Viceland’s original short What Would Diplo Do?, starring James Van Der Beek as Diplo and Dillon Francis as Diplo’s friend Jasper, is now streaming on Hulu. The show, which had also been streaming on Viceland for free prior to the Hulu addition, premiered last August as a hilarious tongue-in-cheek series offering a glimpse of “the life” of the superstar DJ.
In the time since the show’s aired, the Dawson’s Creek alum’s grade A impersonation has even seen great success on Twitter. James Van Der Beek’s @_diplo_Twitter handle has gone on to entertain an entire industry with witty criticism and clever comebacks.
Whether viewers are Viceland or dance music fans, the network’s comedy “What Would Diplo Do?” certainly made waves in the media for its over the top humor and parody of the dance music scene. James Van Der Beek was cast to portray Diplo, and did a great job at making it seem like the producer didn’t have a whole lot going on upstairs. Before the show’s release, Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo, opened Van Der Beek’s portrayal of himself with open arms. After the show’s conclusion, Pentz, who is also an executive producer on the show, has expressed a different sentiment.
“It hurt to watch it the first time,” the musician admitted to Rolling Stone. “It made my stomach twist.”
Later on in the interview, Pentz reiterated he was open to the public ridicule.
“I think that James plays a really funny Diplo. He’s doing his best, but he (the character)’s just an idiot. I don’t mind being ridiculed.”
While Diplo was great about promoting the show and taking its humor in stride, even he admits that the portrayal of himself was a little more difficult to swallow than he publicly made it seem.
What was originally supposed to be a one-off advertisement coaxing people to buy tickets for Diplo‘s annual Mad Decent Block Party just last year is now finally geared up to hit the airways as a full fledged television miniseries this Thursday, August 3 via Viceland.
“We all thought that would be it,” Van Der Beek explained to Rolling Stone—speaking of the promo mockumentary skit shenanigans that started it all.
But Viceland had something bigger in mind. ‘What Would Diplo Do?,’ will be the network’s breakout show in scripted programming. The ad was merely a glimpse of what’s to come.
“We all went back and thought about it and came to the conclusion, ‘Holy fuck, this could be a show,’” Van Der Beek remembered, telling Rolling Stone. “What I saw was: EDM genius sucks at life. Parables about life through the eyes of a clown.
Of course with all of the fun poking, Diplo had to give the ok for the new show.
“This show isn’t a reflection of myself,” said Diplo.
“It’s more of a reflection of my Twitter persona, which was always a joke. In the past few years, I left it alone because I didn’t think people understood the joke and took all my sarcasm seriously, so it wasn’t worth defending myself,” Diplo continued “but for a while it was pretty golden and this is a sort of social commentary on the social media and the EDM age.”
“I view it as sacrificing myself to poke fun at DJ/EDM culture as a whole,” says Diplo.
Contributing ideas over the course of the show’s filming often required signing off on particularly unflattering scenes and Diplo spares himself no expense. Where’s the fun in life, anyways, if one can’t make fun of onesself?
The way Van Der Beek sees it, the show relies on this willingness to be the butt of the joke.
Being called things like “righteous dick” was “the only way this show could have happened…. If there was any preciousness about him, it would’ve been impossible. He really had no boundaries in terms of making himself look bad. I actually had to bring him around to the idea that we don’t make him completely ridiculous,” said Van Der Beek. “We imbue him with some attributes that make him likable enough to want to hang out with him for more than just one episode.”
While understanding his influence in the industry Diplo suggests the show’s been created with a wider audience in mind,
“The Viceland audience is a wide net,” Diplo told Rolling Stone. “There’s people who go for the political, thought-provoking, challenging stuff. But then there’s people who just want to watch Action Bronson [host of Fuck, That’s Delicious] and have a good time… We wrote it for people that might not know anything about the music.”
This Thursday, August 3, fans will get to see just what the irony will bring forth and exactly what satirical-Diplo would do. Oh, and Dillion Francis too (who makes a cameo). Until then, everyone will just have to wait and see.