SMOSH Star Courtney Miller Talks Making A Difference, Shortney, Shipping & A SMOSH Secret
There are a lot of things one might associate with YouTube comedy channel, SMOSH, but it’s probably Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, friends who started the channel during the early days of YouTube in 2005. In the 14 years since SMOSH became a thing (17, if you count the OG flash animation website Anthony started called ‘Smosh.com’), SMOSH has transformed into a brand. It saw Anthony leave to go solo (who is he, Zayn Malik?) while picking up hilarious new castmembers along the way.
But it wasn’t until mid-2015 when two women were finally inducted as regular members of the SMOSH cast and it hasn’t been the same since… in a good way, of course. the whisp sat down to interview Courtney Miller, one of the two mid-2015 women additions (Olivia Sui was the other), at Vidcon 2019, where she talked about what it’s like to make a difference for women in comedy, why people ‘ship’ her with Shayne Topp, her first ship, and even throws some shade at a SMOSH castmate.
“I feel really empowered to know that people see me as someone [who can make a difference for women]. When I first started, I was just like, ‘I’m a little girl who’s just here to be in videos and to be silly.’ But as I’ve grown to see this influence, and pretty much as soon as I realized that I did have an influence, I was really quickly like, ‘okay, I need to start putting out a good, positive message’ because there are things that should be normalized,” she said. “I burp, I pick my nose, I sit like a manspreading dude — Ironically, I’m crossing my legs right now — But I was just ready to make girls, in particular, feel like they don’t have to suppress anything about themselves or who they are for the sake of impressing or feeling accepted. That’s not the way the world should be.”
That’s not the only thing that’s changed during Courtney Miller and Courtney Freaking Miller’s time with the team. She also stuck with it while SMOSH’s original parent company, DEFY Media went through a very public bankruptcy shutdown, and after months of waiting (Courtney called it “a weird purgatory”), SMOSH was sold to Mythical Entertainment and rebooted with a lot of the same cast members and a few fresh new faces.
“Being in the old office [at DEFY], there was such a disconnect. I didn’t hate anyone I worked with, but there was a huge disconnect emotionally… now that we’re at Mythical, our team is awesome. There are a bunch of new people — editors, people doing graphics, and they’re all talented, that’s one thing,” she said.
“But also, somehow we all like the same stuff and we all just vibe together really well. It’s just so lucky. I don’t think the content would be as good if we didn’t all get along.”
“I think Ian, Shayne, and I get together the most [outside of work]. Especially during the shutdown and during the DEFY days when things were tough, [Ian, Shayne, and I] would always go to the same restaurant, us three. We’d get Mexican food together and just hang out, then walk down the street to this Irish pub and chill there. It was our weekly — almost weekly — tradition when we’d just hang out like that.”
She continued, “It just kind of happened this way because we all have our own groups of friends and we’re always doing different stuff.”
Speaking of Shayne…
“We get shipped. I feel like it’s just because we look like Barbie and Ken… we do look very alike,” she said of the ‘Shortney’ (sometimes called ‘Shartney’) ship that’s found itself very popular within the SMOSH fandom. “When that first started happening we were like, ‘cool, put together the two whitest people in the cast and ship them, that’s real nice.’ … but we have really good chemistry when we are in videos together because our sense of humor is just the same. Plus, we were in it from the beginning together. At our callback audition, we sat next to each other and we both were getting to know Ian and Anthony right there… But yeah, they ship us together a lot. There are fan fictions and everything.”
Shortney wasn’t her first experience with shipping, though. In fact, Courtney used to be a shipper herself!
“My first experience with shipping was with Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson… Larry Stylinson, I shipped it,” she said. “I was obsessed with One Direction for like, six months and shipping was just the thing. [Also,] Ian and Anthony were shipped together and it was this very strong, passionate thing that fans had.”
Ian actually sent us a question for Courtney via Twitter for her Vidcon interview, saying he wanted to know if he was her favorite co-worker.
Is Ian your favorite Co-worker, and if the answer is no, why are you such a dirty liar?
— Ian Hecox (@SmoshIan) July 10, 2019
“He’s papa Ian, you can’t not love him. I was ‘Team Anthony’ first, though,” she admitted. “Shade thrown.”
From reading her old diary entries aloud to eating spicy peppers and getting *literally* farted on during “Punishment Zombie Shootout,” she’s willing to do whatever it takes to entertain SMOSH fans.
“There’s a lot of emotional trauma that goes with our videos but it’s fun, we’re in it together.”