The paradox of the pandemic year was that our raging ideas found solace in the crannies of our minds and became a wellspring for artistic expression and ingenuity.
For content creator and creative Jonathan Bynoe, theater and humor have always been woven in the fabrics of his life; however, they found expression in isolation. Creating publicized content became a conduit for the expression of his theatrical gifts. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the depths of his content journey, his love for comedy and music, and the creative process behind his cutting-edge content delivery.
Interplay of Comedy and Music
The world of comedy has been trodden by the footprints of innovative and pioneering entertainers, evoking bursts of laughter in every era they exist. While most viewers merely await the hearty, teary-eyed cackles prompted by good comedy, some, like Jonathan, have always been comedy aficionados. They aren’t simply poised for the laughter fits; they equally observe the technique and mastery of the performers, draw inspiration from them, and avow to weave the path of innovation and visionary thinking, like their role models.
The latter rightly encapsulates who Jonathan is: a content creator with a unique flair to his work who has clung to the path of originality and innovativeness. With a versatile musical palate and an extensive listening catalog, Jonathan’s online content is heavily music-inclined– much of his content being dramatized depictions of renditions from the greats, such as Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson.
Photo by Isaiah Clowe
What began as an attempt at creative expression for a music and comedy-loving undergrad in a year that demanded our stillness, went on to become a viral sensation, garnering a community of viewers who simply wanted to have a good chuckle, groove to old tunes, and comment amusingly on his electrifying facial expressions and 'vintage look'. Bynoe retorted humorously, “I’m not sure what that means. I just try to style myself to reflect a certain energy.”
On his habitual musical preferences, while Jonathan has a gravitational ear toward divergent genres of music, he says he would rather vibe to music from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Jonathan believes that the contemporary age witnessed the proliferation of new sounds and genres in music; however, in recent years, there has been a repetition in sounds, an almost monotonous exhibition of musical themes and sounds. He mentions a few new age artists whose sounds he describes as ‘innovative’ and thus gravitates towards. “There is this guy named Jordan Ward - he’s up and coming. I like his music.
He has a fresh RnB sound. I like Teezo Touchdown - he is equally up-and-coming. But my favorite artist of today is probably Kendrick Lamar. I like J Cole, Childish Gambino, love Yebba.”
He cites actor & comedian, Eddie Murphy, as his biggest comedic influence.
“In terms of the level of comedy that he is at, his hilarity, and just facial expressions. There is so much inspiration that I draw from him — regarding depicting the right facial expressions and his standard of humor.”
Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Tucker, meanwhile, follow closely on his list after Murphy.
Viewer Surge, Content Conceptualization, and Creativity
The rise to fame can be a double-edged sword, as many public figures would attest — it can be as daunting as it can be riveting. Amassing a staggering over 2 million followers across social media platforms, in such a short time is the upturn every content creator aspires to achieve, and for Jonathan, his progress has given him a sense of promise for the future. The dilemma, he noted, is having to deal with more eyes, increased scrutiny and the pressure that follows.
When the pressure hits and is accompanied by a self-strain to to be wittier, command a greater comic presence, and release a rapid stream of content, Jonathan says he pulls back and reassesses his reasons for posting, the value of the content and whether he deemed it funny.
“I don’t desire to put that much content in my followers’ faces. I just give the followers enough time to consume the content — time for the comments, views, shares, to go around. I really take my time with putting out each idea so that people can just sit with each video or story that resonates with them.’’
Although the journey has not being without its bumps and hitches, the young creative is resolute on his path, sailing through his content journey with the knowledge that he was made for it. The imagined echoes of laughter, gyrating comment section, and deep sense of fulfillment and purpose that follow, are some of the things that kindle his creativity. He recounts that he is most in element when creating and entertaining and realizes that growth can only come from learning to maneuver around challenges.
Photo by Isaiah Clowe
A few hacks he has discovered for growth and continuity have been intentionally exploring challenging routes, competing with himself, and employing unique and refined methods for growth and better content delivery.
“I’ve tried many different styles of creating content. After a while I was doing kinda green screen lip-sync. I will do like original sketches, even then I was kinda doing trends. But I told myself that in order to stand out, I shouldn’t do any trends on my page. Over the last three years I have intentionally shifted my content, I’ve tried to challenge myself to grow and I’ve seen significant success doing that — writing my own sketches and shooting my own series that is different from what everyone else is doing.”
Advice to Emerging Creatives
To the creatives whose minds spiral with plots and ideas that never make their way to the internet. To the ones with ready plots, thickened spirits, and standby cameras posting with bated breaths even when the metrics are not promising. To young black creators. Jonathan says to you:
“Stay inspired, work with what you have. Whether all you have is your phone or a small comedy club down the road with about 20 attendees, practice and grow where you are.”
1. What’s your favorite video you’ve ever created?
That would probably be between the Busta Rhymes video or a long-form video I created on YouTube, something on American Idol. They both were quite challenging.
2. Can you share a funny or memorable behind-the-scenes moment?
I think me literally sweating while acting out these people.
3. What’s a recent hobby or interest you’ve picked outside of content creation?
I make beats, I produce music.
4. Any upcoming collaborations you’re excited about?
I’m not going to share it yet, but I am excited to be collaborating with a creative or two that people out there definitely have seen before. It’s just a matter of time.
5. Who’s your favorite retro musician?
6. Have you ever taken a social media break and for how long?
I take them all the time. I took one last week. Too many opinions, I have to.
7. What would you say to your favorite comedian (Eddie Murphy) if you met him now?
Thank you for all the laughs and for the inspiration.
8. What do you see yourself doing in 15 years' time?
I see myself still creating. I see myself, hopefully, on television or making movies. Hopefully, by then I will have my own production company just collaborating with some of my favorite artists and creatives in the industry. I solely want to be an actor and writer.
9. Any projects or goals for the future that you’d like to share?
I’m in early talks of joining a lot of cool opportunities that I don’t think I am able to talk about just yet. But people can definitely expect to see me on their TV screens not just on their phone screens, you know. So, I guess in the next couple of years or so, people are going to have a lot to look forward to other than just my social media content.