YouTube star Lisa Schwartz has more than one million followers online, and is never afraid to push the limits that cause her audience to tear up from laughter. Her videos range from discussions about Internet slang to using her own oddball lyrics to popular songs like "Shake It Off" and "Wrecking Ball."
Lately, Schwartz has been working on the YouTube animated series "Talking Tom and Friends," a program about pets who speak and show off their technological skills. Schwartz plays the feline Angela who will have her own shining moment in this week's episode on Thursday, July 2.
Enstars recently caught up with Schwartz to talk about how she comes up with her wacky ideas and her gig as a talking cat.
Enstars: So how did you get started in your YouTube career?
Lisa Schwartz: I studied theater at UC Irvine and I grew up in LA, and I moved back to LA and I was going to do a traditional route so I started auditioning for stuff. I auditioned for a Comedy Central pilot that was directed and written by the Fine Brothers who are huge YouTubers. They sort of helped create all this madness, so I did that. I met them and I met a few other YouTubers doing that and they kept putting me in all their videos and telling me to do YouTube.
So eventually, I just gave it a shot and then it just started rolling in this little hobby and it turned into a full-blown job. So I owe everything to the Fine Brothers for convincing me to do it.
Were you always interested in comedy?
I come from a super neurotic Jewish family and we watched Seinfeld on repeat so I think it's in our blood to not only be neurotic, but to crack jokes about it and help us feel better. I [also] did musical theater growing up; I did children's theater, I did it in high school and then I went to college so I think it kind of stems from there when I realized, "Oh, I'm not good enough to go to Broadway...okay I'll just do comedy instead.'"
How do you come up with the lyrics for your parody videos?
I'm just like in scene. I'll be like in the shower and I'll think about it. But usually I just try to see what everyone's listening to, I literally listen to records, like The Beatles- I'm like such a nerd old school- but I keep on Twitter to what everyone's listening to and then you kind of just listen to it and something usually just pops in my head and then I try to come up with what's relevant or popular right now and kind of go with that.
Your work in Talking Tom has a much different tone than your videos. Is it liberating to work on something that has a different vibe?
Well, the best part about it is I don't have to wear makeup and I can put on my pajamas [laughs]. It's amazing, I just think it's so sweet and funny and it's actually more musical theater-y in a way because it's kind of big and over the top and the direction is always, 'remember it's a cartoon, it's bigger, it's fun, it's crazy.' It's fun because I can try it a million different ways and we have a great director, Will Shepherd, who just throws out ideas and lets you play. I mean, it's totally, totally different, but I love it. And I love it now because teens can watch it, but finally I can post something on Facebook and say, 'It's kid friendly!'
This Thursday's episode will be based more on your character, Angela. What can you tease about the episode?
Angela is going to be singing a lot more as we get along, which is super fun. And the writers were watching some of our parody videos so they were inspired by the idea of parody. So Angela is going to dip her toes into that world, quite possibly...it might not be parody, it's more like discussions start to blend together and I think it's more like someone was mean to her so she does a song about that or something...
As a YouTube star, you get a lot of supporters, but there are always those negative comments that people say. Does that affect you or is it easy to ignore?
You know, I would be lying to you if I said it's easy to ignore. I think I've trained myself to not read all the comments and you kind of just have to remember where they're coming from. Sometimes I'll meet a fan in real life and sometimes they're just these little 12-year-olds and I remember what it's like to be that age. And I realize probably why they're doing it is because they got made fun of at school so then they need to get that aggression out so they do it to me. I feel like I've gotten a pretty good handle of just being able to brush it off. What bothers me though is when the kids do it to each other on my channel. I see them fighting internally and that's awful, awful, awful to watch. So if I could choose, I'd rather they say the mean things to me instead of each other because at that age, I mean ...[sighs] I can drink wine! They can't!
Are we going to see you do anything beyond YouTube?
Right now I'm pitching on different projects and I actually just sold a TV show. It's 10 episodes, it's going to be on Maker TV. It's called Party Girl and it's going to based on my life as a party girl princess, so it's a scripted dark comedy.
What videos can we expect from you in the future? Any more parodies coming up?
I'm going to start doing original songs. Parodies are a little bit difficult [with] copyright...especially Taylor Swift. So you might not see another Taylor [video] because she has a tendency to come after me. So you'll definitely see more musical comedy stuff. And I'm doing a fun series with my mom and grandma that will be coming out with a bit of a Star Wars theme, and whenever my grandmother is in the video, it turns out to be insane. So I'm very excited about that.