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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Ahead of the third-ever Hudson Derby, New Jersey's notorious soccer hooligans snarled and swung. A nasty, Major League Soccer-inspired street brawl ensued. 

    Yes, seriously. 

    According to the Twitter account of Associated Press reporter Rob Harris, fans of the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC went toe-to-toe outside of Newark, New Jersey’s Bello’s Pub and Grill Sunday afternoon ahead of the evening’s derby (a European team for rivalry).

    Bello’s has been used previously by New York Red Bulls’ supporters group, Garden State Ultras, as a meeting point before games, according to the group’s Twitter account @ultras_gsu.

    According to the group’s Twitter page, it was founded in 2005 and it says that “Garden State Ultras is a European ULTRA style of support for the NYRB.”

    Soccer Newsday columnist Nick Chávez who writes primarily about New York City FC-related matters speculated on his Twitter account that the skirmish could have been in retaliation to a previous alleged incident at Yankee Stadium between the two groups. ‏

    Harris later tweeted again with a photo before the previously tweeted video was recorded.

    Soccer fans have wanted the game to cross into the United States for a long time, and certainly as the MLS continues to develop and lure in a global collection of top talent. But with that, apparently, comes the partisan violence that accompanies the sport wherever it becomes popular.

    Screengrab via Rob Harris/Twitter


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    Becoming a prominent creator on YouTube is a double-edged sword—made sharper for female creators who are judged not only on their creativity and video production, but also their voice, appearance, makeup, clothing, and body type.

    You’re wearing too much makeup.

    You’d look so much better with makeup.

    You’re so ugly.

    You’d be so much prettier if you tried to look nice.

    You’re fat.

    You don’t know anything about education.

    You talk about sex so much you’re obviously a whore.

    In July 2012, sex educator Laci Green’s home address was released to the public, accompanied by a slew of death threats from viewers taking issue with her content.

    Before Anita Sarkeesian ever considers speaking at an event, the gaming culture critic waits to see if the venue’s security is strong enough to deal with the bomb, death, and rape threats she receives on a daily basis. For her own safety, Sarkeesian asks fans not to location-tag the photos they take together so she won’t be stalked, and now routinely asks to sit in the back of restaurants away from onlookers. In 2012, a gamer was so outraged by Sarkeesian’s comments about sexism in gaming that he mass produced an app called “Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian” where viewers were encouraged to turn the YouTuber’s face black and blue.

    When first starting on YouTube, plus-size body advocate Meghan Tonjes was frequently told by fans that they’d never be able to make a YouTube channel after seeing the disgusting comments left under her videos.

    While watching YouTube one day, now motivational speaker Lizzie Velasquez came across a video titled “World’s Ugliest Woman” and soon realized the video was a montage of her own photos.

    Science educators Emily Graslie and Vanessa Hill are constantly questioned about the reliability of their content, not because it’s badly researched (the research articles are always included in the description box below), but because they’re women working in the STEM field.

    Hannah Witton uploads a new sex education video and immediately finds a commenter calling her a whore, while all the way across the pond, fitness guru Cassey Ho (Blogilates) is being labelled fat below her most recent abs workout video.

    Though these female creators have different appearances, professions, genres, and passions, what they have in common is their unwillingness to let cyberbullying silence them on YouTube.

    According to Internet safety advocacy group Enough Is Enough, over 43 percent of kids have experienced some form of cyberbullying in the past year, with female social media users being twice as likely to both experience bullying and be perpetrators of it. As creators like Zoella and SprinkleofGlitter continue growing fandoms the size of small countries, it has become blatantly obvious that while YouTube has given these creators the space to thrive, there are only limited resources available to protect them from abusive comments, such as encouraging use of the block and report buttons, and allowing creators to disable their comment sections. So while agents and publicists can provide a buffer between bullying and the Hollywood elite, most giant YouTubers, just regular kids who started making YouTube videos in their bedrooms, have very little idea how to deal with their new fame.

    Cyberbullying is an epidemic that affects everyone, and while there isn’t a remedy to completely cure the situation, the most important thing we can do as a community is share resources and talk openly about this issue. For all the creators mentioned above, cyberbullying is engrained in their daily lives, but instead of shrinking under its weight, each and every one of these woman has called out the senseless and hurtful behaviors of their haters. We asked sex educators Hannah Witton and Laci Green, who collectively have 13 years of experience on the video platform, to share their best advice for combatting cyberbullying.

    1) Understand the difference between negative comments and constructive criticism.

    “Don’t listen to people who want to bring you down,” Laci Green shared in an interview with the Daily Dot. “Don’t read their comments, their emails; don’t listen to their words. Shut off the computer; walk away. You deserve to be treated with humanity and respect.” Since starting her channel in late 2008, Green has not been afraid to ruffle a few feathers with her empowering and sex-positive videos discussing everything from sex with disabilities to consent to slut-shaming. U.K. sex educator Hannah Witton said it’s just as important to filter out the hate from the comments and for her to engage with the right people. On the video that inspired her TED Talk, “Do I Look Like a Slut?,” comments ranged from thoughtfuldiscussions to hatefulremarks, but regardless of their stances, almost 900,000 people watched Witton’s video—and heard its message.

    2) Find support in your community.

    “I’ve surrounded myself with a network of friends who all support each other when it comes to things like online bullies,” explained Witton, who frequently wrangles fellow YouTubers Lex Croucher, BeckieO, Dodie Clark, MeowItsLucy, Jack Howard, and Musical Bethal into talking about the spectrum of sex and sexuality. Witton is determined to normalize the way we talk about sex in order to better empower her audience to have healthy relationships. In truth, not everyone online will have a personal community like Witton, but all creators can rely upon the advice and support of the growing number of advocates standing up against cyberbullying on YouTube. Creators such as Casey Neistat, John and Hank Green, Kandee Johnson, Sara X Mills, Grace Helbig, Miles Jai, and Brendan Jordan are just a few who have opened up conversations with their audiences about how to deal with online trolls.

    3) Put up a wall and stay on the other side.

    “Avoid online spaces that are toxic and make you feel bad about yourself,” Green said. “Think of the hostile digital space as a physical room. Shut the door and find the room full of people who support you (or are neutral, that works too).” After years working in the online space, both Witton and Green agree that growing tough skin and focusing on the good their work is doing is the ultimate triumph over the haters. “I see the same awful words in the comments of my videos all the time, but because I see them so often, it’s like they’ve lost all meaning so they can’t hurt me,” Witton said. “There’s some kind of filter/barrier in place that means I see it, but I never think it’s about me or internalize it. It says a lot more about the person writing that nasty comment.”

    4) It’s not you; it’s them.

    The crucial thing to remember about cyberbullying is that these ruthless, often anonymous, comments say nothing about the person they’re addressed to, and everything about the person saying them. Green recounted:

    “A few years back, online bullies sent me pictures of my house, myself in public, and used a number of tactics to intimidate me. Around that time, I was really questioning whether my work online was worth it. I looked through my inbox and social media of all the people who told me my work had made a difference in their life and knew that I couldn’t walk away from this. I knew I had a choice, but it felt like walking away would be admitting defeat and punishing the wrong people. Since then, I’ve done what I need to secure my safety and well-being and have dug my heels in the sand.”

    In the last year, Green has spearheaded a platform-wide campaign asking Sam Pepper to stop sexually harassing women and labeling it a “prank,” toured around the U.S. to talk about sex positivity, debuted her new show Braless on MTV, and for the first time, used her channel to speak openly with her audience about her long-time battles with depression.

    5) Like putting on an oxygen mask in a plane, put your safety first.

    Despite our increased societal focus on it, there is still a stigma around bullying. For people on the receiving end, it can often feel embarrassing or shameful to tell others the derogatory statements people are saying about you. What if they’re true? What if I’m making this into a big deal when it really isn’t? What can one person actually do against thousands of negative people trying to bring down their video?“Ignore them and make use of those ‘block’ and ‘report’ buttons on websites,” Witton advised. “Tell people in real life what’s happening and surround yourself with people who you like and who like you.”

    Green added: “It’s OK to feel scared or hurt. You’re not crazy or overreacting. Do what you need to do to feel safe and loved. If someone levies threats that are against the law, report it to the police and report them for abuse on the social site you’re using.” It’s also recommended, in these moments of stress and burnout, to take a step back and get off the grid. Green has taken two major breaks in her online career, and following each hiatus—one in 2012 and one recently which she attributed to her depression—she came back stronger and more passionate to make change in sex education and online conversations.

    Photo via Fixer Sophie Thorne/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)


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    The morning routine has a certain musicality to it, which YouTuber Andrew Huang captures perfectly in his new short film, "Get Ready."

    Huang turns the everyday noises he encounters while starting his day into a song without any words or real instruments. From the hiss of his shaving cream to the scratch of his toothbrush, these normal sounds come together in a surprisingly harmonic morning symphony.

    Huang told the Daily Dot in an email that he doesn't think he missed a beat with amy morning sounds.

    "I think I only skipped some routines that are silent by nature— [like] meditation, stretches, [and] wondering where my keys are," Huang wrote.

    Huang's project is part of the Never Before Seen series, sponsored by Sony, whose Action Cam can be seen in several shots mounted on objects like Huang's razor or toothbrush. Huang said that the camera's small size let him change up his style and experiment with angles he couldn't normally use in his work.

    "My natural tendency is to document what I'm doing very symmetrically, head-on, and with wider shots," Huang wrote. "But I do like the perspective you get when you can actually attach a camera to different objects or your own body—it can make the viewing experience a lot more immersive."

    Huang has 244,000 subscribers on YouTube who are familiar with his unconventional musical ideas, like creating tunes out of wheels or out of the sound of him eating an apple. He wrote that he didn't mind sharing his morning routine with the world because he doesn't do anything too weird—at least in the mornings.

    "A close-up of my unshaven face isn't the most attractive sight," he wrote, "but then as a viewer you get the satisfaction of seeing that all cleaned up in just a few seconds."

    Screengrab via Sony Action Cam/YouTube


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    A clip from a 2012 documentary shows just how far Heath Ledger went to prepare for his iconic and haunting turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

    Ledger, who died in 2008 and won a posthumous Oscar for the role, famously prepared for the role by locking himself up in a hotel room in London. He kept a diary, practiced different voices to find his take on the Joker’s voice and laugh, and tried to figure out the character and what made him tick.

    In this 48-second trailer, Ledger’s father Kim flips through his son’s Joker diary, which was full of photos of Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, clowns, hyenas, and the Joker from the Batman comics. Scribbled on the final page is a rather ominous “BYE BYE” on the final page.

    “He pretty well locked himself up in a hotel for a month or so, to sort of galvanize the upcoming character in his own mind,” Kim Ledger said. “That was typical of Heath on any movie. He would certainly immerse himself in the upcoming character. I think this was just a whole new level.”

    While some outletsare reporting that the diary video is from an upcoming documentary called Heath Ledger: Too Young to Die, it’s actually from an episode of the German documentary Liebling der Götter, which aired in 2012. The clip first made its way to YouTube in 2013 while the actual clip was posted again in 2014.

    But despite the clip being three years old, it has the same effect then as it does now: chills for those who watch it.

    H/T NME Magazine | Screengrab via BroadviewPictures/YouTube


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    SNL alums Fred Armisen and Bill Hader have teamed up for a new IFC series, and you can watch a full episode right now. 

    Documentary Now!, which debuts Aug. 20, is primarily a platform for the many excellent impressions of Hader and Armisen, as they take liberties with history. The second episode, "Dronez," finds two journalists heading to Mexico to track down a notorious drug lord, and they're definitely joining the Onion in satirizing the questionable "balls to the walls" journalism of Vice with the Brooklyn-based publication Dronez. In this clip, we also get to watch Helen Mirren say "balls to the walls." 

    Jack Black plays the goateed founder of Dronez, and as soon as his two correspondents (Hader and Armisen, playing a series of clueless bros with frightening precision) land in Juarez to track down "El Chingon," their myopia is on full display. 

    Screengrab via IFC/YouTube 


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    As we all know, Donald Trump is great with women. To show just how he great he is, Conan O'Brien made a fake ad for a "Trump ovulation test kit" following the businessman's bizarre menstruation-related remarks during the first 2016Republican presidential debate.

    In true Trump style, the kit is branded with the man's name and face, and it capitalizes heavily on his abrasive persona. To find out if you're ovulating or not, you pee on a stick with a little Donald Trump head on the end. The stick then tells you if your eggs are "winners" or "losers," accompanied by some motivational yelling.

    What a product.

    We feel bad for late-night TV comedy writers when Donald Trump finally drops out of the presidential race.

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube


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    Once again Amazon has left the fate of two new, dramatic pilots in the hands of the masses. Free to watch now on the Instant Video platform in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, just how do Casanova and Sneaky Petestack up?

    If you’re going to pour a pile of money into a series, replete with bubbling crowd scenes, period locales, and suffocating costumery, centering it with Giacomo Casanova is the accountant’s choice. He’s just got that name recognition, you know? But everyone has sort of heard of Svengali yet never read Trilby, and people still somehow visit 221b Baker Street under the misunderstanding that Sherlock Holmes was a living, breathing human. Other than a tendency to thrust into whatever moves, does anyone know anything about the man whose name is now used to describe Bruce from hot yoga?

    The short answer is no. Despite plenty of films about him, including one starring Heath Ledger in 2005, most would be unaware that Casanova was a real person, and they’d be horrendously confused if asked how he differs from Don Juan. And Casanova is all the better for this. Because as long as you give the people all the thrusting that they expect, the rest of the show is a blank canvas of which people will happily feign recognition.

    And that’s how we begin: Y Tu Mamá También’s Diego Luna bending over courtesans at desks, whipping prostitutes, ravaging milkmaids upon hay bales, and finally, defiling a nun. It’s a great first minute, but it’s all unfortunately a retrospective. Casanova, seemingly incarcerated for eternity, is suddenly facing his greatest fear: being alone.

    But before you worry that this is going to be some wearisome backstory of why Giacomo is just the way he is because he was left home alone as a child, he escapes prison, and after a few moments of self-doubt concerning his overriding, libidinous motivations (“I was a student of mathematics!”), he is in Paris intent to latch onto some wealthy quarry and continue his interesting (considering the relaxed attitude in matters of sanitation in Louis XV’s France) predilection toward cunnilingus.

    Yet you can’t help but wish him well. Luna is excellent as the man who is loved because he himself is able to fall in love, repeatedly—even if the entire cast does suffer that strange, disorienting confusion with accents that English language productions of foreign tales often have. Here Luna spouts what I take are supposed to be Italian inflections, while the French characters sound as if they’re from Zone 4 London. Why? There’s no consistency to it, and it’s a distraction from the things that we really should be focusing on, like the luscious pan-Euro-backdrops (when they don’t look too green-screeny), the man being torn apart by horses, or the breasts that inevitably pop out soon after Casanova darkens a doorway.

    There is growth in this pilot, though, and a firm, encouraging indication of the way that the series would—if picked up—proceed. There is an ever-present notion of the strength of defying temptation, and it is with this in mind that Giacomo is measured. He holds back from the nubile daughter of an ex-flame imprudently sent to prepare his room; he declines to sleep with a prostitute when he finds out that she is a virgin. He still satisfies her and himself in his favored way, and recognizing her “value,” whores her out, but you know, baby steps.

    You’d think a nice similitude could be drawn between Casanova and the title role in Sneaky Pete; a career conman who, upon leaving prison, appropriates his cellmate’s identity and is then roped into working at that family’s bail bonds business. You see, what is Casanova if not a confidence trickster, truly believing in the lie that he loves his conquests? And perhaps in earlier incarnations of Sneaky Pete—Bryan Cranston, executive producer and sheepish cameo here, previously had this series in development over at CBS—Pete was like Giacomo: charming, if roguish and someone who you wanted to watch. But that’s not what you get when you hire Giovanni Ribisi; you get a tight-mouthed, wincing asshole. And that shouldn’t be a surprise, because he has been bringing this same mumbly, affected shtick to every role since the ’90s.

    That is a problem here: For Sneaky Pete to work, we need, at the very least, to like him. Anything more is a bonus, but if you’re going to have a main character pretending to be someone who is loved by the rest of the cast, then how long can that charade exist if the replacement is cowardly and truculent? Moreover when the show treads where Casanova deftly avoided—childhood, woe-is-me flashbacks—we soon find that an audience will forgive a crime because of an unstable upbringing well before they’ll forgive a jerk.

    But Ribisi’s problems aside, everything just feels sort of stale, from the chummy family scenes that could have been lifted from Blue Bloods to the under-rehearsed action scenes that whiff of Walker, Texas Ranger. These aren’t shows you want yours to remind people of. Even the plot is an inferior take on the genre to Lone Star, Fox’s 2010 series which lasted two episodes.

    Most worrying, though is the long montage played to Eels’ track “Fresh Blood.” You may know this song better as the theme to the recent documentary miniseries The Jinx. You’ve got to wonder how this came about. Was director Seth Gordon just putting the finishing touches to the pilot with HBO blaring in the background and thought “Yeah, I’ll have that!”? Or was it already in place and pigheadedishly, Gordon, in an up-yours to Andrew Jarecki, kept it in? We’ll probably never know. But however it came to pass, you should be glad it did, as for about three minutes of Sneaky Pete, your mind will be transported straight to something better. 

    Screengrab via Amazon Studios


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    Something that has become increasingly evident in the wake of this whole Drake vs. Meek Mill imbroglio rap fans have been mired in for the past few weeks: Hip-hop needs more superstars. 

    Mill has appeared very out of his element in the mainstream spotlight despite having the No. 1 album in the country as recently as last month, and a widespread radio silence among other popular rappers concerning the beef has revealed the monopoly Drake holds on the genre. Rap music needs more than a single person with a legitimate claim to the top spot, even if they sing as much as they rap.

    Atlanta has been the central hub of rap music for a hefty chunk of this century, but there are two artists from the Midwest who are rapping at the door of success. Dej Loaf of Detroit and Tink of Chicago have come to 2015 looking to make that jump as dynamic rappers, singers, and songwriters. 

    Establishment performers should work with them while they can still afford a feature.

    Dej in particular may already be charging top dollar for her guest verses after last year’s sweet-but-slightly-psychopathic hit “Try Me” got her signed by Colombia Records. She’s since appeared on singles by Kid Ink, Lil Durk, and The Game. Unfortunately, on “Be Real,” the only one of those tracks to make it on the Billboard chart, she’s reduced to hook duty. But as Dej proves on her new EP #AndSeeThatsTheThing, she has so much more to offer.

    The EP is Dej’s first solo project since last year’s Sell Sole mixtape, which was released right after she started garnering praise. She sounds much more confident here, defying haters with tales of her grind rather than merely promising and hoping for future success–delivering a myriad of emotions without ever getting louder than an inside voice. Winning has become a foregone conclusion with Dej. “But I ain’t even change, I just boss up and I made it” she raps on “Been on My Grind.” There are two features on the EP, but both–with Future and Big Sean—sound fragmented or at least leave much to be desired, like they were the best of what fell to the cutting room floor of studio sessions. Dej is better at taking over the world on her own anyway, like on “Desire,” showing her full rapping and singing range.

    Tink has a similar star-quality with her feathery flows and highly relatable lyrics, but is yet to have her own breakout single. Last year’s “Don’t Tell Nobody” had every right to be a huge hit for people with complicated relationship statuses, but with the enigmatic singer Jeremih on the hook and no help from her record label, the song didn’t even get a proper release.

    When Tink signed a deal with the legendary producer Timbaland last year, it seemed like the perfect type of mutually beneficial partnership. That still remains to be seen with Tink’s debut album scheduled for release next month, but thus far the collaborations have been underwhelming. The pair have come up with a bunch of Instagram posts of song snippets, and a couple ‘90s retreads “Ten Ratchet Commandments” and “Million,” the latter of which is getting some traction on regional radio.

    However, both songs feel like a step back from “Don’t Tell Nobody,” which had a dizzy-bopping beat and featured Tink rapping in circles trying to untangle her heart. This is why her newest project, the third in her Winter’s Diary series, is so reassuring. Unlike the first two tapes in the series, Winter’s Diary 3 displays the entire spectrum of Tink, rather than mostly being a vehicle for her lighter singing. Timbaland only produces one song as Tink searches elsewhere for soundscapes, even using the Chicago drill producer, C Sick.

    The Timbo song, “L.E.A.S.H.,” uses the producer’s patented “indian flute,” around which Tink performs the hardest bars on the tape, and C Sick lays out a feathery piano and skittering 808s for Tink to weave gorgeous melodies around on “I Like.” Another highlight is “Stripclub,”  an Auto-Tune-filled third-person narrative of a young exotic dancer. The closing track is a straight-faced '80s synthpop song that could just as easily be done by Sheila E., but Tink owns it completely. Like Dej, her personal style is all her own but can fit into most any context.

    If Nicki Minaj and Drake have proven that the only way a rapper can become a music superstar is to also make pop songs, Dej Loaf and Tink may very well have next.

    Screengrab via TinkVEVO/YouTube 


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    This article contains sexually explicit material and may be unsafe for work.

    Kim Kardashian started a conversation about the vastly different experiences of pregnant women by proudly sharing a selfie showing off her own pregnancy on Tuesday.

    Kardashian saw firsthand how cruel people can be after the tabloids mocked and criticized her for wearing clothes that were too sexy and for gaining too much weight during her first pregnancy. She’s still getting those kinds of comments now that she's pregnant again, but this time she’s received two opposite critiques: Some people say she’s too big, while others say her stomach is too small at this point in her pregnancy.

    No matter what she does, Kardashian can’t seem to please some people. But she can have the last word. As a big middle finger to the haters, Kardashian posted a nude selfie showing off her body—one she says is unfiltered and not Photoshopped.

    She explained that her stomach—which is, friendly reminder, currently carrying a human child—looks different depending on what time of the day it’s photographed and whether she’s eaten recently. Besides, Kardashian’s social media habits are too well-documented for her to hide something like a surrogate.

    Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West, have already broken boundaries about what we talk about when it comes to pregnancy. Kardashian in particular has spoken about their troubles conceiving their second child on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and even brought the cameras into appointments with a fertility doctor.

    But more importantly, Kardashian zeroes in on a key point: not all pregnancies are exactly the same. She’s just grateful that she’s pregnant again and loving whatever state her body is in.

    She also posted the photograph to Instagram, which is still online—for now. But since Instagram has an inconsistent (at best) policy on what constitutes the community guideline rule against nudity, who knows how long it’ll stay online.

    Chances are, Kardashian is only worried about one thing when it comes to her pregnancy and the eventual birth of her son: that he’s healthy.

    Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    The smallest screen is ready for its late-night close-up.

    Late-night television programs have incorporated YouTube into their strategies for years, and late-night newbie James Corden is continuing the tradition by taking his show to the YouTube Space L.A. for an upcoming episode.

    Corden will film his Aug. 21 episode at the Playa Vista facility, which has played host to a variety of programs and series for YouTube creators. He won’t just be using the space, however. He’ll also welcome some of YouTube’s biggest names as guests for the evening on the CBS program, like Tyler Oakley, the Epic Rap Battles of History team, and Jenna Marbles.

    “YouTube has become a big part of the late-night television experience, and we are delighted to celebrate their 10-year anniversary this way. The show will be packed full of surprises, games and music—all with a YouTube twist,” Late Late Show Executive Producer Ben Winston told the Hollywood Reporter.

    The battle for YouTube dominance between late night stars like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon has burned bright over the past year, with segments from each racking up tens of millions of views on the platform after they air on television. Stephen Colbert, who starts his Late Show stint in September, already kicked off his digital presence with several videos on his budding YouTube channel.  

    Corden has been building his presence since his show launched last March, and he has 870,000 subscribers to date. Some videos, like an episode with Justin Bieber, have clocked in at more than 31 million views on the service.

    Now, he’s playing YouTube’s game with its rules.

    H/T Tubefilter | Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube


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    Yesterday, social media was aflame with one burning question: What is Alphabet? Let Silicon Valley explain. 

    It appears Alphabet is the new parent company for Google, which announced the somewhat surprising move with a blog post from CEO Larry Page. He explained Alphabet is “mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead.” 

    Hidden within that dense post, however—down toward the end, locked within a hyperlinked period after “Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort”—was this nod to HBO’s Silicon Valley

    Specifically, it’s a nod to Hooli, the show’s Google parody. That site informs travelers that “HooliXYZ is Hooli’s experimental division. The dream kitchen. The moonshot factory. The laboratory of possibility. The midwife of magic. The womb of wonders.”

    As has been pointed out, hiding links to game search engine rankings is a violation of Google’s policy, just in case you thought this couldn’t get any more meta. 

    H/T Mashable | Screengrab via hooli.xyz


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    Netflix teased its next upcoming original film today, and 2016 is looking especially furry. 

    Christopher Guest—director and star of Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, and Best in Show—has made the comedic ensemble cast his foundation, and has done an excellent job creating characters that remain eternally quotable. Add Mascots, a film that will explore the furry underbelly of mascot culture, to that list. 

    The cast has not yet been announced, but we do we know the film will revolve around the 8th World Mascot Association Championships, which means there will be plenty of room for physical comedy, absurd competitions, and possibly little Sherlock Holmes hats.  

    This will be Guest’s first time directing a feature film since 2006’s For Your Consideration, which mocked Hollywood’s obsession with awards. Can’t wait for this illuminating look into the dark, unflinching eyes of the mascot world. 

    We've reached out to Netflix for further comment and will update if and when we hear back. 

    Screengrab via Movieclips/YouTube 


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    To record or not to record; that is the question.

    Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock and The Imitation Game fame, recently stepped out of the stage door of the theatre at which he’s performing and asked patrons not to film him in his current role.

    On Saturday, Aug. 8, the actor exited the Barbican theatre in London where he is filling the title role of William Shakespeare’s Hamletand told the fans waiting there that there is “nothing less supportive or enjoyable” than seeing a “big red light” from smartphone while he’s on stage, describing the sensation of being filmed as “mortifying.”

    The Saturday performance was hamstrung by technical problems and the filming made restarting the play—believed by many to be the greatest play in the history of the English theatre—even more difficult.

    “What I really want to do is try and enlist you,” he told the crowd. “I don’t really use social media, but I’d really appreciate it if you did tweet, blog, hashtag the shit out of this [message] for me… I can see cameras; I can see red lights in the auditorium. … There is nothing less supportive or enjoyable as an actor being on stage experiencing that, and I can’t give you what I want to give you, which is a live performance that you will remember hopefully in your minds, your brains—whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent—rather than on your phones.”

    He warned that the theatre would get strict and begin evicting people if they didn’t police themselves.

    “This isn’t me blaming you,” he said, “this is just me asking you to just ripple it out there, in the brilliant, beautiful way that you do with your funny electronic things.”

    For years, the theatre has struggled with the possibilities and demands of social media, and the harm it can do to the fragile egos of actors and other stage professionals. When they do decide to employ it, they sometimes make massive misjudgments that set the cause back years.

    No one can fault Cumberbatch for the meat of his message. If mediating art with the constant employment of personal technology is off-putting to an audience member, it must be profoundly distracting to the artists.

    Cumberbatch’s Hamlet opened last Wednesday to mixed reviews, one writer calling his portrayal that of an “oleaginous electric eel” and another calling it simply “electrifying.”

    The theatre is a complex environment. Given how responsive it is to human emotion and ideas, we can hardly expect it to deal with the equally complex environment of social media with the same win-through-failing attitude that characterizes Silicon Valley. If journalism took as long as it did to reconcile the technology with its mission, how much more demanding should the stage be?

    “As with all change, the pendulum must swing to each extreme before settling in the middle,” Ann Swerdfager, publicity director for Canada’s Stratford Festival told the Daily Dot. “We feel we have found a happy medium for the use of social media here in Stratford. And I’m sure other theatres will as well.”

    Still, many years have gone by without productive discussion among the theatre professionals about how best to use this new technology. At its best, social media can amplify and extend the exhilaration of live performance. At its worst, unselfconscious audience members can sabotage the moment of communication by recording it.

    “Social media gives people of all walks of life an opportunity to share their experiences and opinions with like-minded folk,” said Swerdfager. “What better recommendation can there be? The Benedict Cumberbatch, Hamlet is introducing thousands of people to theatre.” In fact the play is the fastest-selling show in British theatrical history.

    “I’m sure Mr. Cumberbatch’s main concern is that they enjoy what they see and return to the theatre. He’s simply requesting an environment that allows him to give each audience member their money’s worth.

    H/T Irish Examiner | Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    Playing one of Jimmy Fallon’s variety games is a small price for a celebrity to pay to promote their film. Most of the time they’ll do it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll like it.

    Kristen Stewart did not look like she wanted to play Word Blurt with Fallon, which involved them saying the first word that came to mind after they flipped a card. She admitted that she wasn’t “very good at the whole improv, joke thing,” so the longer they played, the more awkward she felt about it all.

    After some discomfort and an offhanded fat joke, they got whiteboards to write down their answers instead—which led to some of the biggest truth bombs yet. Surely more than a few past guests can relate to the last response here.

    Never change, Kristen Stewart.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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    Jersey kid never gave up.

    That’s comedian Chris Gethard’s life story in five words—the theme of the episode of The Chris Gethard Show I attended. The show has built a reputation for its madcap, no-budget scrappiness and penchant for the spectacular since its inception at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in 2009. It’s a party where everyone’s invited, and you better believe there will be some audience participation—in fact, the audience is what makes TCGS a truly standout talk show.

    Audience members were encouraged to come up with their own life stories, one of which would be chosen at random and published—along with their picture—on a billboard in Tatum, New Mexico, a town of 839 just 72 miles east of Roswell. Some ranged from simple lists of nouns; others were tight sentences that summarized a particular moment or feeling.

    I had wanted to see TCGS live for three years, and I figured my first in-studio experience with any show taped in New York should be with one that brings the audience along for the ride, even if that ride lands you in Tatum, of all places.

    I arrived at the East Midtown office building that houses TCGS in the basement studio at 7pm, roughly 90 minutes before curtain, and about 50 diehard fans were already lined up, filling out their release forms. All appeared to be in their mid-20s, some younger, and my ears drummed with the sounds of their enthusiasm, occasionally cut through by the beeps and hums of Second Avenue traffic.

    In the plaza, I was looking for anyone who seemed to be in charge when I ran into Fred, a TCGS crewmember I met on Twitter through our shared fandom of The Best Show, a three-hour call-in podcast once on the New Jersey freeform radio station WFMU. I first heard Gethard on an episode in 2012; that’s how I found out about his show.

    This studio was more reminiscent of a stripped-down Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

    Fred and I had never actually met in real life, so he told me to look for the “brown dude with an ID.” He was easy to find, though—not because he was the only person of color in the plaza (not counting myself, he was)—but because he was dressed in a full-body dog costume. We greeted each other with a handshake and a hug as if we’d already known each other for years. Our brief interaction encapsulated the atmosphere perfectly. This ragtag band of misfits found each other through their shared fandom.

    Never having been a part of a studio audience, I figured the experience would be very regimented. The only other time I had been involved in filming a TV show was during the finale episode of NBC’s Friday Night Lights in Dallas. For $12 an hour, I was a part of East Dillon High, cheering for the Lions along with 400 fans (or at least pantomiming my personal investment in the gridiron). Production assistants corralled the extras, announcing through loudspeakers where to go, what to do, when to stand, when to cheer, when to feign excitement and disappointment. We were very much at the mercy of the producers for 10 hours. Six months later, in the final minutes of the final episode of the series, the fans in the stands so blurry, they may as well have been added in post-production.

    My experience with The Chris Gethard Show was the polar opposite.

    The studio itself wasn’t nearly as barren as I imagined it would be. Traditionally, the set only consists of what’s in frame, so there isn’t much to look at other than the stage. This studio, however, was more reminiscent of a stripped-down Pee Wee’s Playhouse, with hints of MTV’s Remote Control—exposed plywood and door jambs, disembodied heads and emptied costumes. In the true participatory spirit of the show, the set had been built with materials sent in by fans. As we filed into the space, my body shook as my adrenaline rose. The house band, the LLC—fronted by Gethard’s wife, Hallie Bulleit—vamped as comedian Connor Ratliff chanted, “Pack it real tight,” in time with the bass and drums. The audience seemed to have done this before: They knew exactly where to sit—on the floor in front of the hosts, on the platform behind them just beneath announcer Murf Meyer and the “creature from the sea,” the Human Fish (David Bluvband).

    Gethard opens the show dressed as the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, in a ringer tee and red kilt. His monologue lays out the show’s theme, standing in the center of the set, surrounded by the audience. Mimi, who’s been on the show since the first season of the MNN days, stands behind Gethard under an exposed door frame, twirling two hula hoops for the duration of the taping—she only stops if production stops. Excluding minor technical glitches, the taping felt like an all-ages punk show in your friend’s garage; it didn’t feel like you were on TV at all.

    TCGS first started as a live show at the UCB Theater in New York, before moving to the public access station Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and livestreamed since 2011. Many of the cast members still on set today had been involved with the show in those early days. The current iteration of TCGS, which airs on Fusion, while still anarchic and a seeming free-f0r-all, is divided into segments to be cut down to a 22-minute episode, as opposed to the previous improvisational hourlong panel format on MNN. Meyer kicks off every episode with, “Good evening, weirdos!” which he commands with the charisma of Bob Eubanks, the “Hey-O!” of Ed McMahon, and the madman growl of Macho Man Randy Savage—all while wearing a sharp vintage suit.  

    The taping felt like an all-ages punk show in your friend’s garage.

    “I first became part of TCGS after taking an improv class Gethard taught at UCB,” said Meyer. “We hit it off, he liked the cut of my jib, and invited me to join the panel of the public access show around episode 8 or 9.” When Meyer started the show, the format was much looser, he explained. The show’s Internet liaison, Bethany Hall, would likely agree.

    Hall greeted fans with a zestful energy before the we entered the studio, high-fiving each individual as she skipped through the hallway, channelling the excitement we all felt. “I saw the first-ever show at the UCB and [told Chris] that it was really disorganized,” Hall said. To help the show, she offered to be the show’s stage manager in order to pull everything together. “At first, [Chris] said he’d rather not expose me to the craziness. Then, days before the second episode, he took me up on my offer.” Hall had taken classes at UCB with the show’s original cast members, including Gethard and co-host Shannon O’Neill, who is also the artistic director of the improv theater. Gethard’s only caveat, Hall said, was that she had to manage the show while performing onstage.

    Pulling from its UCB roots, improvisation played a key role in the show’s format on MNN; despite the fact that the team now has time devoted to planning the show, they still rely on unpredictability to shape an episode within the confines of the cable format. “[P]art of what people really enjoyed about the public access show—watching it, and part of what I enjoyed doing it—is that there were a lot of times when things fell apart,” Gethard told the Daily Dot in June, “and there’s something very fun about watching somebody have to deal with that while a camera’s pointed at them.” If they planned an entire show, he continued, perhaps it would go too well, “and that might not be the best thing for our show.”

    Sitting on the studio floor with the Gethard fans, fighting pins and needles in my legs, I felt like an outsider only in the sense that I hadn’t met anybody else yes; many of the fans were either there with a group of friends or simply knew each other from attending so many episodes. “I’ve been coming since episode 11 [of the public access days],” a fan named Julia told me. “The first time I came was because I wanted to see A.C. Newman [of the New Pornographers] in concert, and he didn’t show up, and he never showed up again. But I just kept going, being like, ‘Maybe he’ll show up.’ And then I just became friends with everybody!” By sheer virtue of continued attendance, Julia became friends with a large portion of the audience, as well as the crew of the show—in no small part thanks to the exceptionally blurry line between “fan” and “crew.”

    “He’s an actual guy… he talks to people on a very real level,” Eric, a New Jersey baker, remarked about Gethard. “He’s kind of a symbol of... even weird people can make really cool things happen.” Eric—tall, with a perma-five-o’clock shadow on his face—had been a fan of the show since its days on public access, but he hadn’t been able to make it to the late-night tapings. The move to Fusion brought with it earlier tapings, check-ins, and Eric could finally join in on the fun. This was his third time in the audience, and he brought cookies.

    “A lot of people who work on [the show] just started kinda as fans,” Gethard said. Indeed, Fred, my costumed friend, had started working for TCGS after moving to New York from Hawaii over a year ago. He worked in pharmaceutical packaging but had an itch to pursue comedy. After taking a trip to the city and experiencing firsthand how friendly and welcoming Gethard was, as well as how insanely fun a taping could be, he knew a move to New York was the next logical step. Fred credits Gethard with giving him his first break in the comedy world.

    “Even weird people can make really cool things happen.”

    Bluvband, the Human Fish—wearing only swim trunks, goggles, and slippers—is one of the staple characters, who’s just “figuring out world of man,” he tells Gethard during the episode. “I absolutely believe the community that’s grown around the show plays a big [role] in its success,” he said. “I also think that when your modus operandi is to celebrate [nerds, freaks, weirdos, underdogs]... you are going to attract a lot of cool, amazingly talented people.”   

    There’s a feeling of solidarity, a call-and-response rhythm, as the audience freely cheers and laughs. TCGS has no in-studio “applause” sign; the audience knows what to do. As most fans volunteer their five-word life stories—one clever fan’s life story was, “Always comes up short”—Gethard returns their honesty with a vulnerability of his own, sharing his insecurities (“Big-headed weirdo, mildly amusing,” “How’d he marry that girl?”), and talking openly with a Skype caller about handling his depression.

    It’s clear everyone—audience and performer, crew and viewer—is in this together.

    “These fans have supported us so passionately that I really need to make sure, on my end, that as we make this jump to a bigger spot that it’s clear we’re still in it for them,” Gethard told the Dot. “That’s still the reason I do the show.”

    By the end of the episode, the moment of truth arrived. Gethard’s guest, comedian Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), randomly drew the winning five-word life story from a “money wind tunnel,” which proved a hilarious moment of its own. Nanjiani looked horrified and overwhelmed inside the wind tunnel as handfuls of life stories and pounds of streamers enveloped his body. Ultimately he drew the name of Brian Levy, a kid dressed as a vampire, whose life story read, “Spooky stuff, comedy, and antidepressants.” And now the people of Tatum, New Mexico, will know about Levy’s life, and they will know his face, pictured with O’Neill and Gethard.

    The shameless atmosphere, that feeling of absolute safety fostered by Gethard, the cast and crew, and the audience all make it clear why anyone, whether they are nerds, freaks, weirdos, or underdogs, would keep coming back. If you’re in the audience of TCGS, you’re more than just an applauding space-filler. You are the show. After experiencing this for myself, I came up with a couple five word stories for the evening:

    This TV show is insane.

    Or:

    It is so much more.

    Screengrab via The Chris Gethard Show/YouTube


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    James Corden is expanding his online horizons, six seconds at a time.

    Corden was already planning to film an episode of The Late Late Show at YouTube Space L.A. later this month, but until recently, he remained blissfully ignorant of Vine. But because his show’s YouTube presence makes him an online creator of sorts, Corden decided to visit the apartment complex where many of Vine’s top stars live to see what all the fuss was about.

    With Vine stars like King Bach, Amanda Cerny, and Christian DelGrosso leading him every step of the way, Corden soon saw the benefits of the six-second format—and using that format to do absolutely everything imaginable.

    Once Corden got the hang of it, the stars helped him kick off his own Vine career. He probably won’t give up The Late Late Show for it, but he’s got some powerful friends in high places.

    Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube

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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCWon Twitter and Instagram, by highlighting female creators on YouTube whose work we admire.

    Who is she?

    This July, alongside YouTube heavyweights Ryan Higa, PewDiePie, and Rosanna Pansino, quirky beauty guru Eva Gutowski (MyLifeasEva) was named a YouTube “Famechanger” by Variety. Now, I pride myself with being abreast on all YouTube news—I mean, how else am I going to make a killer Matty B Raps jokes when he releases a new track?—but looking at this list, I felt completely thrown by Eva’s presence: Who was this girl who had added 1.6 million subscribers to her channel since March? Had I become so set in my Gregory Brothers and Casey Neistat ways that I couldn’t spot emerging talent a foot away?

    It would be easy to dismiss Eva as just another 20-something beauty guru trying to make a splash online. But that would be a mistake.

    The California native is a force to be reckoned with, blending her passion for all things beauty, style, and DIY with a refreshing and relatable dose of awkward comedy. In just four years, Eva has gained an audience of over 3.6 million subscribers and continues to gain close to 80,000 new subscribers a week. Since June of this year, the YouTube star has tallied over 22.5 million views on her channel, making hers one of the fastest-growing channels of this year.

    In her profile with Variety, Gutowski shares that her secret to success has been “taking a lot of time to understand what my age group wants. It’s kind of like browsing the Internet for hours and hours late at night, but giving it to [viewers] in one YouTube channel. No one else is giving it to them in that way.”

    Browsing through her top videos—“High School You vs. Child You,” “Real Morning Routine,” “DIY Room Decorations for Cheap”—and the millions of views she receives on each, it’s safe to say Gutowski’s personal formula is not only working; it’s also earning her notice outside the platform. Along with being nominated for a Teen Choice Award, Eva is also branching into longer-form content and joining fellow YouTubers for the Girls Night In tour.

    So should you be in need of some decorating inspiration—her living room is a trying-to-be-an-adult-but-not-quite-there-yet girl’s dream—or a few tips for the perfect “you”-inspired party outfit, MyLifeAsEva is just the fashion-forward friend you need.

    Screengrab via MyLifeAsEva/YouTube


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    The casts of Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aren’t the only superheroes at the top of their Dubsmash game.

    Hugh Jackman is also a fan of the mobile app, which allows people to record themselves lip-syncing to small clips from popular songs or movies. Jackman's impression of Professor Snape from the Harry Potter films back in April was a huge hit.

    Now, Jackman is channeling his inner California girl by taking on Katy Perry's “Teenage Dream,” to the utter joy of his millions of Instagram followers. While his eyebrow game is a little too strong, he’s had plenty of practice mouthing the lyrics. We’ll give it a solid A-.

    Jackman is far from the only celebrity getting into the lip sync-game. NBC's Lip Sync Battle is more popular than ever, and the cast of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt recently did their best Beyoncé impressions in their own lip-sync video.

    With Hayley Atwell and the Rockpossibly in cahoots, someone should grab Jackman for their team ASAP.

    Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    If you want proof that digital video is ever-changing, look no further than the nominations for this year’s Streamy Awards.

    Categories for Snapchat content didn’t even exist for last year’s awards, but scripted series SnapperHero, which follows six digital creators who are infused with super powers, leads the pack this year with six total nominations. It earned nods for Ensemble Cast, Special Effects, and the newly instituted Short Form Creativity to encompass Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. The series is a collaboration between AT&T, multichannel network Fullscreen, and digital production house Astronauts Wanted. It stars digital influencers Freddie Wong, Anna Akana, Jasmeet Singh, Harley Morenstein and Shaun McBride and is produced by Billy Parks.

    “Very happy to see the community respond to innovation,” Judy McGrath, president of Astronauts Wanted, told the Daily Dot. “Billy Parks embraced the spirit of Snapchat, and we launched a social story. Who doesn’t love a Snapper Hero?”

    Hot on Snapchat’s tail with four nominees a piece are perennial YouTube favorites Epic Rap Battles of History and Video Game High School. Hulu’s The Hotwives of Orlando and Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe series each netted three noms.

    “If the strength of this year’s nominees is any indication, we are on track for the biggest Streamys ever,” wrote Streamy Awards creator Drew Baldwin in a press release. “This past year, video creators have inspired, educated, and entertained us like never before—and I can imagine no better way to celebrate our community’s achievements than with dick clark productions and VH1 for our first-ever television and digital broadcast.”

    In the personality-oriented categories, past winners like Tyler Oakley, Mamrie Hart, and Grace Helbig all picked up nominations. Newly instituted categories like Snapchat Storyteller resulted in noms for both mainstream media mogul Ryan Seacrest and digital powerhouse Jérôme Jarre. The awards also expanded to include subject categories for Lifestyle and Documentary, as well as a Breakout Creator category, which saw nominations for YouTubers like Arden Rose, Jenn McAllister, and Matthew Santoro, none of whom have less than 1 million subscribers. Nominees in the breakout category have over 12 million subscribers between them.

    The two fan-voted awards—Entertainer of the Year and Show of the Year—won’t be announced until Sept. 3, and fans can continue to vote for finalists through the live show on Sept. 17. The event will be broadcast live on VH1 at 10pm ET.

    A full list of nominees is available at Streamys.org.

    Photo courtesy of the Streamy Awards


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    Christina Aguilera likes to keep it real. So much so that she took to Instagram to say as much. Why? We’re not so sure.

    Aguilera posted a shot of herself topless on Wednesday, with a caption that read, “Just so you know with me, it’s all real, all the time. Felt like it was time to start sharing some personal stuff with you guys... And it’s just the beginning. Night night. X.” Was she responding to Kim Kardashian’s recent nude selfie? Has The Voice changed its format? Is she using using viral marketing to promote a return to Dirrty? It looks like we’ll have to wait to find out.

    The singer first rose to stardom with her hit single, “Genie in a Bottle,” off her 1999 self-titled debut. It was good, wholesome, fun for the whole family—and why not? Aguilera was a Mousketeer, after all. She sexed up her image for 2002’s dirty, but toned it down for 2006’s Back to Basics.

    Whatever she’s planning, she got the attention of over 40,000 fans who have liked the post in the 13 hours since she posted.

    H/T TMZ | Photo via YayA Lee/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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