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YouTube Sensations From 'Epic Meal Time' Feed SoCal's Homeless

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The cast of YouTube series "Epic Meal Time" came to Costa Mesa this week to serve the city's needy with the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. And of as you can imagine, the meal was, well, epic. Creator Harley Morenstein and his crew brought dishes like Fast Food Lasagna made from 45 McDonald's cheeseburgers and TurBaconEpic, a super-size version of the Thanksgiving-turducken in which a quail is stuffed inside a Cornish game hen, inside a chicken, inside a duck, inside a turkey — then slow-roasted inside a pig.

The recipes were a huge hit with the shelter, as they are with their online audience. The viewership of their channel has hit 2.9 million, and is steadily growing -- especially with the dude crowd. The recipe for success, they say, is bacon and booze. And it's been working out to be very lucrative.

Says the Times:

In 2010, "Epic Meal Time" was accepted into YouTube's partner program, allowing it to share in online advertising revenue. To prepare, he wrote 200 to 300 cooking ideas for such things as a variation on spaghetti and meatballs, in which the pasta is stuffed into a meatball the size of a basketball...Now, Morenstein's production company is profitable and supports a 10-person full-time team. It collects revenue from advertisers attracted by its more than 30 million monthly video views, garners fees from marketers who are coming to the show's creator to develop branded content to promote their products and services, and operates a lucrative merchandising operation that sells everything from hats, hoodies and T-shirts to, soon, cooking utensils, said Dan Weinstein, chief content officer at Collective Digital Studio, Morenstein's management company and distribution partner.

As many online channels try to
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sketch out the road map for online TV, it seems that this is one a success. But is this the example our nation needs as it faces its childhood obesity epidemic? Likely not, but it sure is entertaining.