Name: Gus Johnson
Hometown: Grantsburg, WI
Major/Concentration: Entertainment Design – Digital Cinema
HC: What do you like to do for fun, both on and off campus?
GJ: On campus, my favorite activity is performing at open mics and on stage in the theater program. Since those options aren’t available all year, I find other ways to perform. I run a YouTube channel in the meantime, and upload videos three times a week.
HC: What types of videos can we expect to see on your channel?
GJ: My channel is primarily a short form comedy channel, with many of my videos being comedic sketches under a minute in length. I’ll also upload longer installations of original series, as well as original music.
HC: Which of your works is your favorite?
GJ: My favorite thing on my channel is my Working Man series. It’s about a deluded, hardworking, fool who believes he is being very helpful, when in reality he is doing even the most simple tasks horribly wrong.
HC: How would you describe your sense of humor?
GJ: I think my type of humor is difficult to really define. My work is an amalgamation of various styles such as slapstick, abstract humor, puns, and basic comedic dialogue. That sounds really pretentious – I take it back. Don’t look too much into it, I just make stupid internet videos.
HC: What other comedians and YouTube channels do you admire the most?
GJ: My favorite YouTube channel is by far h3h3Productions. I also really enjoy iDubbbzTV, RealBigBoys, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, and Philip Defranco. A few of my favorite comedians are Steven Wright, Louis CK, Bill Burr, and Mitch Hedberg.
HC: Which of your videos did you have the most fun creating?
GJ: The video that I had the most fun with was probably “Storm’s A-Comin’.” I filmed it all in one solid ten minute take, where I ran around my front yard in a torrential downpour, screaming “STORM’S A-COMIN!” over and over again, while I stripped off my clothing and rolled around in the mud.
HC: Where do you find the inspiration for your videos?
GJ: Truthfully, I don’t always know where the inspiration for my videos comes from. I like to pay close attention to the world around me and find little parts of it that are worth poking fun at. Sometimes the ideas flow, and other times, It’s hard to come up with three good jokes per week.
HC: Is there any one video of yours that you would say is underrated?
GJ: One of my favorite videos, that I thought was absolutely hilarious, is called “The Lightbulb Inspector.” It’s just about this manic, frightening man who comes to people’s homes to scream at them and see if their lightbulbs are working. I thought it was incredibly funny, and I was a bit disappointed when it didn’t get as many views as I had hoped.
HC: Do you ever like to collaborate with other students or channels?
GJ: I collaborate often with other students on campus as secondary actors on the channel.
HC: How did your previous expectations for your channel compare to its current level of success?
GJ: Even though I’ve been making short, stupid videos since the 7th grade, I’ve only really started running my channel for a year. I hadn’t expected this level of success at this point in my life, and I’m looking forward to the future.
HC: Can you tell us about the times your work has been featured beyond your channel?
GJ: I’ve been featured on a number of TV shows such as Tosh.0, ABC’s “Right This Minute,” and the UK’s “Rude Tube” to name a few. My work has also seen over 100 million views across various social media platforms, and I’ve been able to find work in various independent films and series as a result of my exposure. I consider myself very fortunate, and I work hard every day to find new opportunities.
HC: How do you like to connect with your fans?
GJ: I like to connect with my fans whenever I can. It’s becoming more difficult to keep up with messages and responses these days, but I do try to give people the time of day that they deserve. When people stop me in person, I’m always happy to take a picture or sign something for them, and I’ve done a few fan meetups that turned out to be successful. One of these was the film shoot for the final episode of my Working Man series, which comes out later this year. Thank you to those of you who support my work, and go out of your way to let me know.
HC: What are your career goals?
GJ: I guess I don’t have a concrete career goal at the moment. I love running this channel, but what I would love more than anything is to be a professional actor. I hope that by creating enough of a base at the YouTube level, it will make a sidestep into other industries a little easier. We’ll see what happens though – I’m just trying to live one day at a time.
HC: Which actor would play you in the story of your life?
GJ: Sheesh, how many actors have big foreheads and homegrown haircuts? Maybe if Macaulay Culkin got cleaned up, he would sort of look the part. Here’s hoping.
Song: Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh
Band: The Beatles
Book: The Green Mile
Food: Pizza (lame, I know)
Movie: Django Unchained
TV Show: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
All photos provided by Gus Johnson