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Emergency Intercom, Chronically Online 20-somethings and Mainstream Figures

Gen-Z’s absurdist humor is becoming mainstream.
Emergency Intercom

You’re never too weird to be famous.

And you’re never too famous to sell stuff online.

The podcast Emergency Intercom is a perfect example. It began on July 9, 2021. Emergency Intercom is hosted by Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips. It’s a show rife with current trends, chronically online quotes and downright nonsensical sentences. As of April 5, the show has gotten to 140 episodes and averages 225,000 viewers per release. Even if you haven’t listened to an episode all the way through, the odds that you’ve heard a clip of one of its two hosts is higher than you think.

“Emergency Intercom is a comedy podcast by Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips. There is no emergency, but there is an intense need for attention, so maybe listen up… You don’t want to know what happens if you don’t. (we will be violent)”- Emergency Intercom 

The duo began their comedic career in the same place, Vine, both comics having accounts with over 500,000 followers.

After Vine went under, they both migrated to YouTube. Umanzor uses the platform to post clothing hauls, life updates and a host of other random content a teenager could cook up. Phillips stuck to comedy, making eclectic videos with overly edited thumbnails for whatever food challenge was popular at the time.

The two met in 2015 while they were on tour and became fast friends, occasionally appearing in each other’s YouTube videos. In 2019, Umanzor posted a video titled “MOVING IN WITH MY BEST FRIEND” where the duo announced exactly as the title said. One year later they began a joint channel with their friend Josiah called Field Trip, which harkened back to the days of their solo channels by doing weird challenges for content.

Finally, in 2021 the two began Emergency Intercom. With their kitchen as a backdrop and a seemingly endless fountain of things to talk about, the podcast took off.

Their rise to popularity was in no small part owed to TikTok, with many clips of their starting trends. A clip of Phillips was posted in March of 2022 that amassed over 1.3 million views and the sound itself gained 17.6k uses.

Nowadays, in addition to Emergency Intercom the duo are a poster child for Gen Z humor. The two have taken to runways at Marc Jacobs shows to ask celebrities questions, attended Paris Fashion Week and started clothing brands.

When asked if she believes Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips’ success marks a shift in Gen Z culture, Three Dinh, a junior social work major says, “I believe that it has but at the same time it feels like it’s constantly shifting and adapting as well.”

When we speak about current humor, the term “Chronically Online” comes to mind. It’s a term meant to refer to someone who spends too much time on social media. “A lot of jokes have context from the internet that if you weren’t well versed, wouldn’t make much sense,” says, Mikayla Hayden, a sophomore biology major. Since the pandemic the amount of chronically online people has risen, in the study “Changes and correlates of screen time in adults and children during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” where they state, “Screen time has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and several correlates have been associated with these increases.” With these post-pandemic increases, the amount of chronically online people has increased.

In recent years, the trend of influencers-turned-marketing assets has turned up more and more. TikTok personalities like Becca Bastos, known for her dramatic comedy skits, make advertisements for Takis. Even further down the spectrum of “out there” humor would be Alex Consani, who gained a following on TikTok by making Gen Z-centered posts. The combination of her career in modeling and online presence has led to a near cult following of young people worshipping her content and crowning her as the “It girl,” according to E! News.

Another notable chronically online influencer turned public figure is X legend and TikTok star, Blizzy McGuire whose influence is felt in many popular memes and posts. She has gained popularity, coining the term “Christian girl autumn,” a Burger King-fueled anthem, and fighting on the front lines of the IDGAF war. Her over 200,000 followers on TikTok led her to feel the effects of this modern marketing trend, being one of the faces on Mac ads, striking brand deals and appearing with pop stars like Charli XCX.

With chronically online brands of humor seemingly coming into vogue for companies, students are starting to feel the effects, Hayden says, “I think it could open more doors for me in an indirect way… I think it would lead to more personable workplaces.”



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