Ryan Hall swears that he has the best job in the entire world. On any given day you’ll see him with a camera crew in tow traipsing from Harlem to the West Village asking the dwellers of New York City their views on everything from sex to the divides between race and class.
Hall is the host of the YouTube show “Stereotypes,” found on Pharrell William’s YouTube Network, I Am Other, a network dedicated to creating a cultural movement of thinkers, innovators and outcasts. In the course of it’s production, “Stereotypes” has given hundreds of men and women the opportunity to share their differing thoughts on race, culture, style, music, relationships and politics. As the host of the show, Hall has come to view “Stereotypes” as a way to create positive change through conversation. Chatting with NMR from the Big Apple, Hall shared with us his original reservations about hosting the show, his desire for “Stereotypes” to preserve the art of conversation and his fantasies about hitting ignorant people over the head with his mic.
How did you originally get started with “Stereotypes?”
Ryan Hall: I was recommended by a friend who also moved from Cleveland around the same time. He had a mutual buddy who was working with I Am Other to shoot the pilot for “Stereotypes.” We ended up meeting up, sort of begrudgingly on my end, and after a couple of cancelled promised days of shooting I finally met up with him. I really didn’t care much about what was going to happen because I didn’t think that I was actually going to get the gig. And to my surprise a couple of days later, I was told that the I Am Other team, being Robin and Mimi, really liked what I had done. Pharrell was really entertained by my presence, and the rest is history.
What were you involved with before that?
Before working with “Stereotypes” I was the man of all sorts. I think living in New York, you just have to do anything and everything to get by. And originally my take moving to New York was to work in the fashion industry, but by some hap-hazard manner, I ended up meeting up with my comedy troupe that I’m with to this day called POYKPAC. It was with POYKPAC that I got involved in online social media. It’s been like seven years that we’ve been a group.
Are you guys online or perform primarily in person?
We’ve had various stages as a performance groups. We’ve done the live shows, we just recently did a competition where — I don’t even know if the show is still on the SyFY channel — we did a competition called “Viral Video Showdown” that we won surprisingly! [laughs] We pretty much knew that most of our success came from posting our videos online. That’s the medium that we’ve clung to for the most part, but we have done some very rankity [sic], sketchy live shows in various venues.
So I’m guessing you’re not begrudging against “Stereotypes” anymore?
No. You know, I look at it as one of the most amazing experiences that has happened to me in the last 10 years, at least within my adult life — if I am an adult yet I don’t know. I love “Stereotypes.”