On Feb. 5, comedy duo Tiny Meat Gang performed at the Middle East nightclub in Cambridge, one of 37 stops on their eponymously named “Tiny Meat Tour.” The duo consists of Cody Ko and Noel Miller, two former software engineers who have spent the better part of the last two years producing content under the name Tiny Meat Gang, or “TMG,” as many fans call it. The two rose to prominence on the short-form video app Vine and, following the discontinuation of the app, began posting on Youtube, before creating their TMG podcast. The two have a formidable following. Ko’s Youtube channel has amassed over 2.1 million subscribers, while Miller’s boasts over 800,000, and these numbers aren’t including the multiple other accounts the two have for gaming videos, podcasts and vlogs.
The two can best be described as comedians for the Instagram generation. Their jokes often tap into relatable topics for millenials; some of their most favorite topics to discuss are Reddit posts, Juuling and bad Youtubers. What makes their comedy work and appeal to such youthful audiences is the fact that the two, both in their late 20s, lack the stiffness and awkwardness of someone who’s trying too hard to be ‘with the times’ and ‘hip.’ This has amassed them a devoted army of young fans, and the general makeup of the crowd at the live show reflected this fact well. Packed like sardines, a swarm of late teens and early 20-somethings, many of which were donning the duo’s merchandise, filled the basement of the club.
The show itself hinged heavily on the cult devotion of the pair’s fans. A considerable sum of the jokes were centered around callbacks to past videos and podcasts, which successfully capitalized on the audience’s knowledge of TMG canon. The duo began the show by walking out to one of their songs from their recent EP, Locals Only (2018). At the beginning of the show, the comedy was primarily driven by Miller, while Ko, whose recent bout of the flu caused two tour dates to be postponed, remained unobtrusive. Despite this unbalanced start, Ko quickly recovered once the two delved into the meat of the show.
The show itself was simple but effectively structured. The show’s style was comfortably familiar to their usual videos and podcasts, and the back-and-forth banter between Ko and Miller, while obviously heavily rehearsed, still felt authentic and fresh. The entire act was constructed to perfectly suit the audience; continual in-jokes nodded to and rewarded fans. Perhaps even more important was the duo’s heavy usage of call-and-response. Every few minutes, their set was punctuated with fans lovingly calling out references to past videos, or throwing out a quick “I love you!” to the performers. Ko, and even more so Miller, actively engaged with fans and incorporated back-and-forth ribbing into the set, making the performance an intimate and exciting experience for the audience. In addition to their spur-of-the-moment audience banter, they also incorporated culturally relevant improv into their set, such as the Patriots’ Super Bowl win, by thoroughly, but warmly, roasting the Bostonian crowd’s devotion to Tom Brady.
Throughout the set, there was never a dull moment, nor a joke that landed flat. Ko and Miller catered perfectly to their audience, and the show was a smash success because of the interactive nature of the set. Instead of feeling talked at, the audience was instead given the feeling of just hanging out and having a good time with the duo. This show is not for everyone — for those with a distaste for crude phallic jokes, this show is to be avoided at all costs. However, for those familiar with the duo’s work and looking for a relaxed and straight-up hilarious two hours, the Tiny Meat Tour is nothing short of perfection.