Comedian Ben Goldsmith uses his real-life past relationship as inspiration for his current web show, “Lovers United.”
After launching his production company, Dumb Owl Productions, in March 2014, the UCLA alumnus said he invested much of his energy in “Lovers United,” which explores the dynamic between Goldsmith and Leah Kilpatrick, his former partner. Goldsmith began work on the series in December 2013, and began writing, shooting and distributing it in 2015. He is currently in the process of translating the YouTube series into a sitcom with a similar premise.
Goldsmith posts the majority of his comedic video content, such as “Lovers United,” on YouTube. He said he focuses on finding humor in common, everyday situations that are accessible to audiences from all age groups.
A glimpse into his Venice apartment revealed a well-worn guitar resting next to a desk with three computer screens displaying one of Goldsmith’s video projects: a story about a disappointing long-awaited kiss, shot in his living room with the use of a green screen. The screens showed a couple engaged in silly antics, with the woman swooning dramatically.
Outside of his other video work, Goldsmith said he aims to create a network show loosely based on “Lovers United” that brings together two disparate types of media – YouTube video and network television. He envisions a sitcom about a couple that creates a YouTube channel together.
“‘Lovers United’ was harder to produce than my other shows. I wanted them to be well-shot, I wanted them to be well-written, and I wanted them to have some substance,” Goldsmith said.
One video from the “Lovers United” series, titled “Guy VS Girl Fantasies,” shows a couple humorously exchanging amped-up versions of dialogue from a typical romantic fantasy, with Kilpatrick emulating a dominating queenlike character and Goldsmith playing the part of a lovestruck fool who wants five kids named Mike, Molly, Max, Mindy and Michelle.
However, while Goldsmith said projects like “Lovers United” videos are meant to appeal to 16-year-olds, 72-year-olds and everyone in between, they can be challenging to market because they are not specific enough to hit one demographic.
“If I wanted to focus on niche content, I probably would’ve gotten more traction,” Goldsmith said. “But the fact of the matter is, I’m trying to do clean content that can hit everyone.”
But he added the commonalities among seemingly disparate groups are what define his humor and make it so accessible. Goldsmith said he is interested in using humor to channel the emotions he believes are inseparable from the human experience, whether they be pain, love, joy or suffering.
“What makes me different is I believe there’s funnier things out there than shock humor,” Goldsmith said. “I think it shocks us into laughter and I want to find laughter that comes from a pure source within the human experience.”
Tyler Schell, Goldsmith’s manager and childhood friend, said Goldsmith does not favor humor that relies on sexual innuendos and explicit language. Instead, Goldsmith extracts humor from situations everyone can relate to, he said. For example, in “Lovers United,” Goldsmith pokes fun at the everyday issues that couples have, exaggerating them for humorous effect.
“He can make 13-year-olds laugh at a bar mitzvah, or he can go into an old folks home and have success there as well,” Schell said.
Jeremy Mann, director of singing for the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program at UCLA, said Goldsmith has always been attracted to artistic mediums, like YouTube, that are accessible to a wide audience. Mann said he vividly remembers an instance when Goldsmith was late to class because he had stopped to watch some drummers performing near Ackerman.
“I’ve seen his YouTube work and I’m not surprised he took that route. He had a quirky sense of humor and was always plugged in to what was happening,” Mann said. “I think he’s very attuned to the millennial vibe.”
As Goldsmith continues to work on his “Lovers United” series, he says his ultimate goal is to find an underlying story that spans the human experience and relates to everyone, regardless of background.
“I want to make people laugh, because when you’re laughing, you’re no longer suffering,” Goldsmith said. “Laughter is something that we all love and we all cherish, and I want to provide that for the world.”