If you were born between the period of 1991 and 2004, you probably know who Gibby is from iCarly.
Noah Munck, the actor who played Gibby, made a mark on children, tweens and teenagers with his role on iCarly. Following his time on the show, however, Munck decided to split his time between working on traditional television series, including The Goldbergs, and YouTube. On Oct. 9, 2016, Munck launched Sadworld with his first video, “just a regular guy,” that was discovered by fans of iCarly.
Those hoping for a reunion special with lead actress Miranda Cosgrove were sorely disappointed upon initial discovery. Instead of the adorable, goofy Gibby they remember, Sadworld was an amalgamation of images, glitches and sounds designed to overload viewers’ senses. “just a regular guy” is an experimental, crude video about an exaggerated, unlikeable character that Munck would go on to define his entire channel by. The video wasn’t supposed to be welcoming to all, but infatuating to few. Those who could quote The Eric Andre Show, binge-watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force and cited Ren and Stimpy as an all-time favorite series were the type of viewers Munck was trying to bring in with Sadworld.
If they happened to like Gibby from iCarly, even better.
“It feels like most people recognize me on first watch and then the people who stay, they enjoy the content we’re making,” Munck told Polygon from his home studio in California. “They’re not going to keep watching just because I’m Gibby. W’re riding a new voice on YouTube.
When Munck finished with iCarly, fans followed him from project to project, including a brief stint as a DJ. Munck said he didn’t feel like anything he did before Sadworld was an authentic representation of him.
This is the first time that Munck feels like he can be himself, he said, and devote his time to the type of comedy he wants to put into the world without having to worry about his image. The small fanbase he’s amassed over the year (but specifically the last few months as more videos have been released) is more dear to him because, Munck said, people are applauding the work he’s creating himself.
“People from the iCarly days followed me doing this half-assed stuff in the beginning and they lost interest,” Munck said. “A lot of the other things that I did because it’s Gibby from iCarly and they really like the work, but not the person behind it. I totally get it! It’s probably weird for people to see someone they see making weird content on YouTube that they used to watch on a Nickelodeon show. They probably think ‘what is this guy doing?’ Why does he go back to making that other stuff I like?’ That’s why it’s so cool to cultivate a fanbase around the channel.”
When Munck brainstorms what type of video he wants to bring his deranged character onto next, he’s not thinking about his iCarly audience, he said. To create the type of Adult Swim series he’s always wanted to star in since he was 15, Munck just does what makes him and his brother laugh. If they can accomplish that, Munck said, then he’s satisfied enough to keep going.
“Everything I’m doing now feels more like it’s coming from a real place than just trying to do something just because I wasn’t doing anything,” Munck said. “It feels more genuine. I’m kind of a control freak so it’s great that I can do something where I have full control over it. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s been super rewarding.”
Munck does everything in-house. He mostly films at his family’s house in Orange County with his younger brother. Then he edits the footage and uploads it to his channel. This is done in conjunction with his job on The Goldbergs. Having full control means Munck gets to decide just how far to push his character.
The actor understands that his character can be alarming and standoffish to many who stumble upon his channel. Despite that, Munck isn’t worried that people will assume that he’s playing himself. One of the best parts of YouTube, according to Munck, is that everyone is playing an exaggerated versions of themselves. Vloggers, personalities and comedians are all hamming it up to an extent because they’re putting on a performance. It’s like taking the type of content Adult Swim puts on its network and giving it to the DIY crowd.
“It feels like a ridiculous characterization of people in general,” Munck said. “I haven’t really developed a backstory for him yet, but it’s a very, very, very, very exaggerated version of myself. I don’t say those things, obviously. I just like to exclaim funny lines loudly. It’s way simpler than a complex character and it’s fully improv. I’ll write guidelines or say ‘I’ll want to be this character in this setting with my brother.’ And we kind of just go from there.”
Eventually, Munck would like to bring his show ideas and talents to Adult Swim; a dream of his since he was a teenager. With YouTube, however, Munck said it’s become easier to just do what Adult Swim has been doing and have fun in the process. As a member of both the traditional and new media world, he sees the two eventually colliding into a more unanimous force.
“One of the guys on The Goldbergs is Shane and he’s on Smosh,” Munck said. “It’s becoming so much more combined. I don’t know how much it will become unified for weirder stuff, but with Adult Swim that’s the only fashion where weirder YouTube stuff can land. Adult Swim is working with YouTube and I think that’s going to continue. It’s trending toward coming together.”
For now, Munck is happy to keep his worlds separate. So long as he can continue making weird videos and be a part of the traditional TV world, he’s not going to complain. As for whether or not a member of iCarly could show up for a special guest appearance...
“Let’s just say there have been talks, so let’s see what happens.”