Watching Good Mythical Morning on YouTube has become a daily ritual. Around a year ago my girlfriend introduced me to the prop-filled zany adventures of Rhett Mclaughlin and Link Neal, and I’ve since binged hours of their back catalog. As YouTube’s algorithm has changed over the 11 years they’ve been making videos, their content has become tamer. Instead of eating the world’s hottest pepper, they’ll rank Skittles flavors, or try ranch dressing on sushi.
But their audience of 18 million subscribers still wants to see more of that classic pain and vulgarity that existed on pre-Adpocalypse YouTube. To appease these fans, known as beasts, GMM started their annual Good Mythical Evening show, where for a fee, you can watch them get plastered drunk and engage in demonetizable buffoonery, like shaving each other’s butts. In 2021, the event sold 70,000 tickets with 83,000 the next year.
For their third annual show called “Pain and Pleasure,” the duo partnered with Alamo Drafthouse and live-streamed the show to nine movie theaters across the United States. To my knowledge, they are the first influencers to stream an event directly to a movie theater. Fans watching from home could vote on what happened to the on-air crew; in one instance they could either have a barbershop quartet sing their praises or have an angry mob scream obscenities at them (the crowd picked the latter and the painful option most of the time).
Being a beast myself (and an intent culture addict) I had to see what GMM had in store. So with two tickets graciously comped, my girlfriend and I headed to a theater in the pits of a basement in downtown New York for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Lights, Camera, Let’s Talk About That
This event was 18+, so the usual teeny boppers I see at influencer events were non-existent. The sold-out crowd was incredibly diverse and full of all adult ages. Arriving at our reclining seats, there were placards at the table showing Rhett and Link’s favorite food picks. We tried to order Link’s choice of Brussels sprouts, Bacon, and goat cheese pizza but they were already sold out. The 30-minute preshow, where the pair started drinking, wouldn’t work and our sound was unknowingly muted for the first few minutes of the show.
But there were no technical difficulties once the show got rolling and the chaos began. For the next two hours, we watched in gleeful horror as the pair screamed obscenities, played with dildos, got shocked with an electric cane, and one crew member drunkenly fell through a set after she tried to put her boob in it. For their homoerotic coup de grace, the loser of the show had to eat a chocolate mold of the other’s butt. They filmed the creation of the molds and Neal chose not to shave his ass, leading to a minutes-long clip of him screaming in pain which was funnier than it sounds.
The show, to me, was a success and proves that there is a massive opportunity for these larger premium events and shows. Creators have already been testing the limits of paid content, like the Try Guys who performed Romeo and Juliet with bong rips, and you guessed it, dildos. Because YouTube has become such a sanitized place and these creators already have an established audience, it makes sense to offer a new way to engage (and monetize) that clearly hungry audience.
Will It Help Creators?
As creators, there are now so many different ways to make a living. You have ad revenue, merch sales, brand deals, and Patreon content just to name a few. GMM has taken its unique approach, having its Mythical Society club that offers unique content and merchandise that can only be obtained by paying between $5 and $20 a month. They know that their die-hard fans are willing to fork up the dough to feel like part of their community. Paying $40 for an Alamo Drafthouse ticket seems a bit absurd, but the beasts were more than happy to do so.
As the creator economy continues to find new outlets of intrigue, there will be more influencers trying to find ways to make their premium content stand out. Movie theaters are already struggling and with the SAG-AFTRA strike basically canceling any future releases it’s going to be an even tougher journey. Partnering with influencers who are already creating content gives them an avenue to make a buck off of an audience that’s willing to pay.
We are used to seeing influencers in cameos in movies, but my prediction is we are going to start to see more of them starring in their own premium content. Not every influencer has a large audience that will mobilize to multiple physical locations, but those with 10+ million subscribers absolutely could. GMM has set a high bar, even if it’s made of dildos.