finds true happiness in something as simple as a well-designed oil drain pan, makes him the human equivalent of a golden retriever. How could anyone say anything even slightly mean about a golden retriever? I truly enjoyed working with him, and I’m more than a little sad that he will henceforth be dead to me.
There are a few things I know about Andrew Collins, but all of them are hazy on the details.
- He’s from Massachusetts. Or New York. Or California? It is extremely unclear.
- He lived in Australia, though I have no idea when, for how long, or what he was doing there
- He’s worked as a repo man, but every time I ask him about it, he laughs, and says “yeah I’ll tell you about it sometime.” He has never told me about it sometime.
But what I do know all about is that he’s also one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met and had the downright pleasure of working with. His depth of knowledge is disgustingly deep. His doggedly upbeat spirit is not shallow or saccharine, and despite the golden retriever-esque demeanor, he’s one of the smartest people in the business. And there is no one I’d rather go get delicious Filipino food out of a Northridge car wash with. It was goddamn delicious.
If there’s one thing, however, that I know – I mean truly KNOW – about Andrew and his time at Jalopnik, it is that though he will be gone, he will also soon be forgotten. When David sent out the email asking for your roast posts, he left me off the list. Kristen, who is with me here in the afterlife, had to forward it.
Andrew Collins was the closest thing Jalopnik has ever had to a solidly, and I mean through and through, good dude. When I started, he was a happy California guy with golden hair and boundless enthusiasm, like a golden retriever. Time, a terrible accident, switching coasts, and 2020, in general, has done little to tarnish the shine. He is still the Golden Boy of Jalopnik now, and probably forever. I’m glad we didn’t turn you into a miserable bastard like the rest of us. Go shine your light on some other miserable bastards now.
Andrew Collins, a California surfer boy who happened to be born in New England, will forever remain Jalopnik’s most overqualified employee. Every time he opened his mouth, he had another story of rich life experience—working as a volunteer firefighter, leading a motorcycle tour across the length of Australia—and lessons learned along the way. Then he would smile with perfectly straight teeth and ruffle his perfectly mussed hair. Thank god he’s gone.