My channel is a comedy channel where I maintain three different web-series. The first and my most successful series is called Ashwin Enjoys Nature which is a Nature mockumentary where I travel to different Nature Parks and “teach” the viewer about what I see. Essentially a parody of the Crocodile Hunter or Bear Grylls. It’s a deadpan-style comedy that incorporates a lot of editing jokes. My other main series is Ashwin’s Hip Foods, which is my attempt at satirizing the over-the-top, exaggerated YouTube personalities that you see on many cooking videos. Both series have an absurdist tinge to them.
I was never really known as the “funny” guy in school. In fact, people would always assume I was a really serious person, so people took me way too seriously or didn’t get my dry sense of humor. Of course my friends knew I was funny, and I always felt like I had it in me. I’m a creator at heart, so whenever I see someone doing something well, I want to try my hand at it too. It was the same thing with comedy, I’ve been a fan of so many comedians and shows, and I felt like I had absorbed enough comedic skills to try it on my own.
Well, to be honest, I initially wanted to make a serious, educational series. But in the process of making my first episode, I realized that it would be really lame and boring to just relay Nature facts to the camera. So that’s when I realized I should try to make it funny by assuming this oblivious, arrogant character and make the whole thing a joke. I’ve always been passionate about protecting the environment, and I felt like I could help the audience connect to Nature through humor. So I married Nature and comedy together, and the relationship has been working so far.
It’s a mix of all of those. I try to plan out “on-camera” scenes before I go to the park. I will write out about 3 to 4 monologues that I’ll perform on camera before I start filming. The rest of the scenes are “voice-over” scenes where I’m just showing footage of the park or of an animal. For these voice-over parts, I sometimes have them written out before I get to the park, but often times I only write them after getting home.
I try to map out a narrative for the episode and then pull the footage that fits that narrative.
I also sometimes will improv or think of something funny while I’m filming in the park, or I’ll think of something while I’m editing everything together. So the writing process is ongoing until the second I click upload on YouTube.
There are several comedians that I look up to and that have influenced me: Nathan Fielder, Kyle Mooney, Henry Phillips, Tim & Eric, Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, etc. They have probably influenced my sense of comedy writing and comedic timing the most. But also, my two best friends are the funniest people on Earth in my opinion. And over the years they have shaped my sense of humor to what it is now. My Grandma is also super sarcastic and dry, so it’s probably genetic as well.
Comedy is all about timing. To properly time your jokes, you just have to assume the role of a viewer. What would be funny to you? When is the sweet spot for the punchline to be delivered? I toil over these types of questions while editing, which is why it takes me so long. Timing needs to perfect for every single scene for it to be funny.
The purposefully ‘shitty’ editing takes the most time to get right because you need to make it funny but not stupid.
It’s a fine line. I use a lot of abrupt cuts, use a lot of graphics and animations, and also a ton of cropping. It’s hard to explain, but basically a lot of green-screen techniques without actually using a green screen.
There’s a part of each episode that is really special to me. When you put in so much time and effort into making these videos, they start to feel like your kids. So they all become your favorite. But if I had to choose, it would be my collaboration with Binging with Babish.
First off, he’s a helluva guy, so friendly and accommodating. So it was just really fun to work with him. Not only that, but I’m always doing all the writing/filming/editing by myself, so this was the one time where I got to work with another person. We had a ton of fun while writing and filming, and our chemistry felt completely natural. The episode is probably one of my funniest as well.
I got a huge boost from Reddit. A couple of my episodes got upvoted near the top of r/videos, which helped bring in a ton of viewers. It’s hard to rely on that kind of growth though, because making it to the top of Reddit is like winning the lottery. The spike in May was from my collaboration with Binging with Babish. That helped me get some exposure beyond YouTube as well.
As I mentioned before, it was a blast. It’s so so so important for you to collaborate with someone you get along with. That episode with Babish would not have worked if we didn’t get along so well and have that natural chemistry. Some people may say to collab with someone who makes videos related to yours, but I say if you’re creative enough, you can make anything work. Babish and I combined my comedy nature videos with his food videos and people loved it. So try to find someone that you can get along with on a personal level, and the creativity will blossom from there!
I have a full-time job, and that is my main source of income. I don’t make money off of my YouTube videos. Though I have a patreon and get some ad revenue, my episodes cost more money to make than I earn. But I’m completely okay with that.
I love travel, I love Nature, and I love making people laugh. So for me it’s a hobby that’s worth spending money on.
I don’t live a very lavish life, so I save up a lot from my full-time job salary to afford to travel and film.
Honestly, I don’t watch many YouTube channels. I’m more of a tv-show fan than I am of vlogs or YouTube personalities. That’s why I wanted to bring something different with my channel and maintain an actual web-series instead of random videos. There are others that do it too. I like watching Aunty Donna, Binging with Babish, and Hot Ones, because they basically make web-series as well. I also really like Vice mini-documentaries and recipe videos. Also a lot of music, of course.
More videos, and hopefully more growth. I’d eventually like to graduate Ashwin Enjoys Nature off of YouTube and into a full show, but that would further down the road if it ever happens. I’m just going to keep making videos until it stops being fun and starts getting stressful or unsatisfying. No matter what happens, I’ll be content knowing that I gave it my best shot and had success along the way.