Sam Reich started making comedy videos with his brother in 1990, when he was but six years old. Now, he’s Head of Video for CollegeHumor and president of Big Breakfast, its offshoot production company. He’s also behind some of the last year’s most inventive new TV series, not to mention a viral rap video featuring Michelle Obama.
Reich specializes in the sort of shareable, eye-worm-y shows and short videos that populate Slack feeds and ignite share buttons. His credits as a producer include TruTV’s energetic explainer series “Adam Ruins Everything,” the excellent Comedy Central miniseries “Time Traveling Bong,” starring Ilana Glazer of "Broad City" and Paul Downs, and DirecTV’s “Downton Abbey” parody “The Britishes,” starring Peter Serafinowicz and Will Sasso. Today, CollegeHumor’s anthology series “Bad Internet” debuts on YouTube Red. He’s come a long way from making sketches doomed to languish on VHS tapes.
In his own words, here’s a comedy producer on sleep paralysis, all-nighters and singlehandedly causing the Los Angeles drought.
You know that phase you go through as a teenager when you need 10 hours of sleep in order to feel normal? I never really graduated from that. I get 8 hours of sleep on weekdays and 10 hours on weekends.
I'm usually on Reddit for a half-hour before I fall asleep. I recognize that probably isn't very healthy, but I recently started using iPhone's new Night Shift mode, so shut up.
I can't start my day without a 15-minute shower. I am Los Angeles's drought problem.
Every year, CollegeHumor does an All-Nighter in which we stay up all night making videos in solitary with students studying for finals. Usually, I begin to crash around 3 am, get a second wind around 5, and am borderline delirious around 7. Once I tried staying up with 5-Hour Energy and the delirium set in early. Now it's green tea all night.
As a kid, I had a brief bout of sleep paralysis. I saw a man in a brimmed hat and cloak enter my room many nights in a row. Later, I learned that many victims of sleep paralysis see this same man. Do a Google image search for "Shadow Hat Man" and you'll see who I saw. How creepy is that?!
In my dark ages as a theater performer on tour, I stayed in a hotel with a toilet right in the middle of the room... which wouldn't have been a problem if I didn't have a roommate. By contrast, I once stayed at a resort in Utah called Amangiri, which I'm pretty sure has a higher star-rating than heaven.
“Bad Internet” is 10 dark, funny stories about the internet and internet culture, and basically a comedy love ballad to one of our favorite other shows: “Black Mirror.” It's different from our other projects insofar as it’s an anthology series, with different concepts and casts per episode. In other words, it's what's hard about long-form combined with what's hard about short-form. But I’m immensely proud of it: It's dark, hilarious, beautiful, shocking and the perfect internet series.
Long-form and short-form are both challenging for essentially the same reason: On TV, you have to stretch formats, characters and stories across multiple 22-minutes-per-episode seasons. In web sketch, you have to start from scratch each and every time.
My bedside table: A little pouch containing my wallet, keys, phone and wedding ring, a Marpac Sound Machine, a seltzer water and a framed picture of Shadow Hat Man. What can I say? I miss him.