Apr 132011
Authors: Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer

This weekend we had the chance to interview a couple of normal guys (no, not the Lonely Island type of normal guy). It’s hard to write up an interview about normal guys as if it’s a Rolling Stone article, but that’s okay. If you give one monkey a thousand typewriters you might end up with an overly detailed account of the day of the interview –– but we don’t need material for Rolling Stone.

SimplySpoons is the name of a YouTube channel primarily run by CSU juniors Jon Duckworth and Nolan O’Keefe. With 55,000 subscribers, we’re fairly certain that they are CSU’s biggest YouTube stars. To them, however, they don’t have any fans.

“We prefer to think of them as viewers, not fans,” O’Keefe said. “We’re just regular guys who happen to make videos that get watched.”

We think that’s actually a pretty cool way to look at it, but it does need to be noted that even before SimplySpoons started making money from YouTube, dozens of comments would show up on their videos from what we could only describe as “fangirls.”

Rebecca Black doesn’t have many fans either, but certainly many viewers. “Friday” is nearing 100 million views. SimplySpoons is no n00b when it comes to music video parodies. Duckworth and O’Keefe saw potential when they saw “Friday;” it only had 50,000 views at the time. The parody field was wide open but wouldn’t be for long.

The group started working on its spoof on a Saturday night (which comes after Friday) and had it uploading to YouTube by Monday morning –– no small feat for a two-and-a-half minute music video with semi-original lyrics. Now their parody has over 4 million views, helped along by the fact that clips from it were shown on both Good Morning America and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

When we asked Duckworth and O’Keefe about it, they said they were as stunned by the showing as anyone else. They had no idea the clips would be airing. O’keefe found out they had been on Leno when a fan (sorry, viewer) Tweeted him about it. He proceeded to call Duckworth and Zach Fields, who’s a newer addition to SimplySpoons, who makes original beats for their parodies.

The parody was a collaboration with another friend (YouTube channel: funnyz), and that’s where you’ll find it if you don’t see it on SimplySpoons’ channel.

Duckworth and O’Keefe are also set apart because they don’t feel a strong sense of ownership of SimplySpoons. They say they try to include as many other people as they can, and that a lot of credit should go to all the friends who make cameos in their work.

So what does the future hold? As juniors, Duckworth and O’Keefe both have another solid year of college living to keep doing their thing, but when they part ways at graduation, something tells us that long-distance collaboration will be in order. For now, they are living in the moment and enjoying their success. This July they will be travelling to Los Angeles for VidCon, likely to be followed by fuzzy memories of a Vegas suite, all expenses paid for out of their checks from YouTube.

To follow the shenanigans, just search for SimplySpoons on YouTube and find that “Subscribe” button ­­–– help put CSU on the map!

Another quick plug before we go –– one week from today, John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, author of the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace and former Grateful Dead lyricist will be speaking at CSU. Be there at 3:30 p.m. in the Behavioral Sciences Room 131, or be a right-angled parallelogram.

Columnists Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer prefer that this week, you send comments and questions via a passenger pigeon legally named verve@collegian.com.

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