If you didn’t catch the first episode of Stevie TV on VH1, make sure you don’t miss it again (and catch a highlight reel below, along with a little clip from Episode 2).
I had a chance to talk with Stevie Ryan recently, and she’s very serious about her pop culture. Also, she can talk. The show is getting a lot of play on VH1, with new episodes on Sunday nights, and it’s a lot of fun. Sketch comedy based on pop culture, Stevie takes on the persona on stars from your favorite reality nonsense to parody the world around us.
Let’s jump in. Be prepared, if you’ve ever wondered what an interview where the interviewer doesn’t get to say much looks like, this is it. Oh, and there’s cursing.
So, I wanted to ask, where did this come from? I mean, obviously from the YouTube videos, but you were just sitting around one day and said, “I’m going to make a YouTube video?”
Stevie: Basically, I was already living in Los Angeles. I was working at Levi’s in Beverly Hills, and I was auditioning, and doing commercials, and one day I finally saved up money and bought my first laptop. Then I found Windows Movie Maker on my laptop, because this was before I knew how awesome Mac was. At the time, I was obsessed with Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and silent films in general. I don’t know what it was, but I had this silent film fascination.
I’m not sure how or why, but I thought, “I should make my own silent movie.” So I shot some video with this little camcorder, and then I needed a cord to connect the camcorder to the laptop, so I went out and bought like fifty cords, because I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. One of them fit, and then I Googled “How to import…,” and I made this little video.
Then I found YouTube, and this was back like when if someone got 100 views it was like, “Oh my god. This person has 100 views.” It was a lot of random stuff then. People uploading old commercials. It was not YouTube like YouTube now. At all.
So I thought, “Wait. I have those weird little silent videos I’ve been making by myself.”
That’s the other thing, when I was making these, that’s like all I wanted to do. I mean, I wanted to act, and this was fulfilling me. I didn’t care about making money with it, it was just fulfilling my craziness inside.
So, I uploaded my video, and people were, like right away, saying, “You’re ugly, and stupid, and dumb.” And, I was like, “What? You don’t even know.” And, I grew up in Victorville.
::long conversation ensues about the woes of Victorville, it’s prison, it’s “being more than 80 miles outside of LA county status, and the fact that the interviewer used to have family in Victorville- there is cursing and whatnot::
That’s when the character Lil Loca appeared. So, I thought, “I’m going to make a different channel, and I’m going to go off on YouTube and these kids who don’t know what they’re talking about.” That’s when things got crazy. People went nuts. Either they loved her, or they hated her, and it just started this huge online war, and people were going nuts for months. I was uploading videos every day. It got so intense, I started dreaming in Spanish, and I don’t even know Spanish.
I was also sort of terrified, because people thought it was this real girl. Then there was the whole thing where I got busted, and people found my MySpace, and it was like, “Hey, this girl looks like Lil Loca.” And they outed me.
That’s really how it all started, and from that I really started developing a passion for more than acting. I always thought I wanted to be an actress, but now I thought acting is such a small piece of the pie, and I want the whole damn pie. This is when I really started getting obsessed. I mean I’m OCD and I was like OCDed out. I was coming up with ideas, and making videos. Then I started getting into cameras, and then I said, “Wait, there’s Mac, and there’s Final Cut.” It just kind of became a new discovery every day, about what was out there, and about myself as an artist. And, I found how much I love the technical side of things.
Of course, then Google bought YouTube and I started getting paid, which is nice. Then I luckily parodied a show called Pretty Wild, which I was completely obsessed with on E!. It was just so ridiculous, and these girls were so crazy. I just had to make fun of it, because I know everyone else is feeling the same way about it. Well, the girls on the show saw it, and they showed it to the producers, because I guess they thought it was cute, or something… or they hated me, who knows?
One of the producers contacted me, and said he saw the video and thought it was great, and said, “Let’s come up with something, and go out and pitch it together.” So, I went into Wave, the production company I’m working with, and pitched this obvious idea of a sketch comedy show that was all about pop culture. Because, we’re obsessed with these things, and we don’t know why.
I’m not just making fun of these shows. I’m actually invested in these shows. I’m watching these shows. They’re on my DVR, and that’s how we got the concept even. So, we pitched it, and people wanted it, and we thought VH1… it was new to them, and they’re going to give us the most creative freedom. And, I just felt like they were really confident, and they believed in us. I felt they wanted the show more than anyone else.
And, yeah, so it all started from me being really weird, and not wanting to leave my apartment, and make videos all day.
So, I watched the first episode, and what I’m wondering from watching the show is… so now, we get people to watch the first show, and what do they get after that? Is it totally new stuff every week? Is it returning characters? Is it a mix?
Stevie: You know, it’s really a mix. There are characters who return. We have a few Lady Gaga sketches. We have a few Justin Bieber sketches. But, even if they return, it’s always to a different place. They aren’t returning to the same situation, or show, or whatever you saw them on before.
But, I very much feel like each episode is completely different from what came before. We really try to stay away from anything being too similar. Especially today. You have the internet, and I feel like everyone has ADD. I have ADD. It’s like I have to watch movies in ten-minute sections, because I just can’t sit through anything anymore. So, we try to keep it very fast-paced, and everything is different.
So, as people go week by week through the show, their expectation should be… just not to have expectations? Is that what you’re saying.
Stevie: I guess it should just be to expect the unexpected. I don’t even know what to say about that actually.
That could be a good thing actually. If it’s hard to answer that. But, apart from the idea that it’s sketches, what’s on one week doesn’t mean anything about what’s on next week?
Stevie: No. Not at all.
Because, I think a show like this comes out, and people watch a show… what they’re used to is the show saying, “this is what our show is like,” and then they’re comfortable. Their looking for that.
Stevie: Right. I get what you’re saying.
I mean, they’re going to be looking for… figuring it out, I guess.
Stevie: Yeah, I mean we have a format. There’s a homebase. I’m always there as myself, but as far as the sketches, just expect… what you’ve always been thinking about these different shows you’ve been watching. You can always expect…
Stevie: Yes, you can always expect Justin Bieber. No.
That’s a good T-shirt. The Bieber one was very uncomfortable, by the way.
I mean, funny, but… it was sort of creepy.
Stevie: You want to know that, when I play Justin Bieber… like, my ex-boyfriend and his friends, when I first did Justin Bieber, they were like obsessed with it. They were like, it’s creepy, but it’s hot. Guys and girls want to date me as Justin Bieber. I can’t even get a date as me, but when I’m Justin Bieber, it’s like all of a sudden everyone thinks I’m hot. It’s slightly depressing.
So, these shows that people are obsessed… the basic reality shows that make up what you cover, what’s your take on these shows? Like you said, nobody knows why we like to watch them. What do you think about these?
Stevie: I don’t know why everyone else does, but I’ll tell you why I watch them. I honestly, don’t have much of a life. I just don’t have very much drama in my life, and for me it kind of fulfills that catty part of me. Or, not catty, but it’s like there are issues and there’s drama, and it makes me feel like I’m a part of it, and it also makes me aware of how much I don’t want that in my life.
I like it, because it shows me a lot of things I don’t want, and what not to do. But, at the same time, it’s also very entertaining, because this is what’s going on in the rest of the world. Like, let’s take Toddlers & Tiaras. People are like, “That’s child abuse.” And, it is child abuse, and it is fucked up, but guess what, that’s what’s really happening in life. Whether there’s a show or not. That’s real life. That shit is really happening. There’s bitches that are crazy, that are doing this to their kids. Guess what, every child actor that you’ve ever watched, that’s exactly what their parents were doing to them.
So, I think it just shows what’s going on and how messed up our world actually is.
I think that’s a really good example of a TV show, because the show comes at you… like the way it’s presented is not, “Look, we’re totally making fun of these people,” except that, we are. I mean, the show is. They aren’t getting people on the show by saying, “Hey, sign up for our show, because we want to make fun of the fact that you do this.”
But, is there enough audience out there that is the people making fun of it, or are there people out there who are actually “fans” watching?
Stevie: Oh yeah. I’m sure there’s a mix. There are people out there watching because they want to learn from it and do the same thing, or already do the same thing. And, there are people who are into it just because they’re angry about it. And, there are people who are into it and don’t know why the fuck they’re into it. And, then there’s people who are into it like me, where’s it like, I watch it and see how they’re edited. Where, you know you could pick this shot and show the girl falling off the chair, and it reveals something about the mother, or whatever.
Right, they could take all of the footage that they have, and make the entirely different show where they made it look like it wasn’t such a bad thing.
And yet, this is what they do, and they still get people to be on the show next season. How does that happen?
Stevie: It’s crazy. I mean, I say that every day. I don’t see the attraction to it. But, at the same time, I think that people think television is just magic to them. As long as they get a little piece of that “being on television” magic. It’s like, there’s that brilliant part in Bruno, where he has the little kids, and he’s talking to the parents, and he’s saying she’s two and has no boobs, or whatever, and the mom is like, “well, ok.”
Yeah, she needs some lipo, or I forget the exact thing.
Stevie: But, you know, it’s real life, and for me, my obsession with these shows is just that this is actually happening and it’s real life. My favorite thing to watch, although it’s hard for me, because I’m ADD, is documentaries. Because I’m learning. And, you know, these reality shows… people are like, “Oh, it’s crap. You’re wasting your brain cells,” but, actually it’s not. It’s a peek into human behavior, and you get to see what’s going on in the rest of the world, and how desperate people are. I’m obsessed with humans and human behavior, and it might just be trash television, but for me, I’m watching human interaction. It’s so interesting to see how different people react to things.
I mean, look at Bad Girls Club!
And, I mean, you can get people to be on a show that you’re telling them is called Bad Girls Club!
Stevie: And, it’s just interesting watching humans behave when you give them a name, and put them in a situation, and they just run with it.
We had to wrap up, and Stevie’s basic appeal to watching the show was that you’ll get to see everything you’ve already been thinking, and I think she’s got something there. It’s pretty fun no matter who you are, or what you watch.
Ever wonder what would happen if the “Millionaire Matchmaker” had to pair up orphans with foster parents or J Lo went back to “the block” to see her old friends or the Jersey Shore’s Deena gave girls advice about when to ‘smush’? Viewers are about to find out in VH1’s new ultimate pop-culture, sketch comedy mash up series “Stevie TV.” Through comedic sketches, “Stevie TV” will take a humorous and satirical look at pop-culture events and moments from hit reality shows as well as the social blunders of celebrities and politicians. The new series is created, executive produced, co-written and hosted by funny lady Stevie Ryan who was discovered through web videos featuring her dead-on impersonations of some of today’s hottest personalities. Her impressions include Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Kendra Wilkinson, Lady GaGa and even VH1’s own stars like the “Mob Wives” and Audrina Patridge. Whether they are grabbing headlines, trending on Twitter or just capturing America’s attention, no one is off limits for Stevie’s chameleon-like talent. “Stevie TV” premieres Sunday, March 4th at 11PM ET/PT.
Stevie Ryan takes on the hottest subjects in her unique, irreverent and hilarious style. Parodies this season include “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak’s “Behind the Music” and Mackenzie from “Toddlers & Tiaras” expressing her true feelings about her parents. Maury Povich’s paternity tests get turned upside down and “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” gets the “Stevie TV” treatment as well. Even Facebook’s “Like” button isn’t out of reach with a sketch entitled “True Life: I’m A Liker.”
“We all instantly flipped for Stevie Ryan’s irreverent take on everything celebrity in 2012. Her impressive comedic talents and her passion for all things pop culture make VH1 the perfect home for her smart and humorous spin on the celebrities that we can’t get enough of.”said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President Original Programming and Development for VH1.
As someone who is a fan of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd’s silent films, Stevie Ryan has always had a passion for entertaining people. Stevie moved to Los Angeles at age 19 and started working in commercials and print. A few years later she started producing her own online videos from her apartment and posted them for viewers to enjoy. The comedy seeking fans took immediate notice, inspiring Stevie to continue creating more hilarious original videos and drawing millions of online viewers with characters like ‘LITTE LOCA’ and ‘KATRINA.’
“Stevie TV” is executive produced by Brian Volk-Weiss, Michael Pelmont, Dan Levy, Stevie Ryan, and Darren Belitsky for New Wave Entertainment. Executive producers for VH1 are Paul Croce, Jill Holmes, Stacy Alexander and Jeff Olde. The series was created by Stevie Ryan, Dan Levy, James Kirkland.