Is there anything that you modeled Equals Three on, in terms of another show or comedian?
Well, just shows on television in general. One thing I've noticed about, really, every entertainment property is that they have a very rigid structure that they don't deviate from. Every movie and every TV show that you'll see, they incorporate these elements of structure and at the time, when I started, this was not the case on YouTube.
People would put out very random videos. And I was like, "No, I want to stick to a structure." I did get some criticism in the beginning. They were like, "Wow, every video is like the same." Except you're reviewing different videos, and telling different jokes. But I stuck with it, because I wanted people to know exactly what they're getting.
Do you think your viewers take comfort in the predictability of your shows, in a positive way?
They do. I don't know what shows you watch, but when you watch Jeopardy! You're not getting any surprises, right? It works, right?
Right. Remember that show Who's Line Is It Anyway? You knew exactly what you were getting into every time, but it was a good premise and you came for that premise.
Yeah! They're actually a good example. But you have this structure, this format that you work within and then you perfect your performance within that format, and that's kind of what I was going for,and it worked almost immediately. It was weird to me that it was foreign idea to most other people when I did it. It was like really, you don't think that structure is key? But they jumped on board; at least the audience did.
Do you think that structure proved crucial to getting the attention you did on YouTube?
It's possible, but I think it's one of those things that you only notice it if it's not there. Most audiences don't go, "I really enjoyed the structure of that movie," but if the structure is not there, they're like, "Hey, that movie was all over the place!"
There are lot of articles out there that dissect your rise to fame and market your tenchiniques as a template for success. Do you think there is an actual formula for Internet fame?
No, there is no formula. My only philosophy is… Well, I have two. One, I don't know everything. And two, what I do know is that different things work for different people. So when people ask me for advice, I preface it with those two things. I only know the formula for what works for me.
What is it about your material that makes it stand out? There's a lot of funny stuff on YouTube, but not many can claim the numbers that you do.
There are aspects of everyone's personality that the people around them enjoy, so my thought was why don't we just extract that and put it on camera?"
I have a very specific style of humor that very much represents my style of humor in real life. So what I had attempted to do was take the aspects of myself that my friends and people around me really enjoy, and translate them to a performance format. So when you watch me it will often feel like were in a bar having a beer and I'm explain this great video I saw.
It's a very specific style of hosting, and its definitely unique from a lot of other hosts. But I did know that YouTube was very personality driven, and I do know that there are aspects of everyone's personality that the people around them enjoy, so my thought was why don't we just extract that and put it on camera. Even if you're not telling jokes the whole time and your just kind of excited and charismatic in the way your friends enjoy.
And that goes back to your sense that being yourself is very important. So you'd say that's what truly works for you, just being yourself?
Of course. And I'm sure, without a doubt, that there are people out there who could be themselves and surpass me, because they have better personalities or whatever, whatever it is about them. And in a way that can be limiting, because that's all I can really do, be myself. And, one can either jump on board and have a good time, or not. That's okay, too. But I'm grateful for the people who have. Not everything I put out is for everyone.
So what are your future options? You've said you're not into TV, but will you ever venture into that realm?
I'm open to other mediums. I put that "I'm not interested in television blurb," I guess you're referring to the blurb on my YouTube page. I think that this is what I was trying to get across is, what I'm doing now is not necessarily a stepping stone to television or whatever. Because in my mind television isn't necessarily a better medium than the internet, or movies, like it is in the minds of others. I have a lot of respect for the medium I work in.
That being said, I am open to doing things on television in movies or whatever. But in the beginning, I was getting hit up a lot and getting a lot of offers, and they were all garbage, or they were fake or were people trying to get my attention by saying, "I can get you on TV." So I kind of put that out there to weed out those messages from all off those people.
If you were to actually get a legitimate offer, would that lure you into that medium?
It would be a combination of, is this going to challenge me? Is this going to stimulate my creativity? Am I going to be hindered by execs who are going to be all over me about this and that?
Is it your fear of losing creative control that keeps you from going to that realm right now?
No, not at all. I wouldn't say I have fear of giving up creative control. If I got a lot of restrictions, it would just be another challenge to me. But, there's a lot factored in when someone is pitching an idea to me. It's like how much creative control am I going to have? Because certainly if someone gave me 100% creative control that would be incredibly attractive.