No Balls & Talentless Viners: YouTube’s First Halftime Show Was Awful

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I guess YouTube didn’t learn anything from the debacle that was “YouTube Comedy Week,” because YouTubers should not do live events. Ever.

Impromptu banter is not their strong point and when you pair that with a bizarrely disjointed and error-heavy technical show, it made YouTube’s first Super Bowl Halftime Show a strong contender for its last halftime show.

The lone interesting moment was Harley Morenstein, halftime show MC and star of Epic Meal Empire fame, calling out Viners and announcing that YouTubers have talent while Viners don’t. The others on stage — Freddie Wong, Toby Turner and Rhett of Good Mythical Morning — all seemed to quickly distance themselves from the “shots fired” comment. It’s a shame because a Viner/YouTuber rivalry could be fun for both mediums. Unfortunately, YouTube fired shots at themselves with the rough rough rough slapdashery. If people aren’t angrily conferencing in the back offices of the YouTube Space L.A., they ought to be. A lot of companies and talents had their brands attached to this, and it made a lot of people look bad.

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Let this be a wakeup call, YouTube and YouTubers: you need to step up your game. Sure the musical moments hosted by Kurt Hugo Schneider were pleasantly error-free, but we’ve seen the “Cups” song with the nifty hand slaps before. This was your chance to grab viewers away from the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which was its own sort of spectacle, and make them fans of YouTube. You took a step back today instead of a major step forward. It would be silly to claim a casual halftime show (that extended well past halftime due to a poorly-run schedule) was the “Neil Armstrong moment” for YouTube and its stars, but you all haven’t done yourselves any favors. I know you rehearsed some of this because Matt Santoro posted the footage.

Sure, a sense of “realness” is what makes YouTube charming, but there is a difference between fumbling cuteness and painful, poorly planned events. Every aspect of the show, from sort-of science experiments by Science Bob to a hellaciously boring and confusing multiple choice game to insipid commercials advertising aspects of Harley’s “brand” were misery. They didn’t even have balls to dunk in the random inflatable basketball dunk challenge (wrong sport, YouTube). The competitors ended up just jumping at the hoop in an embarrassing and fumbling moment of livestream awfulness. That was after they played the wrong video and the guys on the couch didn’t know what to do about it. Yeah, this thing is going to be one for the ages — and not in a good way. When the credits rolled, hopefully it was a sort of executioner’s row of people who will not be involved next year.

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Having been a coverer of all things YouTube for several years now, I know what these individuals are capable of — and individually, they are all great. Each of them, in their regular comfort zone, is a revelation. Here they are an awful, awful clusterf**k. I feel compelled to apologize to anyone NMR pointed in the direction of this human tragedy.
Please, everyone, do better next year.

You know what? Don’t share this article. Let’s all just forget this ever happened. Except whoever is in charge of it next year.

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