Alum returns to Youtube with unconventional video


Courtesy of Luke Palmer

Luke Palmer ‘13 returns to YouTube with unconventional videos.

By Julian Valgora

Following the death of his father in 2017, Luke Palmer ‘13 sought to follow in his father’s footsteps with a creative career. In June of the same year, Luke created Rhino Stew Productions, a YouTube channel that produces shorts, video essays, and sketches that are both unorthodox and experimental.

“My dad used to have a saying,” Palmer said in a phone interview. “The process of writing is a lot like following the recipe for rhinoceros stew. Step one, find a rhinoceros. That’s where the name came from.” 

Luke said he is largely inspired by his father, Michael Palmer, an American author and physician, known for his best selling medical thrillers including Extreme Measures. Luke said his father’s creative drive and work served as the main reason behind Palmer’s decision to create Rhino Stew Productions. 

At the end of 2019, between June and December, Rhino Stew Productions took a six month hiatus from video production. Palmer said that the channel took a break because of his preference for quality over quantity content. 

After the six month break, Palmer returned to posting videos on his channel in Dec. 2019 by uploading a new video called ASMR Xenomorph Attack, which pays tribute to the 40th anniversary of the horror film Alien. The video has amassed over 70,000 views. 

In June 2017, Rhino Stew Production released its first video project, called 2Kawaii4Comfort: a weeb series. This project was a six-part series that captured the lives and relationships of emotional weeaboo teensWesterners obsessed with Japanese culture, according to Palmer. This project achieved moderate success, as Palmer described how it resonated with many viewers who suffered from bipolar disorder displayed in the videos. 

“[2Kawaii4Comfort] was a personal and challenging script,” Palmer said. 

Following the release of his first series, Palmer said he became encouraged to produce and upload more videos to give himself an opportunity to experiment.

“I wanted to create something with the substance and genuine human love and compassion that comes without having to be nice,” Palmer said. “It’s not nice, it’s love. Two very different things. A project that was much more of a personal endeavor rather than something completely professional.” 

Since 2Kawaii4Comfort: a weeb series,  Palmer has created seven video shorts to reach his goal of subverting viewer expectations with absurd scripts and unconventional content. Another video titled ASMR Bank Robbery was uploaded in July 2018 and is his second most popular video with a total of over one million views. 

The video, according to Palmer is a parody of conventional ASMR videos, which usually involve a single person making soft and often sedative sounds with their voice or objects. Contrary to the traditional structure of ASMR videos, ASMR Bank Robbery depicts a woman named ASMR Miranda violently robbing a bank while speaking in a soft whispered voice. 

In light of the success of ASMR Bank Robbery, Palmer decided to upload his most recent video in Dec. 2019 as a follow-up, calling it ASMR Xenomorph Attack. The video once again features ASMR Miranda. 

Jill Galbraith, the actress who plays ASMR Miranda, said that she feels fantastic about having the opportunity to be involved in Palmer’s unorthodox content.

“What’s so exciting and tangible about working on Rhino Stew sets is that every project is fueled by passion and the blind faith that this is a stupid video that has to be made,” Galbraith said.

Palmer said Rhino Stew stands out from other YouTube channels because of its variety and dedication to quality. The channel is not focused on creating streamlined or popular content.

“It tries to give the audience something new, and will make you go holy shit,” Palmer said.

The style choice for the channel creates a challenge. According to Palmer, YouTube viewers do not have the patience to watch videos that fail to stick to a channel’s unusual style. Since the channel does not have a distinct genre, Palmer said viewers have more difficulty understanding, appreciating, and investing in their content as a whole.

“[Viewers] don’t realize that this channel is a portfolio of ideas,” Palmer said. “Nowadays, you need to do one thing and stick with it, have a regular schedule. People don’t recognize that all these videos are made by the same person and in the same spirit.” 

Palmer said he is unsure what the future of the channel will hold as he struggles to find a balance between personal artistic fulfillment and success. 

“Interesting is not exactly commercially viable,” Palmer said. “I don’t want to be a brand, but if you want to build a career, you’re going to have to be a brand. You’re going to have to build an identity.” 

Galbraith said she is optimistic about the future of the channel and confident in Rhino Stew’s mission to create content that will shock, confuse, and humor its viewers. 

“I know that whatever Palmer and Rhino Stew do from here on will be, at the very least, a ludicrously good time,” Galbraith said. “Selfishly, I would love to see more ASMR Miranda, but who knows?”

Freshman Cameron Cohen, a fan of Rhino Stew, remained hopeful and anticipated future content during the channel’s hiatus. 

“It’s been a wild ride seeing how the channel has changed over the past year or so, and I’m looking forward to where they might go in the future,” Cohen said. “It would be neat if they created another series like their first one, but that probably isn’t that realistic.” 

Palmer said he plans on continuing to experiment and create videos during 2020 without settling into a singular style, voice, or idea. He said he wants to keep following his creative passion despite the growing competition on YouTube.

“[ASMR Xenomorph Attack] was a gamble, and more of an ambitious concept than my other videos,” Palmer said. “I’m definitely more in the failure over success stage right now, but failure is a necessary part of experimentation.”