Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee are known for many things: their collaborative videos, bromance and most notably the 19 million subscribers they have amassed across their YouTube platforms. On 25th October, the duo visited Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, the second date of their 7 night tour around Britain to promote the upcoming release of their docu-film, Joe and Caspar Hit the Road: USA.
The show was billed as a preview of Sugg and Lee’s upcoming DVD release, however the realization of this was more varied. 90 minutes of the show’s 2-hour slot was filled with games between the two stars, where they mimed to classic pop ballads or answered quick-fire questions in an ice bath.
At many points this appeared tired and constructed, however it remained appealing to the hundreds of screaming pre-teen girls who comprised the majority of the audience. The pair also engaged in a Q&A, however the questions were broad and often met with predictably reliable answers, such as citing the fans support as the greatest reward of YouTube, igniting screams from the audience but leaving some rolling their eyes at the lack of originality in their answers.
The pair’s upcoming DVD release follows the same format as their previous film: Joe and Caspar Hit the Road, which followed the pair around Europe as they engaged in typical tourist activities. For the sequel, the boys travelled to various locations throughout the USA, providing a light-hearted take on American culture and traditions, taking part in kooky activities including a stay in a haunted house and attempts to eat a 15lb burger, which provoked chuckles from the entire audience when played at the Empire.
Joe Sugg and Caspar Lee’s intentions appear positive. They’re both young and molding a media career based purely on their own personalities, but since 2011 their format has changed minimally. They both follow the established rule book of the YouTube vlogger: act consistently happy, be playful but not too playful, be slightly risqué but nothing too far from PG.
The problem is that for two successful guys in their early twenties, the entire concept can often seem forced and contrived; on-stage the pair both appear so hyper-aware of themselves that they provide answers which are reminiscent of a pre-typed press release rather than spontaneous speech.
It’s not that anyone can blame Joe and Caspar though, the majority of the audience at The Empire didn’t seem to expect anything more from their idols than for them to simply turn up. However, watching the pair live in the theatre where they were both more tangible than on YouTube, there was no hiding or cutting out scenes and it was difficult to ignore the cracks in the persona they have created.
It’s clear from the devotion of the fans that the DVD will be a sell-out success and it is not without merit. For Joe and Caspar, their talent and success was formed on the small screen and when the duo work together in this format they really display their talent; both are witty, likable and engaging. Their stage show may not convert many people to become fans, however for much of the already devoted audience, simply seeing their idols in the flesh proved an experience enough.
Joe and Caspar Hit the Road: USA is released for download and DVD on 10th November.