YouTube Star Elliott Morgan Debuts Comedy Special on Vimeo

Elliott Morgan: Premature Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Vimeo

Elliott Morgan: Premature Still - H 2015

'Premature' is available for $6 on the ad-free streaming service.

As the market for comedy specials heats up, YouTube stars are finding a home for their projects on Vimeo.

The latest comedy special to come to Vimeo, the IAC-owned, ad-free platform, is Premature, an hourlong feature from Elliott Morgan. Premature, which debuted Dec. 10 for $5.99, is the first such project from Morgan, who rose to Internet fame as a host on YouTube channel SourceFed.

For the project, Morgan teamed with digital studio Supergravity Pictures, which has a deal with Vimeo to bring four projects exclusively to the streamer. Ryan Polito (Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide) directed the special. Supergravity co-founder Max Benator says he and partner Marc Hustvedt (Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special!) saw opportunity in Morgan, who, after years of working on other YouTube channels, only recently placed a focus on building up the audience for his own channel, which has 159,000 subscribers. "For us to be able to identify a young, new comic like Elliott is, for us, the stars aligning," says Benator.

Morgan spent the better part of a year preparing for Premature, renting rooms at comedy clubs to work out new material. "When you're a young comedian, you can get it in your head that people are challenging themselves not to laugh," he says. "But what I've learned in the world of stand-up comedy is that people want to laugh and be silly."

By taking Premature to Vimeo, Morgan will be asking fans to pay for the project in a way they haven't had to with his work on YouTube. But Hustvedt notes that comedy fans have embraced the model. "Comedy fans are very loyal," he explains. "They will pay for a comedy special. Louis C.K. sort of set the bar; he conditioned comedy fans that it's like buying a ticket."

Adds Morgan: "Vimeo has been so supportive on a logistic front to make sure this thing has the best chance possible of being a success."

Comedian and YouTube star Colleen Evans took her special, in which she plays alter ego Miranda Sings, to Vimeo last month. The streamer also has produced its first original comedy special, starring Bianca Del Rio, which premiered in November.

Says Sam Toles, Vimeo's head of global content and distribution: "In addition to our first original comedy special with Bianca Del Rio, we’re excited to work with partners like Supergravity and their talent like Elliott to produce authentic comedy specials that would traditionally be prohibited on ad-supported mediums."