After Alexa bumped into @ItIsMaxHooray, the Edinburgh University Student turned TikTok star with over 100,000 followers, walking in the meadows, she and Aron had a wee chat with him on Zoom.
Alexa – Your Tiktoks are known for their humour, do you have a background in any comedy societies or theatre?
Max – Kind of, I’ve done a couple of comedy shows at Bedlum. Oh, I guess this isn’t connected to the Uni, but me and a couple of friends from home did a sketch show at the Fringe.
Al- Was it popular?
M- Was it popular? It was like the stupidest thing we’ve ever done. We didn’t write it until the week before, it was a total disaster!
Al- You are of course an Edinburgh student, what is it that you study?
M- I study history and I have a lot of fun in history. One of my tutors said I was like a magpie: I just look for one interesting shiny thing that I can sink my teeth into and that’s what I’m there for. Like I’m there to collect fun facts for four years, and then I’ll be gone.
Al- Your TikToks sometimes remind me of Horrible Histories sketches, I think you maybe also get comments about looking like Matthew Baynton?
M- Yeah, yeah that’s a true! I love those comments, because normally I have like no pop-culture knowledge. So, when people come in and say “you look like X, you look like Y” quite a lot, the only one which I know is Matthew Baynton. When people say anything else, I’m just like: Okay! Like: “You look like the monk from the first season of Vikings.”
Aron- Athelstan! Yeah, I see that actually
M- It’s just it adds so much time to my day, because then I have to Google it, see if I actually look like them.
Al- It’s interesting that your audience is mostly American, do you know why that is? Are you just very attractive to American girls
M- [laughs] Clearly! I think there’s just something about British accents to Americans, just that they literally just cannot get enough of! They go wild for it! 45% of my followers are American.
Ar- Do people you know ever ask to be in your videos?
M- No one ever has. I think it’s because I don’t feel cool doing it, I don’t think this is a cool thing that I do. I think this is a very lame thing that I do. I go on the app for 16-year-olds, and I entertain the 16-year-olds.
Ar- Do you have any interest in doing this professionally, I mean I don’t know how that even works but, but do some people do this professionally?
M- Yeah, I have to assume so. I mean I am part of the TikTok creative fund. Let’s talk business! Well, that means I get paid based on how many views I get from my videos and at the level I’m at, the pay is much better than I would ever expect it to be for a stupid video that I’m making once a day. I don’t make enough to live on by a long stretch, but like I assume some people like could make enough to live on, especially like, if you did brand deals as well. I get offered some brand deals, but nothing that I want… (sadly)
Ar- Obviously we are the Film and TV section of the newspaper, so we had to ask: favourite film, favourite TV series?
M- Okay, um, favourite film is tough. I’ve got a couple. I had Yellow Submarine on VHS when I was growing up and every day for a whole summer, when I was about six I just watched it once or twice a day. So, I don’t know if I would call it my favourite film, but it is lodged in my mind. It is so… I feel like it’s just a huge part of who I am, the fact that I’ve just absorbed this film. And then the other film is Ratatouille. I love Ratatouille. Whenever I’m sad, I watch Ratatouille, like that’s my go to film.
Ar- Now that you’ve got as many followers as you do I assume people want regular uploads and presumably sometimes you just don’t really feel like it? So, what do you do? What if you can’t think of something?
M- The thinking of things kind of isn’t the hard bit, I’ve got a note in my notes App where I’ve just got loads of them written out so if you wanted, these are all videos that haven’t been made yet. [Scrolls down a list of dozens and dozens of ideas.] Ideas are not the limiting factors, sometimes I wake up and I cannot be bothered to film a video. I don’t know like what I did, that first video, that different ways to greet to the people. I think I was just insane on that day. Something in my head clicked and I was like right I’m gonna do a video every day from now on, and then I just did!
Ar- This might be the most important question: why not YouTube, why TikTok?
M- Can I give you an answer that might make you judge me? I’m just thinking now about the amount of effort that goes into making a TikTok where the algorithm prefers videos that are less than 20 seconds long compared to YouTube where the algorithm will provide longer videos and kind of slower energy. On YouTube I feel like I would have to be more consistently funny over a whole video, whereas on TikTok I can think of one joke and that’ll be enough for an entire video. For a whole day I can just say that’s my one joke. So, the answer is TikTok rather than YouTube because I’m lazy!
Al- The hot take! I’m done with my questions, but this has been very, very lovely!
M- Thank you, thank you for asking me questions. It’s been fun! Follow @ItIsMaxHooray on TikTok