What are the Try Guys? Are they even real?
On Thursday, June 27, the Try Guys rolled into Chicago and I just had to see what these “legends” of the screen were going to do on the stage. My curiosity was enough to get me to the show, but is it worth your money? Is it worth a try?
First, let’s give a little background. The Try Guys are four guys who try different things — or at least that’s how they started — but over the past years they’ve grown. Ever since their start with Buzzfeed in 2014, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld and Eugene Lee Yang have been getting naked for the internet and making the world laugh and occasionally cry. Their tour was no different.
Ever since starting their new company, Second Try, the group has been rocking the YouTube scene. They continued to create the types of videos they made with Buzzfeed but took it a step further. With over 120 videos and 6 million subscribers, the Try Guys are following in the footsteps of many YouTubers before them. They created merch. They started a podcast. They wrote a book. They went on tour. And all within a year or so of starting Second Try.
Despite the release of their book, “The Hidden Power of F*cking Up,” their podcast, “TryPod,” and their twice-weekly video uploads, the members still found time to write, rehearse and perform their tour “Legends of the Internet” that’s happening now.
But what does that mean? What does a live stage show look like from four guys who try things?
It looks like a lot of leather, sequins and intense makeup. It’s colorful, fun rock ‘n’ roll. Starting with a musical number where they set up the theme of the show, the performances feature them singing about a few legends and top creators of the internet and reenacting iconic viral videos much like they did at past VidCon performances.
They each claim to be a legend and the rest of the show is essentially separated into four parts — one for each Try Guy, for each legend, for each section of the content you love to consume online.
Keith Habersberger is the first legend. Before the tallest Try Guy appears on stage, a video plays asking the audience if they believe in his legend and if his legend is even real, while different foods appear all around Habersberger. Dressed in blue leather, he comes back from the first musical number greeting the audience and thanking them for coming. He is the legend of food.
His series “Eat the Menu” are the videos he is most known for, but it is far from his first food adventure. He goes on to tell the Chicago audience about how when he was living in the Windy City 10 years ago, he messaged “Saturday Night Live” comedian Tim Meadows to go get pizza with him every two weeks for two years. He tells this story about the different approaches he tried and how Tim Meadows ignored him, even when he asked the fellow comedian to collaborate with him on a song he’d written.
Habersberger then goes on to perform the song, which was titled “Bitch Go Get Pizza with Me.” A pizza then comes out on stage and dances with him alongside the other Try Guys. In the end of his segment, Keith warns the audience against bugging Tim Meadows for him and tells them to go tweet at DJ Khaled instead with the hashtag #pizzawithkeith.
Then he talks about how now people ask him all the time to go get fried chicken, and how incredible that is. He says he wants to do that now with the audience and starts throwing pieces of chicken into the crowd. When all the pieces are split up and shared as far as they can go, they all take a bite. With that, the legend of food leaves the stage.
Then it’s Ned Fulmer’s turn, the legend of love. A similar video plays asking if the audience believes in the legend of love. Is love even real? Then dressed in red, Fulmer comes on stage. He tells the story about how he met his wife in Chicago, how they quickly moved in together after a few months of dating and then got married.
The proud husband flashes a picture from his wedding and talks about how it’s been seven years and how he wouldn’t change a thing. He then talks about how his view of love changed ever since he had his son.
After a series of baby photos on screen and a look into how fatherhood changed him, he calls some dads and their kids on stage for a “Dabs 4 Dads” contest. While rocking a rad dad shirt, he leads the dads in a dance battle. Fulmer also leads a short “F—k, Marry, Kill” game with an audience member and the other Try Guys. He has her ask questions to the three other Try Guys on the other side of the screen with their voices changed. In the end, like most of us, she chose to f—k Eugene.
After Fulmer is Zach Kornfeld, the legend of fun. He comes out on stage in his green outfit and talks about what fun means to him. Kornfeld talks about how he likes having fun even if it means he looks stupid. He hits on some of the dumb things he’s done in pursuit of fun, like getting a smiley face tattoo on his butt.
He talks about how his chronic depression and life with chronic pain make him embrace and seek out that fun, despite how it might make him look or what people might think. It leads into a performance of a piece he wrote. It’s a bit of fan fiction he expanded after the Try Guys video “Try Guys Recreate Fan Fiction.”
This time, instead of switching all the inappropriate content with sandwiches, he asks for a suggestion from the audience. With the suggestion of skydiving, the Try Guys perform this fan fiction and fill it with skydiving innuendos in a bit of an improv performance.
After that, he sends two beach ball-type dice into the crowd. He’ll perform whatever song the dice pick in whatever outfit. For the Chicago performance, it was Hannah Montana’s “Best of Both Worlds” in a big baby costume. With the audience singing along, it’s the biggest karaoke round I’ve ever seen.
Last, but certainly not least, is Eugene Lee Yang. Yang is the legend of gay. He comes out in his traditional purple color and talks about what’s it’s like to be gay. Yang talks about growing up in Texas with his family and how for a while he didn’t want to be gay or even Asian.
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Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your incredible, genuine responses to my video. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today to tell my stories without your support of my weird, dark, artistic form of expression. It was all of you who inspired me to gain the courage to produce this. I promise that I’ll continue to bring this level of raw honesty and representation in all of my future work as a filmmaker and performer. An extra special thanks to those who were able to donate what they could to the @trevorproject. I love you all. 💜
He talks about that journey to self-acceptance and how he thanks all the icons that came before him. Then behind him, four strips of fabric come down with different colors projected on them and he honors different queer icons through history with a stunning performance.
He dances and lip-syncs to iconic queer songs and reenacts historic moments, like “It’s Raining Men” and the time Ellen DeGeneres came out. He loses himself in a performance that is both moving and incredible. From the wig he tosses off to the glittery jumpsuit he wears, his section is a great bookend to the others.
With Fulmer running around waving the pride flag, it really captures the beauty of what the internet has the potential to showcase as a platform for self-expression and self-acceptance.
With the goal of bringing the internet to life, the Try Guys succeeded and became legends in doing so. The element of audience participation throughout the show, the dancing and big musical numbers that start and end the show make it unlike any experience something on a screen could give you. Each show will have something new and each show will be hilarious, moving and legendary.
With the message of trying new things and being open, accepting and simply wanting to entertain you, the Try Guys “Legends of the Internet” tour is a variety show that shows off the best they, and the internet, have to offer. It is unlike any other concert or stand-up you will ever see. They each give a final farewell and a bit of wisdom, before coming back out to perform “We’re All in This Together” from “High School Musical.”
But, is that for you?
Why not give it a try?