Monday Morning Quarterback Part III
By BOP Staff
July 23, 2015
Kim Hollis: Amy Schumer is a first test for the new kind of viral celebrity that has become more prevalent with the digital generation. Smosh the Movie, featuring YouTube comedy duo Smosh, will quickly follow with digital downloads this week. What conclusion do you draw from this first test case?
Edwin Davies: I think it's an interesting situation since, while it is true that Trainwreck came to because of how much buzz Inside Amy Schumer got, and its success so far is no doubt driven by the huge number of fans that she has gained from it, she needed someone with the clout of Judd Apatow to make the movie that she envisioned. If she had got involved with people who were just interested in harnessing her celebrity without employing her talent, or who wanted to sand down the rough edges and make something more conventional, I don't think that the end results would have been as impressive. It helps to have someone who can facilitate the transition from viral star to mainstream star.
Felix Quinonez: I'm not sure that this is exactly a test case because even though Schumer got her start that way, the movie was clearly guided by Apatow. Her success doesn't mean that any viral celebrity can come out with a movie and attract huge audiences. Apatow helped mold her work into something that would play well as a feature length movie as opposed to one long series of sketches.
Kim Hollis: Even though Trainwreck is directed by a bigger name in Judd Apatow, I still think this film was an interesting test case of more viral celebrity. Obviously, not every film is going to get a wide release or a name director, but I think it's an interesting story to track. Millennials and younger spend a significant time on YouTube - it passed cable TV networks recently with regard to time spent watching - and I believe that we'll start to see a shift in the way celebrities are "built" as a result.
Max Braden: I think the Smosh movie owes something to Jackass, which started on TV with guys taking the approach, "Hey let's film ourselves being stupid!" 15 years ago, and 2012's Project X, which was scripted but shot in the style of "we're the handheld-video-everything-and-see-what-happens generation." Smosh's audience demographic almost certainly skews much younger than for shows on Comedy Central, and I thought the movie was a "National Lampoon's Presents" entry. I'm vaguely familiar with Smosh, and though I haven't watched them, I think there wasn't much intent on making the movie as a foray into something bigger. More like "Hey! we did something cool, check it out!" and then move on to the next thing to get attention. It's just another blurb for their brand, supported by their large number of followers. Other YouTubers could probably manage the same thing, but I don't see it as a sustainable genre until the TouTubers look at their brand as something they should cultivate with focus rather than stab at things for viewer count.
And by the way - Dude! - Smosh: The Movie is directed by Alex Winter, Esq.!