Brad Neely is debuting his fourth animated TV show, Brad Neely’s Harg Nallin Sclopio Peepio on July 10 on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. But anyone can watch the first episode now exclusively through social media platform Vine. It’s an industry first from Adult Swim, which has been at the forefront of social media, virtual reality and video games as the network caters to a younger, tech-savvy demographic.
The animated variety show’s title has no meaning, according to Neely. It’s just a collection of “favorite syllables.” In fact, the show, which itself is a collection of frenetic one-off bits, shorts and songs, was originally called “TV Sucks.” The creator of the Adult Swim show China, IL talks to [a]listdaily about the rise of social media and the role it plays in making people laugh today in this exclusive interview.
How did this Vine deal come about?
We didn’t make this for Vine. I made the show for Adult Swim to air in traditionally linear. The decision to put this online came after we had made all 10 episodes and Vine decided they were going to put content on at that level of 11 minutes in length. That was a smart move from Adult Swim to allow us to premiere our show on their platform. But we definitely had no idea it was going to happen.
What’s your relationship with social media like?
I started making things online and always enjoyed that immediate connection, where you could make something, have it seen immediately, and talk with people about it. It’s fascinating and a great way to get instant feedback, instead of working in silence in a bunker for a few years like traditional animated television, and I hope it connects with an audience. Being able to see what works and what doesn’t work online is great.
Are you a Vine user?
I will go down a Vine hole every once in a while. My wife is more into it than I am. I have to cut it off for myself because there’s work to do. I saw kids flipping chairs and making them land right side up and doing victory dances. I couldn’t stop laughing at that shit. It reminds me of junior high or high school, and making your friends laugh and that being your whole world. It’s a great reminder of how simple it is to make people laugh.
How have you seen the internet open up new creative opportunities for talent?
Any variety of formats is good for creativity. I am a very big fan of traditional formats and structures like the novel, the feature movie and the 22-minute comedy TV show. But those things are not restrictive in a creative sense; they’re restrictive in that no one can access that out in the world. There are kids in Texas brimming with creative spark and there’s no way they can get a show on ABC or something. The internet is a great outlet for young people today.
When I was young—before the internet—my friends and I would draw pictures with sticks in the dirt.
Do you still make content for the internet?
I occasionally get the itch to do something for online. I did a video, “Queeblo 001,” and made a song and put together pictures about a skateboarder with a Whopper and a 40 a few years ago. I really love Pizza Rolls and made a song about it for a friend to make them laugh, and then a few years later reached out to Totino’s and made a cartoon for it (Totino’s Messin with the Pizza Rolls). I like the immediacy that can happen online.
Of course, there’s a bad side. I get messages from people who just want to tell me negative things about the stuff I made. But sometimes it’s a good note.
What’s your take on this age of social media influencers?
Now there’s so much content, the trouble is you can’t watch everything, but the cream rises to the top. And when you’re a 40-year-old married guy who has a very routine life, you’ll get these kids who keep popping up in my feed. That’s a great world, and I want to see more of that.
What was the inspiration for this new show?
I generate a lot of ideas for content and keep good notes about a melody I want to use for something, or a funny little word or a concept. For narrative TV like China I’d take nuggets and foster them into full narrative strands, or shoehorn them into jokes. But I’d amassed so much of this, I’m lucky to have a relationship with Adult Swim and say, “How about a show that behaves like this?” and they said, “Go ahead and make six.” We’d gotten to know each other making China, so we just got after it. I just wanted to be silly and not think about making so much sense.
Is this going to be an ongoing series?
We made about 600 bits, and about 300 made it into Season 1 just because of time. We’re sitting on it and if the show does well, the first three episodes are already done. It’s not a content issue—I make a lot of stuff—but there’s a lot of work to be done and we use a writer’s room to make sure there are standards, even if it doesn’t seem like there are any.