Cody Ko and Noel Miller — two comedians, YouTubers, podcast hosts and musicians known in some circles as the Tiny Meat Gang — are bringing their live show to Milwaukee on Thursday, June 27, at the Pabst Theater.
You’ve both done comedy over many mediums — YouTube commentary, sketches, music, podcasts, stand-up and your live show. How do you approach working in a new medium and figure out what works best?
Cody: When you pick up a new medium, you have to conquer the learning curve and really pay attention to the subtleties of the platform and what works best, and that takes time. When we first started YouTube we had no idea what would work for us, and it took a little bit of trial and error to figure out the format people want to see and the format that works best for us. It’s the same thing for music, the same thing for podcasting—it takes time and repetition.
Which medium has been the most challenging?
Cody: Live performance is something I’m not that familiar with. I only really started doing stand-up a couple years ago, and so the stage is new territory for me. It can be pretty intimidating being in front of a giant crowd. It’s taken a lot to get my bearings there.
Noel: I have the inverse problem. I did a lot of stand-up beforehand, so streaming and live performance is where I feel comfortable, but actually sitting down and talking to the camera, I feel really uncomfortable. That’s why I mostly just do it with Cody.
For anyone who doesn’t know you, what video or podcast would you recommend as an introduction?
Noel: Matty Smokes
What can Milwaukee fans expect going into your live show in June?
Cody: It’s a rock opera.
Noel: Tons of pyrotechnics.
Cody: No, it’s a nice blend of stand-up and a little bit of music and then something you would expect us to do on YouTube but we do it live.
If you have time, is there anything you want to see in Milwaukee?
Noel: Well, I’m definitely going to get the Bucks tattooed on my back.
In episode 1 one of your podcast, Noel had just lost his job and was trying to see if the podcast would work. At what point did you realize it was becoming successful?
Noel: It’s a weird thing for me. Even though the numbers kept climbing, I had this vision that everybody was gonna wake the next day and be like “yeah, these guys aren’t that funny,” and it was just all gonna fall to pieces. So there’s never a definitive point where I’m like ‘all right, this is working.’ I think I just found a little bit more comfort, but I still feel like we have some time ahead of us before I can truly feel like we’re solid.
Before you started comedy full time you were both working unrelated nine-to-five jobs. Do you have any advice for someone in that position now, who wants to pursue entertainment outside of their career?
Cody: Start doing it. Neither of us really made the decision to drop everything and start from zero. We always had some sort of leverage or momentum going. When Noel lost his job, it was a pretty informed and thought-out decision to try out the podcast for a while. I think that’s a smart thing to do — do it as a hobby for as long as you can. Treat it like a business, but do your full-time job at the same time and then if it becomes something you can do full time, then definitely take that leap.
Noel: That’s the thing I learned from comedians, when I started doing stand-up. A lot of people move to LA on a certain chunk of cash in their pocket, and say “Ok, I’m gonna make it.” The thing is, you don’t know when your time is gonna happen. Cody and I very well could have been making YouTube content and all that, while still working full-time jobs to keep us going and then things might have picked up for us. You don’t know when that moment’s gonna happen. As corny as it is, you have to trust the process and have perseverance. It might take you fifteen years to pop but it’ll happen.
You released a new album last December. How do you start the process of working on new music?
Noel: We work a lot with our two friends, Diamond Pistols and Spock. They’ll sometimes make an instrumental and send it to us. From that vibe, we can generate a premise. Or sometimes we think it would be funny to do a song about some premise and we’ll kick it to them to give us their musical interpretation of it.
Cody: Sometimes we’ll go in the studio and we’ll have a song done in four hours. Other times we’ll sit on a song for months until it’s done.
Do you have a favorite song of yours, and if so, why?
Cody: “Stay Safe” because it’s light and it’s funny and it’s a great song.
One year from now, what would you both like to be doing?
Cody: I just want to keep growing what we got going. I love working on new stuff. As long as we have the freedom to work on our ideas and bring them to the stage and Spotify and YouTube, that’s when I’m happiest.
Is there anything you want to say to your fans in Milwaukee?
Noel: Go Bucks and we can’t wait to see you.