While no one acknowledged it at the time, that freedom was really one of Andrew's greatest assets. Andrew wasn't, and never wanted to be, a political operative carrying out missions dictated by suits. He was an independent force, a wild card, such that the left never knew when or what they would encounter with him. Being an independent entity gave Andrew a fire that drove him to release and cover the unlikely story. Although, in the beginning, he was out there in the new media blazing the trail for investigative journalism on his own, he was never held back by concerns of what "The Hill" would think of him. He knew what he had to do, and he did it with reckless abandon.
This is the Andrew that everyone remembers, the one that mastered the art of war. And yet Andrew mastered the art of laughter even more skillfully.
In the very few years that I was able to observe Andrew, it appeared that his favorite endeavor was not standing on a hill yelling "charge," but it was making those he loved around him laugh. Outside of spending time with his family, that seemed to be the thing that gave him the most happiness. Andrew loved to laugh. He loved to make others around him laugh even more.
The week that Andrew died was the same week that we were working on the relaunch of Breitbart.com. The new setup was very different than the old, and we spent hours in training learning the ins-and-outs of the technical infrastructure. During one of the many 10-hour days, I remember Andrew looking over my shoulder at the fake webpage I had created for practice. He seemed very pleased with it and asked me several questions about my methods. He was nervous about the launch, but he could barely contain his excitement about the new features and paced around the room smiling.
Later that week we were watching the Academy Awards on a projector in the office. Andrew was doing a "Mystery Science Theatre: 3000" type commentary on the affair. After the initial raucous laughter had died out, everyone gave at least a courtesy chuckle to all his jokes. During a portion of the show when they were showing clips of movies only people in LA or NYC had seen, Andrew made a joke that happened to really tickle me. I have a loud laugh anyway, but no one else was laughing, so it was really loud in the echoey office. I saw Andrew's head pop out of the cluster of people around him (even when it was just the editors, Andrew was always surrounded) and look right at me. He had the biggest smile on his face. It conveyed something like, "Aha! I got one!" I realized that he was happier with me then, for laughing at his joke, then he was with me the whole dang week I'd been killing myself learning the site.