Jake and Amir
|Jake and Amir|
Jake and Amir web series title card
|Medium||Podcast, web series|
|Notable works and roles||Jake and Amir|
If I Were You
Lonely and Horny
Jake and Amir is an American comedy duo made up of podcasters and former CollegeHumor writers Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. Jake and Amir came into prominence in 2007 when they began writing and starring in their own Jake and Amir web series, hosted on their personal website. The program would later be picked up and produced by CollegeHumor; it portrays humorous versions of Hurwitz and Blumenfeld, where Hurwitz is usually depicted as a sensible "regular guy" and Blumenfeld as his annoying co-worker.
In 2013, Jake and Amir started the podcast, If I Were You, an advice show where listeners email in questions which are answered in a comedic way. Jake and Amir's involvement in podcasting led them to founding HeadGum, a podcast network managing 43 podcasts as of 2018.
Jake and Amir left CollegeHumor in 2015 to focus on producing their own content. First trying to land a TV show with TBS and later TruTV, Jake and Amir eventually struck a deal with Vimeo to write and direct the original web series, Lonely and Horny, which was picked up by CollegeHumor for its second season.
Jake and Amir (web series)
In May 2007, Jake and Amir began producing sketch comedy videos for CollegeHumor starring the two of them, a series later dubbed Jake and Amir. Originally set in New York City and later Los Angeles, Hurwitz and Blumenfeld played humorous versions of themselves: Hurwitz is usually depicted as a sensible "regular guy" and Blumenfeld as his annoying, obsessive, and odd co-worker. Running for over eight years, Jake and Amir was CollegeHumor's longest-running series with over 750 episodes as of February 2015, amassing roughly one-billion views as of April 2017.
Originally sixty-second videos edited in iMovie and uploaded to Vimeo, the first episodes of Jake and Amir were just something that Hurwitz and Blumenfeld did to make each-other laugh. Eventually, however, the videos gained such popularity that CollegeHumor began paying them to create them full-time. Hurwitz explains that Jake and Amir was never intended to be a series:
We actually had no idea we were creating a series at the time we were doing it. I just thought Amir was so funny, and I had this crappy camera. We just made these videos and our friends started passing them around. It kind of grew from there.
On October 12, 2011, CollegeHumor released Jake and Amir: Fired, a thirty-minute episode of Jake and Amir that the pair had produced and edited in the previous months, while continuing to release short episodes. Available for purchase on CollegeHumor's website, Facebook, and available on DVD, the special was the company's first paid content. Its plot involves the fictitious new CEO of CollegeHumor, Alan Avery – played by Matt Walton – promoting Jake and firing Amir. Jake and Amir work together to get Amir's job back.
Fired is very much an extension of the Jake and Amir that people already know... That being said, it also expands the universe considerably by adding characters, locations, and something even newer to a Jake and Amir plot.
While working at CollegeHumor, Jake and Amir hosted live events as their characters from Jake and Amir, including CollegeHumor Live at locations such as the UCB Theatre in New York and the University of California, Berkeley. They have also performed in Toronto and London's Soho Theatre with Streeter Seidell in 2013. Though the latter show was sold out and extra dates were added, the performance was poorly received by local media: The Guardian's Brian Logan said Hurwitz and Blumenfeld "cackle a lot, as they find various ways to repackage tales of puerile behaviour as comedy." In June 2012, at the International Student Film Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel, the pair gave a lecture at the New Media Conference.
As their new podcast If I Were You began to take-off in 2015, the duo started thinking about leaving CollegeHumor. Blumenfeld liked the idea, but "also liked having health insurance." After deciding to leave the website, CollegeHumor announced in January 2015 that the series would air its last eight episodes beginning on February 17, 2015. On October 27, 2016, the pair returned to CollegeHumor for a single episode of Jake and Amir, titled Jake and Amir: Donald Trump, to comment on the 2016 United States presidential election.
In 2018, the duo released a new web series hosted on Patreon entitled Jake and Amir Watch Jake and Amir. As the name suggests, the titular comedians watch and review episodes of their Jake and Amir series while providing behind-the-scenes information. Jake and Amir have expressed interest in producing a new scripted series if their Patreon page reaches 10,000 subscribers.
Jake and Amir has received praise as its style and viewership has evolved and expanded, particularly within the field of free online content. In 2008, PC Magazine listed the series among its "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites", saying: "Considering it's mainly a hobby they do after work, the webisodes at JakeAndAmir.com are better than some of the stuff they get paid to do for CollegeHumor."
Jake and Amir won a Webby Award for Best Comedy: Long Running Form or Series in 2010, with Blumenfeld also capturing the Best Individual Performance award that year. At the 14th Webby Awards in 2010, Jake and Amir won a People's Voice award for Comedy: Long Form or Series.
PC Magazine featured Jake and Amir again in 2011, when it listed the series as one of its "15 Best Web-Only Shows", commenting that, "they show no sign of running out of very bizarre situations for this sometimes disturbing comedy."
Lonely and Horny
In December 2013, Deadline reported that Jake and Amir were being brought on by TBS to star in a comedy directed by Ed Helms. When news came in February 2015 of Jake and Amir's departure from CollegeHumor, fans pushed for TBS to pick up the production with the Twitter trending campaign #GreenLightJakeandAmir. TBS ultimately declined the proposal, but TruTV noticed the social media campaign and ordered a pilot episode. On December 20, 2015, it was announced that TruTV had decided not to pick up the show.
While TruTV and TBS ultimately did not run their TV series, Jake and Amir were offered the opportunity to return to Vimeo to create an original web series. On April 8, 2016, a new web series titled Lonely and Horny, directed by Hurwitz and written by and starring Blumenfeld and Hurwitz, was released on Vimeo. The on-demand series is about a 30-something-year-old Ruby Jade, played by Blumenfeld, who wants to have sex more than anything. His dating-coach, Josh Rice, played by Hurwitz, sets out to help Ruby find love.[self-published source]
While Lonely and Horny is intended to be a "completely different universe" than their original Jake and Amir web series, Isabelle Hellyer of Vice writes that Ruby Jade is, "written to be flawed in almost all the same ways as Jake and Amir's Amir." Conversely, Hellyer writes that the straight-man character Josh Rice is "the most multifaceted role they've ever written." The New Yorker's Ian Crouch compares the series with Jake and Amir, writing that many of the jokes and themes from the duo's shorter sketches have been "exported to the longer-form space of 'Lonely and Horny,'" and that, while "frequently very funny, it lacks the comedic density of their best short sketches."
On September 26, 2018, CollegeHumor announced the production of a second season of Lonely and Horny as part of their subscription service.
If I Were You
In May 2013, Jake and Amir started the podcast If I Were You as an advice show where they take listener questions and try to answer them in a helpful but funny way. Hurwitz said that If I Were You was partially inspired by the NPR show Car Talk, in that their audience listens for the banter between the two hosts, not necessarily the questions themselves.
Averaging 1 million views per month, Blumenfeld says that If I Were You's audience is primarily made up of 15 to 34 year olds. Hurwitz says that they like advising people younger than them, "because we were there, and we came out the other side." More than that, Hurwitz says that he enjoys reaching out to "nerdy" younger fans because they can act as role-models to show that their best days are ahead of them: "We're like a little beacon of hope for losers that are told they're gonna be cool in ten years."
Hurwitz relates his role a host of If I Were You to the role CollegeHumor played in his life as a college student:
Twelve years ago I was depressed and lonely and sad in college, and that's how I found CollegeHumor. Now I'm so far removed from that. I haven't felt that way in so long, but I could be speaking to somebody who is feeling those things right now.— Jake Hurwitz in an interview with Isabelle Hellyer of Vice
Kayla Culver for The Concordian writes, "the responses Jake and Amir give probably wouldn’t qualify as great advice but it’s honestly not the worst advice ever given." Fully admitting that they are not experts who ought to be giving out advice, Blumenfeld puts forward that he at least "tends to think of us as expert 20-somethings because we’ve been doing it for a decade."
On August 1, 2015, after leaving CollegeHumor, Jake and Amir founded a podcast network named HeadGum, eventually hosting dozens of podcasts which collectively received an average of 100 million plays per month by April 2017. Blumenfeld has expressed an interest in expanding HeadGum into the production of video content and other media. HeadGum has studios in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.
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- Price, Shepard (October 28, 2016). "Jake and Amir Are Back One More Time... to Cover the Election — What's Trending". What's Trending. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
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- Weiss, Geoff (2018-10-15). "Comedy Duo Jake And Amir Are Readying Web Series Return On Patreon". www.tubefilter.com. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
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- "Webby Nominees". The Webby Awards. Archived from the original on April 16, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
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- "Watch Lonely and Horny Online — Vimeo On Demand". Jake and Amir. 9 March 2016 – via Vimeo.
- "Lonely and Horny". IMDB.
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- Culver, Kayla (September 30, 2013). "'If I Were You'". The Concordian. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- "About HeadGum". headgum.com. Retrieved 2019-01-01.