In the three years since Vine tragically ended its services, the stars of the platform have all since gone on to do a variety of things. Many pivoted to commercial work or just moved a similar style of content over to Instagram. It was then that many realized that most of these people weren’t actually funny; they could just be loud for six seconds in an entertaining way.
A few, however, found a new home for themselves on YouTube. The Paul brothers took the platform by storm and accumulated as much fame as they did controversy. David Dobrik went on to continue his weird companionship with 45-year old Jason Nash, and others like King Bach doubled down on making trashy, often offensive content. We also can’t forget about Shawn Mendes, who went on to have an insanely successful career as a singer-songwriter in a such a brief window of time.
Amongst all of the chaf, there was some wheat. People like Drew Gooden and Danny Gonzalez found a second life in reaction videos that allowed them to showcase fun improvisational comedy with some editing creativity. Another pair to take this route was Cody Ko and Noel Miller.
Following the collapse of Vine, Ko launched a podcast and vlog, and Miller started a vlog of his own. The two friends periodically appeared in one another’s videos. Over time the vlogs slowed down and they transitioned to different styles of content, including a series they called “THAT’S CRINGE,” where the two sit down and watch cringey YouTube videos and react to them. The comedic chemistry between the two was lively and creative, even though it often centered around penis jokes.
In a video the two made in response to Jake Paul’s “It’s Everyday Bro,” they made their own parody hip-hop song called “Keep Ya D— Fat” under the name “Tiny Meat Gang.” Fast forward a bit, and the duo launched a podcast called the “Tiny Meat Gang Podcast” with a Patreon to boot. TMG garnered enough support that they were able to take on making their podcast and YouTube content full-time. The podcast is still going strong, and they have since released two hip-hop projects that are filled top-to-bottom with bangers that carefully ride the line between comedy and seriousness in a way that works perfectly.
The first EP, “Bangers & A–,” features catchy, bass production with verses written and performed by Ko and Miller. Some highlights are the likes of “Stinky Money,” “Deadbeat” and “Super Xan.” “Stinky Money” is a comedic take on being so wealthy that it smells, which is a joke that came up originally in the podcast when Miller referenced how bad a pile of money actually smells. “Deadbeat” follows two guys who are not the breadwinners in their families as they attempt to explain why their lives are better than those of more traditionally successful rappers. The EP closes with the duo’s viral track “Super Xan,” that pokes fun at hip-hop’s recent obsession with Xanax as a drug of choice.
TMG’s most recent release, titled “Locals Only” came out this past December and surpassed its predecessor. This project really saw the duo come into their own and find the balance they had been attempting to in their first outing. At times I was so caught up in the actual flows and production of this album that I didn’t catch a lot of jokes until a second or third listen. Songs like “No Flex,” “Drip,” “Please Be A Hit” and “Stay Safe” are highlights. With “Locals Only,” Tiny Meat Gang expanded their horizons and worked with an even more professional and trappy sound. They incorporated a good amount of sing-songy autotune into the mix that gave off an impressive air of polish.
Now Tiny Meat Gang has taken their meat on the road. The two set out on a nationwide tour earlier this year that made a stop at Franklin Music Hall Feb. 6. Originally, the show was slated to take place at Underground Arts, but the entirety of the tour sold out within hours of tickets going on sale so many of the venues were upgraded. Leaving the music backstage for now, the two came with a night of comedy which was entertaining throughout.
Philadelphia is a city famous for its crowds, and this show was no exception. The crowd seemed like they were hanging on every word and joke, and chimed in occasionally to heckle Ko and Miller, but didn’t step over the line and mess up the show. The pre-written, more stand-up sections were fun and creative as Miller regaled the audience with the story of how he decided to get a late circumcision. Ko, on the other hand, entertained with a story about how in his Silicon Valley start-up days he was flown overseas in a tin can by a maniac pilot who worked on the early stages of the Fyre Festival.
The self-proclaimed “short kings” also flexed their improv skills with a good amount of crowd work and did a Q&A portion near the end of the show that kept the audience engaged and showcased just how dedicated some of them were. For instance this one girl stood up and told a story about how she and her boyfriend had been stalking Ko’s parents on Instagram, which culminated in her asking him if his parents had ever mentioned them. This question was met with a prolonged, stunned silence that was broken by Ko screaming “What?!” into the mic and the crowd erupting in laughter.
Overall, I was super impressed with what the two put together for their live show and how authentically they carried over the spirit and some inside jokes from the screen to the stage. The podcast is still going strong and I can’t recommend it enough. You can catch them elsewhere as well. Ko is currently working on Jimmy Tatro’s “Real Bros of Simi Valley” and consistently puts out content on YouTube, and Miller is a frequent streamer on Twitch.
I can’t wait for the two to grow and improve even more and come back even stronger, maybe with some of their music next time.