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The Try Guys Try Interviewing Laura Hillenbrand


You know about The Try Guys?

KEITH HABERSBERGER: Keith Habersberger.

NED FULMER: Ned Fulmer.

ZACH KORNFELD: Zach Kornfeld and...

EUGENE LEE YANG: Eugene Lee Yang.

HABERSBERGER: Four guys who try stuff like trying on ladies' underwear...

FULMER: ...Or trick soccer shots.

KORNFELD: ...Or recreating a Kim Kardashian photo and not just of her smile...

LEE YANG: ...Or simulating labor pains.

HABERSBERGER: We've taken over Scott's job now.

FULMER: So far, it's pretty easy. This is Weekend Update.

KORNFELD: We've been on a national tour this summer through 20 cities...

LEE YANG: ...And have a new book out.

HABERSBERGER: And the title is...

FULMER: "The Hidden Power Of..."

KORNFELD: Don't say it, Ned. This is NPR.

LEE YANG: "...F-ing Up." How's that? Is that better?

SIMON: Hey. Let me take this introduction back before we get into trouble. Those YouTube stars, The Try Guys, join us now from New York in their production offices in Los Angeles. Thank you so much for being with us.

HABERSBERGER: Oh, thanks for having us. We're so happy to be here.

SIMON: You folks believe in failure, don't you?

HABERSBERGER: Oh, yeah. Everybody goes through it. But we've decided to embrace it.

KORNFELD: I think so much of society has primed us to believe that success is the only thing that you can shoot for. And when you think about even the greatest athletes, painters, musicians who have ever lived - they've all gone through that period of struggle. And so we're trying to reframe the conversation and show that failure isn't just something that is great and valuable to your growth process but also something we should all strive for.

SIMON: Are there things you don't put on the Internet because they're too embarrassing or dangerous?

KORNFELD: I think there's this misconception that we are four fearless guys, and we're down to try anything. But I can think back just through the past couple months of some videos that we've done that have made me wildly uncomfortable. One example that comes to mind is I recently opted to do a hair restoration surgery. And that was me sharing the deepest insecurity that I have, something that I've really struggled with for a couple of years. But I found through that process that sharing this thing, becoming secure in my insecurity allowed me a great level of control that I would never have had had I continue to suppress and hide it. So there's a wonderful power that comes in embracing those things that scare you and looking at in its ugly face and saying, I'm going to deal with this. And I'm going to with it alongside millions of other people.

SIMON: Let me ask you about perhaps your most famous try.


FULMER: (Screaming).

HABERSBERGER: This is gonna be the greatest video you ever watch.

FULMER: I am going to recreate Ariel's labor for 14 hours.

SIMON: When the four of you went through simulated labor pains, one of the people on our staff, who happens to be a mother, pointed out you can't really simulate the pains of childbirth because you don't have the equipment.


FULMER: She's right.

HABERSBERGER: She's right. We can never understand what the full labor experience is like - right? - because we don't have a cervix that's going to open up. We just don't. But we can at least feel those first-level contractions and start getting an idea.

KORNFELD: Something that I think we try and do with a lot of our work is create empathy. And in general, we're trying to relate to people's passions and identities. And so this is something where - yeah - we're never going to know the full experience. But if we, as four guys, can go out and put ourselves in a position where we're going to do our best to understand and show the rest of the people out there what this is like. I think hopefully we're doing a little bit of good in the world with that content.

SIMON: I would like you to try something for us. We've set it up obviously so that you folks do my job. And so far, it's really easy, isn't it?

HABERSBERGER: I wasn't going to say it myself. But if you would like to suggest that, perhaps.

SIMON: So you're all accomplished broadcasters. We've arranged for you to interview someone famous. Why don't you take over?


HABERSBERGER: Oh my gosh. Let's do it.


HABERSBERGER: Laura Hillenbrand is one of the bestselling authors in the world.

FULMER: Author of "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" and...

KORNFELD: "...Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival And..."

LEE YANG: "...Redemption." Everything she's ever written has been made into a movie, too.

KORNFELD: Laura, thank you so much for joining us.


FULMER: Now, Laura, your work has been characterized as very popular. Why do you think that is?

HILLENBRAND: (Laughter) I can actually relate this to what you guys have been talking about here because what I wrote about was a horse and about people who were flawed and had a lot of failure in their lives. And I think that that's part of the message you guys are spreading in what you're doing, that we are all failing at things. And we can find sometimes the deepest connections between individuals through our failures, not our successes.

FULMER: Fascinating.

LEE YANG: Laura, I know that you wrote a lot of these stories while you were personally going through something very serious, the sickness that hit you when you were 19. Was there something that was connecting you to those particular stories as you were going through something very emotionally troubling in your own life?

HILLENBRAND: Absolutely. I was bedridden for a number of years. And there were times I couldn't even roll over in bed without help. And to reach out and find stories where individuals face things that were really difficult - in "Unbroken," I'm writing about a man who was - he crashed in a plane and floated on a raft for 47 days and starved down to 67 pounds and then was made a prisoner of war. And while I certainly have never been through anything like that, there was common ground between myself and him in terms of understanding what deep suffering is. And I think it helped me to connect to them and connect to the rest of the world through all the adversity everybody faces.

SIMON: All right. I'm going to be the producer who says in your ears, gentlemen, OK. We have time for one more question.


HILLENBRAND: And I have to tell you guys, as an aside, I watched the video of you guys simulating labor with electrodes.


HILLENBRAND: And I have to just tell you that now I'm always going to know that there are at least four people in the world who have judgment worse than mine.


HABERSBERGER: Wow. You nailed it.

LEE YANG: You should be on YouTube, as well.


HILLENBRAND: I will join you. Bring me on.

LEE YANG: Yeah. We would love to have you.

HILLENBRAND: I'm awesome at failure. You should see my SAT scores. So you really should have me on. We'll take the SATs together.

SIMON: Why don't we thank Laura Hillenbrand? Laura, thanks so much.

KORNFELD: Laura, I think it's pretty remarkable that you're able to tell stories about the past that are so resonant with the present. We thank you for your time today. And congratulations on all your success. We look forward to chatting with you next time.

SIMON: Don't show me up like that. OK.


HILLENBRAND: Wow. Scott, you're fired. These guys are on.

SIMON: Yeah.

HABERSBERGER: Wow. That was good.

FULMER: Toby McGuire - what does he smell like?


LEE YANG: Ned, don't derail this for us. We were doing so well.


FULMER: Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

SIMON: The Try Guys are - I'm going to mispronounce their names now just for a little bit of revenge - Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld and Eugene Lee Yang. Their book - let's be careful now - "The Hidden Power Of F-ing Up." Thanks so much for being with us.

HABERSBERGER: Our pleasure - thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.