With television and film content running short due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, uncertainness is looming over the entertainment industry. In this trying time, everyone could use a laugh, which is exactly the mission of American High.
Founded by Jeremy Garelick (previously known for his work on “The Hangover”), American High is a modern projection of quick-witted, fast-paced comedy. Utilizing Gen Z’s zany sense of blunt, uber-relatable humor, American High’s content expands from its increasingly popular social media pages to full-length motion pictures on Hulu.
Before making an even bigger name in 2023 through their social media pages, American High was responsible for a wide range of opportunities and exposure for contemporary comedy royalty. Most notably, American High’s “Big Time Adolescence” (a Hulu original film) stars comedy megastar and former Saturday Night Live actor Pete Davidson in his first leading role and executive producing role in a major motion picture. Davidson’s Hulu film wasn’t the first time American High had made an impact in the world of streaming and comedy. In fact, the company also created and produced one of the very first Hulu original films, “The Binge,” in 2020, directed by Garelick.
There is a unique component of American High’s creation culture that simply cannot be overlooked: its setting. American High has the unique distinction of being a production company that sets its films in an abandoned high school, adding a sense of realism and dedication to all of their content. Their social media content is also produced there, distinguishing American High from their counterparts in terms of uniqueness and sheer dedication to creating real and relatable comedy content for all.
Following the huge success of “Big Time Adolescence,” American High has produced a whopping 12 Hulu originals following an eight-picture deal with the streaming service and most recently released “Miguel Wants to Fight” on Aug. 16. After finding such great success with their original films, American High seized an opportunity that changed the game for the production company – expanding to social media.
When the WGA strike began in May, writers and production teams across the country reached a stalemate in deciding the next step. What kind of content could be produced in such a time? Well, American High took a leap of faith that worked tremendously in their favor and launched American High Shorts and American High Digital. Social media intertwined with American High’s Gen Z-style humor was the perfect substitution at a time when major content wasn’t being produced.
Within the first few months of the launch of American High Digital, the production company amassed over 500,000 followers, notably going viral for their “Alpha Dads at a football game” Instagram reel, parodying stereotypical dads at football games for their sons. Just recently, the company hit a milestone of one million followers on TikTok, a testament to the hardwork and dedication from the pages stars and producers. Creating shorts with American High’s flare and style is the perfect outlet-quick, short-form material that packs a punch and receives instant feedback for the creators in the comment section, something that isn’t available for their major projects during the strike. All of American High’s content connects relatability and humor to the commonality of the high school experience, something all of its viewers can tap into and appreciate.
Content creation is a weekly, almost daily occurrence for those at American High. President Will Phelps and American High digital director and producer Axelle Azoulay said in an interview with the Chronicle that their creation and production models mirror the success of “Saturday Night Live,” with five core members making up the main cast of American High’s digital content and guest stars appearing in their shorts every week (which American High has booked through the end of this year already). Each week of creation for American High is jam-packed. Monday is dedicated to brainstorming in the writer’s room, Tuesday to writing, and Wednesday through Friday to shooting the shorts. At the end of the week, up to 60-70 shorts can be produced and are ready to be posted on American High’s social accounts. American High’s main five cast members have received opportunities outside of the socials as well, as they starred in American High’s latest Hulu original film.
So where is American High headed next? Azoulay confirms there is an American High podcast on the way where hosts and guests will tap into their past high school experiences and discuss their wonder years. A music video was just released with Grace Reiter, a first for the company. With content being produced in all major media forms, American High is a comedic force to be reckoned with, so don’t be surprised if your For You page is flooded with their witty, one-of-a-kind content soon.