Masters Of Some: Jack & Dean On Jobs, Piracy, And Their New Series
29 June 2016, 16:47 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:17
YouTube's wittiest comedy duo talk to us about moving off of YouTube and being pirated as much as Game Of Thrones in their new series 'Jack & Dean Of All Trades'
It's been a busy couple of weeks for Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs. In the midst of attending VidCon and suffering post-Brexit blues, the comedy duo have been hard at work launching, promoting, and defending their new series 'Jack & Dean Of All Trades', which premiered on premium video platform Fullscreen this week.
JADOAT follows the strife of Jack and Dean as every episode, they are forced into undertaking a bizarre whirlwind of odd-jobs, at the mercy of their oddball employment officer Marv (played by 'Spaced' star Jessica Hynes). It's part 'Peep Show', part 'Regular Show', but still 100% of the wit and hilarity you've come to expect from the sketches on their YouTube channel.
Before the first two episodes went live on Fullscreen, we had a chance to chat with Jack & Dean on working with comedy royalty, being the latest creators to move their content away from YouTube, and the unexpected pros and cons of piracy...
Your sketches usually feature you guys in standalone, surreal situations; but JADOAT is more of a linear story. How easy was that transition to make?
Jack: It was sort of natural really; we’d talked to each other for a while about if we solidified Jack and Dean as characters, who would they be? What would they be doing? We’ve always been interested in putting general things in our sketches and linking them together, but this time it was more about finding a story that linked them all the way through.
Dean: Yeah, every J&D; sketch has the set-up, like “Dean turns into this, and Jack is upset”; and for JADOAT, the idea of looking for a different job every episode acts as that set-up while linking the series together.
Do you think if you weren’t making the funny on YouTube, you two would be living similar lives to the "character" versions of Jack & Dean?
J: They’re doing better than I think I’d be doing in their position! They’re surprised to be able to turn up to a different job every single week; And especially in this climate, their transition between jobs is spectacular.
D: In the first episode they’re working in a bank; I hadn’t really thought about it, but the skill set for working in a bank is way beyond my capability. They seem to have a very broad set of skills, actually. Like Liam Neeson.
You’re working with a bigger team and some high-profile names in this series; how did that feel?
J: I still can’t get over it. It was a bit more pressure; the first time [Jessica Hynes] came on set, I was like “Should I go talk to her?” But as soon as we started going, it felt like it was always supposed to be that way. Our crew was still pretty small, but everybody there was contributing something; I don’t think I could look at any name in the credits and ask “What did they do?"
D: A really cool thing, for me at least, was writing characters that weren’t Jack & Dean. Having other people perform those characters and making them better than how you thought they’d be was a really great way of learning how to do that; and having someone like Jessica Hynes for that first experience was insane.
J: There are a few bit parts in this; some we had written with character ideas in mind, but others were a lot more open to interpretation. And we’d have different actors try the line in different ways. It was interesting to write something so broad that an actor could come in and put their own spin on it, and find out what was best for your material after you’d written it.
Jessica Hynes as frustrating employment officer Marv in 'Jack & Dean Of All Trades'
Moving away from YouTube is a big step, but it's one that more and more people seem to be taking. How does it feel to be releasing JADOAT on a premium platform like Fullscreen?
J: It’s a scary step, sure: Knowing we’d have to make a YouTube video saying “Okay, we’ve got a new thing but it’s not here” and wondering how many people that would translate to, and getting someone to pay for content they weren’t paying for originally is a big move.
Really, I just think this is the best thing we’ve ever made. And I hope people will be able to see that from the trailer, and all the extra things that will be going out on our channel will give them a taste that makes them want to subscribe to the series.
We’ve seen with independent creator-led shows, like KickthePJ’s 'Oscar’s Hotel', that fans still end up just pirating it. How do you solve a situation like that?
J: I genuinely don’t know what the plan is for that; we have some cool marketing ideas so that people will want to watch it. But in my eyes, as soon as we start getting pirated, that means we’ve made it!
D: Yeah, it would be flattering to go on thepiratebay and see the first episode as a torrent. I’d probably torrent it as well for kicks. I want it to become the second most torrented show after 'Game Of Thrones'.
J: Really though, I’d hope that after 'Oscar’s Hotel', and just because of the way the internet’s going, some things are acceptable to us now. People understand that they have to pay for something. Plus Fullscreen is like $4.99; which isn’t an extortionate amount to pay for not only our show, but loads of things.
Have you seen any of the other stuff being released on Fullscreen?
J: I'm currently watching 'Electra Woman & Dyna Girl'; but I was surprised to see some of the other stuff on there. They have British shows like 'The IT Crowd' and 'The Inbetweeners'; so it's great that it's cross-platform, and they're not just getting a bunch of YouTubers in there and making money out of them. They're actually making a proper platform, and wanting to make good content.
Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart star in 'Electra Woman & Dyna Girl' on Fullscreen
Last question: Can each of you sum up the series in five words?
D: "Really really really really funny".
J: Does it have to be a sentence?
D: I can't screw this up.
That one could work.
D: Screw it, there you go. I was gonna go with "A rather bodacious comedy romp".
J: "The thing I'm proudest of".
D: I thought that was me?
'Jack & Dean Of All Trades' premiered on Fullscreen this week. You can watch the first episode on YouTube below, and subscribe to a free month of Fullscreen here.