Of all of the issues Playboy Manbaby frontman Robbie Pfeffer thought he’d be doing in 2020, getting huge on TikTok wasn’t considered one of them. As a matter of reality, the native artist had little thought what the phenomenally common video-sharing app was all about up till six months in the past.
“[I thought] it was simply this factor you would do dance [videos] on,” he says. “I used to be like, ‘Effectively, that is not one thing I wish to do.’”
Now, TikTok has turn out to be the middle of Pfeffer’s world and an outlet for his creativity, and his work has been getting a whole lot of discover on the app.
Since October, the gleefully quirky movies protecting politics and tradition that Pfeffer’s created and shared on the local art-punk band’s official TikTok account have turn out to be more and more common. Just a few have gone viral, notching lots of of hundreds of views.
Pfeffer stars in every video, which mixes lo-fi manufacturing aesthetics, odd humor, and awkward allure. As an eclectic green-screened stream of pictures, video clips, or his comic-like drawings play behind him, the gawky artist dances, sings, or explains matters starting from election fraud conspiracies and free speech to how body wash is marketed to men. (It’s a bit like Tim and Eric Superior Present, Nice Job! or Surprise Showzen meets Adam Ruins The whole lot.)
Some movies supply takes on life in Phoenix, corresponding to one poking enjoyable on the perpetual state of road construction within the Valley. Some are simply flat-out unusual, like a video of Pfeffer as an insurance coverage salesman named Bob singing about his love of gnomes, which is about to the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s hit “House.”
There’s additionally the continuing “30-Second Songs” sequence, which characteristic Pfeffer and different members of Playboy Manbaby performing tracks about the whole lot from enchiladas, arguing on the web, or operating out of content material to observe on streaming providers throughout the pandemic.
In relation to the schizophrenic number of subject material within the movies, Pfeffer says that’s indicative of his persona.
“I feel it is consultant of what it is like having a dialog with me,” he says. “I am simply ADHD and sort of in all places in my pursuits. I am actually into politics, actually into historical past, and I am identical to a goofy, bizarre individual. So the shortage of focus sort of made it simple to bounce round [to different topics]. I get bored simply.”
And Pfeffer’s boredom is a part of what prompted him to create the movies within the first place final fall. Pfeffer says he was feeling a nagging sense of ennui and frustration after months of being caught at house and unable to carry out due to the pandemic.
“After years of with the ability to have this outlet the place it is very interpersonal and really communal, to only have that every one sort of pulled away, after which simply the whole lot else happening, was very miserable,” he says. “It was simply sort of personally devastating and onerous to take care of. It simply did not really feel like I may make new stuff or be inventive.”
In September 2020, he determined to start out making movies after desirous to do one thing about final 12 months’s election. Fellow native musician Tyler Broderick of Diners turned him onto the app.
“I felt like I may give details about stuff that was on the poll in a method that might be enjoyable, simply as a factor that might hopefully be informative to even simply a few individuals. So I began making movies about Prop. 207 and 208, or who’s operating for sheriff or county lawyer,” Pfeffer says. “Tyler advised me, ‘It is best to test [TikTok] out since you already make movies.”
He quickly embraced the app with gusto, posting his first video, the place he launched himself and his self-described mission of “making the world a greater place,” on October 9. It obtained a number of thousand views.
Extra movies adopted, together with a number of protecting native politics and the 2020 election, every incomes related outcomes. Pfeffer’s first main hit got here on November 11 with a video referred to as “Phoenix Tourism Industrial.” Lasting about 40 seconds, it poked enjoyable on the “It’s a Dry Warmth” trope and different stereotypes in regards to the Valley, together with the sprawl and our predilection for chain eating places like Subway and Jimmy John’s that provide “bland sandwiches.”
The response was bonkers, racking up greater than 400,000 views.
“I feel that is the case in each single metropolis, you already know what I imply? Nobody offers a shit in regards to the Jimmy John’s in any metropolis. It is all the time the identical: It is a horrible, terrible, bland sandwich,” Pfeffer says.
Different hits have adopted over the previous couple of months, together with movies railing in opposition to Senator Mitch McConnell (148,000 views and counting) why science is metallic (125,000 views), and former Secretary of Education Betsy Devos (259,000 views).
Pfeffer was blown away by the response.
“Individuals actually appreciated them much more than I anticipated,” he says. “After which it simply sort of took its personal momentum. I did not actually assume anybody would love it and even care, as a result of my humor is a bit uncommon at instances.”
And he’s loved all of the suggestions and feedback he’s gotten to date.
“Playboy Manbaby as an entire has been a distinct segment mission, and the viewers has all the time been people who find themselves into music and stuff like that,” Pfeffer says. “And that is bizarre, as a result of it is branched us out the final inhabitants. So the suggestions I am getting is from individuals who do not even know I am in a band. It is an entire completely different group of individuals. And it has been largely optimistic and folks simply appear to get pleasure from the entire oddities that make up my persona. In order that’s actually cool.”
Pfeffer says he’s obtained no plans to cease making movies anytime quickly.
“Past it being informational on issues I need individuals to learn about, they’re simply to entertain me. I am bored all the time, so this can be a very manic type of creation that I can dive into,” Pfeffer says. “And making stuff each single day has made it that. It has been excellent at making me really feel like I am doing one thing.”
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