Sometimes it’s OK to fail, and there’s power (and humor) in that.
Such is the ethos of the Try Guys, comprised of Eugene Lee Yang, Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer and Zach Kornfeld, and their new “self-deprecating self-help” book, “The Hidden Power of F*cking Up” (Dey Street, 288 pp.).
The best friends and YouTube stars came to fame with viral videos that showed them trying basically anything, including experiencing labor-pain simulation, having a 9-year-old dress them, doing pottery for the first time and baking bread without a recipe.
The book puts their “try anything” mentality to paper, with all four men delving surprisingly deep to share stories and try new things in their personal lives that aren’t just for racking up video views.
They start with their philosophy on trying and failing – or their “failosophy” – arguing that failure is the thing that scares us most but inevitably helps us grow and learn. The Try Guys opened up to USA TODAY about being “four spectacular failures.”
In the book, Kornfeld says that they “tried to distill it into a philosophy that can help you with anything that you’re trying to accomplish in life.”
And in true Try Guys fashion, they’re showing you more than they can tell you.
“We put our money where our mouth is,” Kornfeld says. “We each tackle some of our biggest insecurities, things that we never frankly thought that we would address.”
Fulmer encourages readers and fans to get out of their comfort zone.
“We want you to try something as uncomfortable as possible,” he says. “Really take it to a hundred, feel that feeling of discomfort and effing up. And then that might make it easier to make some small changes.”
For four 30-somethings in the digital realm whose video-production schedule seems borderline impossible to manage and who are embarking on a book tour, they don’t have a ton of time for sleep or self-care.
“I think our self-care is caring about each other cause we’re a group,” Yang says, sharing that when he asked Habersberger what he wanted for his birthday, Habersberger said he wanted Yang to get some food.
“He knows that when I’m so busy, I don’t eat,” Yang says, jokingly adding, “So he wants to watch me eat carbs. … So caring for each other. That’s the real self-care.”
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Their talk about caring for each other contributes to the vulnerability they’ve grown to show, both in their videos and in their book.
Yang recently came out as gay in an emotional music video that’s racked up almost 9 millions views in three days; Fulmer filmed a video on his knee surgery; Kornfeld revealed a relationship with his now-girlfriend; and Habersberger opened up about his ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis.
“Vulnerability I think is what always set us apart in what made us the Try Guys,” Kornfeld says. “In the beginning it was physical vulnerability, literally willing to put ourselves out there, but over time I think that shifted to an emotional vulnerability and sharing ourselves with the audience, even sharing some things that maybe are not so glamorous about ourselves.”
The foursome shares un-glamorous parts of themselves in the book, with chapters tackling style, work, family, love and health and real-life examples of the Try Guys trying out new things.
“I think this whole book is really about us trying to do things that put us in an uncomfortable place,” Habersberger says in reference to him trying CrossFit for the sake of the book’s health chapter. “Certainly I’d never done any kind of workout. I was never a member of a gym. I was very intimidated by that whole scene. … Even though I didn’t do amazing, I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t so crazy.’ Most people are really just concerned about their own health.”
Next on the horizon, post-book press rounds, is what the guys are dubbing their “summer of try.” They’ll be kicking off with a 20-stop Legends of the Internet Tour, which they describe as “a comedy variety show with eighties glam rock and pyro.”