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Smosh to Launch Live Sketch-Comedy Show on YouTube (EXCLUSIVE)

Digital duo's 'SNL'-style show will stream live Aug. 26 from YouTube Space LA

YouTube comedy team Smosh is stealing a page from “Saturday Night Live” with their first-ever live Internet broadcast later this summer.

Smosh’s Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox will headline “Smosh Live!,” a variety and sketch-comedy show that will be streamed from the YouTube Space in Los Angeles on Aug. 26 in front of a studio audience. The hour-long sketch portion of the broadcast will include 4-5 skits, a dance number and special guests. The total program including pre- and post-show segments hosted by Smosh Games’ Jovenshire (Joshua Ovenshire) will run around 90 minutes.

Childhood buddies Padilla and Hecox, who started posting videos on YouTube 11 years ago from the Sacramento suburbs, are scheduled to appear Friday at VidCon in Anaheim, Calif., to discuss the show during a Q&A session at 2 p.m. Smosh today has an online fanbase topping 30 million followers.

Defy Media, which manages the Smosh business, reached an exclusive sponsorship pact for “Smosh Live!” with the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.’s youth-targeted 5 Gum brand that includes branded content before, during and after the live broadcast.

“We’ve wanted to do this for a long time — it’s a big undertaking,” said Defy chief content officer Barry Blumberg, who said the production will cost well more than double that of recorded video.

“Smosh Live!” will be available post-broadcast, on YouTube and via other distribution points, after the show. “It will have life after live,” Blumberg said. In addition, following the live show, Smosh will run a behind-the-scenes video about the making of the show.

News of the Smosh Live! project comes after YouTube announced Thursday it has greenlit a second Smosh movie as part of its new slate for YouTube Red. In the yet-untitled film, luckless Charlie (Padilla) moves into a new apartment inhabited by a narcissistic ghost named Max (Hecox). Max makes Charlie’s life a living hell until they learn that the only way Max can get into heaven is by working together.

The duo’s first feature-length film, “Smosh: The Movie,” was released last summer and is now streaming on Netflix. The movie, produced by Defy and AwesomenessTV, revolves around an embarrassing video of Anthony that surfaced online before his fifth high-school reunion. The Smosh guys scramble to pull down the clip, teleporting into the pages of other YouTubers like Jenna Marbles, Grace Helbig and Markiplier, before it ruins Anthony’s chances of reuniting with his teen crush.

For now, “Smosh Live!” will be a one-time live broadcast, but Blumberg said he hopes there will be other future live shows. “I don’t know how often we can do it,” he said. “It is going to require a full-time group of writers and producers to get the first one done.” The Smosh cast and crew includes seven on-camera talent and two staff writers, overseen by producer Joe Bereta.

The show will be tightly integrated with 5 Gum’s “Truth or Dare” marketing campaign, which revolves around specialty packs released once a year with foil wrappers that issue various challenges to gum-chewers. Fans will be invited to create content around the 5 Gum challenges and share it on social media, including the hashtags #5truthordare and #vipsweepstakes to be entered for a chance to win tickets to the Aug. 26 show. And during the post-show, the Smosh cast will play their own version of truth or dare with the audience and take questions from fans.

At VidCon, 5 Gum will have an big presence including a stage on the main floor where participants can play “Truth or Dare” challenges in front of the crowd. The gum brand also is the sponsor of the VidCon Community Wall, encouraging attendees to “share their truths” on a 120-foot wall and perform dares in a GIF-photo booth.

In addition, talent from Defy properties Smosh Games, the Warp Zone and Clevver will get gummy by playing the 5 Gum challenges throughout VidCon and sharing them on social channels. Plus, 5 Gum samples and swag will be available throughout VidCon at the brand’s booth and in the Defy Media Lounge.

Among other projects, Smosh recently launched their first comic-book series in stores nationwide and in January debuted their first long-form comedy series, “Part Timers,” on YouTube. Last year, Anthony and Ian became the first digital celebs to be cast in wax by Madame Tussauds, in an unveiling that coincided with VidCon 2015.

Pictured above: Smosh’s Anthony Padilla (l.) and Ian Hecox

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