Benito Skinner was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, nonetheless has prolonged felt destined for Hollywood, by way of a stint in New York Metropolis.
“There’s space, and I merely wished to go well with further of my wigs and costumes in my residence,” he talked about of his new West Hollywood rental.
The 27-year-old writer, actor and digital creator, recognized on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter as Benny Drama, moved to California in the middle of the pandemic to extend his career as a sketch artist and comedian — a phrase he is nonetheless barely cosy using to elucidate himself. (“It’s identical to the scariest phrase on the earth, nonetheless I do actually really feel like a comic book,” Mr. Skinner talked about in a modern interview. “That is one factor that I’d in no way inform, like, a straight man, on account of then they should hear a joke.”)
Like many internet-incubated skills, Mr. Skinner labored a day job (as a video editor) whereas developing his following, honing a mannequin of comedy that pulls intently from celebrity impressions, along with of the Kardashian clan, Lana Del Rey and Shawn Mendes.
He moreover performs a variety of characters he dreamed up himself, along with Jenni the hairdresser, a consummate oversharer who smacks her gum and rips out grays; Kooper the intern, who’s egregiously unaware of strategies to behave professionally at work; and Throat Rippin’ Annie, a deranged chain-smoking, beer-drinking, gun-wielding mannequin of an grownup Little Orphan Annie.
At a time when teasing humor, notably parodies of celebrities who can merely appear to be caricatures of their public-facing lives, can look cruel or bullying, Mr. Skinner has mastered the implausible art work of mocking people with out dragging them by way of the mud. It often seems like they could very effectively be in on the joke. Usually they are surely.
The Kardashians, for example, routinely reward Mr. Skinner’s parodies of their current on Instagram — even though Mr. Skinner portrays Kris Jenner, the family matriarch, as an evil puppeteer, full with crimson taloned devil fingers. And Ms. Jenner made a cameo as herself for a parody video Mr. Skinner made marking the last word season of “Holding Up With the Kardashians.”
“Kris is basically probably the most pleasing for me to do on account of I was able to give her a full totally different story,” he talked about. “I leaned into this internet notion of her that the devil works onerous, nonetheless Kris works more durable.”
His motion pictures of personifications of the astrological indicators moreover routinely go viral. One, whereby he performs the fully totally different astrological indicators coping with life in quarantine, had higher than 1,000 suggestions inside three minutes of being posted, Mr. Skinner talked about, a main for him. It featured a Virgo dressed like Hannibal Lecter obsessively cleaning; a Libra styled as Kim Kardashian saying she’s going to medical school to save lots of a number of people; and a Most cancers having an emotional breakdown after convincing themselves that everyone hates them.
Though Mr. Skinner has begun writing and producing bigger duties, along with a preferred tradition podcast with the comedian Mary Beth Barone known as “Obsessed” and Halloween explicit that featured the band Haim and Drew Barrymore, his course of stays scrappy.
He is almost always the writer, stylist, make-up artist, director, video, sound and graphics editor for his sketches. Usually Mr. Skinner’s boyfriend, Terrence O’Connor, and their friends help out.
Rising up in Boise, Mr. Skinner hid that he was gay. He knew that his family would assist him, nonetheless thought that if people at school knew, life would solely be troublesome. In consequence, he steered away from performing (or dressing up as Lindsay Lohan inside the movie “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” or as Lady Gaga in her 2010 “Telephone” video, one of the simplest ways he wanted), he talked about, and carried out soccer and “fully hated it.”
“Usually if I’m on a set and one factor’s taking a really very long time or troublesome, I’m like, ‘It’s OK, I carried out soccer. I can honestly do one thing on this life on account of nothing could very effectively be further reverse of my liking or core being.’”
It wasn’t until he was discovering out film at Georgetown Faculty that he began to essentially really feel further cosy writing tales and being in entrance of the digital digital camera, every points he’d beloved doing as a child. By way of learning about queer characters in media and discovering friends who he thought he could very effectively be himself with, Mr. Skinner felt cosy ample to return out at 22.
“My work is me type of taking the reins of those points and taking the flexibility once more,” Mr. Skinner talked about. Numerous his characters are manifestations of his love of common tradition and the queer icons that he admired, secretly, whereas rising up. He wants “totally different youngsters who’re rising up in Idaho and totally different areas that aren’t New York Metropolis or L.A. to essentially really feel like there’s any person in the marketplace who’s doing it and it’s being celebrated and that there is a mild on the end of the tunnel,” he talked about.
On the onset of the pandemic Mr. Skinner was residing in New York and initially undecided about whether or not or not it may be insensitive to keep up posting almost daily motion pictures as info research of people dying rolled in. Nonetheless people caught at residence and afraid have been requesting further of his motion pictures and have been in search of laughter and pleasure, so he delivered.
He launched new characters, reprised some outdated classics and revisited even older sketches he’d written nonetheless not adopted by way of on, like a parody “sequel trailer” to “Title Me by Your Title,” which he’d written some three years earlier.
“I was like, OK, we’re going to dig into the archives on account of I do know the dolls need new video this week and, you already know, and it made me actually really feel greater, too,” he talked about.
Mr. Skinner’s impressions of Timothée Chalamet and Billie Eilish have been hits. Nonetheless not all followers want to see their favorite stars parodied, regardless of whether or not or not it is meant in good pleasing.
“It’s been an fascinating issue of stans merely deciphering one factor and being like, ‘That’s the devil’s work,’” Mr. Skinner talked about. “I’m like, ‘No, it’s truly an impression. I promise this isn’t like coming from a horrible place.’”
Mr. Skinner didn’t specify which celebrities and followers haven’t been receptive, nonetheless a scan of his accounts reveals followers of Shawn Mendes being considerably displeased. They seen, for example, a Mendes impersonation — reduce with footage of astronauts from the realm station — as disrespectful to the exact event that Mr. Mendes participated in with the astronauts.
Mr. Skinner talked about he solely parodies people whose work he enjoys. And he tries his most interesting to consider his motion pictures by way of a very earnest lens to stay away from hurting feelings.
“The issue I always return to is: Do I actually really feel like that’s coming from a buddy or does it actually really feel like this coming from an enemy?” he talked about. “If it feels bullying, I’m like, OK, no, we’re not doing this. That’s not going to be pleasing to look at.”