Streamy Awards: YouTube Stars Urge People to Vote in Midterm Elections

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Streamy Awards
The Try Guys

"If you can vote for this show, you can vote for the country," co-host Zach Kornfeld said.

Monday was not only the date of the eighth annual Streamy Awards, it was also the last day that California residents could register to vote in the midterm elections — and the night was filled with reminders to do so.

The show’s hosts — the comedy quartet The Try Guys — spoke with The Hollywood Reporter before the awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel about the importance of going to the polls on Nov. 6.

“It’s imperative, anyone who’s over 18 needs to vote, encourage all of their friends to vote,” said Eugene Lee Yang, one of the group’s four members. “And not only vote, but discuss the issues, and really understand what’s happening politically in the country, because especially these days we need more young people to become more active, and not just tweet something, not just 'like' something on a post, but actually go out there, register to vote and make your voice heard.”

“If you can vote for this show, you can vote for the country,” Try Guy Zach Kornfeld added. Kornfeld, Ned Fulmer and Keith Habersberger sported brightly patterned suits on the red carpet, while Yang was dressed in drag, an homage to one of the most popular videos the troupe made while still at Buzzfeed. (They left the entertainment and news organization earlier this year to form their own production company.)

The Try Guys, in addition to their hosting duties, won audience choice: show of the year honors, competing against nominees such as the web series Escape the Night and the online news show The Young Turks. In the category of acting in a drama, Anna Akana won and spent half her speech encouraging people to vote in the upcoming election. The Youth & Consequences actress also came out as queer.

“Please, please, please vote, people need us more than ever, marginalized groups need us more than ever,” Akana said. “I am not only a woman of color but I am also a queer woman, so please get out to the polls and vote.”

The issue of voting arose not just in winners’ speeches. Presenters Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig, who starred in 2016’s Dirty 30, made a case for registering and voting in lieu of typical awards-show banter.

“Should we do a skit?” Helbig asked.

“Or a bit?” Hart echoed before saying, “No we’re gonna remind you to all vote. ... If you believe survivors, think that black lives matter, and know that trans rights are human rights, get your butt to the polls November 6.”

The duo’s co-star and frequent collaborator Hannah Hart told THR that if people don’t vote, “we lose everything,” She continued, saying, “Vote while you still can. There’s so much voter fraud out there in the news, this is real and scary. Vote because you still can.”

The night ended with the final award, the audience choice: creator of the year, which went to Shane Dawson, a YouTube veteran who has garnered attention for his documentaries on popular YouTubers such as Jeffree Star and Jake Paul. Audience members then stood up and danced to a musical performance by Montell Jordan, who sang his hit 1995 song, “This Is How We Do It.”