Re: Adrian's Kickback

You're invited...and bring your books 📚

Before we dive in, were you invited to Adrian’s Kickback? In case you missed it, Adrian’s kickback was the Project X-inspired event that started on TikTok and turned into a meme over the weekend. You just had to be there, although we’re glad we weren’t. In other news, the ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ NFT sold for a whopping $760,999 on Sunday. We hope you managed to catch it one last time before the piece of internet history was deleted forever. 

Today Alice is lifting the lid on how creators are refining and reformatting their craft while carving out precious internet real estate for their niche. As always, don’t be shy and hit us up @ColinandSamir with feedback or story ideas for the next edition!

In Today’s Issue 💬

→ How Ziwe swapped Instagram for the small screen with Showtime

→ The TikTok improv show taking the streets of NYC by storm

→ Getting book smart with up and coming Gen Z creators

Ziwe’s New Showtime Series 

Fans find cold (dis)comfort in Ziwe’s revised show

This month, comedian Ziwe Fumudoh traded her internet virality for a star-studded deal with Showtime. The show features guests like New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang and Fran Lebowitz in a six-episode reboot of her digital-first series, Baited with Ziwe. In each episode, Ziwe puts her guests on the spot, which makes for delightfully uncomfortable viewing, just like Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. The reboot, also featuring pre-recorded comedy sketches and music videos, is squeezed into 20 minutes on Showtime – talk about bang for your buck. 

How did Ziwe get to this point?

  • Take the bait → During 2020, Ziwe’s show Baited moved to Instagram Live, after 3 years of being published on YouTube to 11k subscribers. Ziwe’s ‘pick up where I left off’ platform reshuffle was not only a sign of adapting content creation during the pandemic, but also a reformatting risk that paid off. Part 1 of Ziwe’s notorious Caroline Calloway IG Live drew 115k viewers, compared to past episodes on YouTube which hit a peak of 63k.

  • Proof of concept → Ziwe is a social-first creator. Similar to Sarah Cooper, who turned TikTok virality into her own Netflix comedy special, format adaptations like these illustrate proof of concept to studios, who essentially use episodic social content as if they were a pilot.

Our Take

When Ziwe moved her YouTube studio format to Instagram Live, she created a true “you just had to be there” internet moment. With 200k Instagram followers and 11k subscribers on YouTube, Ziwe is proof that it’s not about how many people are watching, but who’s watching. Ziwe’s Showtime deal demonstrates that you don’t need millions of followers in the audience, but 1,000 true fans, or even 100, to bring your idea to life.

Interviews On The Street Are Back, With A TikTok Twist

What’s Poppin’ Show is a TikTok hit 

With a bio that reads “Annoying strangers one day at a time”, you know what you’re signing up for when you follow What’s Poppin with Davis, the TikTok show that features spontaneous daily street interviews from the people of New York City. The show’s premise is simple: host Davis Burleson is Gen Z’s answer to a roving reporting à la Billy Eichner’s Billy on the Street, a comedy game show where unsuspecting New Yorkers were accosted by Billy with pop culture questions.

  • Eyes on the prize → The show was only launched in January 2021 and has grown to 848k followers on TikTok with 36.6m likes, as well as impressive viewership for repurposed content on Instagram’s Reels. On TikTok, each video, which Davis refers to as “episodes”, draws in significant eyeballs, often going viral with views into the millions. 

  • Winning the format wars → The success of What’s Poppin on both TikTok and Reels, but its failure to translate to YouTube (where viewership is < 50 views per episode) tells us about how this content is being consumed and the importance of staying native. Long-form is no longer the benchmark.

Our Take 

Like Dixie’s late-night show on YouTube, it’s clear that Gen Z creators are reworking established content formats for new audiences. As a creator, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to show it to an audience that hasn’t seen it before.

Trend Watch: Early Bird Gets The Book Worm

Reading between the lines with the hottest new trend for Gen Z creators 

Reading is hot again, Emma Chamberlain told us so. We all remember the era of YouTubers plugging Audible in their bios and content for a dose of classic spon con hiding in plain sight. Now, in what Emma describes as a “book reading renaissance”, reading is back in the spotlight, featuring IRL books! With renewed interest in reading lead predominantly by Gen Z creators and ‘BookTok’, we wanted to highlight a few of our favorite creators who are ones to watch in this space right now: 

  • Betty’s Book List → TikTok creator who shares what she’s reading via first-person skits (224k followers)

  • someb00kswotiread → A week old Instagram book community set up by actor Emma Corrin (11k followers) 

  • Melissa Dimmer → Book and lifestyle YouTuber who streams reading sprints, plus Mel’s book club on Discord (9k subscribers)  

  • Lauryns_library  → Book vlogs, reading recommendations, and a community page for book lovers (171k followers)

Our Take 

On TikTok, there’s a niche for everyone. BookTok is just one example of a recent sub-genre on the platform that’s able to flourish thanks to TikTok’s collaborative community features and the enviable distribution of the For You page. Whether that’s browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble or partying in Huntington Beach, small creators can reach like-minded fans unlike ever before. BookTok is hot, there’s no doubt about it, but not quite as hot as the blocks of Adrian’s Kickback.

🔥 In Other News