October 8, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis
Back in August the original cast of Studio C announced they would be leaving BYUtv to start their own venue called JK! Studios. Matt Meese and Jason Gray told BYU-Idaho Radio this is something the group has thought about for a while.
Leaving Studio C
“We wanted to be able to do more than what we were doing with Studio C,” Meese said. “All we were doing was sketch comedy and while we loved that we wanted to do more: sitcoms, reality shows, podcasts. Family Friendly comedy but just outside of the realm of sketch specifically.”
Many of the members of JK! Studios are married and have families. Gray is one of those and despite leaving a full-time job, the opportunity presented was too good to pass up.
“I’m a naturally pretty cautious individual especially when it comes to my family’s security and safety, but this really did make a lot of sense,” Gray said. “It was something that made a lot of sense and I had already taken a big risk… to be an actor so I was like, ‘what’s one more?’”
Meese says the reaction to the announcement has been overwhelmingly positive. Gray added that the companies and businesses they have talked to have also encouraged them in this decision.
To support the costs of running a business JK! Studios has a Patreon page where people can go on and sponsor the group for as little as $3 a month. In return the patron gets merchandise and videos available earlier and more behind the scenes footage.
As far as content goes, they plan to make one video a week, mainly behind the scenes, until January. Then in January they plan to have a couple of sitcoms, improv, sketch and eventually reality TV.
They put their first video out this week. Meese says it seems that the responses have been mostly positive.
Gray added that the video has been good for people who might be worried about what things will be like as they leave BYUtv.
They are planning in the future to work with other content creators to make more content.
“Our goal is to make JK! Studios a place where it is not just a platform for us but for other content creators who want to make family friendly comedy,” Gray said.
Gray says there are so many creatives in Utah and they hope to keep the talent here instead of losing them to places like Los Angeles.
Since leaving BYUtv, that means members of the studio are doing things they haven’t for a while. Gray shared that he has been doing a lot of video editing, something he hasn’t done for years.
“I’ve had to shake off the rust and do new things,” Gray said.
Meese says he feels like they have a wide variety of skills between the ten of them and now being a smaller company they are able to use those skills to the fullest.
New York and Kenan Thompson
They filmed Studio C’s 9th Season opener in New York City with Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live fame. Gray said it was an amazing opportunity to work with him.
“I remember the first time we did the dress rehearsal and I had my first lines to Thompson and then he turned around and delivered a line back to me. I had an out of body experience like, it just didn’t feel real,” Gray said.
What made it better was how nice of a person Thompson was in real life as well.
Doing New Things
To any aspiring creators or comedians Meese says it’s ok if there is not immediate success.
“it’s not like overnight kind of success but if you love it then you don’t weigh the costs, and when the time comes to take the leap you take it,” Meese said.
Going forward is always scary even for the widely popular cast.
“The best thing to do is to just do something,” Meese said.