Anyone conversant with YouTube is likely to have come across the comedy series known as The Try Guys, where a group of four talented young men performs just about any stunt to keep their online audience well entertained. Among the four-man group is Eugene Lee Yang, who like the other members, is a former staff of BuzzFeed. He is best known for his work while with the digital media company and also for The Try Guys series. In addition to being an internet celebrity, Eugene is also a writer, actor, filmmaker, and producer. He also works with different human rights and LGBT advocacy charity organizations, including The Trevor Project.
Tidbits About His Career Development
Though an American, Eugene is of Korean lineage. His parents Min-Young and Jae Yang immigrated from Korea to Pflugerville, Texas, where he was born and raised alongside his two sisters. Growing up, Eugene’s family was among the handful of Asian Americans in the Pflugerville community and being different from other kids in terms of looks, he suffered low self-esteem as a result of his perception of his appearance, which made him a victim of bullying.
Despite his struggles at that young age, the entertainer nursed a dream of venturing into filmmaking professionally. However, he lived with a lurking fear of not being accepted in the mainstream film industry since Asian Americans were not represented in the industry at the time and also because of his queerness. That notwithstanding, Eugene Lee Yang took a bold step by getting involved in visual arts, theatre, dance, choir, illustrations, and other art-related activities in school.
In all these, it was easy to notice that he would be a perfect fit in the film industry, and as a result, his 7th-grade teacher suggested that he should give a thought to studying filmmaking. After high school, he took his teacher’s suggestion and enrolled in the University of Southern California to study cinema production. As an undergraduate, he wrote and directed six short films before his eventual graduation in 2008.
Afterward, he did several things within the entertainment circle, including writing and filming commercials, freelance work, and music video production. Five years later, he was employed as an online video producer at the video production department of the digital media firm, Buzzfeed, following the favorable recommendation of a professional colleague who had noticed his potential in the creation of short-format videos.
On joining the company, he was allowed free control of the production of experimental videos and exploring ways of telling stories. However, he spent a year working behind the camera before he eventually took his place in front of the camera, bringing life into his eccentric video contents each time he appears in any of them.
Among his works were a few that focused on body issues, stereotypes, and Asian American identity. These include “If Disney Princes Were Real,” and “Women’s Ideal Body Types Throughout History,” both of which earned more than 76 and 48 million views, respectively on Buzzfeed’s YouTube channel, making them two of the firm’s most-watched videos on the platform.
His Breakthrough With The Try Guys
Some of his early works received positive reactions basically because they were honest, and as a result of this, more provocative sketches like The Try Guys were created. In 2014, The Try Guys was established under Buzzfeed Motion Pictures as a series starring Eugene alongside three other of the company’s employees- Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, and Zach Kornfeld. The show, which provides commentaries on societal issues in a humorous way, depicts various scenarios, including men undergoing prostate cancer check at the office of a doctor, as well as going through the pains of labor, among others.
At the onset, the cast was uncomfortable leaving their comfort zone behind the camera as they had a little on-camera experience, however, they ended up producing more and more videos, thanks to the positive feedback they kept receiving. The four-man squad kicked off by posting a video titled “Guys Try Ladies’ Underwear for the First Time,” and as a result of Eugene’s outstanding performance on the show, he did not only become popular on social media, but he was also named the breakout star of The Try Guys by The New York Times.
Why Did They Leave BuzzFeed?
While their popularity soared, the talented young men continued working for Buzzfeed until June 16, 2018, when they announced that they had parted ways with the company. They established their own company named 2nd Try LLC, which acquired all rights to the brand, The Try Guys. Meanwhile, Eugene Lee Yang left Buzzfeed first, following the end of his contract, and the other guys followed later. Since then, the group’s viral videos have recorded more than one billion views on different social media platforms.
In addition to their videos, The Try Guys also launched their podcast called “Try-Pod” in 2019. Afterward, the group published a book titled Hidden Power of F*cking Up on June 18, 2019, and it has gone on to become a New York Times Best Seller. They are also getting set for their first tour, Legends Of The Internet, which is scheduled to begin on September 23, 2020.
Also, in 2019, Eugene added television acting to his list of achievements when he appeared briefly on the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, playing the role of Theo Lorql.
What You Should Know About Eugene Lee Yang’s Sexuality
For a long time, there were speculations that Eugene Lee Yang was gay, but he never admitted or denied it. These rumors were fueled by his write-ups and videos, which are usually gay-related. Additionally, his wearing of women’s clothes, lingerie, and slutty outfits also made the speculations gain credence among fans and lovers of The Try Guys.
Speaking on his dressing, the YouTube star once explained that he loves dressing in women’s apparel because he feels good and fabulous in them. He has also described himself as a feminist, who flourishes in the company of not just women who are his equals, but who can as well kick his ass when there’s a need for that.
As speculations about the sexuality of Eugene continued, he eventually identified himself as a member of the queer community. However, on June 15, 2019, he decided to officially come out completely, this time with his whole truth, as a gay man. He did this through a music video titled “I’m Gay,” and just two days after the video, which he wrote, directed and choreographed, was released, it garnered more than 6 million views.
The dance video shows several scenes of his coming out journey, including the first scene where two male members of his family scold him for dancing with the girls and trying to apply lipstick. Consequently, he hides his face and marches in line with everyone else. The second scene shows Eugene in a church where he tries to express himself like others but is forced to act ‘obedient,’ suppressing his true self.
It was in the third scene that he first realizes his attraction to men. The scene begins with Eugene dancing with a woman until his eyes catch a shirtless guy who twirls past him. Drawn to the guy, he leaves the lady and moves to the guy. As he dances with the guy, the lady comes close to him in an attempt to win him back, but instead, Eugene moves farther away from her. Thereafter, he hugs her goodbye and lays with his new-found partner. Some scenes indirectly call attention to gay bullying, and the June 12, 2016, mass shooting that took place inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, United States.
Speaking via Twitter, Eugene Lee Yang revealed that he made the music video as his way of coming out as a proud gay man with a lot of unheard specific stories to share. He went further to explain that he held back from coming out earlier due to fear and shame, which shaped his background. However, he promised to portray his complete truth in his subsequent works. Since Yang’s revelation, the YouTuber has also disclosed that he is in a relationship with a man named Matthew McClean. However, nothing much is known about his partner.