Years-old social-media posts will come back to haunt YouTube video stars on Smosh’s “You Posted That?,” the comedy brand’s first attempt at a game show-style format.
“You Posted That?” is hosted by Smosh co-founder Ian Hecox, who presents three contestants with their most cringe-inducing tweets and other posts from years past and roasts them throughout the show. Guests for Monday’s series premiere are Ricky Dillon, Gabbie Hanna, and the Game Theorist’s MatPat, with upcoming appearances by Jack Douglass (JacksFilms), Ethan Klein (h3h3Productions), and Jordan Maron (CaptainSparklez).
“It’s sort of a game of embarrassing them, but I also make a point of taking shots at myself,” said Hecox.
For Smosh, one of Defy Media’s flagship properties, the show also marks its first long-form series format on its main YouTube channel, with episodes ranging from 20-25 minutes.
A big impetus behind the show’s genesis, Hecox said, was that the format makes it easier to feature other top YouTubers on Smosh — a common strategy of YouTube creators to boost viewership and audience. “Collaborating with other YouTubers has been complicated because we do sketch comedy. That takes a commitment,” he said. “But if we can put them in a game show, it’s easier to work with them.”
Hecox is joined on “You Posted That?” by announcer Shayne Topp and a sort of late-night talk-show house-band duo, Keith Leak Jr. and Scott Passarella, who perform improvised songs based on the contestants’ most shameful social posts. “You Posted That?” also will feature pop-in appearances by Smosh cast members Noah Grossman, Courtney Miller and Olivia Sui.
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For Hecox, it’s the first Smosh show launch he’s appearing in since longtime collaborator and friend Anthony Padilla left this summer to pursue a solo career. The two first formed Smosh 12 years ago when they were teens living in the Sacramento suburbs. Defy execs have compared Padilla’s exit to a cast member leaving an ensemble show like “Saturday Night Live.” As Hecox put it, “We had said for a long time that we can’t always be the two guys on camera, so how can we make it a thing that will last?”
“You Posted That?” was shot in Smosh’s studio at Defy’s Beverly Hills offices, in front of a live audience (of mainly Smosh staffers).
The game show is an experimental foray for Smosh into a new programming genre, said GM and SVP Dave Silverstein, who took over running the Smosh brand in May after previously serving as Defy’s director of content strategy and operations. “The way we operate is, we are able to be fluid and pivot as we see what works and doesn’t work,” he said, adding, “Our viewership growth is defined by new, diverse content formats, and an around-the-clock publishing schedule.”
“You Posted That?” is more akin to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” than a straight-up game show with cash or prizes. There is a victor crowned in each episode, but Hecox is cagey about the award: “The winner gets to do something that’s never been done in the history of everything,” he said.
Each episode has three rounds of contests, with points awarded in each round. The first round is “You Posted That?,” in which contestants are individually presented with a tweet they posted sometime in the past with key words or phrases obscured, and they must fill in the blanks. In the second segment, “Is This Funny?,” all three contestants are presented with a joke one of them posted (with the poster’s identity not revealed) and then vote on whether they think it was funny. The final round is “Match My Caption!,” in which players are shown a caption from one of Hecox’s past Instagram posts along with three photos and must guess the right pic.
If the show is successful, Hecox said, “we can throw in other game ideas we have already come up with.”
“You Posted That?” is part of Smosh’s ongoing efforts to expand formats and look for new opportunities to showcase its cast of 12 comedy players. About 50 employees total work on Smosh. In August, it debuted seven new shows on Smosh Pit, the new name of Smosh’s second channel, which started as a home for Hecox and Padilla’s vlogs.
In addition, Smosh has ramped up its Facebook content-distribution strategy in recent months. In September, it generated more than 90 million video views on Facebook, with video views across Smosh’s Facebook pages up 70% for August-October compared with the prior three-month period, according to Silverstein.
Here’s the premiere episode of “You Posted That?”: