When watching Michael Buckley as Buck, the turbo-charged, giddily tart-tongued star of the What the Buck show, it’s tempting to dismiss him as just a funny guy amusing himself and hoping everyone comes along for the ride. But beneath all the madcap schadenfreude-y goodness of his no-holds-barred celebrity commentary hides a savvy mind with mad promotional skillz. You don’t get nearly a quarter of a million YouTube subscribers on charm alone. Of course, Buckley’s hardly new to Internet fame. So what makes him a breakout star of 2008?
Well, we’d say that it’s a fair bet that when HBO comes calling, you’ve officially broken out. And in Buckley’s case, HBOlab came calling twice this year — once with a development deal for web and TV content, and once with a part in the new web-star-studded web series Hooking Up.
Buckley’s unique delivery — a flirting-with-manic energy level combined with a dash of shock value and a lot of snark — is what put him on the map, but he’s never relied on his schtick to keep his star rising. Last year, he teamed with other YouTube stars for the juggernaut video The Top (& Bottom) Gays of YouTube, and scored regular gossiping gigs on Fox News. And this year, he rolled out twice-weekly live video chats at BlogTV.