Smosh became the first popular YouTube channel in 2005 and has remained among the most popular channels on YouTube ever since. It would take almost 15 years, however, before Smosh followed other YouTubers by embarking on its first live tour in February 2020, which ended just as the coronavirus pandemic was sweeping the globe. As of June 2020, Smosh had earned more than 25 million subscribers to the main comedy channel, plus another 7 and a half million for Smosh Games, and another 7 million for Smosh Pit. Over the first 15 years, they created mobile apps and games, made a feature film in 2015 and another movie specifically for YouTube’s premium customers, and lost a co-founder along the way. Co-founder Ian Hecox sat down with me over Zoom to talk about it all, from the humble beginnings in flash animation on Smosh.com to now working alongside and for fellow first-generation YouTubers Rhett & Link, and more, so let’s get to it!
Greg Warren grew up in St. Louis the son of a wrestling coach, and enjoyed a successful high-school and college wrestling career himself before he discovered stand-up comedy while still a student at the University of Missouri. Neither stints at West Point or Proctor & Gamble could sway Warren as much as stand-up has, a career he has pursued, consistently touring comedy clubs on the road for the past 20 years. His “Flute Man” bit ranks as one of the most requested bits in the history of the Bob & Tom Show on syndicated radio. Warren has performed on late-night TV, put out a half hour Comedy Central Presents, and recorded albums and specials for SiriusXM and Dry Bar Comedy. After using Los Angeles and New York City as bases while working the road, Warren moved back to St. Louis, and last summer, recorded a new hour special across the Mississippi River in Illinois. “Where The Field Corn Grows” comes out in June 2020 as both an album and a video special via 800 Pound Gorilla Records, and Warren joined me over Zoom to talk about his new special and more. So let’s get to it!
Ramy Youssef is the son of Egyptian immigrants, growing up in New York and New Jersey, who jumped into sketch comedy as a teenager. It paid off for him initially with a role on the Nick at Nite sitcom See Dad Run. Youssef took what he learned there, as well as his work on shows such as Mr. Robot, and friendships with the likes of truTV’s Friends of the People and NBC’s The Carmichael Show, and applied it to his own show, Ramy, which premiered on Hulu in 2019. Youssef won the Golden Globe in 2020 for best actor in a comedy series for portraying a young Muslim in New Jersey trying and often failing to do the right thing. Ramy and I spoke over Zoom about celebrating Ramadan in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how he and we might wonder how to do the right thing in real life, even when we’re unsure what the right thing might be. So let’s get to it!