Like Justin Bieber and Bo Burnham, Stevie Ryan got her start by posting videos of herself on YouTube. Her sketches mocking reality TV and featuring her own original characters, including sassy Latina teen Little Loca and juvenile delinquent Katrina, racked up millions of views on YouTube and led to her own sketch-comedy series, Stevie TV, on VH1. Here Ryan talks about making the transition from online to TV, which pop-culture figures she loves to parody, and how much she loves The Andy Milonakis Show.
How did you go from posting videos online to having your own show on VH1?
Well, basically I had to sleep with a bunch of people. I’m just kidding; I didn’t sleep with anybody, actually. I was making my stuff online and I had made a parody of a reality show called Pretty Wild, that I was really into at the time and totally obsessed with. One of the producers of Pretty Wild saw the video and contacted me and was like, “Hey, come in and meet with me; let’s develop a show together. I love your stuff.” So I said okay. And I went down, and we had a meeting, and we just came up with the obvious concept of a female-driven sketch-comedy show that’s based around pop culture, because that’s already what I was doing online.
This is definitely a different kind of show for VH1. How do you think it fits in with the network’s brand?
I think it fits because I feel like VH1, their reality shows are very pop culture. That is what people are watching. That’s what I was watching even before the show. I was watching Basketball Wives. I was watching Mob Wives. So I think VH1 in general, even if it’s reality-based, it’s still pop culture. So I think our show fits in because we are making fun of VH1. They want us to make fun of their channel. They wanted us to make fun of their shows. I think it just fits right in, in the sense of pop culture meets more pop culture.
Will we see your original characters from your online videos appear on the show?
You’re gonna see them all over the show. We definitely bring some of my original characters in. We do them in pop-culture settings, or they’re doing things that are popular and that the rest of the world is doing at this time. Even if they’re original characters, they’re doing something that’s familiar or that’s done in a familiar setting. But yeah, there’s gonna be some of my original characters back for sure.
Will you continue posting online videos, or is your whole focus now on the show?
For the past few months, I’ve been totally focused on the show, because I have to be. I am really involved in the show: I wrote it, I’m executive producing it, I’m in the editing bay every day. Right now, really until we’re done with the show, my heart and soul goes into this, just like it would my videos. And I will definitely still be posting videos, it’s just about when I have the time to shoot those and to do them. Right now it’s really all about the show for me, but I would never leave my YouTube empty. I will definitely be adding little things on it. I know that they’re definitely going to have extra bits and stuff on the VH1 site. There’s gonna be sketches that aren’t in the show. They’re gonna have a lot of outtakes and behind the scenes and just little other things on the site for sure, for people to go and check out. I’ll get back to my online videos as soon as we’re out of the [editing] bay.
Was it intimidating for you to carry so much of the show on your own?
It was a little scary, but at the same time it was the only way that I know how to do things. Because I have been doing it on my own for so long, it’s made me very aware of what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. It took a little getting used to, obviously, having a lot of people work with you and collaborating and working for you. And I think the most intimidating part was working with the other writers. Because even though I wrote the pilot, I felt like, wow, now writing 10 episodes is a really big deal. And this is really my first writing gig ever, and so to be in a room with writers that wrote shows -- and I hand-picked all of our writers. I met with everybody. And everything just felt very natural after that. There were really no scary moments. I think the scariest thing for me is doing interviews and press stuff and doing red carpets and photo shoots. I’m a girly girl, but I really like to work. I’m not one that likes the Hollywood part of Hollywood. I really like the work part of Hollywood. That’s probably been the most intimidating part for me, is the Hollywood part.