Picture this: It’s March 2020 and, like the rest of the population that isn’t out there either saving lives or keeping the country moving, you’re working from home. You’re about to jump on what feels like your 20th video call of the day but you’re extra sharp for this one because you’ve got an idea to pitch—you’ve even prepared a deck for it and everything.
Once everyone has joined the call and you’ve confirmed that you can start, your mouse hovers the ‘Present now’ button. As you press it, you somehow can’t resist the urge to ask the question everybody is already dreading. “Can everyone see my screen?” you query your virtual colleagues. And no surprises there, everyone can see what you’re sharing, though only a few of them bothered to answer.
Up until recently, we all unanimously agreed to never mention this unnecessary screen-sharing ritual—we all did it, but there was no need to highlight just how silly it is. Then London-based Yorkshireman Fred Asquith came along.
SCREENSHOT sat down with the DJ, producer, and TikTok comedian to look back on some of his most viral skits and how Asquith managed to turn relatable yet complicated woes into laughable memories we all shared separately.
Because we all have to start somewhere, it only made sense to ask Asquith, who currently boasts over 210,000 followers and 9.3 million likes on TikTok, what first inspired him to share his hilarious sketches on the video-sharing app.
As the content creator revealed, before TikTok came YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even Vine (RIP). “I’ve had an interest in stand-up, sitcom, and sketch comedy ever since I was a kid, I used to film stuff on a camcorder with my mates at school all the time—mostly trying to be like Monty Python,” Asquith told us. Over time, this love for comedy morphed into many different formats that were then shared on several platforms.
“So I suppose it wasn’t really any new inspiration but just that TikTok provided a platform with a very liberal algorithm (i.e. the chance to reach a lot of people without having many followers if the content is good enough),” he further explained.
Like many of us who were left confused and somewhat dumbfounded by the complex choreographies when we first downloaded the video-sharing app onto our phones—and, therefore, before the infamous TikTok algorithm figured us out completely—Asquith had to find his footing when it came to building the niche content he’s now known for.
“Initially, I didn’t fully appreciate the variety of content on the platform, so I just posted a video of me doing a silly dance trend [to the soundtrack of the viral song ‘Meet Me At Our Spot’] on the tube, which is not something I’d post now at all,” shared the TikToker.
Nevertheless, the candid video seemed to work and the 150,000 views that it got at the time were what Asquith considers his first success on the platform—in turn encouraging him to create more videos. “It made me realise that the platform was actually penetrable and I was surprised with the response. I decided there and then to keep posting, and I’ve been posting ever since! Granted, the type of content has changed a lot.”
And boy, did the creator change his content. Out went the sitting down, half-assed—no offence—dance, in were the sarcastic, highly relatable skits. From single clips picturing daily moments in the life of someone working from home to random insights into Asquith’s wild imagination, it’s safe to say that the TikToker quickly managed to craft his own tone of voice on the app.
No matter the type of formats however, Asquith revealed that he doesn’t single out one over the others: “I don’t really have a favourite type other than that the best ideas are the ones that come to me and take shape quickly. Those are always the funnest to make! It’s when I’m struggling to get my head around an idea or sort of forcing it that I don’t like it.”
Because it’s hard to ignore the fact that Asquith’s work-related comedy is almost always similar to an experience you or I might have had in the past, the next question came as second nature: Has he actually lived all of the situations he wittily reenacts on TikTok?
“I’d say 50 per cent. Sometimes they’ve happened, sometimes it’s an exaggerated version, or sometimes I make them up entirely. So long as it makes me laugh!” the creator admitted. And although it’s clear Asquith’s inventiveness is not going to run out any time soon, he did divulge that making users laugh comes with a hefty price.
“It’s definitely tough, I keep a huge note of ideas for inspiration when I need it, but when I’m in a good creative flow I’ll generally just have ideas come to me in the day and I film there and then,” he said, adding with a laugh, “Maybe I’ve got too much time on my hands.”
Unlike how other creators on the platform might feel inspired when scrolling through users’ trending content, Asquith gets in the zone the opposite way—by focusing on his own ideas and how best to share them with his followers. “I love loads of comedy creators, but I’ve had to stop consuming TikTok almost completely for two reasons: One, I spend so much time devising and creating videos that I need to leave time for other things, and two, I think I’m more creative when I concentrate on my own ideas and style—when I watch other people’s content all the time I find myself imitating too much rather than sticking to my own thing.”
As of now, it seems Asquith is yet to run out of concepts depicting the highs and lows of corporate life, but when he does, and it should be noted that his content goes well beyond this single skit format, the comedian will be ready to adapt just like he did when he downloaded his first viral video.
“I want to keep focusing on good ideas, well executed, and not worry about follower count. So long as I do that, the rest will take care of itself—hopefully,” Asquith concluded with a laugh. Oh, and also, no biggie, Asquith recently had four of his recent tracks played at Berlin’s notorious Berghain nightclub. Life is good.