Smosh LIVE: The Creators Behind YouTube’s Most Popular Comedy Channel Reveal How They ‘Stay Relevant’

Nobody can say YouTube’s top comedy channel, Smosh, will never do what “Saturday Night Live” does. It just did.

On August 26th, Smosh aired YouTube’s first ever live sketch show, which clocked in at just under 90 minutes and attracted up a peak concurrent viewership of 55,000 – with an average watch time of fifteen minutes. (YouTube’s broadcast of the Democratic National Convention peaked at 250,000 concurrent viewers, with a twenty-five minute average watch time.)

READ MORE: YouTube Creators Cry Censorship As ‘Inappropriate’ Content Is No Longer Monetizable On The Platform

“We grew up watching ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Smosh’s Anthony Padilla told IndieWire. “A live sketch show sounded like an interesting idea, we just never had the ability to do it before.” The show was sponsored by 5 Gum (owned by Wrigley), which gave the team plenty of material for commercial parodies with its “#5TruthOrDare” campaign. In addition to the investment required to pull off a live show of this size, Smosh also took advantage of YouTube’s newly expanded live-streaming capabilities, which the site rolled out to all users this year in an effort to compete with Facebook Live and Twitter-owned Periscope.

“We didn’t think a live show was even possible on YouTube, because live streaming has only been a big thing over the past couple of years,” said Ian Hecox, who founded Smosh with Padilla. “Luckily, YouTube had the infrastructure to make the whole thing happen.”

Smosh Live!

Smosh Live!


YouTube’s platform has advanced significantly since Padilla and Hecox began Smosh, which pre-dates the video-sharing site. The duo met in the sixth grade, when they were paired together for a biology project: “I didn’t have many friends, and [Ian] didn’t have any friends, and we discovered we had the same sense of humor,” said Padilla. “When we first started streaming YouTube videos, they weren’t YouTube videos; it didn’t exist.” Early on, Padilla posted their  videos on his personal website, “I had just borrowed my Dad’s webcam, and we were like, ‘Oh my God, we have this ability to make video.'”

READ MORE: The Best YouTube Channels Launched in 2016

With 22 million subscribers and a second movie in the works, Padilla and Hecox have come a long way since their webcam days. Their first feature, “Smosh: The Movie,” was released in 2015 by 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate to mixed reviews. Their second feature will be based on a sitcom that YouTube produced, “Part-Timers,” and will run on YouTube Red, the company’s subscription service. Padilla and Hecox saw the live show as a new challenge.

“For us, it’s important to try new things and keep expanding what we do,” said Padilla. “We’ve had to stay relevant for the past (almost) eleven years, and we’ve done that by not pigeon-holing ourselves.”

READ MORE: ‘The Thinning’: YouTube Megastars Logan Paul & Peyton List Try Their Luck With A Dystopian Teen Feature

While scripted sketches are Smosh’s bread and butter, the live element presented new hurdles to the team. “The biggest difference was changing costumes and having to change characters so quickly between shots,” Padilla said. Added Hecox: “The funny thing is, neither Anthony nor myself have any theater background, so this was completely new for us.”

Smosh LIVE!

Smosh LIVE!


The duo said the live show required a different set of writing skills, and hired extra writers who were more familiar with live comedy. “We had to keep in mind that we couldn’t cut to different angles, or show close-ups, or time-jumps,” Anthony conceded. “It just completely turned everything we knew about script-writing on its head.”

READ MORE: Refinery29’s Female-Driven YouTube Channel Is A Laugh RIOT

Though it may look as if Smosh is trying to cross over into traditional media projects, the duo is proud of their YouTube star status, and insist they will stay with the platform that brought them success. “We don’t see what we do as a way to break into TV or movies. We did the live show just because we wanted to do it,” said Hecox.

Padilla’s advice to aspiring young creators is make work that excites them, rather than chasing a viral trend: “People who have found lasting success online got that success because they were genuinely interested in the content they were making.”

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Read More »

Black Students in SA Marginalized for Having Afro-Textured Hair

On Monday 29 August, black pupils at Pretoria High School For Girls, in the capital of South Africa, took to the streets after enduring years of racism and discrimination. Many complained that the school forbade them to have braids, afros, dreadlocks and other afro-textured hairstyles.

Allegedly, black pupils at the school are not even permitted to talk in their native African languages amongst friends. You can read more about the protest on The Daily MaverickPhotograph by Greg Nicolson.

When I was in bed on Monday evening reading the news, this absolutely appalled me! I could not believe what I was reading! Here we are, in post-colonial Africa and particularly in post-apartheid South Africa, and our young girls are being marginalized for being black!!! I almost cried when I read that a white teacher told a pupil with an afro that her hair was dirty and looked like a bird’s nest! The pupil was even given a comb to “fix” her hair!
There are many things that black people have to endure that revolt me, but the mere thought that young girls are being oppressed because of their blackness is something I cannot forgive! As a black woman myself, I know how hard it was growing up in a world wear my hair, my skin, my nose, my food, my accent, my culture and my language were not accepted and frowned upon.

The blatant racism that black people in South Africa still face in this day and age is unacceptable! In these same schools, pupils are forced to learn both English AND Afrikaans. Hairstyles that are seen as “acceptable” are based on Caucasian hair and white pupils are encouraged to speak in their native Afrikaans whilst black pupils are stripped of their right to speak their own mother tongues amongst them!

I can go on and on and rant about how appalled I am, but the highlight of all of this is that these young girls, far braver than I will ever be, sacrificed everything to protest and to say “NO” to the racism and discrimination. As I myself struggle in my natural hair and African identity journey, I can only applaud such integrity, bravery and determination.

Will this protest lead to change in the school’s policy? I think it just might. Will this protest educate the ignorance which prevails in our communities? Maybe to some extent. But the journey is still long, and we as Africans and black people in particular cannot remain desensitized.

Our children are paying the price and our children’s children will continue paying the price unless we stand up, and own our blackness, our African identities, our heritage, our culture – our humanity!

The post Black Students in SA Marginalized for Having Afro-Textured Hair appeared first on Africa on the Blog.

Read More »

‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ Review: Renee Zellweger Revitalizes Her Best Character, But Tired Tropes Overwhelm Sequel

It’s been 12 years since we last saw Bridget Jones on screen, and while it’s unclear if world has been crying out for her return, in a testing year, the beleaguered Brits could certainly use a dash of her carefree tomfoolery and sheer adorability. And so Bridge is back – not with a bang, but two in fact, of the variety that leads to a bun in the oven and a brand new dilemma.

In “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” Helen Fielding’s hapless heroine, indelibly played by Renee Zellweger, despaired of being a thirties singleton before literally being fought over by two men. In “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” she struggled to maintain what she’d always wanted: A relationship. In this new installment, she is again single, but now 43, and wondering if she has lost her chance to be a mother.

READ MORE: Trailer Watch: Bridget Has Baby Daddy Drama in ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’

In keeping with the franchise’s pattern, when she becomes pregnant, Bridget is unsure which of two men is the father, and so a much wished-for event again becomes the stuff of farce.

It ought to be said that those earlier Jones films haven’t aged that well. They were directed (first by Sharon Maguire, who returns here, then Beeban Kidron) with the worst tropes of rom-com shorthand, notably that knee-jerk reach for the soundtrack to mark every new emotional beat. And however endearing Zellweger made the character, Bridget’s attitude was pretty puerile – the fixation on a man as a prerequisite for happiness, the obsession with her appearance, her immediate recourse to karaoke and the bottle to ease her depression.

Apparently women loved her, but she made a dubious role model. And if Fielding was making an ironic social comment, it was more relevant to the nineties, when she first introduced Bridget in a newspaper column, than the noughties in which the films were made.

The saving graces of both films were the performances – Zellweger nailing the accent and managing to make Bridget both appalling and appealing, Colin Firth cutely reprising his Darcy from Fielding’s inspiration, “Pride and Prejudice” and Hugh Grant a scream in an image-reversing turn as the incorrigible womanizer Daniel Cleaver.


It would have been encouraging now if true love Darcy and the caddish Cleaver were again competing, this time over paternity rights, but that won’t be possible, since the film opens with the latter’s funeral, Cleaver having died in a plane crash, appropriately “going down in the bush.” His service is full of young Eastern European models; Jones, the de facto elder of his conquests, tells the congregation that Daniel “touched us all.” We miss him already. So the immediate question is, can “Baby” survive without Cleaver?

It does, just, in part because it has its fair share of laugh-out loud moments, and partly because Fielding has finally allowed Bridget to act her age. The shift is subtly done: She dresses better, at times being positively elegant; her public speaking is still eccentric, but with more composure; the same chaos surrounds her, but this time it is as much to do with circumstance as her own dizziness – it’s a relief to be spared the earlier, forced idiocy. And while she still feels lonely, neurosis has been replaced by a certain grace and stoicism.

Once again excelling, Zellweger has much to do with the safe transition of this new Bridget, maintaining all the old quirks and sweetness, but in a believably more mature shell. And while she’s not added the pounds this time, neither is she hiding her age. The actress has been away from the screen for six years; it’s tempting to see this as the start of a new phase in her work.

Having started her TV news career as an accident-prone, roaming reporter for the low-rent “Hard News,” Bridget is now its producer. Her new best friend is the show’s irreverent anchor, Miranda (Sarah Solemani), who in a neat corrective to the previous films is a thirty-something woman not obsessed with being married, and with none of the fundamentally inane hang-ups that have weighed Bridget down. It’s Miranda who takes Bridget to the Glastonbury music festival, where amid the mud and hedonism she has a one-night stand with dashing Jack (Patrick Dempsey), a dating website billionaire who can show Jones the algorithm that proves their perfect match.

READ MORE: Renee Zellweger Fires Back at ‘Exploitative’ Tabloid Journalism and Body Shaming in New Essay

Meanwhile, though it’s been five years since the end of her relationship with Darcy, the man keeps on popping up at funerals and christenings, until a momentary rapprochement leads to Bridget’s uncertainty when her pregnancy shows itself. Bridget struggles with revealing her pregnancy to the two potential fathers, and that’s pretty much it. The plot is terribly thin and stretched to its breaking point. Though the likeable Dempsey has his moments, he’s no Grant, and the progressive Jack is no Cleaver. Hell, he and Darcy even hug each other. There’s so little variation or tension that a huge middle chunk of the film is instantly forgotten.

If anyone replaces Grant, it’s Emma Thompson, who is one of Fielding’s new co-writers as well as featuring as Bridget’s obstetrician. The other writer is Dan Mazer, a regular collaborator with Sacha Baron Cohen and director of “Dirty Grandpa.” While it’s difficult to gauge Mazer’s contribution, Thompson’s is clearer: On screen, that wonderfully wry presence; in the script, quite possibly some of the moments of beautifully phrased, incidental humour, along with her character’s advice to Bridget that her baby needs neither man – another welcome corrective to the fawning dependency of the earlier films.

Grade: C

“Bridget Jones’s Baby” arrives in theaters on September 16.

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Read More »

“Concede Nothing” – How to Remember a Storm Ten 11 Years Later

I wrote this last year, the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Revisiting this again, on the anniversary of the Storm, now eleven years later, and as the gap between rich and poor, white and black in the city continues to widen:

“Remembering Hurricane Katrina is a black intellectual history project. The disparate impact of the storm on the city’s black population makes remembering, documenting, and narrating the history of that moment an incredible responsibility. According to City Lab, “compared to 2000, about 100,000 fewer African Americans and 9,000 fewer whites live in New Orleans.” While the black population was decreasing before 2005, these numbers (including the racial disparity between) result almost entirely from the continuing impact of the storm. Many black New Orleanians were displaced, many of those displaced never returned, and many who remained or returned continue to choose to leave because of the changes happening around the city (high rents and affordable housing being the latest battle being waged by community groups and activists around a city which demolished the majority of its public housing units after 2005).

“But New Orleans is also a deeply American city, one whose history often sings a canary’s song over what will unfold for people of African descent in this country, the Caribbean basin, and around the world. The Danzinger Bridge shootings didn’t foretell present-day police violence against black people in this country. That kind of violence has always been, but the unprovoked and willful shooting and wounding of four, murder of two New Orleans residents attempting to cross out of floodwaters and to safety using the bridge previewed the use of deadly force against black people as a matter of course by local and national law enforcement. Turning the clock back, Homer Plessy, the Slaughterhouse Cases, Les Cenelles (the first anthology of creole poetry by people of African descent to be published in the United States), the labor and leadership of spiritual workers like Marie Laveau and Henriette Delille, the 1811 slave revolt (the largest slave revolt to occur on U.S. soil), the frequency and agility of slaves who managed to escape into freedom, all of these mark the shape and tenor of black intellectual thought nurtured to bursting in an iconic city.

“New Orleans black community has given birth to and influenced black intellectual traditions since its founding. What questions, then, do historians, scholars, and interested individuals need to ask about a moment like Hurricane Katrina in light of this past and our present?”

Read it all: “Concede Nothing” – How to Remember a Storm Ten Years Later | @AAIHS


Filed under: Atlantic New Orleans, Black Futures, Essays & Unscrambled Thoughts, Social Justice, Updates Tagged: #blacklivesmatter, aaihs, environment, hurricane katrina, katrina, louisiana, new orleans, nola, tumblr

Read More »

Anti-Colonial Struggles

The elders did not come to play no games with y’all.  #Repost @fistuptv with @repostapp


Yoooo one of the craziest manifestations I have been a part of. Just after this video the police charged us. I saw old men and woman on the front lines pushing them back with their hands. After they could not make any progress they started using teargas. Then the protestors picked up rocked and it was over the police had to turn around. WE WON ✊🏾 #defendpr #SeAcabaronLasPromesas #LaConferenciaNoVa #CondadoPlaza

#Repost @steph_llanes with @repostapp


Thankful for our freedom fighters.

Today. Front lines of our mass protest in Puerto Rico against the continued violence against us perpetuated by the United States, corporations and the elites.








#Repost @viajero with @repostapp


On Wednesday August 31st. Our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico will be protesting the “1st Promesa Conference” at Condado Plaza.
Join the Defend Puerto Rico Crew on Wednesday August 31st at 7pm, as we show solidarity and join the protest, at Camaradas El Barrio.
We will be sharing stories from  communites in Puerto Rico as well as giving you a chance to take part in several interactive experiences.

#LaJunta #PROMESA #PuertoRico #PuertoRicoLibre #PaLaCalle31 #LaConferenciaNoVa

#Repost @wiisaakodewinini with @repostapp


No pipelines in the Great Lakes.The lakes are sacred. Shutdown Line 5. Please share! #nopipelines #shutdownline5 #nodapl #nopipelinesthroughsacredwater #protectthegreatlakes #puremichigan

Filed under: #DH Research, Black Futures, Black Life x Ephemera, Social Justice, The Codex Tagged: #blacklivesmatter, #LaConferenciaNoVa, afrxlatinidad, caribbean, indigenous, Native, puerto rico, social justice, transformative justice

Read More »

Revisiting: Kanye West tells the Tale; Those Who Stayed Behind — September 2, 2015

Revisiting Mr. West in 2005:

Last year Slate ran the back story:

“I remember hearing the words that were coming out of his mouth and looking down at the script and [thinking], ‘this is not—this is not going well,’ ” Frank Radice, the show’s senior producer and musical director, recently told me. Radice then had a second thought. “I remember saying [to someone] ‘it was good TV.’ ”

“…Kaplan says he was in “shell-shock” after the show, and West was nowhere to be found. But he says a trio of the show’s musical performers—Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Harry Connick Jr.—took him aside and said, “I know that you’re feeling like it all got screwed up because of Kanye. But you’re going to be really proud that Kanye did what he did.”

“They said we’ve all been to New Orleans and they said it was terrible what’s going on down there, and the lack of support from the [federal government], and we understand the anger, and you’re going to be happy that that element was in the show,” Kaplan told me. “And they were right. … No disrespect to the president or anyone else, but [Kanye’s] emotion and his honesty and what he had to say, it had to be heard, because those people were not being served.”

“Someone at NBC did not think it was a good moment, though, and cut the Bush line from the West Coast telecast….”

Yesterday, I was revisiting criminality, looting, the city law enforcement’s use of deadly force, and sanctioning black death in the name of control. And while there is no “other side of the story” when police have been given the right to shoot residents and citizens first and ask questions later, it is true black homeowners had a complicated relationship to the situation. Stuck between rising/steady waters  (by September 2, 2015, the Army Corps of Engineers was beginning to plug the major levee breaches like the 17th Street Canal) and disaster circumstances that occasioned some threat of theft–whether for survival or for other reasons–what would you do? Evacuate? Stay? Some of those who remained after the evacuation order was issued by Mayor Ray Nagin on August 28th, remained to protect their homes. And more to consider, for those who stayed–mold, pests, lack of potable water, contaminated sewer water…

The swamp has a long game and it will kill you if fail to respect it.

Fast forward to Louisiana today, to Baton Rouge and rural parishes battered by flood waters:

“Together Baton Rouge, a faith-based nonprofit, said they’ve identified at least 20 flood-damaged homes where the inhabitants never left, never started a demolition and are still being exposed to hazardous mold and the residue of sewer-contaminated flood water. But the group believes that number represents several hundred others in the same situation, who are mostly elderly, and more vulnerable both physically and financially.

“It’s a public health crisis, said Broderick Bagert, a Together Baton Rouge organizer. He said there are still thousands of homes that haven’t been gutted, and he said survey results project that 5 percent of them could have people still living in them. What’s worse, is there hasn’t been a large scale, coordinated effort to identify homeowners who don’t have the help or the resources to gut homes on their own….”

But —

“Bessie said she didn’t want to leave because her door was so swollen that it wouldn’t lock. She was afraid during and after the flood that criminals would raid her home of the valued treasures she and her husband had spent a lifetime to build together.

And of course, after 19 years living in the home without an issue, they never imagined the flood waters could get so high…”

Read the rest:

Filed under: Atlantic New Orleans, Black Futures, Essays & Unscrambled Thoughts, Social Justice Tagged: #katrina10, environment, hurricane katrina, kanye west, louisiana, new orleans, nola, police, social justice, state violence, tumblr

Read More »