It’s been five years since funny guy Rafi Barbiro caught a viral wave with his video, “Sh*t Tel Avivians Say.”
Now the TV writer, developer and producer is back with a new web series, “Fly Guy,” a comic travel mockumentary that will take viewers to exotic locations worldwide.
Call it armchair travel for the more adventurous set.
The first episode takes place in South Korea, where Barbiro’s designated Fly Guy, actor Roy Iddan, introduces viewers to the lesser known treats of the Asian country. No usual tourist sites for Barbiro, who shows off South Korean street musicians, underground clubs and the pleasures of eating raw octopus in a pile of noodles.
It’s a project Barbiro has been working on for about a year, combining his own love for Israeli TV travel shows and his belief that free, viral videos will eventually break the traditional television formats.
“People love the videos because there’s no bullshit,” he said. “On TV, you have to watch for an hour to maybe understand the bottom line. And that’s what younger people want; they want their content from the internet and on their phones, not from mass media.”
“Fly Guy” is definitely geared for the younger set, as Barbiro combined the elements of traditional Israeli travel shows with the lengthy, adventurous trips young Israelis take after finishing the army. While Israelis often head to South America and India, they’re less likely to go to South Korea or some of the other destinations Barbiro has in mind for future shows.
“They won’t think about Korea because they don’t know it, they don’t have the platform for it,” he said.
He figured that if he was going to create his own, offbeat travel series, he would gear it for the younger crowd, leaving aside the “tourist traps” and typical sites, and focusing instead on where to go out at night, local fashion and the music scene.
The show won’t be taking visitors — virtually or otherwise — to the more typical tourist spots, like Italy or England, but to the lesser known destinations, guided by Fly Guy, a clumsy, goofy character who’s always game to try anything. Like raw octopus.
“The typical tourist doesn’t eat raw octopus,” said Barbiro.
The star of “Fly Guy” is Roy Iddan, a TV writer and creator known for his work on “Lost in Asia” and “Bobby and Me.”
(“Four By Four,” Iddan’s debut feature film as a screenwriter, is a spoof about a bachelor party, directed by Shay Kanot, and is currently in theaters.)
Fly Guy has a website as well, with related articles on each destination as they’re added, written in easy English for the mostly non-native English speakers that Barbiro thinks he’ll attract to the series. The pieces are written by locals from the places visited by Fly Guy, experts in their genres, whether makeup, film or fashion, and he’s planning on adding local celebrities from each location.
The videos, which are in English, are also translated into other languages — Hebrew, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Turkish — and that has brought readers from all over, said Barbiro.
“I’m getting feedback from people all over the world,” he said.
Barbiro, who handles social media for a variety of media outlets, is paying for the series’ production with his own funds, while the countries he’s reporting on host the production.
“If I get people to go to new places, I’ll have done my job,” he said.