Alison Haislip by Eric Blackmon

ALISON HAISLIP

► Lets talk about your reason to finally join Instagram. What exactly is Team Unicorn?
Okay, so Team Unicorn was started when Clare, Rileah, Milynn and Michelle got together to make a music video parody to Katy Perry’s California Gurls, called G33k & G4m3r Girls. It became a massive success, so they figured they had found something and should capitalise on it. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say capitalise. It makes it sound like they were greedy. You know what I mean: They found a niche and they found a market. The name Team Unicorn came out of the fact that – and thankfully this is changing – girls who are geeks catch a lot of flak. Guys saying that girls who are geeks don’t exist. The whole ‘fake geek girl’ and ‘fake gamer girl’ nonsense. So their idea was that if they, as geek girls, don’t exist, they are unicorns.

► In what form are we going to see Team Unicorn in the future if the pilot gets picked up?
The team in general celebrates geekiness in all shapes and forms, and we do it by being as girly as we can, to prove that girls indeed can like geeky stuff. The show is called the Team Unicorn Saturday Action Fun Hour – which is ironic, because it will most likely not be on a Saturday, nor will it be an hour.

► Will it be fun, though?
It definitely will be fun and it will be full of action. And it involves Team Unicorn. So these three things are true. It’s an homage to Saturday morning cartoons. We try to take the best of G.I. Joe and Voltron and Power Puff Girls and Mighty Max – the great cartoons we grew up on – and mash them together into one highly inappropriate, violent, hilarious cartoon for adults. And it’s not just a cartoon. At the beginning and the end, we are there as our live action superhero-selfs. Much like Mr. T in the Mr. T cartoons. But we give completely terrible advice. So it’s definitely made for adults, because it is on Adult Swim. Knock on wood that it gets picked up, because it is a show I’d like to be involved in for a long time.

► Here’s to a long life for Team Unicorn then. Unlike one of my favourite shows ever on YouTube – 4 Points – which you were a part of and which, sadly, doesn’t exist anymore.
Aww, 4 Points! I love 4 Points!

Alison Haislip by Eric Fischer
photo credit: Eric Fischer

► Before I ask why it doesn’t exist anymore, how did you get involved with that one?
When Chris Hardwick first started the Nerdist network on YouTube, he approached a bunch of people about creating content, one of whom was Alex Albrecht. Alex had the idea for the show, Chris loved it and it was actually Chris who said that I would be the perfect co-host. Weirdly, although Alex and I run in much the same circles, we had never met before. So Chris approaches me about it, I’m all for it, then my agent calls me with the offer, and I was like “Um, hello, can I maybe meet the guy I’m supposed to do the show with first?” (laughs) So the show was Alex’s idea, which is why it was technically called 4 Points with Alex Albrecht. I don’t know if you remember, but every other episode I would give him grief over the fact that he had his name on the desk and I didn’t. Anyway, things can be very serendipitous. Alex and I met through the show and turned out to be a fantastic team. I have hosted with so many fantastic people, but you learn that there has to be a chemistry. When I hosted Attack Of The Show with Kevin Pereira, it was always different than when I hosted it with Chris Hardwick. Both of them were amazing, and I am very good friends with both of them, but the chemistry with each of them was very different. So the fact that Alex and I clicked like that when we were thrown into each other’s lives was something special. We just had the greatest time shooting that show. And about every six months we think about bringing it back, in a modified way or on another network. Because we both want to host a show together again.

► Can it come back – maybe on the Nerdist channel itself? And why did it stop at all?
It can always come back in another form. It won’t come back on the Nerdist network, solely because we were kind of a test show, to see if full-length shows would work on YouTube. And it definitely worked in a way. I think the biggest problem was that we were the most expensive show on the network at that time. Now the network is modified more to the five-minute formats, as opposed to the 25-minute videos. So why spend all the money they were spending on a long show when they can do five shows for the same price? I hate making it sound like it was all about the money, but we were a different format than what the network has become. I don’t know that we could go someplace else and have it be 4 Points as it was, but Alex and I have always talked about some kind of talk show together.

► Interesting – this was the second time you almost apologised that something you do or something someone else does on the internet is also about money. Almost like there is a stigma to earning money through web-based entertainment.
I guess that goes back to what I said about the reasons why I choose a certain job or project. Will it be fun and will it get my face out there? Money is not really a reason why I want to be doing stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have to make a living. But once you’re making decisions about jobs based on the pay cheque, they become exactly that: a job. And I didn’t choose this career to have a job, I chose it because I’m passionate about it and I want to have fun doing it. So I don’t want it to sound like 4 Points doesn’t exist anymore because of the money. Once you give that impression, things can get ugly. I mean, you and I are talking now, so you have a feeling for how I mean it. But you also know how the internet is. A single sentence can get taken out of context, then people latch onto it, and it becomes something it wasn’t meant to be.

► Let me ask you about another example then, so maybe people can gauge the whole process better. Lets take TableTop with Wil Wheaton on the Geek & Sundry channel – is being a guest there purely for fun?
Oh yeah. We don’t make any money from TableTop. That’s definitely just for fun. I actually just shot another episode this past weekend, so I’ll be on season 3. And as someone who grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, I am a very lucky girl that, one Comic-Con, I got introduced to Wil Wheaton and we got drunk and had a dance party. We became friends after that, and now Wil brings me on his show, which is super fun because he is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. He is all about the fun and celebrating things he loves. I think that is why TableTop is so great. Wil just gets so passionate about it and then brings on his friends, and we all get caught up in the game.

► But you have yet to find your very own vehicle. I just re-listened to your interview on the Nerdist podcast from back in 2011. There you said you’d love to find or create something that is uniquely you. Is that still a plan?
Isn’t it for everyone? Isn’t everyone always looking for something they can create and develop, no?

► Um, no!? There are plenty of people who shy away from the work and/or the responsibility of creating their own thing. Or who just don’t have the desire to create their own vehicle or platform to begin with. Maybe your point of view is somewhat skewed here because you are surrounded by so many people who are keen on creating their own projects?
That’s interesting. Yeah, I guess I can see that. I just know that the way you’re successful in this industry is by being proactive about your career. So yes, of course I would love a vehicle that is ‘mine’. For example, I’ve always thought I’d love to have a show like John Oliver’s show, Last Week Tonight. Although, the more I just talked about it, I realised what I really want is a vehicle for Alex Albrecht and me together. So, Alex, call me. But the next thing would have to be something we create together, so it wouldn’t just be Alex’s name on the desk. (laughs) :x:

This interview first appeared in issue no.1 of XCENTS.

photo credit featured image: Eric Blackmon

Interview by Ewan McGee.

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