With 3 million subscribers to his main channel, YouTuber Kingsley is branching out to his own talk show series with popular channel ClevverTV, dissecting the week’s biggest drama on Drama King every Thursday.
Kingsley’s partnership with ClevverTV was a long time coming. His YouTube network is Defy, and he’s done a few episodes of other Clevver programs before taking the reins on his own project.
“I just really loved the atmosphere, and I loved all the Clevver hosts,” Kingsley told the Daily Dot. “I always wanted to be on a pop-culture-centric program. Clevver is one of the top places, and since they were with Defy and I was with Defy, I really wanted to do a show. At the beginning I wasn’t even thinking of my own show—I was thinking of joining one of theirs—but we were able to come together and make it work.”
The first episode sets up the premise, with Kingsley giving a monologue straight to camera on the episode’s chosen topic, before turning to his featured guests to discuss the matter further. Last week he was joined by YouTuber Grace Helbig and comedian Quinta B to discuss Ariana Grande’s possible diva behavior, as well as play games like guessing the diva-rific rider requests of other performers.
Kingsley cites comedian and former late show host Chelsea Handler as his “number one role model” and says her show served as inspiration for his own format.
“I looked at Chelsea Lately as the blueprint,” he said. “I wanted a panel, I wanted different guests every week, and I wanted to open with a monologue. I think the monologue is a good combination of this program and the audience I built on my channel addressing the camera directly.”
Kingsley is preternaturally adept at keeping up with the wide world of celebrity and and pop culture on his own channel, and he brings that expertise to his new Clevver show as well, browsing TMZ and paying attention to what his audience is talking about.
“It’s a combination of what’s big and what I’m actually passionate about and what I can hold a discussion about without being boring as hell,” Kingsley said.
And as far as pop culture is concerned, Kingsley doesn’t pull his punches.
“I tend to steer away from major news things, however,” he says. “For instance, Mike Brown and Ferguson. I have an opinion on it, but I know things with political and racial undertones are a bit iffy. I like to make people laugh. It’ s not necessarily that I don’t like to make people think, but I don’t want to offend anyone talking about something super serious. I’d rather just comment on the fluff and things that we all just like and enjoy.”
Drama King isn’t the only project on Kingsley’s plate at the moment. He’s also got Unkut, a Drama King aftershow modeled after E’s After Lately that accompanied Chelsea Lately. He explains the show, a behind-the-scenes look at faux office drama surrounding his talk show, is “obviously super fabricated, but it’s so fun.” In the first episode, Helbig and Kingsley get some awkward warm-up techniques from an improvisor.
He’s also running two other series on his own channel, Inquisitive and Really B Really. Inquisitive has him interviewing other YouTubers, which Kingsley calls practice for when Drama King grows to where he can include an interview segment. For Really B Really, a sketch show that has Kingsley playing three female friends discussing the world of pop culture, Kingsley admits he can’t even bring himself to watch episodes after he films them, and calls the series something he does simply because his fans love it.
“I wasn’t going to do it, but it’s the favorite thing that audience likes right now,” he explained. “I just felt bad, I’m like, ‘I can’t not do this.’ That requires me to wear these wigs and put on these kooky voices. I enjoy writing it, but as I said, when I upload it, I never watch it again.”
Even with all that on his plate, Kingsley says it’s not difficult to balance his life.
“I’ll work with Defy during the day, then I’ll come home and just edit and pay attention to my channel,” he said. “It keeps me busy. I’m good when I’m busy.”
Drama King airs every Thursday at 3pm PT, and the newest episode will tackle Raven Symone’s recent Oprah interview.
Screengrab via ClevverTV/YouTube