It's time for us to coin the term "the Dan Levy effect." It's been a few years and now it's time.
Daniel Levy has had a really amazing career. He was a red carpet correspondent for MTV, then turned show host for the network. Then he captured the world's attention with six seasons of Schitt's Creek. And while all of that work is truly amazing and he's used it to kickstart some important conversations and points of representation, he's often long had a connection to charity and other important causes: his fans raised $20,000 for Ontario's LGBT Youth Line in 2019 for the star's birthday; the cast raised more than $180,000 for Canadian food banks ahead of the show's finale; and Levy surpassed the goal of raising over $50,000 for the faculty at University of Alberta's Native Studies program. Now, It Gets Better has gotten a bit of that Levy effect as well.
Earlier this week the organization launched a limited-edition commemorative pin of the back of a Saturday Night Live skit spoofing the organization's mission. The skit featured Levy, as well as the queer cast of Saturday Night Live complaining about the mundane problems of queer acceptance. The pins, which were modeled off of an iguana that appeared in the skit, were $20 with proceeds going to It Gets Better. On Thursday, the organization announced they had all sold out.
"To be parodied on SNL by out, proud and talented performers like Dan, Kate, Bowen, and Punkie is a testament to the progress we, and the community we serve, have made over the last decade," Brian Wenke, the executive director of the It Gets Better Project tells Out in an email statement. Levy was joined by Punkie Johnson, Bowen Yang, and Kate McKinnon — as well as McKinnon's iguana. "Progress comes with its fair share of iguanas, and the analogy clearly struck a chord with the It Gets Better community. We are shocked at the popularity of our tribute iguana pin, but thrilled that its proceeds will support our ongoing efforts to provide LGBTQ+ youth with positive and uplifting experiences on their journey to self-actualization."
The pin has generated $10,000 in revenue for the organization and has outperformed other merch releases the team confirmed. Because of its success, an additional number of pins have been made available for pre-order while supplies last. They are expected to sell out within days.
This all comes on the 10 year anniversary of the It Gets Better Project. To celebrate that, the organization is having people who recorded videos for the initial campaign a decade ago, to record new clips reacting to those messages. Margaret Cho's video is due out in March. Later this year, the organization will host It Gets Better Project Pride 2021 which is a digital leadership conference as well as It Gets Better: A Digital Pride Experience, a two-day live-streamed event on YouTube "featuring some of the biggest LGBTQ+ and allied influencers and entertainers."