Youtube comedian Grace Helbig attempted to claim a new type of late night talk show on April 3 with the premiere of “The Grace Helbig Show” on the E! network. Though a bit of a risk, this show will test the question of whether or not internet celebrities can be successful on the silver screen.
Helbig’s adorably awkward personality made her an Iinternet sensation, but fails to light up the half-hour show format. Modeled like her five minute Youtube sketches, the show invited comedians Aisha Tyler and Mamrie Hart for a night in with questions, liquor shots and falling pug videos. The goal is to be a more interactive talk show, Helbig explained in an interview with Jimmy Fallon.
“I really wanted it to be a show where people can hang in with me on a Friday night and where I can go online and ask for suggestions,” Helbig said on “The Tonight Show.”
The problem with “The Grace Helbig Show” is not that it isn’t funny, the problem is more that it tries too hard. Instead of attempting to create a new type of talk show, Helbig mashes up different ideas from all over the internet and television. Opening monologues are pretty common among talk shows but the show quickly moves into an interview with Tyler and viewing funny video uploads with Hart. The final sketch before her close involved sitting in a car attempting to make a theme song with DJ Flula, fellow Youtube and “Pitch Perfect 2” star.
The format was too much, too fast, and Helbig seemed visibly uncomfortable in front of the camera. In fact, at times her presence seemed downright painful. Yet there were shining moments as well. When Mamrie Hart sat with Helbig, the star seemed much more relaxed and the jokes kept flowing. There are few college students who couldn’t relate to taking shots with friends while watching pointless internet videos. Hart brought out the relatable character that gave Helbig 2 million Youtube subscribers, a book deal and talk show.
Slowing down the show’s format and deciding what the theme should be will bring life into this new show. The important thing to remember is that Helbig has never done a television show and has always had the liberty of editing her own content down.
Youtube celebrities have been breaking out into the mainstream more frequently in the past few years, like Shane Dawson’s poorly review film “Not Cool” or Kassem G’s cameo in the last Transformers film. Shay Butler, also known as Shaycarl, is even in the process of creating an independent “Vlogumentary” on the lives of video bloggers. Helbig, however, is the first to venture in to television with an independent show.
Doha Madani can be reached at Doha.firstname.lastname@example.org.