Harley Morenstein: ‘Epic Meal Time’ cooks up high-calorie laughs

Comedy Impact Report 2011: Online All-Stars

More than a year ago, 26-year-old Canadian history teacher Harley Morenstein uploaded “The Worst Pizza Ever!” on YouTube’s EpicMealTime channel. Morenstein had been trying to create a Web-based cooking show since 2006. “I said, maybe 10,000 people are going to watch it,” Morenstein recalls. “If that happens, I’ll do it again next week.” But this installment, featuring a high-calorie pie Frankensteined out of various fast-food ingredients, went viral.

Morenstein’s subsequent monster dishes attracted more than 250 million views. “Students said, ‘Sir, I saw your kickass video! More bacon, more bacon!’ I destroyed my ability to be a good role model,” he admits. A later episode in which he prepared a meal consisting of five birds in a pig wrapped in bacon caught the attention of the Gersh Agency. Now Morenstein is in talks with NBCU for an “Epic Meal Time” television show. There’s also a line of licensed merchandise generating seven figures in revenue. “Hot Topic moved over 10,000 units online and in 600 stores,” says Morenstein. “I’m going to put my face on a shirt that says, ‘Smart.’?”