By Neil Grasso
YouTuber. Vine star. Comedian. Podcaster. Influencer. Entrepreneur. Rapper.
Cody Ko can do it all.
Sacred Heart students and faculty members gathered at the Edgerton Center on September 18 at 7 p.m. for An Evening with Cody Ko. The event was a part of the 2019-2020 Student Affairs Lecture Series.
Ko, whose full name is Cody Kolodziejzyk, has gained massive popularity in recent years across a multitude of social media channels with his witty commentary and comedic content.
Senior Andrew Patino, a psychology and theatre double major, conducted the interview with Ko on stage Wednesday evening. He asked questions ranging from Ko’s time in college at Duke University, to his first experiences coding for tech companies in Silicon Valley, to his creative endeavors later in his career.
“He was super down to earth and didn’t act like he was famous, which I really appreciated as the interviewer,” said Patino.
“It really felt like I was talking to one of my friends on stage. He is truly an intellectual. He’s very smart and understands the space well. He didn’t become famous for no reason. He really knows what he’s doing, especially in regards to his future endeavors.”
Ko discussed his ability to manage a hectic schedule, which he attributed to his experiences at Duke. There, he was a computer science major, a member of the Division I men’s swimming and diving team, as well as a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.
Ko went on to answer questions about his experience as the founder of the viral app I’d Cap That, where users could apply randomly generated captions to any photo in their camera roll. Ko had written the captions himself, many of which included humorous twists.
Today, Ko is more focused on balancing his content schedule, which consists of YouTube videos on his own channel, weekly episodes of the Tiny Meat Gang (TMG) podcast, and comedy shows with his TMG partner in crime, Noel Miller, of which they have performed as a part of a nationwide tour.
When asked about his current lifestyle and how he keeps up with all of his creative projects, Ko was candid in his response.
“With a lot of anxiety,” said Ko with a smile. “I honestly just really love to learn how to do new things. It’s one of the things that drives me the most. I love the process of learning how things work. It’s why I became a programmer in the first place.
Sacred Heart students in attendance expressed their appreciation for both Cody’s comedic nature as well as for his professional progression.
“I found his transition from a programmer to a creative content producer to be incredibly interesting,” said Rachel Lojacano, a junior nursing major.
“I feel like as a coder, you get into a very technical mindset where you are very focused on the same task to produce a definitive result. Creative work is totally different. It was also cool to learn that he was the founder of I’d Cap That, which kind of showed that he had the ability to tap into both mindsets at the same time.”
When the interview had concluded on stage, Ko took questions from students sitting in the crowd.
For students looking to get involved in a creative field that might have concerns with how friends, family members, and employers might judge them, Ko had simple yet powerful words of advice.
“Just start small. You really have to find your unique voice and start somewhere. When I was starting with Vine, the opinions of my friends and my employer at the time weren’t really issues of concern for me. I feel like people watched less content back then, or maybe they weren’t as aware of what people were posting. Now everything is kind of under a microscope. I’d say it’s definitely important to be wary of future employment endeavors.
Ko’s ability to make fun of himself created an inclusive dynamic between himself and the crowd.
“He’s able to take the jokes and comments that others make towards him and then turn them into something funny that everyone can behind,” said John Stevens, a senior nursing major. “He really doesn’t take anything like that personally, which makes for a great stage presence in my opinion.”