Crowd-Sourced Travel Show "Don't Kill Eli" Puts Viewer in the Director’s Chair
Eli Newell’s new crowd-sourced travel show Don’t Kill Eli can best be described as a real-life “choose your own adventure.” The 36-year-old comedian and world traveler will ask viewers (via videos on the YouTube channel) to vote on where he should go and what he should do when he gets there. As he puts it in his Kickstarter video, “No matter how gross or stupid or dangerous it is, if you want me to do, I’ll do it."
The show exceeded its Kickstarter goal, raising $14,235 and allowing Newell to bring along a professional cameraman. The first vote asked where his six-week trip should start—and Beirut was the winner (it beat India, South America, and West Africa). Newell, who departed on March 6, has no idea what’s in store when he arrives. “I want to meet people and get their take on the city. It’s exciting for me to show that it’s not as dangerous as people think,” he says.
From each destination, he’ll post video blog entries, local interviews, and other recaps—plus two votes, including where he should go next. (He revealed the choices might be Jordan, Cairo, and Oman.) No matter where he ends up, one thing is clear: Newell does not shy away from adventure: he’s lived in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan while volunteering for global aid agency Mercy Core, has been without running water or electricity in Mauritania, and jumped off a moving train in Bulgaria.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.