Fall is here and that means that anxiety and responsibilities are not far behind. What can a strapping young artist do to alleviate the pressure of the coming school year, other than run around screaming while tearing large chunks of hair out of their head, and knocking over expensive furniture? One way to loosen up life’s vice grip from the forehead of your soul is to watch the Williams Street Swap Shop (WSSS) on adultswim.com every weekday at 1 p.m.
The WSSS is an hour-long, live streaming show hosted by Zachary White and Matthew Hutchinson. It’s a show dedicated to helping people trade their valued items in a friendly environment. I had the privilege of joining Hutchinson and White on location at the swap shop to ask them a few questions about the origins of the least hostile live show on the internet.
While other streaming shows thrive on conflict, WSSS is elevated by the inexorable likability of the hosts and the way they treat their viewers. Soft guitar plays in the background from the start of each episode. White and Hutchinson spend time shaking hands before they slowly introduce themselves. Sometimes it opens with a close up of their hands as they admire random objects or open packages from fans.
Several segments make regular appearances like “Gettin’ Inboxed,” where they read fan-mail, and “The Twelve Hole,” which makes up the last twelve minutes of every show. Other times, celebrity guests make appearances to help facilitate swaps or just hang out and goof around.
WSSS has cultivated a tightly knit fan base that exists in the live chat as well. Their dynamic illustrates the value of effective communication with an audience. Fans of the show recognize and greet each other with “It’s a deal,” handshake emojis and other special WSSS icons. Everyone has an opportunity to feel like an active part of the community.
Despite a few cult-like similarities, their positive energy is refreshing in a digital landscape generally populated with hate and negativity. Even if it is kind of cultish, it seems to work. Until White and Hutchinson take on multiple wives and buy an island somewhere in international waters, I think it is safe to say that the Williams Street Swap Shop is just a nice way to relax and swap items — not a cult.
To describe the show in words doesn’t do it justice. The visuals, sound design, unique aesthetic and audience interaction make it a complete multimedia experience that will undoubtedly improve your mood and quality of life. Check out the full interview below or head to adultswim.com for more information.