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AreYouKiddingTV: Exploring The Phenomenon Behind The Laughter

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

In an exclusive interview with Miami Living Magazine, we sat down with the comedic geniuses behind the sensational AreYouKiddingTV: Joey Gizzi and Steven Lannum. With over 9 million followers and a staggering 600 million engagements, their uproarious videos and remarkable brand collaborations have taken the digital world by storm. Join us as we dive into their journey from college antics to global fame and discover what's next for this unstoppable comedic duo.

ML: Congratulations on the incredible success of AreYouKiddingTV! You've amassed an impressive following of over 9 million and have reached an astounding 600 million engagements. What do you think has been the key to your massive growth and popularity?

JG & SL: While there are several aspects that contribute to the success, we think being consistent with uploads and finding a unique concept that separates us from other creators has played a big factor.

ML: You started creating comedy videos back in college, but it was after uploading your content to YouTube in 2016 that things really took off. Can you share with us the moment you realized you had struck a chord with your audience and that AreYouKiddingTV was going to be something big?

JG & SL: We actually started posting to YouTube in 2016 during college and kept going until we graduated in 2018. While we did grow to over 20,000 YouTube subscribers, we realized it wasn’t something we could do as our full-time job right out of college. In 2020 during Covid and the growth of TikTok, we decided to re-edit our old YouTube clips into vertical, short form content, and after a few posts we started to grow pretty fast on that platform. Once our videos continued to get many views and positive feedback, we realized we had a chance to get back into making videos and turn our brand into something big.

ML: You are also affectionately known as "The Sign Guys" due to the challenges you have people complete for prizes. How did this unique concept come about, and what do you believe makes these challenges so engaging for your audience?

JG & SL: When we first started making videos, we were filming classic prank videos where we would approach strangers and do something funny, while also trying to be respectful about it. One day, we thought of the idea to stand on our college campus with a sign that said “Take The Dollar” and hold out a dollar bill, seeing who would take it. This concept was how our sign videos originated, and we realized there was potential for so many variations of the format. These challenges are engaging for our audience because they’re simple, entertaining, and it’s always funny watching how strangers will react to a random challenge opportunity. It also makes a lot of viewers hope to walk by us someday and get to participate in one of the videos.

ML: Over the years, you've collaborated with prominent brands like Dr. Pepper, United Airlines, Brooks Brothers, and even big studios like Paramount. How do you choose the brands and projects you collaborate with, and what has been the most memorable collaboration so far?

JG & SL: There are several factors that go into choosing the brands we work with, whether it’s on the business or creative side, but if we have a chance to work with a brand we both love, it makes the decision much easier. One of our most memorable collaborations so far was Dr Pepper; we were able to give $23,000 in tuition money to the winner of a contest, which was a very rewarding opportunity for us.

ML: Your journey from creating videos at Elon University to finding massive success on TikTok during the pandemic is truly remarkable. How has your content evolved over time, and how has your audience influenced the direction you take with your videos?

JG & SL: Over time, we have made higher quality videos, both in terms of production and creative content. We went from our sign saying “Take the Dollar,” to “Do 5 pushups, get $5,” to “First person to bring us cooked mac and cheese, throw a book in the air, and then dump this bucket of apple juice on their head gets a brand new MacBook Air.” We also evolved to doing challenges that took our adventures off-screen, like “First person to agree to give us your dog for 24 hours gets $1,000.’ This change gave us the ability to create a new style of videos, while still staying true to our overall brand. We’ll often look at the comments from our audience and use that feedback to decide which kind of content we should continue to make going forward, and what we should hold back on.

ML: With the stakes getting higher as your following grows, could you tell us about one of the most challenging or adventurous video shoots you've undertaken? What made it stand out for you?

JG & SL: One of our most challenging shoots was a video we did at East Carolina University, where people had to find a clear key in a giant pool set up on the campus. We gave out $5,000 for this challenge, by far our biggest prize yet, and we only had one take to get the intro done, with over a hundred students ready to run over and participate. We thought it went well overall, but that was probably our most challenging video to shoot.

ML: Building such a strong online presence and maintaining engagement with millions of followers is no small feat. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep your audience entertained and connected to your content?

JG & SL: Our biggest strategy is making sure we continue to change up our videos with fresh, creative ideas. While our sign format is pretty simple and repetitive, we’re able to continue changing things up with the unique ideas we come up with, which we believe our audience appreciates and keeps them entertained and coming back to watch more.

ML: With all your success, what are your future plans for AreYouKiddingTV? Do you have any exciting projects or new directions you're looking to explore?

JG & SL: We plan on continuing to make bigger and bolder videos, while raising the stakes and giving out larger prizes. While we will continue our short form videos, we also want to expand to bigger long form YouTube videos and grow our following there. We’re also consistently looking at new opportunities, whether it be posting on new platforms, creating products, or attending events.

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Austin Lord


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