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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Vine star King Bach is getting a Fox TV show, with Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele signed on as executive producers.

    The untitled comedy series will star King Bach, whose real name is Andrew Bachelor, as “an undercover cop who grew up on the streets and goes back to his old neighborhood to take down the bad guys who bullied him when they were kids.”

    Bach’s Vine reach is enormous, with more than 14 million followers and 5 billion loops to date. The Fox series will be a test of whether that rock-solid Vine credibility translates to network television.

    Bach has appeared on Key & Peele, The Mindy Project, and House of Lies, but this new series will mark both his first leading role and his first major exposure outside of a six-second loop.

    The risks for Bach and Fox are obvious, but if his vines can gain enough traction to attract high-profile fans like Kendall and Kylie Jenner and Justin Bieber, it’s safe to say that his show might be able to do the same.

    H/T Deadline | Screengrab via KingBach/Twitter


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    Chris Pratt may be one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but despite Hollywood’s attempt to cast him in every major action movie for the foreseeable future, there remain a few people who have never heard of him.

    This segment of the population shrinks everyday. Whether it’s Parks and Recreation, blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, or help from a Facebook trending topic, more and more people end up discovering him—and for the most part, they love him. But Billy Eichner managed to find the only people in New York who still have a massive Pratt-shaped hole in their lives, and their interactions—with Pratt standing right there—are magical.

    Pratt is a massively great sport about the whole thing, as Eichner repeatedly accosts passersby whose ignorance would wound a lesser actor's ego. No amount of entertainment praise, résumé-spouting, or even promised rewards can force these people to recognize him. (But they might go on a Googling spree later.)

    “Yeah, he’s a good-looking guy,” one man said of Pratt, who smiled. But when Eichner asked him who Pratt was, he answered, “Fuck if I know.”

    Well, at least we can all agree that Chris Pratt is good-looking.

    Screengrab via truTV/YouTube


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    YouTube-famous, London remix artists Eclectic Method have given Back to the Future the ultimate 30th anniversary gift: a rock and roll dance remix made out of sound samples from the movie.

    It represents all the iconic moments, from a 1.21-gigawatts shoutout to that bright red electric guitar. And even though it definitely doesn’t sound like anything out of 1985, it’s perfect to ride your hoverboard to in 2015.

    If you live in Paris, you’re in luck: Eclectic Method will be playing a Back to the Future-themed party Oct. 21.

    H/T Devour | Screengrab via Eclectic Method/YouTube


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    Vlogger and My Drunk Kitchen star Hannah Hart has rolled up millions of views on YouTube and emerged as one of the video site’s biggest stars. Hart’s popularity has made her into a role model for many young women, and that status allows her to connect with her viewers on important issues. In a recent video, she tackles the subject of mental health alongside a very special guest: actress Glenn Close.

    Close comes onto Hart’s channel not as Cruella de Vil but as the founder of Bring Change 2 Mind, a nonprofit that works to eradicate mental health stigma in schools. Hart has a lot of fans who are of scholastic age, and they are ideal recipients for Close’s message. In a short video, Hart and Close talk about the steps needed to improve our society’s relationship with mental illness. Close also discusses mental illness as it relates to her own family; she has a sister who lives with bipolar disorder and a nephew who has a schizoaffective disorder.

    The video is the latest instance of a YouTube star facing students and offering up a PSA of sorts. Tyler Oakley, for example, teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama to extol the benefits of higher education.

    For Hart the collaboration joins the other videos she has made alongside well-known actresses. In addition to Close, she has also hung out with Mary Louise Parker and Sarah Silverman. She has also talked about mental health on her channel in the past, particularly in a video featuring fellow YouTuber Kati Morton. Her latest video arrives just after the end Mental Illness Awareness Week, and her contribution to the ongoing mental health discussion is worth watching.

    Screengrab via Hannah Hart/YouTube


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    Two of the biggest sports websites had their Twitter accounts shut down on Monday night, and apparently, it's at least partially the fault of the NFL.

    The accounts of Deadspin and SB Nation GIF—an arm of SB Nation— were shuttered after Twitter said they had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). According to Lacey Donohue, the managing editor of Gawker, the culprit was none other than the most popular sports league in this country.

    Though Deadspin has since returned to Twitter—SB Nation GIF, as of 11pm ET on Monday, was still suspended—it appears that the NFL wasn't the only entity targeting these two sites.

    Soon after its account was taken down, though, Deadspin was back— Keith Olbermann actually let the website commandeer his Twitter account until the site was ready to return under its own moniker—and its first two tweets took shots at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

    The NFL is the most powerful league in the country, and, even though it seems that allowing GIFs and vines to go viral would only continue to help the brand—nobody is not going to watch the games because there are Vine highlights floating around the Internet—the NFL seemingly doesn't care.

    The league and, I suppose, the networks who broadcast the games would rather protect their copyrights and not allow game coverage to be made into GIFs. Also, take note that the NFL and Twitter signed a two-year deal in August in which the NFL would send to Twitter plenty of video highlights and photos of games while they're in progress.

    That's why Gawker said Twitter sent Deadspin 18 DMCA takedown notices. 

    Yet, as Awful Announcing wrote:

    ... the NFL is actually much more restrictive in video rights versus Major League Baseball. MLB has at least shown some forward-thinking behavior in making videos available on their website and YouTube embeddable and utilizing GIFs on social media. The NFL does none of that.  You’d have better luck figuring out what constitutes a catch in the NFL than finding a decent shareable video. The NFL only just this year created a YouTube channel, and even then sharing is disabled by request. The NFL finally discovered YouTube in 2015!! Next they’ll create their own MySpace page.

    If it is true that the NFL is behind the shutting down of these Twitter accounts, it’s just another slap in the face of fans who just want access to highlights. ...It’s ridiculous that these billion dollar sports leagues fail to realize that the whole purpose of social media is being social, ya know, sharing. ...Again, if this is the NFL behind these suspensions, all it is doing here is squashing free advertising of their product.

    But the NFL told Politico that it didn't request for any Twitter accounts to be suspended.

    Parker Higgins, director of copyright activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, tells the Daily Dot that this is a potential new normal for fans and reporters online.

    "We see this all the time," Higgins says. "We see that copyright holders have a lot more influence than users on a lot of discussions." 

    And that's a problem here, Higgins says, because "copyright penalties are so much more severe than anything comparable in any other areas." 

    He notes that it doesn't help that Twitter and the NFL have a high-stakes business relationship. Parker says that this could be an important precedent.

    "The frustrating thing is that all of the leagues and the NFL—and MLB especially—have always claimed more rights than their copyright allows them." He means the verbose language tacked onto telecasts like "Any rebroadcast, reproduction, or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited." 

    Parker says this type of broad statement of purpose was "always predicated on a maximalist understanding of copyright law that wouldn't have held up... in court." 

    Enter Twitter: "But when you're talking about services and platforms that you can just convince," he says, "You might be seeing journalists and fans having to comply with whatever MLB and the NFL can convince Twitter what the law should be."

    This kind of story, involving sports leagues and websites and what constitutes fair use, seems to be far from settled and is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

    Photo via Matt McGee/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)


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    As the spotlight shines brighter and brighter on YouTube’s rising stars, the pressure to make Hollywood-level content on a YouTube budget has begun to take its toll the creator community. So what is the future of filmmaking on YouTube? And can fans and creators amicably coexist when paid content is on the line?

    It’s a discussion U.K. filmmaker PJ Liguori has started among his fans after the release of his series Oscar’s Hotel on Vimeo. Originally a single video created under Ron Howard’s studio New Form Digital, Oscar’s Hotel caught the eye of Vimeo, which offered Liguori the opportunity to expand it into an entire series.

    Oscar’s Hotel follows the fantastical adventures of Oliver, played by YouTuber Chris Kendall, who must manage, and in the end save, the magical creatures of his uncle Oscar’s hotel. The cameo list is what diehard YouTube fans would call “the ultimate dream,” bringing such creators as Olan Rogers, Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, Jack Howard, Dean Dobbs, Jake Roper, Mamrie Hart, Mitchell Davis, Joe Bereta, and Sir Patrick Stewart into the same space. Liguori also teamed up with Jim Henson Studios to bring alive the costumes and characters of his imagination, adding a whole new element of product to the series.

    Along with vlogs from Chris Kendall and behind-the-scenes features hosted by Mitchell Davis, Liguori releasing exclusive videos to his own YouTube channel as a way of keeping his 760,000-plus subscribers involved in the filmmaking process. In the past couple months, he has taken us on tours of the set, created DIY projects, revealed Jim Henson Studio exclusives, and even invited the masses to the show’s digital launch party. But upon learning Oscar’s Hotel was only available for a $10 download fee, fans began ripping the series from Vimeo onto YouTube in order to make it accessible to everyone.

    For many fans, their financial or geographical situations have left them excluded from enjoying the series; they grappled with the idea of illegally downloading when there was no other option available. Under Liguori’s video “Please Don’t Kill My Show,” fans shared:

    Some fans even went so far as to offer to pay for others:

    For his part, Liguori has since publicly addressed the issue with his viewers, explaining both why his series cost money and the effects their copyright infringement has on the future of YouTube filmmakers.

    “The really ironic thing is, if I was to make [this series] free, everything that you’d want [cameos, Jim Henson, high-quality production] from Oscar’s Hotel wouldn’t exist,” Liguori candidly shares in his video. “It wouldn’t exist because it would have had to have been sponsored by a brand… Making it paid-for content gives us the freedom to do something amazing.”

    By illegally downloading, Liguori explains: “You’re going to kill my show. You’re going to kill the future of this genre of content. … However, if you do support the show by not illegally uploading it, you’re going to see a positive change in the world of entertainment.” Liguori isn’t the first YouTube creator to chose paid content over YouTube; he follows in the footsteps of the Riedell Brothers (Camp Takota on Vimeo and Netflix) and Wong Fu Productions (Everything Before Us on Vimeo).

    The introduction of paid content is a double-edged sword.

    The introduction of paid content is a double-edged sword. From the creators’ perspective, paid content opens up countless avenues for them to create the best possible content for their loyal audiences. A win for everyone right? But for the fans, paid content can feel like a slap in the face if they’re unable to enjoy the content their years of support have made possible. So can this problem be solved moving forward?

    It’s a tough question without a simple answer. While the solution might not be paid content due to its exclusive tendencies, neither is it illegally downloading shows from one platform to another. As fans, especially if we’ve followed a creator for years, we tend to forget these YouTubers are no longer just awkward teenagers talking to a webcam about their dreams, but now actual adults working to make those dreams a reality. But if last year’s critical YouTube culture debate holds any clues, the solution may lie in redefining the expectations and relationships between creators and their audience.

    Screengrab via PJtheKick/YouTube


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    Chrissy Teigen is pregnant with her first child, so she and her husband John Legend announced it in a very modern way: on Instagram.

    The couple, who are currently producing a pilot at ABC based on their relationship, shared the happy news on Monday night. As Teigen explained, becoming pregnant wasn’t an easy thing for them, but they’re absolutely thrilled that it’s finally happening.

    “As many of you know, we’ve been trying to have a baby for a while now,” Teigen wrote. “It hasn’t been easy, but we kept trying because we can’t wait to bring our first child into the world and grow our family.”

    Legend posted the same photo to his Instagram account, but his post got straight to the point.

    Teigen has been open about the difficulties she and Legend have had conceiving in the past. Just a few weeks ago, she and Tyra Banks discussed it on FABLife. Having struggled conceiving herself, Teigen said she couldn’t imagine asking other couples when they were having children, as some people have done to her. She acknowledged that she had no idea what they could be going through.

    “I would say, honestly, John and I were having trouble,” Teigen told her fellow co-hosts. “We would have had kids five, six years ago if it had happened, but my gosh, it’s been a process. We’ve seen fertility doctors, and then once you open up about all those things to other people you start learning that a lot of other people in your life are seeing these people and they have this shame about it.”

    Photo via Chrissy Teigen/Instagram


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    Just as you’re gearing up for Halloween, Todrick Hall swoops in with a ’90s parody for the occasion.

    This time, YouTube’s mashup maestro is tweaking the plot of the much-beloved classic Hocus Pocus. Now it’s Broke-us Pocus, the tale of three broke witches just trying to make it through the holiday.

    So for anyone out there still looking for costume idea inspiration, maybe a flicka da wrist over a cauldron while singing his “I Put a Spell on You” remix will help.

    Screengrab via Todrick Hall/YouTube


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    If you survived the aughts, you’re probably a mashup connoisseur, which means DJ Cummerbund’s new Justin Bieber mashup might bum you out.

    Technically, things are going right here—the songs all have similar tempos, so they fit together pretty seamlessly—but there is virtually no party that calls for Kurt Cobain wailing about ’90s teenage malaise set to a cartoony tick-tock clock beat.

    Things definitely hit their stride when he pairs Katy Perry’s “Firework” vocals with that Bieber beat (those two songs are 100 percent invited to the same party), but overall there’s a lot more “Why?” happening in “What Do You Smell Like?”

    H/T A.V. Club | Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    While TV shows like Dancing With The Stars might dabble in the inclusion of digital talent on their rosters, Dance On’s Dance Showdown is all about merging digital celebrity and dance into a memorable experience.

    “You get to see people, you get to know people, you really get to be a part of their journey,” explained series creator and judge D-Trix. In addition to a stronger set of dancers and choreographers overall, this season will also see props involved in some dances, making for a higher production value.

    The fourth season of the show premieres today, which brings digital talent together with a choreographer to perform each episode. Unlike other dance shows that allow a week for talent to learn their moves, Dance On gives as little as 20 minutes at times. Contestants work together, complete challenges, and do solos. Everything is open to voting by fans, and contestants like Vine star Gabbie Hanna and magician Brian Brushwood have a lot of digital cheerleaders.

    “No one’s going to be great, no one’s going to be a professional dancer within four days,” D-Trix said. “Anything you do new, you give props and respect to the people really going for it. Of course they’re not going to be perfect, but for someone to be vulnerable and just go for it [takes guts].”

    The series has run for three previous seasons on YouTube as part of the Dance On network, which is the leading multichannel network for dancers and choreographers. The network’s creators have helped shape musical and dance trends, including viral hits like Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).” In previous seasons of the show, Dance Showdown has welcomed some of the biggest names of YouTube, like Hannah Hart and Kingsley, but also given a platform to some digital stars who’ve later faced controversy, like Sam Pepper, who was on the show in 2013 and later stood accused of sexual misconduct in 2014.

    Former contestant Steve Kardynal has joined this season as a judge, giving him a special relationship with the contestants. He remembers that going from occasional dancer at the club to learning choreography was crazy for him last year, so he knows what the contestants are going through. 

    Kardynal is known for his pop culture parodies on YouTube, and he said that his new dancing experience has inspired him to change the way he does videos.

    “I definitely have a video planned that’s all filmed in one take; it’s inspired to this song by Kiesza,” Kardynal said. “So because of this show I am making a whole one take. It’ll be the longest preparation I’ve ever done for a video. That’s all because of Dance Showdown.”

    The show doesn't only tap into the digital world of talent, but also crosses over to the established world of dance. Choreographer Laurieanne Gibson, who’s worked for years as Nicki Minaj’s creative director, is one of the judges, and she sees her involvement in the show as important for bridging the gap between digital and mainstream.

    “There’s something about this show that I love, being a part of the future and touching the kids,” Gibson said. “I jumped on a Greyhound bus from Toronto to New York pursuing my dream, and now they get to access choreography and dance from YouTube and maybe take a little longer. I love being a part of something that’s the future.”

    Gibson said when she leaves the world of YouTube and heads to a Diddy video shoot, the reaction from her industry counterparts is a mix of confusion and excitement. While Dancing With the Stars, and other talent shows like The Voice might mine digital talent for their ranks, they’re still seen as part of the major industry system. Shows like Dance Showdown are instead a part of the digital ecosystem, homegrown and ready to adapt. TV networks have a limited amount of minutes in their programming schedules for dance-centric content, but YouTube has proven there’s an ever-expanding desire from viewers to watch more. Instead of being beholden to attaching C-list TV star names to the roster, Dance Showdown can engage with its neighboring digital stars and create a self-sustained show, with help from sponsors like Coca-Cola and Toyota. For D-Trix, the show is unlike anything else available. 

    “The only way you can watch something like this is Dance Showdown,” he said. “I think the goal is to bring more opportunities like this online. Sadly viewership on television is not as strong as it used to be, but kids are hungry for it.”

    Episodes will premiere every Friday on Vessel and every Tuesday on YouTube, with voting starting Oct. 16 on DanceShowdown.com

    Screengrab via Dance On/YouTube


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    For the NFL's most dynamic fantasy football running back, Sunday had been business as usual. Jamaal Charles amassed 58 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards early in the third quarter—on par with his career average of 5.5 yards per carry. No other running back has done better over the last five years.

    In an instant, however, a non-contact injury blew out the Kansas City Chief star's right knee when Charles landed awkwardly; a torn ACL ended his season. At 28 years old and having bounced back from the same injury to his other knee like a Greek god, Charles will recover and be fine in 2016. He's already tweeting with optimistic vigor.

    We can't say the same thing about your fantasy team. 

    You have work to do. Charles was the cornerstone of your offensive attack and you need to revamp the gigantic hole he leaves in your lineup. Take my hand—let's cry together and navigate these troubled waters. Here are the seven stages of grieving this broken ligament. 

    1) Shock

    Losing a bookend to your fall plans is a jolt, but let's at least pan outward.

    Recall the poor fortunes of so many other early picks through Week 5: Dez Bryant, Jeremy Hill, C.J. Anderson, Eddie Lacy, Andrew Luck, Jeremy Hill, Demaryius Thomas, Alshon Jeffery, Kelvin Benjamin, Jordy Nelson, DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy. All are either missing in action due to injury or under-performing on the field.

    2) Denial

    It's hard, we've all been there, but Charles will not play again for your 2015 team. Don't waste a roster spot on his winning smile—unless it's a league where you keep players year to year—and cut him immediately. 

    Never look back or, more importantly, worry too much about acquiring the men tasked with replacing him on the Chiefs: Charcandrick West and Knile Davis.

    3) Anger

    Christ, not only did you lose Charles but his workload will get done as a joint task force between two uninspiring backups. Go ahead and destroy the glass in your recycling bin with a golf club—I'll wait here.

    This is a less-than-ideal situation, but realize that your waiver-wire target is West. According to Pro Football Focus, following the Charles injury the 24-year-old, second-year player was on the field for 18 plays compared to Davis's four.

    Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid insists it'll be a committee going forward, but like most employers the NFL loves to overwork its underpaid millennials, then rotate in another fresh face out of college to do the same grunt work two years later. 

    4) Bargaining

    Look this is a moment to make a move and it's time to send out exploratory text messages to your league. If your team is middling or good (say, treading water with a 2-3 record), compile your assets and package a deal. Last chance to dance.

    Josh McCown and Blake Bortles are the most recent evidence that, in fantasy, quarterbacks are interchangeable kickers. Take it from me—a nerd who is undefeated in an expert league on the back of Matthew Stafford, a regressing QB who was relieved of duties this weekend.

    Did you invest a high-draft pick on Luck, Aaron Rodgers, or Cam Newton? Did you luck out and grab Tom Brady late only for his suspension to be overturned? Flip them and play QB roulette week to week: It's not only an underrated fantasy strategy, but you don't have a choice.

    Are you riding the lightning behind over-performing circumstantial studs? Sell high. Devonta Freeman, Joseph Randle, Carlos Hyde, Chris Johnson, and Giovani Bernard are top-15 fantasy backs. They won't be in December.

    Were you dumb enough to draft Andre Johnson only for him to finally score points... on your bench last Thursday? Everything must go.

    About those under-performing studs: Go get one from a frustrated owner. A top-pedigree back like Lacy, McCoy, and Hill is a realistic target. As bad as Murray was the first four weeks of the season, he broke through big in Week 5—it'll happen for the aforementioned, presently cheap dudes.  

    5) Guilt

    Remember.

    6) Depression

    Don't break the bank by targeting Charles's understudy in free agency. (The junkyard dogs over at RotoViz have a stellar rundown of how to value him and dissect all 5 feet, 10 inches, and 204 pounds of his athletic ceiling.) 

    But due diligence is key. Dreams of a flexing, Galácticos lineup are dead, and we need to raid the work fridge for colleague leftovers. Who might get the ball this weekend? Cheap players to consider who are about that action: Derek Carrier, Zach Ertz, Willie Snead, Reuben Randle, Ty Montgomery, Doug Baldwin,  Antonio Andrews, Ryan Matthews, Gary Barnidge, Jamison Crowder, Stefon Diggs, Brian Quick, Theo Riddick, and Christine Michael because I can see him emerging as the best back in Dallas following the bye, and chiefly Thomas Rawls if no one has stashed him yet.

    It's gross, but these parts will hold.

    7) Acceptance and Hope

    A quick recap for how to deal: re-stock the cupboard with spare parts (so help me God if you harbor more than one defense, kicker, or QB you deserve every bad result headed your way), trade that top-shelf signal-caller to any sheep who likes wearing jerseys, sell the over-performing producers, buy the suddenly cheap studs.

    You're alone in the dessert with us lepers. Down here, there are no teams.

    Screengrab via FanDuel/YouTube


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    You’re hired!

    NBC announced today that Donald Trump will be hosting Saturday Night Live’s Nov. 7 episode with musical guest Sia, bringing the Donald back to the stage for the first time since 2004.

    Twitter, predictably, has some complicated feelings about it.

    But polarizing as Trump may be, the motivation for booking the guy is pretty straightforward: ratings. His September appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show reportedly brought the highest Friday night numbers that show had seen in 18 months, so it’s safe to assume SNL is hoping to replicate that success with this booking.

    But how much promise is there of live sketch comedy starring Donald Trump being enjoyable now that he’s a presidential hopeful? Let’s take a look at his first stint hosting the show back in April 2004 for some clues.

    Monologue

    This segment is always a good gauge of how nervous the host is, and Trump seems very at ease on the stage. He does a good job poking fun at himself, and he even ad-libs a little bit when women in the audience give him flack for a dating joke. Is it laugh-out-loud funny? Nah. But if he’s not in his element, he’s at least element-adjacent.

    “Boardroom Band Practice”

    It’s kind of hard to mess up a sketch where you’re playing yourself and Amy Poehler and Fred Armisen are in a punk band with you. Trump talks his way through most of his lines without anything to write home about happening, and then Maya Rudolph and Poehler send you to riot grrrl heaven by harmonizing vocals on a song called “She’s Got Class.”

    “Trump’s House of Wings”

    This sketch dares to ask the question, “What if Donald Trump bought a wing restaurant in suburban New Jersey and filmed a commercial for it?” It’s very, very silly, and Trump gets pretty into it: He dances during the theme song, he bites his lip, he claps his hands. Heck yeah, Donald. Good work.

    “Fathers and Sons”

    Trump plays a character here! A dad! Who is grumpy! Because he thinks his son’s ideas aren’t good! So we’re not too far off from Trump’s public persona, but paired with sweetie Seth Meyers, it counts as acting. Then Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz come in and have a very hard time not giggling through the rest of the scene, so everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

    “Live With Regis and Kelly”

    We’re back to Donald’s safe zone here since he’s playing himself; they even work in a plug for his book. If you like Darryl Hammond and Amy Poehler’s Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa impressions, then great news. That’s what’s going on here comedy-wise.


    My verdict? This episode will be fine. Tons of people will tune in, because tons of people love to have opinions about Donald Trump, and the comedy moments will come off good-to-OK as long as they let him play himself in sketches that rely heavily on crowd-pleasers.

    Basically, SNL doesn’t have too tough a task on its hands here. Donald Trump’s not going create wild physical moments like Melissa McCarthy or sing and dance like Justin Timberlake, but he will deliver his lines, pause for applause, and let America enjoy laughing at him—and when you’re performing live, those aren’t the worst things to bring to the table.

    Illustration by Tiffany Pai


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

    Tazzy Phe is someone you want to be in your corner, on your team, or in your back pocket, ready to pull out as an ally when things get tricky.

    Quick-witted with a deadpan sense of humor, 24-year-old Tazzy was inspired to make videos by the same force that pushes many to start YouTube channels: boredom. Stuck at home one summer between college semesters, Phe took four days to write, film, and edit her first video, “I Don’t Understand White People.” It lived on social media for 15 minutes before her nerves got the best of her and she took it down. But in that time, one of her close friends saw the video and asked if she could share it. From there, the video gained over 200,000 views and caught the attention of JusReign, a Canadian writer and spoken work poet Phe now considers a good friend and collaborator.

    Since then, Phe has become a force to be reckoned with. Over the past three years, she’s grown her channel to include videos about her daily life (“24 Things I’ve Learned in 24 Years,” “Why Are Girls So Much Drama?”), comedy sketches, and vlogs talking specifically about her Muslim identity. Her videos such as “Types of Hijabis” and “Hijabi Nightmares” (along with countless others) take a comedic approach to dismantling stereotypes and assumptions made about women wearing hijabs, while her vlogs like “My Hijab Story” take a direct approach to discussing how racism—especially in college—affected and eventually strengthened her decision to wear her hijab. Though confident in her decisions (get it, girl!), Phe still comes under fire from members both inside and outside the Muslim community. Recently, after receiving criticism for how she wore her hijab in a recent vlog, she took to Twitter, saying:

    For other young Muslim women, Phe’s empowering content both addresses the hijab and spotlights her daily life, showing that religion is only one part of her life (along with a love of music, media, and Kanye West). For viewers outside the Muslim community, Phe creates awareness around Islam and educates thousands about a culture often tarnished by stereotypes.

    So Tazzy, thanks for being such a badass boss on YouTube and cheers to your many projects to come.

    Screengrab via Tazzy Phe/YouTube


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    It’s not everyday that a tune you listened to on repeat as a kid ends up on The Late Show.

    The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is a 74-member orchestra that has toured the world playing music from The Legend of Zelda’s nearly 30-year catalog. In honor of the upcoming Nintendo 3DS game The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, Late Show host and avowed nerd Stephen Colbert—already a pioneer in booking guests who don't normally appear on late-night TV—brought the entire orchestra onto his stage to play a medley of Zelda songs.

    It’s both magical and majestic, and at the very least, it might inspire viewers to Google these performers and their impressive work.

    But even before The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses took the stage, Colbert's band leader Jon Batiste got in on the action backstage.

    Batiste, along with Joe Saylor, Eddie Barbash, and Ibanda Ruhumbika of Stay Human, tried their hand at some Zelda music. It’s nowhere near the scale of the orchestra, but it still has plenty of charm—along with the 8-bit sounds we’re used to hearing when we play older Zelda games.

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    “Jack Black is ruining my life!” Jake Roper explains as I make my way through the maze of moving boxes filling Vsauce New York office.

    In a week, Roper will be moving 2,000 miles across the country to Los Angeles, where he’ll be setting up shop in the YouTube Space LA. After living in New York City for 10 years, Roper is currently in the eye of the storm, packing up everything he owns—Internet cat shirt collection included—while also waiting to hear back if Jack Black is indeed free to film a Vsauce video on Monday. Roper attempts to patiently wait for the scheduling confirmation to make its way into his inbox but instead, he finds himself obsessively playing horror movie tracks and an iconic fight scene from Oldboy over and over again for inspiration.

    “I love watching something and then feeling bad about everything I’ve ever made because it then pushes me to do better, and I need that,” Roper enthusiastically shares, citing the book American Psycho and videos from Corridor Digital as examples. “At least, that’s how I motivate myself to make things… By being impressed by somebody else and that pushes me, not to outdo them, but to keep passing the torch. They’ve impressed me, I want to impress them even if they don’t know of my existence.”

    Upon meeting Roper in person, it becomes blatantly clear that his “on-camera persona” is in fact just his personality. His quick-paced speaking cadence and animated hand gestures bring his stories to life in the air between the two of us as we talk about everything from online video to Taco Bell’s best menu items.

    “This thing happens if there is a project looming in the near future: I just can’t focus on anything else, so I just sit here and listen to music that I want to put in the video. I just sit here and stare at my screen not doing anything and visualize in my head how it’s actually going to play out onscreen,” Roper explains as he shifts back and forth in his chair, unable to contain his excitement for creating video with Black.

    Combined, the Vsauce brand is one of the most well-known alternative education networks on YouTube.

    After graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts, Roper spent time working in television and advertising before starting on his career in digital media. While it’s hard for to see him as anything other than the fast-talking, taco-obsessed investigator behind Vsauce3, Roper originally started at YouTube hosting a show called Space Lab.

    “I kind of realized on YouTube you have a lot more control over everything that you do,” says Roper. “Instead of just directing something and somebody else editing it, or a creative director and a copywriter telling me what to do, I could control every aspect of it.”

    In 2012, Roper joined the Vsauce team of Michael Stevens (the original Vsauce founder) and Kevin Lieber (Vsauce2) and began hosting the Vsauce3 channel, an education channel dedicated to investigating the science behind fictional worlds. Combined, the Vsauce brand is one of the most well-known alternative education networks on YouTube, with over 15.3 million subscribers.

    “I never thought I was really smart enough to be… so here’s the thing,” Roper leans forward to tell me. “We [Vsauce] don’t really like saying we’re educators ever. We’re just investigators. We find information, we put it together in a nice little case file, and we present it to you, the audience.”

    Along with the Vlogbrothers’ Crash Course and channels such as Brain Scoop, It’s Okay to Be Smart, Laci Green’s Sex+, AsapSCIENCE, Brain Craft, and Veritasium, Vsauce has been one of the pioneering forces behind revolutionizing education on YouTube. But as Roper points out, Vsauce hosts make a conscious effort never to share their personal opinions in videos, but to use their research to answer—if possible—the question they’ve presented to their audience. Can the Kool-Aid man break through walls? Who owns the moon? Can you hear with your tongue? Vsauce’s trio of personalities have set out to change how we approach learning by taking complicated concepts and breaking them down with real-life, pop-culture-oriented examples.

    “Learning is cool again, which I like! It’s cool to be smart, where I think when I was growing up, it wasn’t really,” shares Roper. “I think the Internet has allowed people to have that information and for it to be attainable to them personally where also they don’t have to publicly admit they like that stuff.”

    The key to Roper’s online success is twofold. For one, Roper oozes creative passion, and it’s highly contagious. And not only is he passionate about making videos and music and writing, but he pushes past obstacles to execute his ideas without making excuses.

    “You’re watching a YouTube video, and you’re like, ‘I had the same idea!’ Yeah, but you didn’t do it. That’s the difference. If you have an idea and you’re really passionate about it, do it because someone else is going to do it instead, and they’re going to get the benefit of it and not you. ‘I should start a YouTube channel’—then start it! Just do it. Once you do it, then you’re already on the way to continue doing it, and that’s the hardest barrier to try and get over.”

    I have no doubt that Roper’s given this go-get-’em speech before, and his eight-hour octopus tattoo—Seth the cephalopod, as Roper calls him—comes to life each time he exclaims “Just do it!” One of many tattoos (including some Vsauce ink on his forefinger), this particular tattoo took two Lord of the Rings movies to complete. Ironically, Roper and his co-worker Watson joke that Roper spent the entire time biting down on a wooden spoon, yelling “Just do it” with the same passion taken from his speech.

    The second major factor in his success is his genuine authenticity. Jake Roper is exactly himself, no apologies. He loves few things more than Taco Bell, where his 16-year-old self gorged himself on Mexican Pizzas. He rarely has free time, but when he does, video games are usually involved in some way. He just bought a Tesla, his first car, for his new home in Los Angeles. He believes that he’d be the first person eaten by a sea monster, and his eyebrow piercing is as much of his signature look as his skinny jeans and pepperoni pizza shirt. Roper has turned his audience from a number into a family, a personal relationship represented by the fan mail, original T-shirts, and taco-inspired merch found floating around the Internet.

    “YouTube becomes your world and that’s part of the reason I think people gravitate towards your content,” he reasons. “You know everything about the person, to a degree. My Twitter is public-facing, my Instagram, Facebook—everything is. So my life really is just curating this brand which becomes yourself. There isn’t really too much I do outside of YouTube that doesn’t either wind up on YouTube or some social platform.”

    Over the past three years, Roper has gained nearly 230 million views investigating our favorite fictional worlds with that winning, personal recipe. A video can take Roper anywhere from a month to a year between heavy research, writing, filming, editing, and uploading, but he’s helped his audience of 2.5 million subscribers contextualize Superman’s strength, hypothesize about the weight of Thor’s hammer, and understand the true deadliness of Pokémon. Still, he’s not sure if that qualifies as “success,” per se.

    Vsauce’s trio of personalities have set out to change how we approach learning.

    “I don’t know what success is. I don’t think I’m successful, and I think it varies depending on the person,” Roper shares to my disbelieving scoff. “For me, I don’t think anything I’ve made or done has been a success because I always think that if you say, ‘Oh great! I’m successful now!’ then you’re not going to try as hard. You’re like ‘I’m good, I’m successful.’ I just want to keep making things and after I make it, be like, ‘Cool, how can I make the next one even better?’”

    Roper will no doubt continue to excite YouTube audiences around science and creativity, pushing his viewers to simultaneously set goals and limits for their creative careers. In the future, he hopes to grow Vsauce into a tangible brand with ties to music production, games, and much more. But until then, you’ll find Roper sitting inside his office, guarded by past props such as the robot villain from Doctor Who and Jigsaw the puppet from Saw, mulling through music and wondering if in 48 hours, he and Seth the cephalopod will be 2,000 miles away, yelling “ACTION!” at Jack Black.

    Screengrab via Vsauce3/YouTube


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    Brace yourselves: a new Miley Cyrus video is in the works, and according to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, it’s going to be a memorable one.

    Coyne posted an Instagram Tuesday announcing that Miley is “planning a show where her, the band ( us ) and the audience are all COMPLETELY naked,” and to top it all off, “milk ( well white stuff that looks like milk) is being being spewed everywhere.”

    The all-nude show would be filmed as a video for “The Milky Milky Milk,” a track off the LP Cyrus and the Flaming Lips dropped for free in August under the name Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.

    It’s not clear whether the show will be part of their upcoming five-city tour, or if it will be held separately, but it’s safe to say that crowd is in for an experience.

    Bring a poncho.

    H/T Buzzfeed | Photo via Miley Cyrus/SoundCloud


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    If Epic Meal Time's gluttonous concoctions don't give you a heart attack, host Harley Morenstein's fake retirement announcement might. 

    Epic Meal Time trolled its 6.8 million followers Tuesday with a video dubbed "The Last Episode." Thankfully, Morenstein and company have no desire to slow down. In fact, to commemorate their fifth anniversary, they debuted a 84,479 calorie "BACON CHEESEBURGER PIZZA POCKET LASAGNA IN A PIG" topped with a Cristal butter glaze. If that doesn't have your arteries clogged immediately upon reading, we've got four more examples of their most calorically huge meals from the past five years to celebrate with them.

    5) The Last Episode

    Calories: 84,479

    The most recent entry to Epic Meal Time's greatest hits involves cooking a bacon cheeseburger pizza pocket lasagna inside a pig for maximum shock. There's also a side adventure of making "money pizza" where they roll out dough with a Cristal bottle, put "yesterday's Ad Sense money" on it ($10,000), and then drink the Cristal.

    4)Meat Garden

    Calories: 81,179

    This video's title is so incongruous that you have to watch how they turn meat into a garden, with the help of Christmas lights and tequila-laced ribs. This one's all about presentation, with flank steak cabbages and bacon roses.

    3)Fast Food Meatloaf Lasagna

    Calories: 136, 226

    The meatloaf in this recipe is homemade, but embedded ("like war correspondents," Morenstein jokes) inside the layers are full fast food burgers. Top them off with cheese and onion rings for a crispy layer, and add some bacon for layer separation. This video also included a shout out for supporting marriage equality, so who's to say Epic Meal Time isn't political as well.

    2) The Sloppy Roethlisberger

    Calories: 138,226

    For a Super Bowl special, the gang put together a Jack Daniels BBQ-infused burger that weighs 50 pounds. That includes 10 pounds of buns.

    1) TurBaconEpic Thanksgiving

    Calories: 79,046

    While not the highest caloric example on their channel, one of their most watched videos taps into the desire to take Thanksgiving to the extreme. Turducken, the combo of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, get the epic treatment here, with add ons like quail, meat "glue," bacon stuffing, bacon strips, and finished it off by stuffing the modified Turducken inside a pig. If you're looking to make a holiday impression, this concoction is the granddaddy of them all.

    Screengrab via Epic Meal Time/YouTube


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    If you weren’t looking forward to the holiday season yet, that’s about to change.

    Bill Murray is starring in a Christmas special for Netflix available Dec. 4, and the lineup he has in store is amazing. It’s directed by Sofia Coppola and features appearances from George Clooney, Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, Jason Schwartzman, Michael Cera, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, Paul Shaffer, Jenny Lewis, and the band Phoenix.

    The special takes place in New York’s Carlyle hotel, where Murray is supposed to be putting on a live Christmas broadcast. But, according to the YouTube description, “After a blizzard shuts down the production, he makes the best of the situation by singing and celebrating with friends, hotel employees and anyone else who drops by.”

    Holiday cheer: activated.  

    H/T Deadline | Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube


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    Whatever you’re going through—may it be a hard breakup or an awesome life achievement—it’s a whole lot better and definitely more fun when you’ve got your closest friend by your side.

    Singer Sara Bareilles—who recently came out with Sounds Like Me, a book she wrote detailing her ups and downs with her songwriting process—certainly agrees. As part of a book-slash-music tour, Bareilles surprised the crowd gathered Tuesday night at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California, with special guest Mona Tavakoli, drummer for Raining Jane, an all-female rock-folk band that recently collaborated and went on tour with Jason Mraz.

    Bareilles and Tavakoli, IRL best friends, readily regaled the audience with an a cappella duet to the tune of The Golden Girls theme song.

    Although short and sweet, their performance of the iconic tune was well-harmonized, super goofy, and ultimately perfect in every way. Here’s a longer snippet for you to enjoy:

    Thank you, girls, for today’s dose of best friendship goals.

    Screengrab via Lawrence Buccat/YouTube


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    “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Carnival of Animals continues—sort of.

    Season 3 of BoJack Horseman is under way, and according to Weird Al’s Twitter, there is at least one awesome guest appearance lined up.

    The comedian tweeted out a photo of his script Wednesday afternoon:

    While no other guest stars for the season have been announced yet, Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Paul F. Tompkins will all be returning in 12 new episodes in 2016.

    Time to start taking bets on what type of animal Yankovic will play. 

     Photo via Bojack Horseman/Netlix | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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