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The Try Guys’ Journey From Four to Two

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Try Guys

The Try Guys have an important announcement, but don’t worry, they understand what you might be thinking.

The last time Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld, the former BuzzFeed employees turned YouTube stars, were in the news, it was due to a big scandal. One of their co-hosts, Ned Fulmer, had started a relationship with his subordinate.

This led to him leaving the group, weeks of speculation online, and even a 5-minute parody on Saturday Night Live. That was almost two years ago, and it brought the Try Guys a lot of attention, even from people who didn’t follow them online.

Now, the group is announcing another major change. Eugene Lee Yang, one of the remaining hosts, is also leaving the Try Guys. This means that the group will go from four original members to just two: Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld.

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The Try Guys have an exclusive announcement for Rolling Stone: the upcoming season of their content will be Eugene Lee Yang’s last. Eugene is leaving the group to follow other creative projects.

However, the Try Guys will continue on. They are expanding into something new called 2ndTry TV. This will be a subscription based service that they hope will give their fans access to more content. It will also give Keith and Zach more freedom to choose what kind of content they want to create.

Part of this is bittersweet. We’re going to miss working with Eugene, says Zach Kornfeld. He has been one of the true collaborators of both of our lives.

Zach then pretends to burst into tears before continuing. But we’ve had a long time to process this. So we’re very excited for him, very excited for us, and just feeling very energized by this whole moment.

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Eugene leaving is something that is sort of necessary for us to keep moving forward, adds Keith Habersberger. Things change. The Try Guys’ original cast already came to an end once.

Keith continues, But now it’s sort of getting a better, more definitive ending.

The Try Guys and their company, 2ndTry, first began as a video series by media company BuzzFeed. Hosts Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld, Keith Habersberger, and Ned Fulmer tried a series of increasingly wild experiences. They did everything from drag and labor simulations to UFC fighting. These videos turned the four into popular YouTube personalities.

In 2018, the group left BuzzFeed to form their own production company, 2ndTry. They began a decade long project making comedy videos that reflected each member’s unique interests, such as standup, cooking, and fashion. The group stayed very open with viewers about their personal lives and relationships. They became a genuine company while maintaining their friendship.

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However, in 2022, Ned Fulmer was removed from the group for having a relationship with a subordinate. Now, Eugene Lee Yang’s departure marks another shift in the Try Guys’ format, moving the original hosts from a trio to a duo.

But Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld are determined to keep going. With their new subscription based model, 2ndTry TV, they hope to set a standard for what creatives can achieve in the creator economy. They aim to build a world where being successful doesn’t mean choosing between following an algorithm and following your gut.

We’ve been doing this for 10 years. We have seen both the joys and the limits of algorithmic media making. We’ve obviously benefited from it greatly ourselves, says Zach Kornfeld.

He continues, But we’re at a point where we find that our taste and our audience’s taste is at odds with what algorithms, specifically the YouTube algorithm, reward. So, by creating 2ndTry TV, we’re making a space where we can bet on ourselves and trust our fans to support the shows they want to see.

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Subscription models for creators aren’t a new concept. Platforms like Patreon became popular because they let fans directly fund the content they want to see, rather than passively paying creators through ad revenue.

However, groups that switch from an entirely free catalog to payment models often face difficulties, even if the cost is very low.

Just this month, YouTube staple Watcher Entertainment (also former BuzzFeed employees) faced backlash after announcing they would move to a subscription model. They even put all episodes of their old content behind a paywall. Due to the negative response, they reversed the decision in less than a week.

Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld understand how people feel about paying for content they used to get for free. They hope that making this change with their audience in mind will help the transition go smoother.

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They are also clear that they would never simply remove their old videos and place them behind a paywall.

Look, we’ve done our drama once. I don’t want to do it again, says Kornfeld. “It was very clear to us from the beginning, that for this to work, you cannot take away from your audience, you have to give more. Our job now is to prove to people that we’re making stuff that is worth their time.”

At first glance, it might be hard to see the connection between a group of 30-year-old men getting paid to try chiropractors and stunt hobbies and emotional lessons about failure and success. But for a generation of creators raised online, the Try Guys represent an era of content creation defined by turning successful one off videos and the desire to create with your friends into thriving businesses.

Each year they keep making content, they change the bounds of what’s possible for the creators that come after them. Sure, people still mention now and then about that time they were the internet topic of the week. The group famously released one video about Fulmer’s departure and steadfastly refused to comment more.

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Habersberger and Kornfeld understand the interest. But they tell Sports Groovy they’re still optimistic they have much more to give to their fans.

It’s not a great feeling to go viral for someone else’s misdoings, says Kornfeld. While the media circus surprised us, I know we remain incredibly proud of how we navigated an unfortunate situation. We certainly, as individuals and as a team here, paid the price for something we didn’t bring upon ourselves.

That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way, Kornfeld adds, reflecting on the experience.

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  1. Pingback: Eminem Houdini Video Surprise Cameos by Pete Davidson, Snoop Dogg, and Shane Gillis - Sports Groovy

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