In character: Alex Blagg as Bajillion Hits IRL @SXSW
There was a moment early in the life of The Colbert Report when Stephen Colbert realized that he'd have to be TV's "Stephen Colbert" all show, every show.
For Alex Blagg, his moment of realization that his Bajillion Hits alter-ego persona would consume him happened a little over a week ago in Austin, Texas, where the comedian/blogger held court at the IFC Crossroads House during the SXSW festival. Renamed "STRATLANDIA" in honor of Blagg's web guru prowess as the president and Chief Executive Strat Master of Bajillion Hits, the house hosted several live and interactive interviews between Blagg and comedians, as well as between Blagg and actual Web gurus such as the founders of Foursquare and Mashable (pictured at right: Blagg listens intently to Mashable's Pete Cashmore).
Blagg explained his SXSW experience to The Comic's Comic:
I guess the secret shame of Bajillion Hits would be that I've never actually been to SXSW before, so I was definitely experiencing the whole thing with fresh eyes. I didn't quite anticipate just how insane and overwhelming of an experience it would be, in that I was shuttling back and forth between studios and segments at the IFC Crossroads house in order to keep creating new content for the live-stream (which would later be re-broadcast in online videos and on the network), while also talking with more people than I've ever met in my life and trying to get to every super cool branded VIP Tech party Foursquare told me that mattered.
But as exhausting as that sounds, it was also super fun and an amazing creative opportunity, in that I was able to take this character and persona I've created, and really engage face-to-face with the social media gurus, CEO's, entrepreneurs and Internet personalities from whom I've drawn so much comedic inspiration. For the most part, even the people I'd previously poked fun at really got what I was trying to do and went along with the joke. There was really only one or two people who took themselves so seriously that it felt like they couldn't see the inherent humor in the whole SXSW Interactive Bonkers McCrazytown Carnival of Internet Insanity.
The other tough interviews were actually the ones with the comedians, just because they kind of got away from the "Internet 3.0 talk" subject matter, which is definitely my comfort zone. But I was even really happy with the way those came out, and it was amazing getting to joke around with other comics I so deeply admire like Aukerman, Benson, Gelman, Maron and Mirman. So I guess what I learned from this whole thing is: Comedians whose names end in an "n" are all just hilarious and the best. And also it can be super fun to joke around with people FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE (the "house" being a metaphor for SXSW as it pertains to Internet Culture).
Here Blagg is talking to Baratunde Thurston from The Onion, Mike Farah from Funny or Die and Streeter Seidell from CollegeHumor.
After the jump, all of Blagg's strat chats with comedians during SXSW...
Blagg chats up Eugene Mirman and Brett Gelman
Blagg chats up podcasters Scott Aukerman, Marc Maron and Doug Benson, although when you get four interviewers together, they aren't sure whom is interviewing whom.
Blagg chats up Michael Ian Black and Lisa Cohen of Witstream.com: