Alumni Profile: SourceFed’s Matt Lieberman “I Wanted My Voice to Matter”

Courtney Accocella ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Web Editor

Matt Lieberman. Source: SourceFed
Matt Lieberman. Source: SourceFed

Emertainment Monthly, as an extension of Emerson College, believes in bringing innovation to communication and the arts. As an entertainment journalism publication, we feel that we have an obligation to highlight when innovation, diversity, and inclusion are brought to the entertainment industry by Emerson alumni.

Lieberfriends, Thadeus J. Spider, and Kale. These are three terms that fans might associate with Internet host and Emerson College alumni Matt Lieberman. Lieberman is well-known for his personal Youtube channel where he offers advice to 23,632 subscribers and for his part as a host on SourceFed and SourceFed Nerd with combined subscriptions of 2,461,626!
If you’re unfamiliar with SourceFed, the news website and YouTube channel describes its work as “everything that should and shouldn’t matter explained by the people who love the same things you do. We do the news… sort of.” Think of it as a comedic take on news and life in general. It consists of daily news shows, a weekly podcast, daily table talks, fun weekend challenges, live superhero entertainment roundup, and a ton more. SourceFed keeps busy with the massive amount of content it puts out between two channels.

It’s a lot to manage, but Lieberman is used to a hectic schedule by now, as he shared speaking to Emertainment Monthly.  “My job now making daily web content is 100 percent informed by the work that I got to do at Emerson Independent Video (EIV),” Lieberman notes. “They gave me opportunities kind of immediately. My first semester freshman year I was head writer and segment producer for a show called The Gentleman’s Club, which was kind of like The View but for men and with sketches.”

He went on to produce a pilot the following semester, followed by a sitcom and a sketch series in his junior year. For Lieberman, producing is a key factor of success in the industry today. “Now if you want to direct, if you want to write, if you want to act. Producing your content is going to help you get discovered.” He stresses that students shouldn’t try to be perfect saying,  “the earlier you can make those mistakes, the easier it will be to create opportunities for yourself when you get out here. This job, everything that I have ever gotten, I would say, stems from something that I made myself. I learned how to write sketches when I was at Emerson producing my sketch series and now I am head writer for all the sketch content at Discovery Digital Networks.”

Lieberman’s channel provides plenty of advice to his fans and he was happy to share some for current students, saying, “try to make something. I learned more from making my own stuff and having the equipment and the free crew and being able to really have a trial and error in a safe place.”  He went on to say students should look for creative partners. Your classmates may be the people you are working with in a few years and Lieberman knows this very well. “I am launching a podcast by the end of the year with my friend Alex Salem, who started ‘The Inside Joke’ stand up community while we were at Emerson.”

Lieberman’s advice didn’t stop there as he spoke on his journey post-graduation. The original goal was to come out to LA and be a screenwriter. I was obsessed with the fact that Josh Schwartz created The O.C. when he was 24 and I wanted to beat him so bad! I got a lot of great advice once I got out here to just calm down.  I was putting so much pressure on myself to break early that I was close to tearing my own hair out. It was really bad. I didn’t really learn anything from my internships that I hadn’t already learned from interning on Wall Street when I was at Emerson. But the last day of my internship at MTV I got that advice. They basically said, ‘Look, everyone is learning every day for their entire career. You never stop being a student. Everyone gets their success in their own time. So keep your eyes on your own paper.’”
“I think that that’s something that I really wish that I had heard while I was at Emerson.” Lieberman, one of Emerson’s first Directing the Narrative Fiction majors adds, “because that was the first time I was exposed to so many people who were not only talented but were technically proficient when they got there. One of my closest friends had already shot and directed a feature and then directed his second feature while he was at Emerson. It intimidated me greatly and was what kept me from directing for a few years. I assumed I couldn’t handle it because I didn’t know everything when I was 18. But you’re not supposed to know everything when you’re 18. You’re not even supposed to know everything when you’re 22. You’re never supposed to know everything. So take every opportunity that you can.”


Lieberman on AfterBuzz Tv. Source: AfterBuzz TV
Lieberman on AfterBuzz Tv. Source: AfterBuzz TV

He stands by that advice, as shown through his time with SourceFed. “It legitimately was just a random audition off LA Casting,” he notes. Lieberman had hosted before for Emerson alumni, Maria Menounos’ channel, AfterBuzz TV. “Anyone who wants to be a personality or host: I would recommend going there,” Lieberman says about AfterBuzz, “because at least, for the time being, it has always been that they are willing to take someone with no experience. They are making so much content that they just need a wave of bodies to throw it on. I got to really learn how to host, how to be a lead host, how to carry an hour-long program especially when people drop out and you have to be able to carry a show.”

“I got the SourceFed audition in, I believe, January and they had me come back several times. Every time it was like, write a new piece, targeting a different part of my comedic sensibility and my writing ability.” He became host around the same time Elliot Morgan, Meg Turney, and Ross Everett were all making an exit from the channel. The fans were in an uproar with all the change, otherwise known as the internet’s least favorite thing. “It was very difficult for a couple of months just because there were folks moving out and a lot of changing in the audience. And the learning curve was definitely disorienting. I decided to take a lot of risks. I made a character called Thaddeus J. Spider, and that was just trying to just make an impression quick with the audience. And also be the most myself I could be.”

SourceFed animated showcases Thadeus J. Spider voiced by Lieberman along side Steve Zaragoza and Lieberman as himself. Source: SourceFed
SourceFed animated showcases Thaddeus J. Spider voiced by Lieberman along side Steve Zaragoza and Lieberman as himself. Source: SourceFed

Since then, Lieberman has become a staple in the SourceFed lineup. Fans will never let him live down his conversations on massaged kale, and Emersonians might recall a Table Talk discussion with George Watsky which started with talking about our humble campus and ended with a vivid tale from Watsky on Asian dumpster porn. A true must watch to hear about Allston and the best depiction Emerson could ask for!

Beyond SourceFed, Lieberman’s personal channel is a unique community within the platform. This is mainly due to the Ask Liebs videos where he answers fan submitted questions and gives advice. “I had wanted to do a Youtube channel for several years, long before I was at SourceFed. I had this urge to connect. I felt like I had something to say and I wanted my voice to matter. But I didn’t really have the confidence to get started. So just to jump-start it and push myself to make content, I decided to do a daily weight loss vlog.  And what started as a daily weight loss and fitness vlog became this vlog community.”

Ask Liebs Source: Matt Lieberman on Youtube
Ask Liebs Source: Matt Lieberman on Youtube

“I encouraged people to vlog with me and they did, and those became the first Lieberfriends! Which is the community which has sprouted up around my channel. What I saw was that many of them didn’t have anything to do with fitness or weight loss at all. In fact, a lot of their issues were broader ranging, like depression, relationship issues, drug issues, self harm: a lot of different things that I felt I had some experience with or that I had a very strong opinion on. Then I was able to broaden my scope and make it more of a self-love series. And that’s where Ask Liebs came from, that’s where the LieberFriends Hangouts came from; they were hanging out already and they invited me to join them, which is such a lovely experience to interact with my audience in that way. It just sort of paved the way for everything that has come since. It’s people really connecting with this message that I wish I had heard when I was the average age of most of my audience, which is like 17 or 18, when I was still deeply confused about who I was and how I was going to fit into the world and what I was supposed to be doing. People had been telling me that there was something wrong with me since I was five years old and I felt that I am not unique in that.”

Lieberman ended the conversation with just a bit more advice for the future YouTubers and creators alike. His first type, just start making stuff. Second, if you don’t like something you’ve made, figure out why you and learn from it. Make things to learn not just to release. You don’t have to share everything you make, so make the content for your benefit first.

Interested in knowing what else Matt Lieberman is up to? If you watch tonight’s SourceFed Live Show from NYC, Matt says fans might just hear about his new channel, Nuclear Family, with co-host Bree Essrig and SourceFed! Also be sure to check out the return of Matt’s #TwoMonthstoThanksgiving series on his personal channel! And you can check out that first episode here!



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