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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Netflix and chill no longer requires you be in the same room as your partner, thanks to a new Netflix Party extension for Chrome browsers.

    Once installed, the extension lets viewers sync their start times and adds in a chat sidebar for group banter as you power through all seasons of House of Cards in one sitting.

    Once one person starts watching something on Netflix, they create a sharable link for friends to join their party and watch at the same speed. No word on whose buffering takes precedence and gets them off the list for further party invites.

    H/T Techcrunch | Illustration via Max Fleishman

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    The comedy world was shocked and saddened last week by the death of iconic standup comedian and TV star Garry Shandling.

    Director/producer Judd Apatow was one of the comedy minds affected by the loss of Shandling, releasing a statement that said, "Garry would see the ridiculousness of me being asked to sum up his life five minutes after being told of his passing. It is a perfect, ridiculous Larry Sanders moment. I can imagine how Hank would handle it, but I just don't know how to sum up someone I loved so much who taught me everything I know and was always so kind to me. I am just too sad. Maybe tomorrow I will do better."

    In the days since, Apatow has paid extraordinary homage to the star of The Larry Sanders Show—which recently Shandling had negotiated to bring back to HBO—on his Instagram account.

    On Sunday, Apatow and other comedians like Larry Sanders co-star Jeffrey Tambor, Sarah Silverman, Bill Maher, Kathy Griffin, and Richard Lewis participated in one final game of basketball at Shandling's house to honor the 66-year-old.

    But a quick browse through the rest of Apatow's feed from the past few days returns some extraordinary results.

    Here's Apatow with Shandling and Tambor.

    Shandling with Apatow and Bruce Springsteen (Apatow guesses this was snapped in 1989, but the time stamp on the photo is 1994).

    Apparently on the set of Larry Sanders with Warren Beatty, Rip Torn, and Apatow—who was a writer and producer on the show.

    With Ellen DeGeneres.

    One of the more famous Larry Sanders episodes occurred when Sanders tries to get Ellen to come out of the closet on his show but then can't figure out if she's truly gay. Which you can see here.

    With a goateed (and hairy-armed) Jon Stewart, actor David Duchovny, and late comedy actor Charles Nelson Reilly.

    And here's my favorite of the bunch: Shandling posing, for some reason, with boxer Peter McNeeley, whose sole claim to fame was getting destroyed by Mike Tyson in Tyson's first fight after serving his prison term.

    Photo via Judd Apatow/Instagram 

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    Grace Helbig is already the author of two New York Times best-selling books, but the prolific YouTube star just announced that a third novella is in the works—with a twist. Helbig’s latest writing project, Freak Week—“think apocalypse, think high school, think young love, think dogs,” she says in a video announcing the book—will be co-written on Wattpad by some of her biggest fans.

    Here’s how it works: Helbig has already written the first of Freak Week’s eight chapters, which you can check out right here. Every Thursday on her YouTube channel, she’ll be announcing prompts for potential co-writers to keep in mind as they hone their own contributions. “It could be things like you have to include a space monkey and the phrase ‘get wrecked’ two to three times,” she explains. Submissions must be between 500 and 1,500 words and filed on Wattpad using the hashtag #WritingWithGrace.

    Every Thursday, Helbig will also announce the week’s winning chapter while discussing her favorite moments and fails from other contributors. Fans will write chapters two through seven of Freak Week, and Helbig will “bookend” the novella by concluding with chapter eight.

    The interactive writing project, titled Writing With Grace, is Helbig’s series for Hello Lab—a year-long initiative whereby AT&T is collaborating with 10 social media stars to create videos, podcasts, meetups, and more. The first series from Hello Lab, Dare To Travel starring Damon and Jo, premiered last week.

    Perhaps most exciting of all, however, is that after Freak Week is finished, Helbig will be taking the novella to the stage with a live reading at this year’s VidCon. “Myself as well as some of my famous friends will be reading Freak Week live start to finish at VidCon, bringing yours and my words to life,” she says.

    Helbig, who was just announced as a founding member of food review app Dysh alongside frequent collaborators Hannah Hart, Mamrie Hart, and Ingrid Nilsen, is not the first YouTube star to catalyze traditional book publishing with an interactive spin. Caspar Lee, for instance, recently announced that he will release a self-titled biography written by his mom.

    Screengrab via itsGrace/YouTube

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    Some comedians don’t take shit from anyone. Josh Gondelman is truly an exception. In fact, he’ll hold your shit if you hand it to him and ask nicely.

    Gondelman recently hosted a release party in Los Angeles for his new album, Physical Whisper, the title of which comes from a joke about kissing his girlfriend. He’s self-reflective about his niceness, however, which was evident when he brought his friend, comedian Cy Amundson, on stage. He said he admired a guy who “doesn’t take shit.” In turn, Gondelman characterized himself as a guy who does: “If someone came up to me and handed me a bag of dog shit, I would politely take it and say thank you,” he said on stage.

    Shit jokes aside, the Brooklyn-based Gondelman is actually killing it right now; he hosted this show in L.A. just hours after making his debut on Conan. His comedy career began on Twitter in 2011; he was getting ready to make his move to New York from Boston, where he worked by day as a preschool teacher.

    “I was doing standup but that only happened at night, and if I had a 15-minute short break, there wasn’t that much I could do,” Gondelman told the Daily Dot. “So it was nice to have a little comedy outlet during the day.”

    Recently, what began as a tweet about the void endorsing Donald Trump spun off into every possible void-like Trump endorsement. In the process, people joined the joke parade, bringing a participatory feel to the experience.

    It’s this sort of feel that got people into his @SeinfeldToday Twitter account, which reimagines the cast of Seinfeld dealing with additional neuroses caused by technology, or his similarly punchy book You Blew It!: An Awkward Look at the Many Ways in Which You’ve Already Ruined Your Life.Gondelman's prolific tweeting even led to his current job as a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, where he’s known for hilarious bits such as this one about pumpkin spice.

    Gondelman also gives back to the beautiful Twitterinos with his “pep talks,” which usually happen between 11pm–1am and last for 15-30 minutes. They involve Gondelman saying nice or encouraging things to people who express that they’re having a bad day, or just need a little pick-me-up before hitting the sack or while they’re out on the town.

    “I usually think to do pep talks on Twitter if I’m on the road, at home and my girlfriend is out of town, or if I’m at home and up later then my girlfriend and our dog Bizzy—like if they’re both asleep but I’m kind of wired,” he explained. “It usually comes from a place of, ‘Oh, I’m isolated from people,’ and rather than asking someone to do something for me, it feels better to offer a small kindness to someone else. And it’s less lonely. Other times it comes from a place of gratitude and abundance. Or it could be a time when something is going really well and I want to share that. But rather than being like, ‘I’m crushin’ it right now!,’ it’s nice to be like, ‘Hey, I’m feeling good, but maybe you’re not?’”

    In this way, Gondelman hints at many of the intentions behind being performative on social media. It’s a way to connect and say hello, but also to be passive in a quest for contact because online, behind screens, one can only communicate through words and images.

    Gondelman is a comedian, not a therapist, but much of his comedy has that same sort of feel-good-about-yourself vibe—it comes from a loving place, which is often a fine line comedians have to walk when they’re gently poking fun at people they love. In one of his jokes on Physical Whisper, he makes fun of his nana, who is very old and unknowingly says racist things.

    “A lot of people give old people a bad rep, a lot of people say old folks are racist,” Gondelman said as he opened the joke on stage. “I don’t think old people are any more racist than you or I. I just think that they think they’re still whispering.”

    At the punchline, giant laughs erupt from the audience. Gondelman waits before moving on:

    “I’ll be out in public with my grandmother and she’ll say something well-meaning but atrocious, like, ‘Joshua, look at that Oriental couple.’ [And then I think], ‘Oh dear god, Nana. You need to turn up your hearing aid because we’re in public and the future.’”

    The joke then takes a hilarious turn, with Gondelman trying to help his grandmother adopt new language that is just funny rather than corrective.

    “Every time she screws up, I give her a new word to bring her into the 21st century,” he explained.

    His comedy comes from a place of compassion, much like his contemporary Maria Bamford, who has countless jokes about her family members. But unlike Bamford, who performs a more surreal kind of storytelling, Gondelman is matter-of-fact and rather logic-based in the way he breaks down more difficult subject matter, especially topics like race, homelessness, and gay rights. There’s a sense of honesty that feels relatable.

    “I’m a big fan of saying the thing that is not necessarily sincere or earnest, but definitely honest,” he explained.

    When asked to explain what that means, he replied with the most thoughtful answer.

    “Honest doesn’t necessarily mean unfiltered,” he said. “What I try to do, what I attempt to do, is say things that I mean at least at an emotional level. Try to convey the truth of, ‘This is how I feel about this,’ and to do that earnestly isn’t the same as doing it honestly, because earnestness implies a guilelessness that I think you can’t have if you’re trying to sculpt the material in a way that is effective comedy.”

    Photo by Mindy Tucker 

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    Well, this is one way to get people to listen to your single. 

    90210actress and aspiring singer Jessica Lowndes found a pretty ingenious way to promote her new song, "Deja Vu": She faked a relationship with SNL alum Jon Lovitz on her Instagram account for a week.

    Many of the posts were vague in nature, implying only that Lowndes, 27, had begun dating an older man.

    Some of the posts, though, had clues in the captions.

    Fans had no way of knowing that much of the content came from the "Deja Vu" music video, in which Lovitz plays Lowndes's sugar daddy. 

    Lovitz joined the prank from his own account, posting a selfie with Lowndes on Easter and calling her his "bunny." 

    Given that more than 30 years separated the two apparent lovers, their photos together got the media worked up into a lather. Not everyone was fooled, though. Chrissy Teigen, for one, voiced her skepticism about the supposed relationship.

    Teigen's timing was perfect, because Lowndes's new music video dropped mere hours later.

    You've got to hand it to Lowndes: We'll definitely remember her song now—or at least, the fact that it existed. 

    H/T Vulture | Screengrab via Jessica Lowndes/Instagram

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    Don’t blink, or you might miss your chance to help Doctor Puppet get the finale he deserves.

    Dubbed the “ultimate Doctor Who fan film,” Doctor Puppet is a stop-motion webseries that, in seven episodes, has created memorable adventures for puppet-ified versions of past Doctors David Tennant, Peter Capaldi, and Matt Smith. Now, after three years online, creator Alisa Stern (a past #WCW) is looking to give her beloved puppets a proper send-off—and she’s asking her fans for help.

    Originally started as a Tumblr following Doctor Puppet’s travels through NYC, Philadelphia, and the U.K., Stern soon realized the potential of her puppet to capture the hearts of the internet.

    “I was making a puppet for a class I used to teach and I needed a puppet as a demonstration so I just made [the Doctor],” animator Alisa Stern stated in her first interview with the Daily Dot in 2013. "I did some animation tests with him and I thought, ‘Oh, the Internet would really like this.’”

    And the Internet bloody well did. Shortly after releasing the series’ first episode, “How Doctor Puppet Saved Christmas,” Nerdist approached Stern to collaborate. The series has been praised by BBC, Doctor Who magazine, and Who writer/producer Steven Moffat himself.

    “Doctor Puppet is the ultimate Doctor Who fan film in a way, because we can put any two characters together we want. It’s Whovian wish fulfillment!” Stern tells the Daily Dot. “I love being able to tell an epic Doctor Who story and talk about it with other fans. Because who doesn’t want to to make up stories about their favorite characters? And Steven Moffat likes what we do! How cool is that?”

    Moffat, yes, and nearly 80,000 other followers, who’ve watched the channel’s videos north of 2 million times. But despite Doctor Puppet receiving praise and support, Stern admits that making even one episode is anything but easy. It takes her and her team months of planning and production time, as the video is shot frame-by-frame to capture that classic, Gumby and Pokey- style aesthetic.

    This month Stern launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the series’ eighth and final episode. She’s asking for $11,000 to cover the costs of her team and production and with only two days left to donate, the project is nearly 78 percent funded. Fans continue to share their support on social media, and they’re encouraging others to donate even a dollar to this worthwhile series.

    “We did an Indiegogo campaign in 2014 to raise funds for our Christmas special, “The Planet That Came for Christmas.” We raised $16,000 ($1,000 over what we asked for!) and it was a tremendous help. The result was one of our best videos, if not the best. It's just amazing to know we have that kind of support,” Stern says of her fans. She wants to reward that loyalty, too, with Indiegogo perks like “your name in the credits, a custom chalk message from the Twelfth Doctor, and an album of Scott’s unused music from our previous video.”

    The amazing thing about Stern’s series is you don’t have to be a Doctor Who fan to enjoy it. The execution of the stop-motion, coupled with the fun of watching a fan play God with their favorite show’s characters, makes the episodes enjoyable for anyone.

    Similar to YouTube creator and Academy Award nominee PES, animator and fangirl Only Leigh, and artist Red Hongyi, Stern is colliding digital media and art to redefine what we think possible on YouTube. She’s an antidote to the mindless vlogging and challenges that clutter YouTube’s subscription box and captures what YouTube is about: a place for niche communities to create together.

    “We’re probably as excited to finish this story as everyone else is to watch it!” Stern says about the finale. “It’s been a long time coming. But don't fear—it’s not the last video we’ll ever make. It’s just the final part of this tale. We plan to tell other Doctor Puppet stories and explore more projects in the future.”

    Screengrab via Doctor Puppet/YouTube

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    Twenty-year-old R&B singer Kehlani was hospitalized late Monday night after an apparent suicide attempt, according to an Instagram post she's since deleted. 

    According to TMZ, "emergency responders arrived to her Hollywood home and determined she posed a threat to herself." She was soon reportedly placed on a psychiatric hold.

    Her hospitalization comes after news of her dating life broke Monday, leaving many fans convinced that she was cheating on her boyfriend. The singer had reportedly been dating Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving as recently as Valentine's Day, but when her ex PARTYNEXTDOOR posted a pic of he and the singer holding hands Monday, it seemed clear that the pair had reconciled. 

    The now-deleted photo showed only their hands in bed, with the caption, "After all her shenanigans, still got the r&b singer back in my bed."

    What fans wanted to know was: Had she broken things off with Irving? Was PARTYNEXTDOOR's pic a nod to the fact that they were having an affair? Twitter and Facebook blew up with people calling the singer a slut and a cheater. 

    The unexpected attention and social media hostility very well may have contributed to the singer's hospitalization, because late Monday night she Instagrammed a photo of her arm with an IV, and a very lengthy caption that stated: "I am severely utterly in love with my first love. Went thru a bad breakup and ended up easing into a relationship with a man who was one of my bestfriend [Irving]. Tho we realized we both weren't exactly at a time where we were prepared to do so... No I'm not a CHEATER, a THOT, im a BELIEVER IN FOLLOWING YOUR HEART and not LYING TO YOURSELF."

    She has since deleted the photo (and every other picture on her account), but screenshots of the post still exist. 

    #StayStrongKehlani trended in the U.S. all Tuesday morning. 

    And celebs tweeted their support for the singer's quick recovery:

    For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) or Samaritans (U.K.). 

    H/T Mashable | Screengrab via JadeZain/Twitter

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    A man from Killorglin, Ireland, named Ger "Farmer" Foley recently died. After his friends attended his funeral, they retreated to Falveys Pub and paid tribute in the one of the best ways possible. They sang "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers, and the band itself made its way onto social media to give its approval.

    Be forewarned: If "Mr. Brightside" hasn't ever made you cry and laugh at the same time before, you might experience something completely new in the next four minutes.

    According to theIrish Tribune, Foley—a popular member of the community—died at the age of 45 from cystic fibrosis and left behind a wife and two children. The man leading the karaoke is Brian O'Sullivan who said that he and Foley had sung the tune every year on New Year's.

    The performance caught the attention of the band.

    What a tribute for a salt-of-the-earth dude who will never be replaced and who will be forever remembered by his friends. Here's hoping we all can be so lucky after we go.

    Screengrab via Tim Clifford/Vimeo

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    Finally, a super hero film that deals with sidekick drama, tagline rehearsals, and the confusion of catching an Uber in Prius-heavy Los Angeles.

    Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, the Legendary Digital-produced film, will hit all major platforms June 7, and stars YouTubers Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart in the titular roles. The two budding superheroes leave Ohio behind for a Hollywood upgrade in the series based on Sid and Marty Kroft's 1970s series. 

    Helbig took to her own YouTube to premiere the first full trailer.

    "I might be biased, but that was [bleeping] cool," says Helbig after the trailer finishes. She also promises an early version on Fullscreen for U.S. fans, with more info to come later. 

    Screengrab via Grace Helbig/YouTube

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    Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is probably the most loved (or, at the very least, the most talked about) NFL player on social media. It's because he makes it so easy. He's either going on the bro-iest cruise in history or he's dancing and/or wrestling with a broken arm or he's simply spiking stuff for his own amusement.

    He is, after all, no fuckboi. (Unlike, ahem, New England's quarterback.)

    But until recently, Gronkowski fans had no reason to look for him on Instagram, since he didn't participate in that particular social media site. He does now—as of Tuesday night at 8:30pm ET, he's already amassed 514,000 followers—and his first post is, well, totally Gronkified.

    And with that, we can pretty much be assured that, on Instagram, Gronk will continue to be the same Gronk. If you hate him, you'll probably hate him here as well. But if you love him, he'll probably continue to give you reasons to do so. 

    Photo via WEBN-TV/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0) 

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    James Corden is celebrating one year on late-night television, and what better way to mark the occasion than by bringing Jennifer Lopez on his commute with him?

    Like other Carpool Karaoke segments, Corden and Lopez duet on a collection of her greatest hits while he drives to work in Los Angeles. But this ride—when Lopez isn’t discussing the possibility of insuring body parts in the U.K.—comes with the added bonus of a dance lesson. Corden is already a natural.

    However, Corden won’t text and drive, so he pulls over to attempt to send a dirty text message to Leonardo DiCaprio from Lopez’s phone while she watches. She’s past the first-name basis, and even though the text was all sorts of ridiculous, he responded to it. Good old Leo.

    Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube

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    Fullscreen's long-anticipated streaming video on demand (SVOD) service finally has a premiere date. The multi-platform media company announced today that it will debut on April 26.

    Targeting Fullscreen’s millennial audience, the subscription service will feature more than 800 hours of content. It will be available at Fullscreen's website and via iPhone, iPad, select Android phones, and Chromecast for $4.99 per month, with an initial 30-day free trial. Support for other Internet-enabled devices will roll out later this year.

    It will be available outside the U.S. at the same $4.99 price point, with over 90 percent of the original content and a large selection from the content library.

    AT&T (which co-owns Fullscreen’s parent company, Otter Media, with the Chernin Group) will be the service’s launch sponsor, collaborating with Fullscreen to market and promote it with special offers for AT&T’s more than 100 million video, mobile, and broadband customers.

    Fullscreen and AT&T will also co-produce premium content that will air both on the Fullscreen SVOD service and on a Fullscreen programming block on AT&T’s Audience Network, available to DirecTV and U-verse TV subscribers.

    “This is for an audience that we know and love—a generation of young people that grew up with online video and social media,” said George Strompolos, Fullscreen founder and CEO, in a statement. “The phone is their primary screen and they look up to an entirely new breed of creators and stars. We’ve created something special for them that feels more in tune with the way they want to experience great entertainment.”

    Illustration by Max Fleishman

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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.

    In six years, Jen Im has grown her YouTube channel Clothes Encounters from a college hobby into a digital media empire. And though she might just seem like another face in YouTube’s crowded lifestyle vlogging field, Im is setting herself apart by developing new ways to make fashion accessible and engaging to her 1.6 million subscribers.

    Im’s style is undefinable, which is empowering for viewers: It plants the seed that if Im can confidently experiment with her style, so can we! If I had to attempt to describe Im’s aesthetic, I would start with “Boho meets Free People, mixed with Korean American influences, for a look that changes every single day.” Her ability to be a chameleon makes each outfit feel versatile and instills in fans the idea that there are countless options on how they too can incorporate high fashion into their style.

    “Fashion isn't supposed to be exclusive,” Im shared in a past interview with Vice. “I hate the perception of ‘fashion’ being an enclosed clique. It's this thought mentality that pushes away and intimidates most people. Wearing clothes is an act in which everyone has to participate, so why not have a little fun? I think vlogging has made fashion more approachable because you might think, ‘Hey, she's really short like me. Maybe I can wear that too.’”

    But what really stands out about Im is the conversational and authentic nature she brings to each video. It’s as if she’s sitting down to swap advice with an old friend instead of the 1.6 million nameless viewers tuning in each week. It’s this desire to connect that inspired Im’s app, which features monthly themes, exclusive video series, and the chance for community members to upload their own Outfit of the Day photos as style inspiration to others.

    “A lot of the times on Instagram or Twitter, a lot of things get drowned out and it gets difficult for me to keep track of everything, but on my app I’m going to be able to take it directly from my subscribers,” Im recently told Bustle.

    While we all won’t be RSVP-ing to fashion week or spending our weekends in a variety of heels, Im reminds us to embrace the fashion styles that make us feel fabulous inside and out. And that’s a message even my yoga pants can get behind.

    Screengrab via clothesencounters/YouTube

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    It’s rare that rappers make explicit statements about presidential candidates, especially decades removed from the height of Sistah Souljah and Public Enemy’s popularity. But Donald Trump has inspired a lot of uncommon political engagement thanks to his campaign's outbursts of alleged racism and fascism

    Today that engagement comes in the way of “FDT” (or “Fuck Donald Trump”) by South Los Angeles gangster rappers YG and Nipsey Hussle. Neither rapper has much history of being outspoken on issues of national politics, but as this clip of a Valdosta State student explaining she was kicked out of a Trump rally “because we’re a group of black people” shows, the color of one’s skin is not always a neutral position.

    Over a bassline so funky you can almost smell it, YG repeats the catchy chorus and opens his verse with the line, “I like white folks but I don’t like you.” After calling Trump racist and saying that he’ll “turn black panther,” YG offers up substantive criticism: “He too rich, he ain’t got the answers.” Of course, being a gangster rapper, he also threatens to fuck up a hypothetical L.A. Trump rally and expresses surprise that neither El Chapo nor the Nation of Islam have tried to come for the leading Republican nominee.

    Hustle, by the same token, focuses his critique on Trump being a trust fund kid out of touch with the country, including his native Crenshaw, California. After an audio sample of Trump stumping for his Mexican border wall, both rappers pledge their allegiance to Mexicans, with Nipsey proclaiming, “It wouldn’t be the USA without Mexicans.”

    Even apart from the many salient points or threats of violence, what makes this song stand out is that it bangs, which makes it the best political rap song since Killer Mike’s “Reagan” and maybe the most relevant since Lil Wayne’s “Georgia Bush.”

    Photo via Spin/Twitter

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    Just when you never thought you’d see gay webseries The Outs again, it’s making its triumphant return on Vimeo today.

    When we last saw our favorite Brooklynites at the end of The Outs’ first season in 2013, Oona's obnoxious yet popular blog “Wine Wine Wine” was taking over the Internet, Paul had just gotten into grad school in the faraway land of Iowa, and Jack and Mitchell were finally friends again after their messy breakup that set up the beginning of the whole series. We weren’t quite sure if we were ever going to see these characters again with what felt like a pretty final close to the acclaimed webseries. That is, until Vimeo announced in October 2015 that it’d be bringing back The Outs for a second season as part of the video-sharing website’s slate of original programming.

    And now, the highly anticipated premiere is finally here. After a three-year hiatus, Season 2’s first episode was made available on Vimeo on Demand on March 30. Series creator and writer Adam Goldman, who also stars as Mitchell, is back with the same cast, including writer Sasha Winters as Oona, Hunter Canning as Jack, and Tommy Heleringer as Paul—along with some new faces. 

    “I was excited to revisit this world and these characters and see what everyone was up to. I think it was nerve-wracking because one of my chief concerns was that I wanted it to be good for people that liked the show the first time around,” Goldman told the Daily Dot. “It was important to get the tone right, make it feel like a new experience, like a sequel, but also a continuation of the same tone and the same story.”

    The first season received praise for its sincere and fresh approach to telling the story of young gay millennials in Brooklyn, New York, navigating through topics of friendship, happiness, and feeling lost when things just aren’t working anymore. Interview Magazine called the series “the most accurate and essentially human portrayal of young gay men today.” It wouldn't be correct to describe the show as the epitome of the young gay experience, nor does it strive to be. Instead, it depicts these people and what they've gone through, situations that viewers who are similar to the main characters can definitely relate to.  

    Without giving too much away about the first three episodes coming out this year, the second season definitely feels cohesive in conjunction with the first. Mitchell continues to wear a slew of different cardigans, and his banter with Oona is as witty as ever. The blog writer turned book author is still hilariously unapologetic. The cold opens that set up the rest of the episode made season 1 so great; those are back, along with establishing shots of Brooklyn and interesting camera work all done within the confines of an apartment. Oh and while we might finally know that Scruffy's real name is Paul, he’s still got the facial hair that helped coin that moniker. 

    But instead of jumping in right where the first season left off, the webseries fast forwards with a time jump that feels right. Season 1 very much was about each character figuring out exactly what they wanted, whether it was affairs of the heart or what to do about work. But now that these characters are a little older, Goldman thought it'd be more interesting to begin the next chapter instead of tying up the loose ends. 

    “Our audience has grown up, and everyone who likes the first season is three years older than they were when it first came out. People are dealing with different things and in different ways,” he says. “This season is a lot less about being sort of aimless. People have goals and people have lives and their relationships are all a little bit more mature. I think that’s something that happens when people grow up, and we wanted to reflect that in our show.”

    That growing audience is what helped keep The Outs afloat during its first run. After the pilot came out in 2012, the rest of season 1’s episodes were funded through Kickstarter. Episodes 2 and 3, “Whiskey Dick” and “Moon River,” were made possible by a successful campaign of 49 backers and $1,685 pledged. And the support didn’t stop there. A whopping $22,339 came in from 503 backers the second time around, helping fund the final three episodes of the season and the “Chanukah Special.”

    In between season 1 and 2 of The Outs, Goldman and the rest of his crew worked on another crowdfunded project called Whatever this is., a series about a group of roommates struggling to make ends meet and pay the rent while working jobs they hate. According to Goldman, they took everything they learned from that show and applied it to the second season of The Outs

    “It feels like an evolution from season 1 to season 2, and it feels like that with our crew and our cast too, that we have the same vibe, same energy, we’re just pushing it more and making something a little bit bigger,” the creator and director says. 

    It’s almost fitting that the show would eventually come back, considering its devoted fanbase and the first season’s tagline: “Just because it’s over doesn’t mean you’re over it.” Fans just weren’t ready to say goodbye to The Outs. And Vimeo has helped make the next season a reality, while still giving Goldman the creative reins. 

    “This season would not exist without Vimeo’s cooperation and their support,” Goldman says. “So it was flattering and we’ve been on each other’s radar for a while, because Vimeo has always been a home for my work… It was a good match. They gave us a lot of creative freedom, almost unlimited creative freedom I would say. They’re great people to work with.”

    The Outs isn't the first webseries that Vimeo has helped out with. High Maintenance, a stoner comedy about a weed deliveryman, received financial backing for its latter seasons from Vimeo, and the series was later picked up by HBO.

    Also featured in the second season of the The Outs is a variety of different artists whose music really help set the scenes. The show’s first season’s soundtrack tapped into a lot of local Brooklyn talent and has been made available to listen on SoundCloud. Goldman eventually had people sending them tracks from all over the world, including France and England, so there’s a global sense to the soundtrack for the show’s return.The first three episodes of season 2 showcase music played by a band from Glasgow and a Canadian guitarist.

    Heading into season 2, be prepared to get to know the core characters a little more and, more importantly, see how they’ve changed. Expect some comical moments that will leave you in a fit of laughter along with some quiet ones that will have you reflecting on your own friendships and relationships. Oh and: Alan Cumming will indeed be back as Alan Cumming himself. As for details on how he pops up in the lives of these characters again, you’ll just have to wait to find out. 

    Season 2 will be released in weekly half-hour installments through Vimeo on Demand, just like your normal television shows. But if you’re feeling the need to binge-watch, you can always catch up or refresh yourself with season 1.

    “I’m just so excited to be able to show it to people and see how people react to it,” Goldman says. “I think people are really going to like it.”

    Photos courtesy of The Outs/IAC 

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    There are a few things we can count on these days: Donald Trump making a statement that will make Twitter lose its mind, and Kim Kardashian posting a photo on social media that will get people talking. Today, we got both. 

    Kim Kardashian and her pal, Emily Ratajkowski, posted a topless, but censored, photo of themselves on their Instagram and Twitter accounts today. 

    While Kardashian opted for a very Kardashian caption, Ratajkowski went with something more meaningful on a day when Twitter's biggest agitator made a bold statement about women's rights. 

    What will tomorrow bring? Unclear, but whatever it is, people will be talking. 

    Screengrab via Kim Kardashian/Instagram

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    The Revenant is finally getting a trailer that gets to the heart of the film: It’s a blatant attempt to finally get Leonardo DiCapriohis damn Oscar.

    Screen Junkies may not be treading on new territory with its latest honest trailer, but it’s a good thing to remember as DiCaprio basks in the afterglow of his win. The Revenant is a movie where the behind-the-scenes stories are more interesting than the film itself, the characters are unintelligible, and everything is sky shots.

    Plus, it’s obvious that DiCaprio put himself through hell while filming almost solely for the Oscar, but at least fans won’t have to riot again after yet another loss.

    His thirst knows no bounds.

    Screengrab via Screen Junkies/YouTube

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    Elizabeth Warren is no closer to endorsing Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, but she is once again jumping into the political fray to attack Donald Trump.

    The Massachusetts Democratic senator called Trump a “loser” in a scathing series of tweets last week, and she didn't back down as she attacked the heart of his message in an appearance on The Late Show Wednesday night.

    She called Trump a loser, yes, but she also attacked him for the inheritance his father gave him, his ability to cheat and defraud, and his racist rhetoric.

    She also told host Stephen Colbert that electing Trump would be like calling an arsonist when your house was already on fire.

    "Donald Trump is looking out for exactly one guy, and that guy's name is Donald Trump," Warren said. "He smells that there's change in the air, and what he wants to do is make sure that change works really, really well for Donald Trump."

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube

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    In an era where YouTubers are often itching to make the jump from digital to mainstream, the couple behind YouTube’s 9.7 million subscriber strong PranksVsPrank channel has said no to every offer to be on TV.

    “We just weren’t interested in it,” explained co-founder Jesse Wellens. “We just really love the Internet, and I just felt like if we did TV, we’d lose touch with the Internet. Reality TV always edits you to look the way you’re not, and you don't really have as much freedom and control.”

    Then, along came YouTube Red, the platform’s foray into big-budget, subscription-supported projects from its biggest stars.

    “YouTube was on our side; they believe in us,” said the other half of PrankVsPrank, Jeana Smith. “They wanted it to be our vision. They trusted us, and we trust YouTube the most of any other opportunity that has come our way.”

    So instead of jumping ship for the airwaves, the duo, who also run the 8.6 million-subscriber vlog channel BFvsGF, are staying with their homebase for their first series: Prank Academy premiered March 30 on Red. Over 18 episodes they’ll teach celebrities and fellow YouTubers how to execute their own over-the-top pranks.

    “We give everybody objectives,” explained Wellens. “To pass the Prank Academy, you have to pass these objectives. For iJustine, she had to sell the fact that she was doing a real cooking show to Joey Graceffa. Then she had to blame the situation that happened on Joey.”

    Wellens said getting big-name stars like iJustine or Graceffa to participate was easy for them after years as part of the YouTube community. With just a few phone calls, they were able to involve more YouTubers in a single series than most other current Red projects, a fact they think YouTube appreciated. Their YouTuber friends, however, were wary of participating—at least in part.

    “Almost everybody that was on the show who we were teaching how to prank, they all had a suspicion we were going to do something to them,” laughed Smith, noting that no one got auxilary pranked in the process. It was all business—just teaching their friends how to prank.

    The experience was all about learning for everyone involved in the process, really. Smith and Wellens say working with a production company was an eye-opening experience.

    “It was hard for us to let go,” Wellens said. “For the entire show, I was in the editing bay. That was supposed to be [production’s] responsibility, but I was like, ‘I have to be there.’ It was a big learning experience.”

    Meanwhile, the production team behind Prank Academy got to learn what it’s like to work with the new breed of digital talent.

    “[The production company does] traditional TV all the time, so this was a new experience for them,” he said. “Jeana and I were the network and were the talent. It was a really weird experience for them.”

    The process wasn’t wrinkle-free, and while they didn’t want to spoil aspects of the show by revealing the toughest participants or who walked off and gave up, they did reveal that the pranks didn’t always work.

    “That’s what happens in the real world,” said Wellens. “You get one shot at it.”

    The reality of their pranks is important in an environment that has swamped the platform with pranking channels, which are often associated with bad and sometimes illegal behavior.

    “We are one of the original channels that’s dedicated to pranking on YouTube,” said Wellens. “The genre, within the last two years, has kind of exploded. It’s gotten watered down and stupid, with these guys doing ignorant things to people just to get a reaction. We just want to continue to make funny pranks and to try and change the game—”

    “You can’t go out in the public and always get a crazy reaction, because people don’t always react like that.”

    “Not change it, but continue doing what we were doing,” interjected Smith. “To let people know you can’t go out in the public and always get a crazy reaction, because people don’t always react like that.”

    With the explosion of prank content, there’s also been an influx of faked pranks that rake in high view counts, some admittedly staged. Wellens takes issues with the frauds.

    “Ninety percent of the pranks on the Internet are definitely fake,” he said. “If you’re older you can tell that it’s fake, but the kids love it and they’re naive. When people watch Prank Academy that are a little more mature, they’ll go, ‘oh that’s actually real.’ I’m hoping that stamps us as the YouTube channel out there doing the real stuff. We didn’t want to get caught into that world.”

    They’ve also tried to get more creative, with videos like a recent 360-degree Aladdin-inspired magic carpet ride through San Francisco which relied more on the WTF nature of the moment and interactions with cars and pedestrian than a traditional prank setup.

    “That’s the kind of content I’d love to graduate to,” said Wellens.

    Prank Academy is their attempt to reclaim the word prank and reassociate it with a craft, not a quick grab for views. But if their 9.7 million fans show up with a YouTube Red subscription and stream to their hearts’ content, all the better.

    Photo via Prank Academy (Used with permission)

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    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz found himself in the hot seat on Wednesday night as Jimmy Kimmel grilled him on a variety of topics ranging from politics to the inane.

    After telling Kimmel why he wanted law enforcement to “patrol Muslim neighborhoods,” Cruz joked that Kimmel was on a Muslim watch list because of his beard. He then turned the conversation to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, saying that, while he disliked President Obama’s policies more, Trump was a special case.

    “If I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the back-up camera,” he said, “I’m not confident which pedal I’d push.”

    What followed was a rapid-fire round of questions during which Cruz missed a prime opportunity to deny that he was the infamous Zodiac Killer.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube

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