Jake and Amir
Jake and Amir is an American comedy duo made up of podcasters and former CollegeHumor writers Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. Jake and Amir came into prominence in 2007 when they began writing and starring in CollegeHumor's Jake and Amir web series. The series portrays humorous versions of Hurwitz and Blumenfeld, where Hurwitz is usually depicted as a sensible "regular guy", and Blumenfeld as his annoying, obsessive, and odd co-worker.
In 2013, Jake and Amir started the podcast, If I Were You, an advice show where listeners email in questions which are answered in a comedic way. Jake and Amir's involvement in podcasting lead them to founding HeadGum, a podcast network managing 43 podcasts as of 2018.
Jake and Amir left CollegeHumor in 2015 to focus on producing their own content. First trying to land a TV show with TBS and later TruTV, Jake and Amir eventually struck a deal with Vimeo to write and direct the original web series, Lonely and Horny.
Jake and Amir (web series)
In May 2007, Jake and Amir began producing sketch comedy videos for CollegeHumor starring the two of them, a series later dubbed Jake and Amir. Originally set in New York City and later Los Angeles, Hurwitz and Blumenfeld played humorous versions of themselves: Hurwitz is usually depicted as a sensible "regular guy" and Blumenfeld as his annoying, obsessive, and odd co-worker. Running for over eight years, Jake and Amir was CollegeHumor's longest-running series and has amassed roughly one-billion views as of April 2017 and over 750 episodes as of February 2015.
Originally 60 second videos edited in iMovie and uploaded to Vimeo, the first episodes of Jake and Amir were just something that Hurwitz and Blumenfeld did to make each-other laugh. Eventually, however, the videos gained such popularity that CollegeHumor began paying them to create them full-time. Hurwitz explains that Jake and Amir was never intended to be a series:
We actually had no idea we were creating a series at the time we were doing it. I just thought Amir was so funny, and I had this crappy camera. We just made these videos and our friends started passing them around. It kind of grew from there.— Jake Hurwitz in an interview with Stephanie Schomer of Fast Company
On October 12, 2011, CollegeHumor released Jake and Amir: Fired, a thirty-minute episode of Jake and Amir that the pair had produced and edited in the previous months, while continuing to release short episodes. Available for purchase on CollegeHumor's website, Facebook, and available on DVD, the special was the company's first paid content. Its plot involves the fictitious new CEO of CollegeHumor, Alan Avery – played by Matt Walton – promoting Jake and firing Amir. Jake and Amir work together to get Amir's job back.
Fired is very much an extension of the Jake and Amir that people already know... That being said, it also expands the universe considerably by adding characters, locations, and something even newer to a Jake and Amir plot.— Sam Reich, then President of Original Content for CollegeHumor Media
While working at CollegeHumor, Jake and Amir hosted live events as their characters from Jake and Amir, including CollegeHumor Live at locations such as the UCB Theatre in New York and the University of California, Berkeley. They have also performed in Toronto and London's Soho Theatre with Streeter Seidell in 2013. Though the latter show was sold out and extra dates were added, the performance was poorly received by local media: The Guardian's Brian Logan said Hurwitz and Blumenfeld "cackle a lot, as they find various ways to repackage tales of puerile behaviour as comedy". In June 2012, at the International Student Film Festival in Tel Aviv, Israel, the pair gave a lecture at the New Media Conference.
As their new podcast If I Were You began to take-off in 2015, the duo started thinking about leaving CollegeHumor. Blumenfeld liked the idea, but "also liked having health insurance." After deciding to leave the website, CollegeHumor announced in January 2015 that the series would air its last 8 episodes beginning on February 17, 2015. On October 27, 2016, the duo returned to CollegeHumor for a single episode of Jake and Amir titled Jake and Amir: Donald Trump, to comment on the United States' presidential election.
Jake and Amir has received general acclaim as its style and viewership has evolved and expanded. In 2008, PC Magazine listed the series among its "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites", saying: "Considering it's mainly a hobby they do after work, the webisodes at JakeAndAmir.com are better than some of the stuff they get paid to do for CollegeHumor."
Jake and Amir won a Webby Award for Best Comedy: Long Running Form or Series in 2010, with Blumenfeld also capturing the Best Individual Performance award that year. At the 14th Webby Awards in 2010, Jake and Amir won a People's Voice award for Comedy: Long Form or Series.
PC Magazine featured Jake and Amir again in 2011, when it listed the series as one of its "15 Best Web-Only Shows", commenting that, "they show no sign of running out of very bizarre situations for this sometimes disturbing comedy."
Lonely and Horny
In December 2013, Deadline reported that Jake and Amir were being brought on by TBS to star in a comedy directed by Ed Helms. When news came in February 2015 of Jake and Amir's departure from CollegeHumor, fans of Jake and Amir pushed for this to become a reality with the Twitter trending campaign, #GreenLightJakeandAmir. TBS ultimately declined the proposal, but TruTV noticed the social media groundswell and ordered a pilot episode. On December 20, 2015, it was announced that TruTV did not pick up the show.
While TruTV and TBS ultimately did not run their TV series, Jake and Amir were offered the opportunity to return to Vimeo to create an original web series. On April 8, 2016, a new web series titled Lonely and Horny, directed by Hurwitz and written by and starring Blumenfeld and Hurwitz, was released on Vimeo. The on-demand series is about a 30-something year old Ruby Jade, played by Blumenfeld, who wants to have sex more than anything. His dating-coach, Josh Rice, played by Hurwitz, sets out to help Ruby find love.
While intended to be a "completely different universe" than their original Jake and Amir web series, Isabelle Hellyer of Vice writes that Ruby Jade is, "written to be flawed in almost all the same ways as Jake and Amir's Amir". Conversely, Hellyer writes that the straight-man character Josh Rice is "the most multifaceted role they've ever written."
If I Were You
In May 2013, Jake and Amir started the podcast If I Were You as an advice show where they take listener questions and try to answer them in a helpful but funny way. Hurwitz said that If I Were You was partially inspired by the NPR show Car Talk, in that their audience listens for the banter between the two hosts, not necessarily the questions themselves.
Averaging 1 million views per month, Blumenfeld says that If I Were You's audience is primarily made up of 15 to 34 year olds. Hurwitz says that they like advising people younger than them, "because we were there, and we came out the other side." More than that, Hurwitz says that he enjoys reaching out to "nerdy" younger fans because they can act as role-models to show that their best days are ahead of them: "We're like a little beacon of hope for losers that are told they're gonna be cool in ten years."
Hurwitz relates his role a host of If I Were You to the role CollegeHumor played in his life as a college student:
Twelve years ago I was depressed and lonely and sad in college, and that's how I found CollegeHumor. Now I'm so far removed from that. I haven't felt that way in so long, but I could be speaking to somebody who is feeling those things right now.
Kayla Culver for The Concordian writes, "the responses Jake and Amir give probably wouldn’t qualify as great advice but it’s honestly not the worst advice ever given." Fully admitting that they are not experts who ought to be giving out advice, Blumenfeld puts forward that he at least "tends to think of us as expert 20-somethings because we’ve been doing it for a decade."
On August 1, 2015, after leaving CollegeHumor, Jake and Amir founded HeadGum, a podcast network with 43 podcasts as of February 2018. As of April 2017, the HeadGum network has an average of 100 million plays per month. HeadGum has studios in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.
|Not Another D&D Podcast||Brian Murphy, Emily Axford, Jake Hurwitz, Caldwell Tanner|
|Who? Weekly||Lindsey Weber, Bobby Finger|
|What Should We Draw?||Caldwell Tanner, Nathan Yaffe|
|No Joke||Billy Scafuri, Adam Lustick|
|The Earthling's Podcast||William Haynes, Yessica Hernandez Cruz, John Ros|
|2 Jews Talking||Josh Heller, Erika Brooks Adickman|
|The Only Pittsburgh Sports Podcast||Dan Hopper, D.J. Gallo|
|Robot Congress||Ryan Morrison, Austin Hoffman|
|If I Were You||Jake Hurwitz, Amir Blumenfeld|
|The Dumbbells||Eugene Cordero, Ryan Stanger|
|Make Me Like It||Kelly Hudson, Dan Klein|
|Let's Talk About Me, Baby||Utkarsh Ambudkar|
|Why Won't You Date Me?||Nicole Byer|
|High and Mighty||Jon Gabrus|
|This Is Why You're Single||Laura Lane, Angela Spera|
|8-Bit Book Club||Brian Murphy, Emily Axford, Caldwell Tanner|
|Shock and Awesome|
|A Funny Feeling||Betsy Sodaro, Marcy Jarreau|
|I'm Still Right||Luke Kelly-Clyne|
|A Few Things with Claire and Erica||Claire Mazur, Erica Cerulo|
|We'll See You in Hell||Joe DeRosa, Patrick Walsh|
|The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show||Jeff Rubin|
|Lady Lovin'||Lo Bosworth, Jilly Hendrix, Greta Titelman|
|All Fantasy Everything||Ian Karmel|
|Overdue||Craig Getting, Andrew Cunningham|
|Gilmore Guys||Kevin Porter, Demi Adejuyigbe|
|We Hate Movies|
|Dynamic Banter||Mike Falzone, Steve Zaragoza|
|Twinnovation||Mike Karnell, David Rosenberg, Jeff Rosenberg, Nic Rad|
|The Throwback Podcast||Dan Hanzus, Bob Castrone|
|The Baby-Sitters Club Club||Tanner Greenring, Jack Shepherd|
|Doodie Calls with Doug Mand||Doug Mand, Jack Dolgen|
|Black Girl Nerds|
|It Feels like the First Time||Steve Zaragoza, Owen Carter|
|The Easy Chair||Laura Hurwitz|
|Black Girls Talking|
|The Mindhouse Podcast||Josh Ruben|
|Punch Up The Jam||Demi Adejuyigbe, Miel Bredouw|
|Black Men Can't Jump In Hollywood||Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan, James III|
|We Watch Wrestling||Matt McCarthy, Vince Averill, Tom Sibley|
|Good Christian Fun||Kevin Porter, Caroline Ely|
|The Complete Guide to Everything||Tom Reynolds, Tim Daniels|
|Come Out, Come Out||Mo Welch|
|Doughboys||Mike "Spoonman" Mitchell, Nick Wiger|
|Just a Tip with Megan Batoon||Megan Batoon|
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- Price, Shepard (2016-10-28). "Jake and Amir Are Back One More Time... to Cover the Election — What's Trending". What's Trending. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
- Staff, CH. "Jake and Amir: Donald Trump — CollegeHumor Video". www.collegehumor.com. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
- Monson, Kyle (August 11, 2008). "The Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- "Webby Nominees". The Webby Awards. Archived from the original on April 16, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- "2010 – Comedy: Long Form or Series – People's Voice – Jake and Amir". Webby Awards. International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Griffith, Eric (May 27, 2011). "15 Best Web-Only Shows". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
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- "Lonely and Horny". IMDB.
- Hershon, Marc (2015-08-14). "Podcast Reviews: If I Were You & Twinnovation". HuffPost. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
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- "'If I Were You'". The Concordian. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
- "HeadGum ⚡ Podcasts". headgum.com. Retrieved 2018-02-26.
- Wright, Megh (August 3, 2015). "Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld Launched a New Podcast Network". Splitsider.