When I had started writing about what I thought was The Best Thing On YouTube, it was mostly inspired by the work of Value Select. Finding out about him in 2018 (through word-of-mouth via my sister-in-law) and watching his channel grow over the next four years gave me this greatly satisfied feeling, one that had me wanting to try and recreate that with various other YouTube channels that were under 100,000 subscribers. Max Renner’s channel of musical comedy, long form-sketches and deeply, DEEPLY relatable content gave many fans of the site the idea that there was still plenty of good original content still being produced by smaller-level creative minds.
Since those four years, Value Select has expanded from a simple channel to a fully fleshed out brand, with merchandise, a robust Patreon, a Discord, and enough of a following to finally justify a nationwide tour. Recently, Max and company had finished the Tampa leg of their tour, and fans were given something far beyond their expectations.
The main irony about the live show is that the crew actually got more creative than they do in their videos, making a more expansive production without the help of any post-production editing. The “epic fight” in Fish Hunt that was initially too expensive to show, finally came out in all of its glory. Many of the songs that had given Max his following were also significantly extended now that the crew does not have to worry about making the songs super short so they could be more shareable. Hit Me With Your Car had an ear-shattering screamo rendition, and Living With Your Girlfriend You Don’t Like Anymore was extended, along with various other songs.
Most importantly though, is that the performance was not merely a playlist of Value Select’s greatest hits, but an epic production that told a story that incorporated the channel’s characters, like Sven from the iconic White Rose series. This is a story that goes beyond the established lore of Value Select and into the mythology of ancient civilizations, with ethereal gods like Mithra, Poseidon, and Tom Brady. The story centers around a jealous moon that aims to ruin the world by destroying the career of Max Renner.
From humble beginnings, Max rises to fame before crashing and burning, sending the United States into a unified state of chaos. In a move seen out of traditional hero myths and Evangelical megachurch productions, Max goes through hell to learn the true meanings of positivity, forgiveness, and the abolition of gun violence.
Most endearing though is the visible amount of effort and soul that every member of the production had. They breathlessly ran onstage, performed, and then sprinted to a backstage area where they would go through quick costume changes that rivaled broadway on the stopwatch. By the end of the show Max was dripping with sweat, – his white suit a shade grayer – full-body hugging fans. The crowd wanted to participate just as hard as those on stage, with the same intense enjoyment that good crowds have always exhibited since the days of the pit at the Globe Theater.
Overall, the show serves as an emotional celebration of everything that Value Select has become, going from relatable content that helped people with seemingly-unique-but-ultimately-ubiquitous anxieties feel seen and heard, to an interconnected community that heralds the living experience for all its worth, while hoping that it will get even better. The Value Select brotherhood transcended irony to make sure that everyone that entered the Crowbar in Ybor City that night, would leave as a better person.