Two friends from Richmond, B.C., are getting a taste of Internet stardom.
Matt Dennison and Jason Lucas are part of a wave of aspiring comedians who are turning to YouTube to connect with online audiences around the globe.
Under the name IFHT—an acronym for I F*cking Hate That—they have produced a slew of spoof music videos and skits that have received millions of views. Their official YouTube video-sharing channel has 54,000 subscribers.
“It’s an awesome way to open doors as well as…meet people,” Dennison said of YouTube. “Obviously it’s a great way to have your work shown to, like, basically the entire world.”
Their most popular video, which pokes fun at the hit videogame Diablo III, has received more than 8.7-million views. The “If Diablo 3 were a girl” video mocks the technical problems that plagued the release of the much-anticipated game, which is personified in the skit by a young woman.
“Basically I thought of the idea [for the video] that evening when they released the game and we organized it all and shot it and put it out in less than 24 hours. So I think the reason these videos get so many hits is because of the timing and just the topics,” Dennison told the Straight.
Another popular IFHT video, titled “Shit Canadians say, eh?”, tackles classic Canadian stereotypes such as hockey, Tim Hortons, and moose. That video has received nearly 1.5-million views. Others feature a Canucks parody song, a Monopoly-playing dog, and lost auditions for the Big Brother reality show.
Dennison and Lucas, both 20 years old, got their start in late 2009 sharing funny videos with friends on Facebook. However, it wasn’t long before they turned to YouTube and brought their brand of humour to a wider audience.
The YouTube connection has recently paid off. IFHT was among an international group of comedians selected for the YouTube Next Comic program.
The talent-development program provides each participant with $5,000 in video equipment, $10,000 in promotional support, and training and mentorship from comedians with sites like CollegeHumor.
“I just want to learn all the little secrets that the pros know but we don’t yet, ‘cause there’s all sorts of little things,” said Dennison, who also works full-time as a videographer.
“We want to take as much as we can from it as far as building an audience and improving our videos.”
Dennison and Lucas have already found a mentor of sorts in Peter Chao, a fellow YouTube comedian from Metro Vancouver who has become an Internet phenomenon with his “Chinese Guy” videos.
Dennison said he and Lucas have long looked up to Chao, who has 700,000 subscribers to his official YouTube channel and has generated a total of 161-million video views.
Last year, Chao recruited the IFHT team to collaborate on a spoof music video titled “Asian and I know it”. He has also appeared in IFHT videos.
For Dennison, Chao’s success is an example of how their online-video hobby could one day become a career.
“Working with Peter Chao we see it is a reality because it is his career. He makes videos for a living,” Dennison said.
“Working with Peter Chao is good motivation, seeing where he’s at with his YouTube channel. It is realistic for us. It’s just something we have to work really hard at and be persistent to achieve.”
But for now, the two friends behind IFHT still have their day jobs.
As Dennison explained: “We do make money off this and there’s all sorts of perks but we still consider it, like, a hobby with benefits.”
Here are some popular videos from IFHT: