Brian Park is a comedian and actor based in New York City, where he hosts the monthly CollegeHumor Live show at UCB. He is also the co-creator of EATING IT, a new web series about a Korean-American student who contemplates dropping out of medical school as his passion for the culinary world intensifies, much to the dismay of his first-generation parents. You can watch it here.
This week, Park talked with me about some of his funny Instagram videos and how he comes up with them.
I’m a sucker for millennial consumerism, and it’s why I enjoy making fun of it so much. I feel like our generation views consumerism as a substitute for a personality. Why else are we compelled to show everyone the brand on our tote bag, especially when it’s printed on one side? Look — I read The New Yorker!
How does your voice on Instagram differ from your voice onstage?
My Instagram is more spontaneous and the punch lines are quicker because users have such a short attention span. I only have five to ten seconds to distract you from insta-models living their best lives. Onstage, I have the audience’s attention to explore more complex topics. For example, if you’re an insta-model what does it REALLY mean to live your best life?
I love Adam Driver, because he’s so intense. I wonder if he sends texts like: “nm just chillin. u”? Probably not.
How much preparation goes into making one of these?
Not much! Certain ideas live in my brain a little longer than others, but when it comes to shooting I try not to dwell on it too much. Usually, the more I overthink an idea the worse it comes out.
Who are these people that comment on Kendall Jenner’s Instagram posts? Their stories deserve to be told!
How do you decide if an idea works best for a video, a tweet, or stand-up?
I think it depends on what I find funny about an idea. If something is inspired by a wacky character, I’ll write it as a video, whereas most of my stand-up ideas stay very close to my personal life. I primarily use Twitter as a testing ground for my stand-up jokes. I like it because I can receive immediate feedback 24 hours a day and quickly learn if something is worth trying onstage.
This is an older video but still relevant. I’m amazed how work still gets accomplished. How are more companies not bankrupt? Every Fortune 500 company can be downsized to a single employee who doesn’t own a smartphone.
Have you ever taken a video and developed it into a longer project?
Yes! I was about a year into my current relationship and my girlfriend and I were going through a period where we went to a lot of art galleries together. A very one-year into a relationship move. I made a dumb Instagram video about contemporary art, which inspired a sketch about a fratty art darling.
Karen Chee is a Brooklyn-based comedian who writes for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and Shondaland, among other cool websites.