LOS ANGELES — On NBC's new summer series Undateable, comedian Chris D'Elia offers advice on everything under the sun to co-star Brent Morin. When the pair came to meet us at the USA TODAY bureau in Los Angeles, we had to begin with D'Elia's take on social media and comedy. D'Elia has more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter and Vine; Morin just under 12,000. It was his singing that put D'Elia on the social media map.
D'Elia's fans flock to watch him sing silly ditties about driving on Vine, the social network that's home to six-second video clips. D'Elia shoots many of them featuring him crooning in the car.
"You're in so much traffic in L.A. I think singing is funny, period," he says.
Adds Morin: "He used to do that stuff in the car before Vine. Opera versions of hip-hop songs. He just didn't have an outlet to put it out there. Now he does."
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR COMICS
Says D'Elia: "You need to be on it. I was talking to a comedian who was established and a little older, and he's like 'What's with this Twitter?' and I was like 'Dude, you need to get on it or you're gonna be just, like, irrelevant.' People don't even look at a website anymore."
DIFFERENT TWITTER APPROACHES
D'Elia built his Twitter audience by encouraging them to do silly things — like spreading peanut butter over their faces and tweeting a pic to him — and being ruthless about whom he will converse with. He actively tells fans why he'll block them from Twitter, citing such examples as "being rude to me in real life," or "asking me when I'm coming to your city when I was there a week ago."
Morin, a former production assistant for Conan O'Brien, entreats his followers to watch his appearances and come to shows.
When touring, "I'll wake up and tweet something, Instagram a photo of something, Vine something, let them know I'm in a certain place. People will be like 'Oh I live here, I didn't know you were here.' I'll write them back and say 'Well get tickets and come because I need people in those seats.' "
It works surprisingly well. His six-second Vine videos usually result in "30 people coming out that night, just from the Vine."
USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham sits down with comics Chris D'Elia and Brent Morin of NBC's Undateable series to find out what their favorite apps are.
D'Elia likes Square Ready (free; Apple), because "you can make your videos square." His iPhone-shot video clips can be uploaded to Instagram without having their sides cut off to fit into its square format.
Morin's a fan of Tripit (free; Apple, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry) which collects upcoming flight and hotel information for travelers. "I like that it organizes everything for me."
D'Elia: "I don't do Tinder (the hot-or-not dating app, available for Apple and Android). If I wasn't on TV, I'd be all over it. But I don't want people to be like — isn't that the guy from TV?"
Follow Jefferson Graham on Twitter.