Markiplier, one of YouTube’s most-followed creators, claims he doesn’t consider the business prospects of his new projects.
“I let the lawyers think about that,” he says. “I feel like turning everything into a business venture poisons creativity.”
That said, he’s pleased and surprised that his new podcast “Distractible” has taken the podcast world by storm. The inaugural episode (“Hair”) debuted Monday, May 17. By Wednesday, it had captured the No. 1 position on Spotify’s U.S. podcast rankings, where it currently stands — beating out Joe Rogan’s routinely chart-topping (and controversial) show, which is exclusive to Spotify. That’s all the more impressive given that only about 58% of Markiplier’s audience uses Spotify, according to his reps. “Distractible” earlier this week also hit No. 1 on the Apple Podcasts chart, where it’s still No. 1 in comedy podcasts but has since fallen to No. 7 overall.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the audience for “Distractible” will stick around for subsequent weekly installments. But the strong initial showing bodes well for its staying power.
Markiplier (real name: Mark Fischbach) hosts “Distractible” with two of his longtime friends: Wade Barnes (whom “I think I’ve known since the sixth grade,” Fischbach says) and Bob Muyskens, who was his freshman-year roommate at the University of Cincinnati. The podcast, per its description, is “a space to have thoughtful discussions about funny, out-there, or otherwise interesting stories from everyday life” — as well as an opportunity for them “to remind each other they are not as smart as they think.”
“When we set out to make the podcast, we weren’t trying to make the No. 1 podcast,” Markiplier says. “We wanted something where we just riff for an hour or so.”
“Distractible” is a more condensed version of the Twitch livestreams Markiplier, Bob and Wade have done for the past three years, which often would stretch for three hours or longer. “The livestream is so loose. It was an excuse for us to get together and shoot the shit,” Fischbach says.
The friends dubbed the livestream “The Bonercast,” a joke about what they thought would be the dumbest idea ever for a podcast (dudes swapping stories about boner issues). “We didn’t think that would fly as the name of the podcast,” Markiplier notes.
In the debut episode of “Distractible,” the guys discuss all things hair-related — including talking about the dangers of hair removal and imagining a sci-fi world in which an elite class harvests hair (and organs) from the less fortunate. By picking “hair” as the talking point for the first segment, Markiplier says, “we wanted a topic that showed that it doesn’t what the topic is; it matters where we go with it.”
“Distractible” is produced by QCode’s Wood Elf label. Markiplier had previously starred in QCode’s scripted podcast “The Edge of Sleep,” and he’s now on location just outside of Vancouver shooting a television adaption of that show.
“The Edge of Sleep” is about a night watchman who, after finishing his shift at work, discovers that everyone in the world who went to sleep the previous night has died — and he and a group of survivors must stay awake and uncover the secret of the global epidemic before they fall asleep. The show is created by Jake Emanuel and Willie Block (FX’s “Chozen”) and produced by New Regency. Starring alongside Markiplier in the show are Analeigh Tipton (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”) and Eve Harlow (Fox’s “NeXt,” “The 100”).
After shooting for “The Edge of Sleep” wraps, Markiplier says, he’s heading to Austin, Texas, to start production on the follow-on to “A Heist With Markiplier,” the 2019 YouTube original interactive special he created and starred in. He wouldn’t spill any tea about the project other than to say it’s very different from the first one, although “still an interactive narrative.”
Markiplier, 31, is best known for his gaming content, animation, sketch comedy and vlogs that regularly generate more than 200 million views per month on YouTube. Last November, he hosted the finale of his channel Unus Annus — which only existed for 365 days — and racked up over 22 million views. The sale of merchandise related to the conclusion of Unus Annus (“one year” in Latin) grossed $13.7 million in revenue.
In his current YouTube videos, Markiplier focuses on a healthy lifestyle and a daily workout regimen. He is also the co-owner of the high-end athleisure and lifestyle line Cloak, designed for gamers. Markiplier has 29.2 million subscribers on YouTube, as well as 13.3 million followers on Twitter, 8.8 million on Instagram and 3.7 million on Facebook. He’s repped by WME, Daylight Media and law firm Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman.