An interview with Ithaca College’s own comedy duo
By Alyssa Berdie
Online comedy networks such as CollegeHumor, Funny or Die, and Above Average are becoming hubs for great comedy content and breeding grounds for discovering new talent. For instance, many hit series on major networks, like Key & Peele and Broad City, began as independent web series. The Internet, social media marketing, and free video uploading and streaming have increased the popularity of web series. These factors have paved the way for comedians to create great content that audiences want, without the need of financing from a major studio or television network. The trend is only growing and is quickly becoming the new norm when it comes to how networks and executive producers find concepts and talent for television and film.
An Ithaca College senior and an alum from the Roy H. Park School of Communications spent many semesters creating online comedy content together and decided that rather than try to get the attention of established networks, it would be better to create their own. I talked with Kyle Vorbach (the senior) about his start in comedy and what led him and John Horan (the alum) to create their own network.
When did you become interested in comedy?
Back in middle school, my friends and I used to make stupid little videos for the fun of it. One day, this girl came up to me at school and told me she really liked the video I put up the night before (on MySpace, of all places). So the Pavlovian association was formed between being funny and people liking me. The idea of doing it professionally really came about when I started doing standup at Comedy Club here.
What inspired you to do comedy?
Back in middle school, just as my body was undergoing a period of rapid change, so was the media landscape. People like The Lonely Island (Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone) and Derrick Comedy (Donald Glover) were transcending from web comedy into actual, “real” work like Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. I wanted to be them. I still do. I promise, this is the last question where my answer begins with “back in middle school.”
When did you meet John?
Back in middle school, I wrote for a late night show on an Ithaca College Television (ICTV) show my freshman year here (Ithaca College), and John was pretty much the only person who would laugh at my jokes. We kind of hit it off at IC Comedy Club because we have this bizarre, 4th grade sense of humor—and we’ve been happily married ever since.
So Kyle and John, both media production majors, started creating content together with John and Kyle Do Everything—their first original series about two best friends, John and Kyle, who try to do every single thing there is to do in the world. With the success of their series, which they produced independently, they expanded their idea into a 30-minute short film for John’s senior thesis (and what became Kyle’s junior thesis).
How did you come up with the idea of John and Kyle?
We went to a party one night, and after stumbling back to his dorm at 4am, we were like “WE SHOULD MAKE AN ICTV SHOW!” and we came up with this whole idea. The next morning, we immediately decided that the idea was God awful, and then came up with John and Kyle.
Did you think John and Kyle would be become a short film?
We had absolutely no foresight on that web series. John was going to LA for a semester after we finished it, so we thought it would end there. Then we realized that John still had a thesis film to do. The end result was a 30 minute John and Kyle film and entire semester of my inflated ego.
Once you started working with John, was creating a comedy network something you two always envisioned doing, or did something else spark the idea?
It felt weird putting all this time and effort into what we believed to be a really funny show and then just walk away from it. I got the idea one night after John graduated. All of my friends are so funny and talented, but they were putting their things up all over the place on the Internet – all these different accounts, with no real promotion effort. I thought that it would be so cool if we could unite everyone under one roof and make awesome content together. I pitched John the idea, and he was all like “YO THAT IDEA IS HELLA DOPE YO. SWAG SWAG SWAGGGGGG $$$$.”
Where did the name come from?
We wanted a name that was just as cocky as humanly possible. We’re your Future Boyfriends. Also, we could be each other’s Future Boyfriends.
Future Boyfriends is an independent comedy network and platform featuring original web series such as John and Kyle Do Everything, High Science, and Goodnight, John as well as sketches, satirical articles, and listicles with contributors in both New York and Los Angeles. How did a recent college graduate and current undergraduate gain bi-coastal contributions and attention? The answer is simple: Kyle and John are currently running this network from two different coasts. What isn’t simple is the actual process of creating content together. They make it work by writing via Skype, and establishing small crews on both coasts. Then Kyle edits everything—even if it means sacrificing sleep or school work—because, as he said: “I am a control freak. For better or for worse.”
On the east coast, Kyle is currently working on producing and directing High Science, “a comedy web series in which a weekly “scientist” guest smokes up and attempts to explain complicated scientific concepts,” which he created with IC senior, Sydney Morin, and co-produces with IC senior Alyssa Berdie (hey, that’s me!). He is also producing and editing Goodnight, John all while directing photography and editing his senior thesis film.
Over on the west coast, John is currently starring in and co-producing Goodnight, John, a web series about those stupid conversations you had at sleepovers, as well as working as a standup comedian in Los Angeles, opening for the likes of Marc Maron and Amy Schumer. With the obvious geographical limitations, Kyle and John brainstormed ideas for a new original web series that would be easy to shoot. Eventually John came up with the idea of a show similar to CollegeHumor’s Jake and Amir except right before bed. It made Kyle “laugh out loud,” so they began writing episodes.
The early success of Future Boyfriends is undeniable, with 926 likes on Facebook, 6.1K followers on Twitter (@FutureBFz), and 58k views on YouTube to prove it. High Science’s first episode garnered 4k views on YouTube in one day. These two clearly have a knack for comedy, finding new talent, and marketing/distributing their work. Kyle hopes that Future Boyfriends can expand into something even larger like, “a shadow organization that secretly influences world events to further its own mysterious political agenda.” But if not, Future Boyfriends is looking to “bring more people on and make the stuff that makes us laugh,” at the very least.
Future Boyfriends’s success didn’t come easily or randomly. Kyle and John, with the help of exceptional producers, talent, and crew members, have worked hard to produced the highest quality and funniest content possible. With more ideas for new series, articles, and sketches, it’s clear that Future Boyfriends won’t be a project that ends when Kyle and John “get real jobs,” but instead shows promise to become the “real job.”
My final question to Kyle was to elaborate on anything from his workflow to marketing and distribution plans, but in typical Kyle fashion all I received was, “If anyone wants to hang out, let me know. I’m free all day, every day. Honestly, even saying hello in the hall would be great. You don’t even have to say it. I can say it, you just have to promise not to say, ‘Who are you?’ or ‘Why are you dressed like Batman?’ It’s because it’s my birthday and it makes me feel special.”