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Thank You YouTube

Today YouTube turns eight.  Happy Birthday!
Eight years of online content which has resulted in users uploading over 100 hours of videos per minute.  Amazing what can happen over the course of eight years.  YouTube has changed the business of nearly everything, including my life.
Also eight years ago, this exact month, my husband (EpicLLOYD, co-creator of Epic Rap Battles of History) and I moved to Los Angeles.
I had just graduated from Northern Arizona University with my master’s degree.  We found ourselves ‘cohabitating’ against my parent’s wishes in North Hollywood, CA.  I moved out to LA without a job, all for a boy.
A month later, I received a job that provided housing and we moved near Pasadena.  Lloyd pulled doubles at a nearby restaurant.  Life was hard.  He took on weekends, since the money was better.  Weekends of course were my only days off.  Lloyd will be releasing a new video in the next couple weeks that showcases this challenging time.
But we didn’t care.  We had just survived two years long distance, even sharing the same space was magical.  We had no idea that in eight years we would be part of this thing a few people were talking about called YouTube.
I took a job back on the westside of LA and in 2006 we purchased our first house.  Lloyd slowly peeled away from the actor-server gig and started working at Westside Comedy Theater (then known as Westside Eclectic).  A year later his company purchased the theater and Lloyd became the general manager.
Soon after, Pete (Nice Peter) moved to Los Angeles.  I got him one of his first paid gigs in LA, while he search for the typical struggling actor/musician waiter jobs.  Speed forward to 2010 and production for Epic Rap Battles began.  I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until the first battle was released that I finally signed up for a YouTube account.
2013, 34 Rap Battles later.
Last night I realized how much our lives have changed from YouTube.  Epic Rap Battles performed at YouTube’s The Big Live Comedy Show, part of a full week of comedy programming that YouTube will featuring.  Many big names of comedy were there like The Lonely Island, Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, Vince Vaughn and the Key of Awesome.
Somewhere in the mix of planning for this performance, Skrillex’s people contacted ERB’s people.  We found out a couple of weeks ago the live collaboration was a go.  See the original video below:

I arrived early to the green room before the show, noticing that Skrillex greenroom was directly across from ERB.  Lloyd sat in hair and make-up for a decent time, so I ruffled through the gift basket the show provided.
Luckily I also had a partner in crime to pass the time, Mel who dates Pete.  Despite being seven years apart, we have had a lot of fun sneaking around red carpets and YouTube-related parties together.  I’m thankful for her.  Below is the images from the photo booth we’d take full advantage of later that night. (Click on it to see full effects)

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Soon both Lloyd and Pete were in costume, ready to go see Sonny (Skrillex’s real name).  I turned my camera phone on.  Here was the entrance:

Oh and this, which one is Lloyd?

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The performance was amazing, live battle below:

Mel and I headed to the performer party/viewing area for the rest of the night.  At every turn was another celebrity.  I was doing my best to stay on my own two feet.  Literally to not stumble over myself or others.  I looked around in awe, wondering when I would be kicked out.
But I took full advantage, trying out nearly every passed appetizers and sweets tray around the room.  We jumped into the photo booth and played around on the dance floor.  Our ERB group re-united with Mary, Dante, Lloyd and Pete joining Mel and I on the dance floor.  (Click on image below to see full effects)

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We had cause for celebration.  Producing the rap battles live was huge, in addition to collaborating with one of the historical characters the battles portrayed.  I wonder what past or future character will be next to show interest?
So I guess this is a thank you and birthday letter to YouTube.  Thank you for giving us the ability to create and share this magical thing.  A lot has change for both YouTube and Lloyd and I over the last eight years.
What will come of YouTube, Epic Rap Battles, EpicLLOYD and even myself in the next eight years are sure to be amazing.  Like the last line of the birthday song proclaims…”and many more…!”
More YouTube/Epic Rap Battles posts I have written:
Epic Rap Battles of History
Headed to the Red Carpet
Surrounded by Celebs: My Experience at the 2013 Streamys
Ten Years in the Making
Epic Women of History
How to Date a YouTube Celeb

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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