Comedy channel SMOSH has been ruling YouTube for the last decade with their unique blend of parody and nostalgia. We were lucky enough to catch up with Noah Grossman, one of the newest members of the team, to chat about internet fame, nudity, and weird things to put in your mouth…
How did you first get involved with SMOSH?
I was doing the whole child actor thing in LA, which is what everyone does… Go out and audition, end up on Nickelodeon or Disney or something for a little bit. Then I got an audition acting for a couple of internet videos. I went in and it just slowly expanded into a larger opportunity. They were looking for people to be in more than one video; they wanted an established cast of five people (who eventually became the “squad” of Noah, Olivia, Keith, Courtney and Shayne). Then we started discussing the possibility of writing too, so it just kept growing into something bigger and bigger. I knew after the first audition that it had to be one of the big internet channels, and then the scripts that we had to audition for the first round had Ian and Anthony on; they didn’t switch the names, so I was like “okay, I know these guys, I know what this is!”
How did it feel to join one of YouTube’s most powerful families?
It didn’t hit me for a while. During the entire audition process, you just wanna get whatever audition you’re doing. The general note for actors though is not to get attached to something that you’re not hired on yet. But then we got brought in for a couple of rounds where we just hung out and talked, and that was the first time I met Ian and Anthony. Then it was like “oh wow, this is real! I’m actually meeting people that I see on my computer!” It was really cool. I made awkward small-talk about the iPhone 6+, ‘cause Anthony had one… It was fun. Once we actually got the job, it was really weird. Shooting our first couple of sketches was fun, but other than that, for the first couple of months, me, Keith and Olivia were yet to be announced. So we had a three or four month period when we couldn’t let anyone know that we existed. We were just popping up in videos, and then hanging out in this room back at the office all day. So we were part of something huge, but no-one knew! It was weird, but it was a lot of fun. Then Courtney and Shayne joined, and we became a full unit. I’m very grateful to be a part of it. Since I wasn’t there from the beginning, seeing it go from zero to twenty-four million, or whatever number it is, it’s kind of like my mind takes twenty-four million as the new zero. Now it’s my turn to try to add to it. What can I bring to it? At first it was a little daunting thinking about how I would find my voice in something so big, but now it’s happening and it’s like instead of going to college, I am here, learning so much. It’s honestly the best thing I could have asked for.
How much do you get involved with the writing side of things?
All of us are involved in writing the sketches. We have a head writer, and Ian and Anthony are involved also. We have big group joke punch-up sessions where we’ll read through stuff a couple of times and talk about what we think should happen. When it comes to writing Every Blank Ever, which is one of our newest shows, we’ll sit down and brainstorm topics and then off that topic, we’ll come up with twenty jokes and then pick the twelve that we like and move on from there.
What would you say the weirdest thing you’ve done so far for SMOSH is?
Being effectively naked. A lot of times. I think pretty much everybody now has been as close to naked as possible.
Are you going to get more involved with SMOSH Games?
We’ve done some stuff with SMOSH Games. I think it would be great to use the guys if we needed other actors, or if they had ideas for sketches. Working within the company is great, because everyone involved is awesome. As far as doing the gaming videos though, I don’t know… I like video games, but I’m not as good as they are. We’ve done a couple of Game Bangs, and the crossovers like Summer Games and Winter Games. More of those are going to happen, so there will definitely be more content where we are crossing over.
Speaking of Winter Games, what was it like being stuck in a cabin with the crew for a week?
It was like a work vacation. The problem was, we ate mushrooms in almost every single dish we had. That’s not a joke. The catering company that we used to help keep us fed was owned by this older woman, and I guess mushrooms are her favourite food. So every dish had mushrooms. The vegan option was like half a salad, so they didn’t really get any food for the first couple of days. But I ate mushrooms on a burger, or mushrooms in a chilli, or mushrooms on some weird chicken. It was always just mushrooms. And I had never eaten them before in my diet.
Your diet is the main topic of your own show, Put it in my Mouth, where you’re forced to eat crazy food from around the world. Where did the idea for the show come from?
It’s another show about a white dude not knowing what food is! I’m someone who by definition eats food because he has to. If I could have three wishes, one of them would be to not have to eat. If I could function without food, I would never touch it, ever. I’m not about spices… It’s just something I’ve always avoided. So, obviously, everyone at SMOSH knows the secret trick; if you put me on camera, I have to do it. So it kind of just developed because of that!
What’s the worst thing you’ve eaten so far on the show?
Dude, that cheese episode… The cheese episode, hands down, is the worst one. That was the first time where everyone on the show had to go through a daunting task. It wasn’t just me, it was everybody involved. Flitz and Joven… we’re much better friends now after going through that together! It was not cool! The entire house smelled… No-one knew what it was all day, and then they opened up the box and we knew we had to eat it. I never know before what it’s gonna be. When we were first putting together the concept of the show, we had rough ideas, like the first one was the natto episode with Ian. I didn’t know it was gonna be natto, but it was something that I had seen before. Other than that though, for most of the foods, it’s literally the first time I’ve ever heard of it.
What would be your ultimate nightmare food, and who would you want by your side to soften the blow?
I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s this Swedish fish that they cure in the ground for months. I’ve seen someone eat it on the internet before, and it looked horrific. I would hope to get like a Viking or someone with a Swedish background to go through it with. I would not be able to say a word throughout the whole episode, I would need someone else to give the information about it, ‘cause I would honestly just be throwing up, and that is not okay!
You’re also one of the stars of SMOSH’s new “sitcom”, Part Timers. How has that been?
It’s been awesome! In the past I was on a Nickelodeon show for a little bit, where we kind of had scripts and it was wacky, ‘cause that’s what they thought kids want. And kids did not want it at all! (laughs) So this is my first time in a sort of professional sitcom environment, where we were shooting twenty scenes in one day; three from this script, one over here, one over here… You have to be ready and prepared for whatever they need. We didn’t have much time. We were shooting it so quick. You’re in makeup all day long, doing this, doing that… It’s fourteen hours a day of being on it, 100%, every day for two weeks straight. It was awesome!
If you were stuck in an elevator for a day, which of the squad would you least like to be trapped with?
All of us are great friends, but I would have to say Courtney. Because Courtney is someone who can definitely get worked up. I would have to be in there with Keith, because we could just laugh and then pound on stuff and make music. But with Courtney, I know both of us would end up getting frazzled and then start worrying… “Oh my god, what are we gonna do?? I don’t know! The phone isn’t working!! Hopefully they’re coming!!” It would definitely be the typical trapped and scared environment. And I wouldn’t wanna go there; I would have to be relaxed and laughing so that I could get through it!
Where do you see SMOSH in five years?
Five years from now, SMOSH is going to be a name in general comedy, not just our current demographic. As YouTube grows and becomes more of an actual platform, the only thing that can happen is expansion. There’s always room to add another idea or another show. I would love to see SMOSH being a much larger network, having specific channels for maybe music videos, or short films. What if SMOSH did something that made you cry? You’d never see it coming! I’d love to see us do anything and everything!
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