Sgt. Todd Hunter writes and hosts "The Whiskey Locker," the Marine Corps' new online show with a "Tosh.0" meets "The Daily Show" twist. (Marine Corps)
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The class clowns have taken over the Marine Corps' YouTube channel, and they're using it to push out servicewide messages much the same way comedian Daniel Tosh pokes fun at viral web videos in his Comedy Central hit "Tosh.0."
It's called "The Whiskey Locker." Hosted by Sgt. Todd Hunter, a broadcast journalist with Defense Media Activity in Fort Meade, Md., the segment first appeared online Feb. 15 and is scheduled to be produced bimonthly, hitting YouTube every payday.
From its curious title to the clip of a massive explosion Hunter cues up within the debut episode's first 15 seconds, "The Whiskey Locker" is meant to grab your attention — and viewers may be surprised by its informal (you could say nonstuffy) approach to public affairs work. For example, the first news item Hunter talks about is the recent announcement that more military occupational specialties might open to women. He tells viewers it's not happening right away so they shouldn't "get their panties in a wad."
The show is interactive and allows viewers to click on links embedded in the video for more details on topics they cover. Hunter also encourages Marines to write in because they want input about what's working and what isn't so they can adjust.
The episode closes with outtakes in which Hunter pokes fun at himself, even saying he knows he's going to get a bunch of grief about something he said.
Marine Corps Times caught up with Hunter to ask more about the new show and where they plan to take it going forward. Excerpts of the interview, edited for space and clarity:
Q. Where did the idea for "The Whiskey Locker" come from?
A. We just want to reach Marines in the way that they like to receive their info. We're looking at a key audience of 18- to 25-year-olds — the millennial generation. And if you look at shows like "The Daily Show" or "Tosh.0," that's who watches them. So, if they tune in and that's what works, there's no reason why we can't emulate that.
For most young Marines, when you're in boot camp, that's what you call the gear locker. That's where everyone goes to get information because the guys working in there have the schedule and they know what's coming up the next training day.
And that's what we're doing on the show. A whiskey locker is just something that our key audience identifies with.
Q. How do you successfully mash up humor and important Corps-wide messages to inform junior Marines?
A. To us, it's kind of "Tosh.0" meets "The Daily Show" meets public affairs. We have the video snippets like "Tosh.0," then like "The Daily Show" we're more casual about our delivery. But since we're military public affairs, whatever our senior leaders need to get out to our junior Marines, that is what we are going to do.
But taking that humorous approach, that's how Marines talk to each other — that's just how we do it. I've only been in for eight years, but I'm sure it's been going on for 238. It's just how Marines are.
Q. What has been the reaction of some of the more senior Marines who might not be familiar with "Tosh.0" or similar shows?
A. The ones that we have heard from are actually a lot more receptive to it than we were initially thinking. It's been well-received, and we're going to keep going with it. I'm sure there are people who might shake their heads at it, but that's going to happen.