The Try Guys are YouTube superstars with over 6 million subscribers, their new book “The Hidden Power of F*cking Up” hit number one on the New York Times Bestseller list, and they have their podcast “TryPod.” So what do you do when all your dreams come true? Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang celebrate by having their first live tour, a 20-city theatrical extravaganza called THE TRY GUYS: LEGENDS OF THE INTERNET. They’re bringing this theatrical event to the San Diego Balboa Theatre on Sunday, July 14th at 7:30pm.
In the middle of their busy summer juggling multiple hit projects Keith, Zach, and Ned made some time to discuss what audiences can expect from this night of comedy, spectacle, and friendship. Eugene, the fourth in their quartet was presumably wearing something amazing while shooting another video and could not come to the phone at the time.
If you’ve seen their videos (and it you haven’t click here then come back) then I’m here to tell you that their sincere, positive, and thoughtful tone is no act, these guys are genuinely all that and more. They are also close friends and sometimes finish the ends of each other’s sentences; which is why moving forward the rest of the interview is going to look like this:
With all of these other insanely successful plans going on, how did creating a theatrical show come about?
Keith: We definitely wanted to tour for a long time and we knew with the book coming out that we’d have to do a book tour and we thought, if we’re going to tour we really want to do something that is a new challenge for us that is also something that would be really fun to do for a month on the road. We started throwing things out there “we want to do a variety show that embraces everything that we love about the internet and what we do on the internet.” It kept snowballing into a bigger and bigger production and along the way and it became this huge production and we’re really, really proud of it.
Ned: We just kept saying “yes” to all of our wonderful crazy ideas. It started out as a book tour, and then it was going to be a podcast tour with four chairs and microphones, and now it’s a glam rock, comedy, music, and extravaganza.
Keith: We have a full semi-truck for our stage showoff staging and lights and equipment…
Ned: We’ve rented stage elements from KISS shows…
Keith: It’s nuts.
It’s that crazy element of reaching and exceeding expectations that has driven them to keep reaching for new creative heights in all of their content.
Zach: We’re never satisfied settling for the common denominator version of what that project can be. So the tour is the same way, where we are constantly looking for how to push the creative a little further and make something that we’re really proud of that puts us into a new and unfamiliar creative challenge.
Prior to going on tour, Lilly Singh (Youtuber, actress, and comedian) said, ‘You’re going to be going be doing this show 20 times, you better make it something you love every single night. That really resonated with us and we made a show that we are really over the moon with.
Armed with some experience performing live at VidCon and other events, and a strong ”Yes and” sensibility, they got more and more excited about creating a live show and taking it to the next level.
Keith: Ned and I have a strong improv background, but the 4 of us together for the last five years that we’ve been producing videos have also been dabbling with live performances. I think it’s just the nature of us as a foursome to have all of us throw in ideas, collaborate, and create better ideas.
Ned: We brought the improv comedy ideas to the show itself, where audience members can get a chance to join us onstage for interactive segments that are going to be different and unique every single night based on who actually comes onstage with us.
Zach: It makes every show unique and special and keeps it fresh for us. So I think there is a good part of that in how we naturally create together and it’s only natural that we bring that to the live show as well.
Another unique opportunity the live show provides is the opportunity to interact face to face with their fans.
Ned: We do so much online and we interact with fans through comments and tweets but this will be the first time that we’ll really be able to meet people and see the response and the fans we have in real life and that’s super exciting.
Keith: We always say the internet is the fastest way to see if your content is good because you get comments immediately, but really theatre is the fastest way to find out if what you’re doing is really connecting. You know the second you say a line if it’s hitting the way you want it to.
Zach: Some of the things you see in the show are stories that we haven’t been able to find a home for before, or different ways of performing. You’ll continue to see is us pushing our content into new places that really is “what is the format that best allows us to tell the stories we have to tell?”
One thing that resonates the most in all of their content is their openness and vulnerability not only with each other, but in trying new and sometimes scary things. (They aren’t called The Try Guys for nothing after all). That same sincerity influenced their theatrical show as well.
Keith: As Try Guys we’re often presented with things that are scary and we don’t know how to do them and sometimes we don’t want to do them. But we know that doing it will allow for growth for us, for the story that we’re telling in the video and hopefully inspire growth in others. I think everybody in a tight group of friends does have that but they aren’t so willing to talk about and show it and we’ve decided that we are.
Our live show has a really good amount of vulnerable inspiration at different moments. We’re really happy that our show in the theatre is resonating the same way as our content online does.
Ned: We hope that by being open to our own vulnerability we can inspire others to confront their insecurities.
Z: In its best form the show makes you laugh till your sides hurt and then when you leave the show you have a re-invigorating sense of purpose and desire to get out and try everything.
So what could the theatrical future hold for the Try Guys?
K: We actually joke a lot about how we’d love to do someday a Shakespeare play as the video series and as a live show where we try to master a piece of classic theatre and tour it to select markets. That’s a weird pipe dream of ours.
Z: I would love to see us all in AVENUE Q. I think it’s crass like us and has heart like us and I want to see us all play with puppets.
To buy tickets to their show THE TRY GUYS: LEGENDS OF THE INTERNET the San Diego Balboa Theatre on Sunday, July 14th at 7:30pm go to https://tryguys.com/pages/tour
For more information on their other projects, and to see when their Shakespeare and AVENUE Q dreams become reality you can follow The Try Guys on YouTube. Their book The Hidden Power of F*cking Up book is out now, and new episodes of The Try Pod podcast are available every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Radio.com and wherever you get your podcasts.