- Words Tom Fogden
We spoke to 9ine Degrees, the people behind Pass The Meerkat, a hilarious animated web series with unbelievable anecdotes and a growing fanbase.
Podcasts are ten a penny these days. Everyone from your dad to your boyfriend is trying to get big by talking at you.
But Pass The Meerkat is different. For a start, the whole show is animated. It’s slick and stylish and adds a whole extra element to the show – the jokes and stories become funnier, the group’s members become more relatable, and you actually watch the show rather than passively listening while doing something else.
With the show being animated, there’s an extra level of work that goes into crafting each episode. They’re not two-hour long epics with all the asinine comments and awkward pauses left in. The episodes are tight, typically running to around 15 minutes long, and they’re released in series rather than lazily arriving in your podcast feed every week.
Pass The Meerkat isn’t simply a group of guys chewing the fat. 9ine Degrees have big plans to diversify their output and are intent on becoming the next big thing in the UK entertainment industry. Just don’t call them a podcast.
What inspired you to start the show and why did you decide to animate it?
We always thought that as a group we have so many funny stories and just general takes on certain topics. With nine of us, there’s lots of variety as well! Deji was watching The Ricky Gervais Show re-run and thought why don’t we do this? Our general banter is unique but we wanted to take it to the next level and incorporate animation and skits to give the audience a greater experience than just a podcast. One of us actually tweeted a thread going into details of our process.
Where did the name for the show come from?
Pass the Meerkat is something that you would understand if you’ve ever been to one of our gatherings. It’s a very simple and peculiar name for our web series and maybe we’ll reveal the meaning after Season 35. Anytime we get asked we give a different story every time that isn’t the truth lol.
How long has everyone on the show known each other?
We all met at different stages of life – the longest friendships go back about 17 years in secondary school, some of us met at college, some at uni. We pretty much knew we had a unique group when we all took a holiday to Croatia in 2018 – the vibe was just sick!
Has it been harder recording the show in lockdown?
As with everyone else, we never expected to be in the situation we’re in now. We finished recording season 2 in January but really buckled down and got to work on the hardest parts of production like audio editing, creative direction, animation iterations and marketing plans during lockdown – we’ve probably spent 3 hours a week on Zoom! The more free time we’ve got during lockdown has probably helped us.
There’s probably so many to choose from, but could you pick one of the funniest stories from the show?
Everyone has a personal favourite but I would say Deji’s brother’s story “are you going Sainsbury’s later”. Maybe because it was like our first entry into the space, we went viral so it will always hold a special place in the heart. This seems to be the funniest story to most people that has been released thus far but we have better ones this season!
Are there any topics that are off-limits?
We try to keep everything light-hearted and when we record we let everything go. However, we all have faiths, family and relationships we respect and will continue to respect so we’d never cross those lines.
Do you think it’s important for groups of men to have spaces to discuss issues that affect their lives? How can these spaces be encouraged?
Yes, I mean before we recorded we would just go to one of the guy’s houses, watch football, chill and just talk and those sometimes end up being therapy sessions or arguments about who’s the best striker in the Premier League. I think with more men being on Youtube and putting out content it’s only going to inspire others to do the same. Although we’re animated on PTM it should encourage others in a similar demographic to create content too.
Would you bring guests on the show? If so, who would your dream guests be?
We’d love to get guests on and we would have had one on this season if not for lockdown! We’d like some real influential and just cool people we know… Bola Sol, Milena Sanchez, Yoms – it’s got to be authentic if you come into our space so there needs to be some form of a relationship prior. However, we all avidly watch other creatives so there’s a long list which we would love to collaborate with. Also, Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington would be amazing to pay homage to the inspirations!
Lots of stories discussed on the show involve nights out and parties. If you could bring one celebrity on a night out with you all, who would it be and why?
Kanye West… he seems like he’s fun at parties and we’ve got a bunch of questions.
With the second series of Pass The Meerkat releasing as we speak, what’s next for the show?
We’re always thinking about new creative ways to release more content. PTM is the animated web-series, as a collective, we are 9ine Degrees and content creators so be prepared to see us do more outside of the web series but also make PTM the biggest thing in the UK. The UK needs this type of content in this format and we’re proud to bring it to you. We want Pass The Meerkat to be that series that everyone tunes into on TV or a streaming platform bringing joy to millions of people.
Watch the latest episode of Pass the Meerkat out now on YouTube: