Meet the Popular YouTuber and Comedian Who Rose to Fame Making Hilarious Videos on the Streets of Newcastle
YouTuber, comedian and Newcastle University graduate Max Fosh is taking his one-man show, Zocial Butterfly, to the Edinburgh Fringe – but it all started in the North East
‘I’m a YouTuber who makes videos based around the concept of being silly. I’m often labelled as a prankster, but I don’t think that’s the best description of what I do. A prank implies that there is a victim,’ says Max, reflecting on his career on YouTube, the video sharing site which has bred all manner of content creator-turned-superstar, including huge names like KSI, Pewdiepie and Logan Paul.
‘A lot of what I do doesn’t have a purpose or a target, the purpose is simply to put a smile on someone’s face. My videos range from making a huge sign that says “Welcome to Luton” outside Gatwick airport to make people think they’ve landed in the wrong place, to running for London Mayor with my main manifest point being not to vote for me, instead encouraging young people to simply vote.’
Max is a people person, he likes to throw himself into new experiences and hear what others have to say. As humans are social creatures, especially after they’ve had a couple cold ones, Max quickly found tipsy Newcastle University students were happy to oblige him when he first began making videos.
‘It all started for me in Newcastle. I studied there for university and the student radio station NSR introduced me to a career in media. The video format I started with is as old as time, they were essentially vox pop videos [a style of presenting where an interviewer ventures into public spaces to capture the voice of the people]. I’d go out into Newcastle late at night and interview drunk students during freshers week.’
Newcastle has no shortage of drunk students to interview, especial during freshers week. Being known as a bit of a party town, Newcastle attracts all manner of students from many different walks of life. As it turns out, excitable drunk students make for excellent conversation.
‘I started making videos out of spite because the Newcastle TV society wouldn’t let me be a presenter,’ Max laughs. ‘I realised that there was no need to go through them, I wanted to do it myself. I posted one video every night for a week.
'I had never done any street interviews or even edited a video before then, but freshers week was coming up and I knew that for five days the streets would be filled with students. I got up, hit the streets, got home, edited it, uploaded it, then the next night did it all again,’ he continues. ‘I was initially hosting them on Facebook, and it drove so much engagement because people would see their friends, tag each other, re-share them and so on.
‘My favourite relationship I made during that time was with Gary the busker, I’m not sure if he’s still there, but he used to stand between TupTup and Flares. He was in his late-30s to mid-40s, and he was so changeable in his mood depending on the evening,’ Max chuckles. ‘Some nights he’d be buzzing, others he’d be super grumpy. We were both these hustlers crossing each other every night, entertaining the students, and it always made me laugh.’
Fast forward a couple years and Max is really hitting his stride, now boasting 1.32million followers on YouTube and hitting the ground running with his one-man show, Zocial Butterfly.
‘Zocial Butterfly’s a challenge that I’ve really enjoyed, and luckily I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of people who know what they are doing,’ Max laughs. ‘Zocial Butterfly is a 55-minute storytelling show, showing people what it’s like to spend the day at a nudist colony, what it’s like to run for London Mayor, and unveiling channel footage that people have never seen before.
‘One of the best compliments I’ve had on the format was when someone said to me, “I felt like I was in one of your videos”. Sometimes people get brought along by friends and have no idea who I am, and I wanted to make sure those people would also enjoy the show, and l’ve had great responses from those people too because it’s not your typical stand-up – it has lots of multi-media in it and it tells great stories of real-life situations.’
Max’s hit show has now brought him to the Edinburgh Fringe, performing from 3rd to 29th August. It’s a clear indication of his success in convincing bigger and bigger audiences to join him on adventures concerning the weird and the wonderful, which in our minds can only be a good thing.
‘This show’s been written since 2019. I’ve put in the work, I’ve toured it up and down the country, and I’ve taken it upon myself to push the boundaries of what I can do. I’m so privileged to be able to share it with everyone.’