What if Taco Bell Sold TVs? An Interview with Vine Comedian Victor Pope Jr.

Posted on: by Grace M

Since it first started, Vine has been an interesting outlet for creators: create something with only six seconds. The result has produced some amazing content like, most notably, comedy. Comedians such as Bo Burnham, Will Sasso, and Chris D’Elia have all utilized Vine at one point.  The app has come and go in terms of popularity, but if anything, Vine contains a vault of hidden treasures. The quick-format has challenged creators to be original and stand-out. Creators can tell a joke just by having a conversation…with themselves. Instead of an expensive camera, gathering friends as actors, and a written script, people are simply using their phones and themselves. One Vine features a customer asking the waiter to send his compliments to the chef, only having the waiter give the chef a literal compliment. With one guy playing three characters (and we only know he’s the chef when he puts a towel on his head and holds a spatula), he’s generated close to 5 million loops on that one Vine alone. Meet stand-up comedian Victor Pope Jr. His perfectly-timed punch lines, his deadpan characters, and his popular “Taco Bell Employee” meetings have put him on the Vine radar with 317.3K followers, and he’s even been recognized on Buzzfeed. The Texas-based comedian was super cool enough to let me interview him to find out how he’s managed to become one of the funniest Vine comedians out there right now, and the secrets as to why his simply made Vines produce a not-so-simply sized audience. 

CreatorUp: So how did you discover Vine?

I discovered vine through Twitter. I started seeing vines across my Twitter feed more than I saw strictly text tweets at one point.

When did you decide that you wanted to make Vines? How did you adapt to the 6 second style?
Around the time when I was taking a break from stand up comedy.  I saw it as a bigger and easier platform to tap into. It wasn’t hard adapting as I thought it would be. My comedic timing just needed to speed up obviously.
Why comedy?
Comedy is what I’m best at and I can change the world doing it. I want to be the voice of my generation.

I feel like you have such this great style and tone to your Vines that makes you so unique. It’s kind of a warped twist on “relatable vines” like the caterpillar in the cocoon and your series of Taco Bell employee Vines. We all feel like “Oh God Taco Bell employees aren’t the sharpest workers” but instead of the usual, you put a spin to it, like the workers pitching these incredibly out-there ideas and their boss just being so fed up. How did you shape those kind of Vines? How do you fit your personality into your Vines?
Everything on vine I do is improv. I determine the setting but the characters create themselves. I press record and just talk until a point of view comes out.
When did you start noticing that you were getting an audience? Did you notice that you were getting more likes on certain kind of Vines and then decide, “Ok, so this is what people think of when they think Victor Pope Jr Vines?” Do you feel like you’ve created this image in the Vine community?
I noticed I was getting an audience when I would search my name on certain sites and see strangers talking about me.  At one point I did do the sort of trendy and heavy edited vines. I got more attention and likes on those videos but traffic doesn’t equal fandom. I started vining with no thought into it and I got less traffic from those vibes. However, I gained more fans. I was getting looked at more when I wasn’t being myself but I was getting looked into more when I started doing whatever I wanted.
 Have you met anyone on Vine that you would hope to collaborate with or just really like their style of Vines in general?
Yes, I’m actually a really big fan of Matt Post, Gaberial Gundacker, Nick Colletti, and Nut. They all take different approaches and have sharp comedic timing.

You were featured on Buzzfeed! Which is amazing, by the way. How did that make you feel? 
That was great. I kind of felt like “finally some recognition”. Because I get the people who admire what I do but they’re usually not journalists for Buzzfeed.
What opportunities has Vine given you? Do you think you’ve grown as a comedian? What have you learned from Vine?
Vine has given me a ton of brand deals and opportunities to meet other creators. I’ve definitely grown as a comedian. My comedic timing is way better on account of the six second discipline I get to my punchline a lot quicker when I’m on stage. It teaches you to cut the fat out of your joke that you didn’t even know was there.
What do you hope for the future? 
I hope that I can build an audience on YouTube in the same fashion I did on vine. But my only long term goal is to be one of the greatest comedians of all time.
What advice would you give other creators who want to get out there on Vine, but are struggling either getting noticed or showcasing their personality? 
I would tell them to just be their self. I know that’s a cliche but cliches are cliches for a reason. If you can’t build a fan base being you then this isn’t your path.

You can follow Victor on Vine and check him out on his other social media: Twitter , Instagram & YouTube


Interview by Grace Michaud

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Written by Grace M

Grace is a film/tv student at Boston University who's dream is to become a writer/the next Mindy Kaling. She has worked at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as all over the country and world, including New York, Los Angeles, and London.

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