Temple University senior Kalen Allen, who accepted a deal from Ellen DeGeneres in an appearance on her show last week, now has more information about what it means for his budding viral video fame.
“Basically, ‘Kalen Reacts’ is moving to The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” he said. “Now, all the videos will be distributed through Ellen.”
Allen, 21, says he doesn’t remember much of his appearance on the show.
“It was surreal,” he says. “Honestly, once I stepped on stage, I don’t remember any of the interview. When I watched it on television, it was like watching it for the first time. I was on an adrenaline rush.”
The Kansas City, Kan., native was invited on the show last Tuesday because of his YouTube channel, which features videos of him wittily poking fun at weirdly popular (and just plain weird) recipes for classic dishes on websites like Buzzfeed’s Tasty. Think mac and cheese with Brussels sprouts, or potato salad cake lined with hot dogs, and you’ll have got a good idea of what Allen does.
The videos have been a hit online since Allen started releasing them in November. His YouTube account has earned more than 5 million views since. In December, they caught the attention of DeGeneres, who called them “the best thing on the internet right now.”
Allen says he is unsure whether the videos will be released online or via The Ellen Show, or both. The ultimate fate of the “Kalen Reacts” channel is similarly unclear, as Allen says details are still in the works. However, he plans to continue making his recipe reation videos for the show and hopes to branch out to other topics in the future.
“This is like a dream come true,” he says. “The best part is knowing that I haven’t even graduated, and I already know what’s next.”
He says he will move to Los Angeles from Philadelphia on Saturday. He plans to finish his degree through Temple’s study-away program by taking classes in the L.A. area. He will return to Philadelphia for graduation in the spring before heading back to LA.
Grad school, though, is off the table. In December, Allen said he was considering pursuing further education and had applied to Yale, New York University, and the Juilliard School. He has since withdrawn his applications.
“That was surreal to me because, oh my god, it’s Juilliard, but this is happening,” Allen says.
Allen held five jobs to help support himself in school, but he has since quit all of them in order to pursue DeGeneres’ offer.
He says he is thankful for the security the opportunity provides. Most artists, he says, don’t have that luxury.
“It’s hard being a struggling artist, because you never know what your next step is going to be. Now, I know,” he says. “That’s the most powerful thing for me.”