May 20, 2019

The NYT Is on It: Zendaya Is Meechee Is a Post-Vine Vine

“I had seen the Zendaya is Meechee poster every morning and I thought that was really funny,” Mr. Gundacker, 27, said. “Two words that, to my father, would be equally unknown. But the poster is announcing them as something we’re supposed to understand.”

The single poster might have been enough to merit a Vine of its own. When Mr. Gundacker came across others like it, though, he had enough content to make a song, which he planned to sing “as if ‘Zendaya is Meechee’ is almost a Christian worship phrase.”

(His friend Mia Vicino alerted him that the name was pronounced Zen-DAE-a, not the common mispronunciation, Zen-DIE-a, which later earned him props from the actress. Another friend, Mike Aviles, shot the video.)

While “Zendaya is Meechee” brought him attention from comedians he has long admired, including Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman and The Lonely Island, his old Vines, on a month-to-month basis, can still bring in enough money to pay his rent in Los Angeles. (A company called Collab recovers revenue for him through their “asset protection” work whenever his intellectual property is posted online, by anyone.) He is also a writer for the Showtime program “Our Cartoon President.”

Mr. Gundacker and many of his friends who used to make Vines are profiting from nostalgia for the platform’s most popular clips, many of which have been uploaded to YouTube. Some Viners, including Lele Pons and Jake and Logan Paul, brought their audiences over to YouTube as well and tailored their shticks for the new platform.

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