This Week In Web Videos: The Boo Ya Pictures Show
Every group of four male friends thinks they’re hilarious. It’s scientific fact — as sure as the drunken conversation where that same group assigns each other character roles from Entourage. (“Ok, if I’m Turtle, you’re definitely Drama.”) Nine times out of ten, the Johnny Drama identification is a whole lot more accurate than the group’s proclamation of comic genius. But one time out of ten, the friends are actually funny and The Boo Ya Pictures Show is that time.
Created by real-life buds Ryan Coopersmith, Adam Sand, Ryan Prizant, Dan Handelman, Charles Muzard, Andrew Cohen and Harris Ellison, the Boo Ya sketch formula is one part Lonely Island and two parts Adam Sandler’s golden age — the kind of unfettered goofiness YouTube was made to house and Hollywood often struggles to get right.
Give me a little background on your comedy careers before Boo Ya Picture Show.
Ryan: Charles and I met in film school and I was always a big comedy nerd and Charles was a cinema nerd. I never did stand up really seriously before but I just really loved Sandler movies and Chris Farley movies and all those old comedy gems. In film school we weren’t the guys doing the stereotypical movies about lesbians killing themselves, we wanted to make movies about guys farting during sex and killer weed.
Charles: We wanted to make fun movies.
Ryan: Exactly, so I think it really comes from my love of comedy movies and Charles’ love of cinema and good looking shorts.
Charles, how about you?
Charles: Like Ryan said I wouldn’t say that I’m the biggest comedy fan but I’m like every kid my age, I’m turning 27 and I grew up on Spielberg and all those movies so I was always into roller coaster film making and I guess when we were in class seeing all those movies about lesbians and dying dogs, Ryan made a comedy called If God Had a Cellphone and I just loved it and from then on we just started talking together.
Ryan: I won him over with a shit joke and Charles said, “I can make that shit joke look amazing.”
A marriage made in heaven. So where did you and the rest of the guys meet?
Ryan: Well actually I’ve been doing shorts with those guys since we were in high school and they always looked like crap and it was kind of just that jumping in front of the camera and acting goofy and Charles came along and was an important piece of the puzzle and he made everything look a lot better and we made it a consistent thing. I guess the whole idea of the show came about from just the growth of YouTube and how it’s such an interesting community and these days it’s almost like a recreational activity for kids to get together and make movies and we thought that was just a funny springboard for a show. There hadn’t really been that outlet on YouTube for that kind of a show. You see it on TV with like Larry Sanders and Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm and we just thought that could be a funny idea in the YouTube world.
Your episodes are long, they’re not 1, 1 and a half minute, quickly heightened sketches. Why?
Ryan: And we love that stuff too but for us its getting more and more interesting to stretch our narrative muscles and maybe kind of get a little bit of an emotional investment in there. If we can tell we can a story with a beginning, middle, and end that’s the coolest thing to us.
Charles: It’s always been Ryan’s number one thing, he really loves telling stories. We’ve been really trying to move away from sketch the last year or so and try narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. And eventually, hopefully, one day move to features.
Ryan: Like we want to do Jurassic Park 5 because the guy who did that indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed got Jurassic Park 4, so in a couple of years hopefully we’ll get Jurassic Park 5, and Spielberg, if you’re reading Splitsider right now, call us up bro, call us up.
Of course he reads Splitsider. So talk to me a little bit about your scripting process for the show. Is it just you, Ryan who’s kind of churning out these ideas or is it a collaborative effort?
Ryan: It’s pretty much a collaborative effort that’s kind of how the process works. First we’ll pitch funny ideas and then we’ll—as a group—go through the beats of the episode and then Dan Handelman—our other writer on the show—him and I sit together and pound it out. But as a group we’ll come up with the episode, beat per beat. For the most part this was an attempt to push out consistent content every week, so we kind of did two stretches, two seasons of the show and each of them lasted for about 8-10 weeks and usually we would have two of them ready to go and then have to write the rest of them. We’d put them out once a week so the writing has been a little bit rushed in the past but in the future we’ll write and shoot them all and have them all edited and have them all ready to go so they’re sort of all these strong narratives. Instead of having these episodes that are a little bit more crazy than the other ones. Or I shouldn’t say crazy, a little bit less good. [Laughs]
How do you guys promote your content?
Ryan: Well that’s always been the thing that I guess we suck at, but I think the best thing that we can do, which is kind of a win-win for everyone is kind of collaborate with awesome and popular channels. Like that one that has 150K views I think that was the collaboration with Epic Meal Time and we love that episode. And it’s just fun to kind of play in that YouTube world and have people play an extension of their personalities. We have this other sketch that’s not part of the original series and it’s called Grandma Reads Tweets and its basically our old Jewish grandma reading all these tweets by rappers and these outlandish people and we put a link to our Boo Ya Picture Show at the end of that. So we pretty much whore out our Jewish grandmother to read these terrible tweets.
Charles: She gets a lot more views than we do.
Ryan: Yeah, she’s a lot more famous than we are.
Any day you can whore out grandma is a good day.
Ryan: Indeed. But answering your question from earlier, Ryan spams the shit out of other websites in order to get our stuff out there.
Charles: I’m sure if you spend some time in the Spltisider inbox you will see a lot of emails from me.
What’s next for you guys?
Charles: We’re really into eventually building up things that would look more like features. Right now in the near, near future we’ve actually been working like crazy for the last six months on one specific project that would be more of a short. We’re shooting it with a Scarlet with crazy movie-like camera lighting and equipment. We’re testing actors—which we’ve never done before—we’ve got locations, and in the near future we want to knock this short out of the park and then eventually take it on a more festival route.
Ryan: Yeah. Basically the Boo Ya Picture Show and all the sketches we do on a budget of at most 300 dollars and this short film is something that we raised money for on Kickstarter, and it’s something we want to take a little bit more time with and have it look and feel like something you would see in theaters so we’re actually starting to shoot that tomorrow night for the next 2 weeks. It’s called Lazy Boys and it’s about two stoners vs. a killer couch. It’s a horror-comedy
Charles: Very 80s.
Ryan: A mix of Superbad and The Evil Dead.
What advice do you have for people looking to break into the web comedy space?
Ryan: I feel like it’s clichéd advice, but I really feel like it’s true that even if you don’t have the budget, even if you don’t have the camera, just an iPhone, just get out there and shoot it. Because with the Internet now people are almost mute to a lack of production value and it’s not as distracting as it once was, but I think at the end of the day everyone has the tool in their head to make content and you don’t really need anything else other than your script.
Charles: And also with the Internet there’s no network and no person behind it so you can basically do whatever you want. I feel like our number one thing has been let’s do whatever we want, let’s not give a shit because eventually we’ll be 40 and working for the man and we wont get all those great opportunities to truly be irreverent and crazy as fuck.
Ryan: And also don’t forget to write an interesting shit joke.
Always, always a good tip. That should probably be number one.
Ryan: Always good to end every short and every interview on a shit joke.
So what’s your shit joke to end this interview?
Charles: Oh my god.
Ryan: Charles is gonna figure it out soon once he gets his hand out of my pants.
Once he gets his hands out of your SHITTY pants! There it is. You’re welcome.
And your three reasons to watch.
- Widely accessible
- Sketch group
Epic Meal Time Stole My Girlfriend
The episode length is a little scary at first but Boo Ya does a fantastic job of quickly setting up a story we want to watch. A lot has to do with the fact that they’re likable guys. If we didn’t care about the characters, beefier sketches would be dead in the water.
Locked in the Bathroom
It’s dumb and brilliant all at once. That’s a hard balance to strike and noteworthy when done well.
The Big Boobie Heist
In any narrative comedy, the more we want to be friends with the characters, the more we’re on board. And I’ve repeatedly asked these guys to be my friends.