Danny Gonzalez and Drew Gooden collaborated to read a romantic fan fiction about themselves for their collective audience.
With almost four million views on that video alone, Gonzalez and Gooden have solidified their presences on YouTube. Though formerly on the defunct app Vine, both creators have since adapted their content to lengthier YouTube videos. The YouTubers, who have almost five million subscribers between them, use their platforms to offer humorous critical analyses of internet phenomena, such as TikTok or content geared toward children.
For their “We Are Two Different People Tour” with fellow creator Kurtis Conner, Gonzalez and Gooden have created a theatrical production with an underlying storyline and performed it at the Palace Theatre on Sunday. Their show maintains their signature outgoing humor but deviates from their typical YouTube content, Gooden said.
“Our sense of humor and the types of jokes we write are always going to be the same, but it was a completely new experience writing this show,” Gooden said. “There were some things we thought were really funny when we wrote them, and then we performed them and they didn’t work as well as we thought. … We learned to adapt them for a stage show format.”
While Gooden said receiving instant feedback from the audience is more rewarding than merely uploading a video, a live show has more elements to consider. Gonzalez said they have to consciously know when the audience is going to laugh – while YouTube videos are edited as a constant barrage of jokes, a live performance must incorporate time for viewers to react to the jokes.
“With a video, people can pause the video and it’s OK if they miss the next joke, but for a live show you can’t just plow through people’s laughter because it almost trains them to not laugh at your jokes,” Gonzalez said.
With their stage show and Vine past, both YouTubers are familiar with the process of having to adapt their content to fit another platform. When Vine became obsolete, Gonzalez was left with a small YouTube audience of around 30,000, while Gooden had a few thousand. Initially, they each tried to create longer Vine sketches filmed with their phones for YouTube. However, they later transitioned to comedy commentary videos after watching content creators like Cody Ko, who creates comedic commentary without relying on the brevity of Vine.
Unlike many former Viners, the duo incorporates a deeper social significance into their humorous content, said Luca Orth, a first-year physics student. With a lighthearted presentation, he said they tackle issues like young TikTok creators oversexualizing themselves which leads to older users potentially preying on them, such as in Gonzalez’s video “Bad Boys on TikTok.” Freed from Vine, Orth said the duo’s commentary has benefited from the extended time YouTube provides, as they incorporate intelligent, reasoned humor lacking in other former Viners’ content.
“A lot of YouTubers like (Gooden) and (Gonzalez) have transitioned by taking the original idea of being funny through observational comedy, but with a different format,” Orth said. “I think (Gooden) has done some videos about Viners that cling to their old style of content – they used to have six seconds on Vine, but now on YouTube they fill the extra time with the same amount of content.”
For Gonzalez and Gooden, finding a topic for each of their videos is a balancing act, often making this step the most difficult part of the creative process. Gooden said they want each video’s subject to be recognizable to a wide audience, but also not something that has been covered by a hundred other YouTube channels. Amy Ace, a fourth-year comparative literature student, said the breadth of YouTube content can make it difficult to cover relevant topics without being redundant, but offers opportunity to build upon already existent work.
“I think YouTube offers up new ideas – what’s cool about YouTube is that it’s a community, so if somebody has an idea, it’s not necessarily somebody else ripping off your idea, but sharing their version of that concept,” Ace said.
In both their video content and stage show, Gonzalez and Gooden have adapted their humor to work across different platforms. Gooden said he believes creators should be aware of the types of content that are successful on YouTube. However, it is important to add new elements to the medium, such as Gooden’s videos about “Community” and “Arrested Development” derived from his own interests.
“I don’t want to just talk about a trending topic because it’s trending,” Gooden said. “If I don’t care about it, it’s not going to be a good video.”