THE STORY: Something I like to do on this feed is tell stories of projects that never got popular, but that I still like.
For example: The President Baby Pranks. They never "went viral" (as we used to say), but damn if these crazy pranks don't hold a special place in my heart.
Here's another such non-hit. Back in 2012, I spent an entire year creating nine crazy Admiral Ackbar commercials. I put over a hundred hours into writing, voicing, and editing this insane little webseries. And it hit the web with a dull little splat! Here's my tale.
It all started from a crazy live bit I used to do called Admiral Ackbar's Trap App. I wore a dumb rubber mask, got on stage, and screamed about traps for a few minutes. I loved doing it, and crowds got way into it.
One night, Derek Waters -- who later went on to create Drunk History -- saw the bit live. He told me, "You should turn this into a video, right now, before someone else does."
So I got crazy excited, hired some friends, set up a greenscreen and shot myself dicking around as Admiral Ackbar. My buddy Geoffrey Golden directed it, and kept making me do weird stuff with my arms that I thought I'd never use.
But as I started to edit the footage, I realized something: because there's no lip sync, I could take the same exact footage and make another video, which became Admiral Ackbar's Snackbar. I could get two videos out of one set of footage!
This became a game to me. Could I make 3 videos? 4? How many crazy ass videos could I make with this same hour of footage?
A year later, I had 9 videos in the can. I would show them around LA at comedy shows, and I got some of the biggest reactions I'd ever gotten up to that point.
But I didn't release them online for a long, long time. Because I had a plan.
Years earlier, Fatal Farm had put out a series called Lasagna Cat. One day, out of nowhere, this comedy troupe released 14 videos about Garfield being a crazy fucked up asshole. They were hilarious, and folks passed them around like mad.
When this happened, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. In an era where people were putting out a video a week, or a video a month, here come these guys who just drop a FUCK TON of videos all at once.
I loved it so much that I thought, "Let me totally steal this idea!" So in 2012, I released all nine Admiral Ackbar's Ads in one day.
When Fatal Farm pulled their trick, the internet was young & empty. YouTube didn't even exist -- these guys uploaded their videos as Quicktime files. If you wanted comedy, you had Homestar Runner, The Fensler Films, or YTMND. And now you had Fatal Farm.
But by 2012, the internet had moved to the 24 hour news cycle model we've come to know and hate. Content was pouring out of every available goddamn site on the web.
I had 9 videos, but I dropped 'em all on one day. This turned a 9 day story into a one day story. El biggo mistako.
Some pretty awesome outlets wrote about them, including the LA Weekly, College Humor, and if you can fucking believe it, Playboy. They had a pop culture blog at the time. Funny or Die even reached out to me and asked if they could use these videos on their channels...for no money at all!
But by putting all my eggs in one basket, then throwing that basket into a super crowded pile of other people's eggs, I never broke through.
Of course, it's also possible that people might not have found them funny!
But I much prefer to think it was a failure of digital strategy.