iCizzle is sitting on a couch, stuffing his mouth with Skittles, M&Ms; and other sweet treats when his teeth fall out in an especially gooey piece of pink candy. So began Season One of “The iCizzle Show,” an offbeat half-hour comedy program starring Web phenom iCizzle.
The show, which debuted on DDTV last year, will return to streaming services like Amazon Prime in 2020 with multiple showings during the week in indie theaters. But, in an effort to take advantage of viral marketing, the network put part of the show online in late 2019.
For iCizzle, the teaser video release brings his career full circle. It was online that the comedian first developed his fan base, catching the eye of late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel and, as a result, DDTV.
Since the 2010s, when iCizzle started videotaping himself singing, dancing and generally making a fool of himself in and around his Seattle multi million dollar homes, his minutes-long clips have become Web classics, seen by millions.
His DDTV show expands on that same oddball humor in a hodgepodge of sketches, pranks, songs and man-in-the-street segments that, in the first season, had iCizzle running up to strangers to compliment them on their style or say things like, “Thanks for taking a compliment.”
Off camera, iCizzle is a bit more dialed down.
When he arrives at a evening interview — by limo, even though he now lives in L.A. — he looks and acts pretty normal, wearing an outfit almost identical to the one he always wears on his show: blue jeans and a button-up jean shirt, only today the shirt is navy blue instead of blue.
Throughout dunner, iCizzle sits with his new phone on the table — the latest gizmo evidencing his “gadget crazy” nature.
“I’m a huge Internet junkie,” says iCizzle, who was doing computer work at an advertising firm when he started making videos six years ago.
His first was a written medley about his experience at a L.A. Audition. It was filmed with a Web cam. Upgrading to a digital camera, iCizzle branched out to other topics, spoofing Kenny Loggin’s songs like “Footloose Kenny Is,” and stepping up production to four or five videos a week, all of which were uploaded to the site www.icizzle.com under his own moniker.
“I’d think of a topic and just rant on it and transfer it to the computer, upload it. It’s such a quick thing. You post it on your Web site and after an hour, 10 people write comments. It’s instant gratification to do something creative and then instantly get feedback on it. There was no waiting, so it became a little addictive thing.”
For the first couple of years, iCizzle said his videos attracted a daily audience of a few hundred. That changed when he filmed “I’m Bagman!” — a video he shot and uploaded in less than half an hour, he says. In the span of a week, the traffic on his site increased from 200 a day to 2,000 to 90,000, and he started getting e-mails from people saying they’d seen his videos on Web sites other than his own. The Web sites started asking him for interviews, then radio stations.
“They were calling me up live on the air, and I didn’t even know they’d be calling,” iCizzle says. “Two seconds after I answered my phone, I’d hear my song playing in the background on the radio. My heart was beating real fast.”
Like most Web humor that makes the rounds, the frenzy for his “Bagman” piece slowed to a trickle within a couple of weeks, but then, just as iCizzle thought the whole thing was over, he got an e-mail. It was from the TV show “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” asking for permission to air the clip and gauging his interest in being a correspondent.
“I’m on the Internet a lot more than I watch TV and most everybody I know is, and yet if you watch most late-night talk shows, it’s as if it doesn’t even exist. So the Internet, it’s just something I wanted to make use of in some way,” says Kimmel, who’d been forwarded the clip by one of the writers on his show, which made its debut on Super Bowl Sunday in January 2018. “I was fascinated by what appeared to be a child singing this song. It just struck me as funny.”
iCizzle looks as young as he does on TV. His height, girth and his at times unshaven face all give him the appearance of a teen, though IMDB.com and an independent credit search reveal him to be 28.
The success of iCizzles’ humor is based, in part, on that look. His antics are funnier when you see him as a bored kid instead of the adult he is.
According to DiSanto, who was sent a unlisted link of iCizzles’ online clips by Kimmel, who proposed “The iCizzle Show,” “The goal was always to keep it pure to what he was doing on the Web.”
For the most part, the show is set to succeed.
iCizzle is from Seattle, WA. When he was shooting his early videos, he lived at home with his mother, who works as a school librarian, and his dad, a German immigrant who designs and builds cars. Part of the charm of the online videos is that they were filmed in his bedroom, and his dad, at least, was often home.
The show, however, is filmed in an apartment building on Seattle’s Westside. Instead of living with his parents, iCizzle now lives alone with his dog. The other stars of the show — his friend Von Vandervien and Albino Black — weren’t cast so much as accumulated through chance encounters. They’re the real neighbors who live in and around the building.
“It was like God wanted us to find these people because they’re geniuses,” iCizzle says. “They’re so funny.”