Alex Casey peers into the abyss of New Zealand celebrity YouTube channels, and rounds up five of the best.
There’s nothing more I love than cracking open the old jar of chocolate chips in the pantry and zoning out on YouTube to someone talking to a camera in their bedroom about their moderately entertaining lives. Is vlogging peak reality TV? Is it some kind of high-level meditation? Am I just an idiot? Whatever it is, the numbers suggest I’m not alone.
This week, online sensation Jimi Jackson premiered his own television show on Māori TV. With well over 800,000 Facebook fans, and just the one blackface scandal, the harnessing of Jimi’s internet reach by traditional mainstream media goes to show the ongoing value of online stardom. Jamie Curry has made a series in Antarctica that you can watch on TVNZ Ondemand. The “cash me outside” girl has a clothing line. Susan Boyle could probably run for office. If you go big online, the world is your oyster.
It’s this almighty potential of the vlog channel that’s luring in more and more New Zealand personalities to the dark side of the internet. If you’ve never encountered YouTube culture before, don’t worry – you can keep etching your calligraphy into a stone wall. I’ve watched almost all of it so you don’t have to. Here are the top five incredible New Zealand YouTube channels run by people who are already weirdly kind of famous already:
#1 Max Key
Steel yourselves, for this is something that has happened and will continue to happen. Max Key’s weekly vlogs follow his weird life of leisure: hooning around Parnell on a motorbike, raving in Dargaville and eating a pitiful amount of chicken nuggets. Each vlog is strewn with the aggressive call to arms: like, subscribe, comment, hashtag, and inevitably hit the dab. He’s also the master of clickbait, framing his often inane vlogs with some incredibly sensationalist headlines. I still can’t decide which title I like more out of ‘GIRL THROWS UP ALL OVER MY HOUSE’ or ‘WHY MY DAD STEPPED DOWN AS THE NZ PRIME MINISTER’.
#2 Jason Gunn
One of our most beloved television and radio personalities, Jase is harbouring a treasure trove of a YouTube channel that has to be seen to be believed. Nestled under the gaspingly good banner “a Kiwi Dad who just wants to make you laugh,” Jase does Lynchian vlogs from what looks like his own TV set in his garage – a much spiffier location than Max’s marbled, perpetually untidy ensuite bathroom. In one of his latest rant videos ‘I CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE OF THIS!’ Jase gets incensed by spam emails. He also implies that he can maintain an erection without receiving promotions for performance enhancers, managing to destroy my childhood faster than Thingee’s eye falling out ever could.
Season one of The Bachelor NZ will be remembered for producing some of our most prime social media talent. Art and Matilda are jet-setting off on the daily to exotic locations and fancy events, runner-up Dani Robinson seems to have her life sponsored by Adidas, and Chrystal Chenery has a bloody fascinating YouTube account. Much more erratic in frequency than some of the other people mentioned in this list, Chrystal will occasionally film herself getting beautified at photoshoots and on holiday by way of selfie stick. But nothing comes close to her unedited rants filmed on what looks like a flip phone from 2002 such as ‘Chrystal Chenery changes the world (part one)’. To borrow a technique from Max Key, You Won’t Believe What Her Solution Is (it’s using a mooncup).
The Edge’s couple Megan and Guy produce a veritable buffet of content – from doing classic YouTuber ‘tags’ (assigned challenges that you tag other YouTubers to do), to trying on clothing hauls, to telling long-winded stories. Megan is also an advocate for body positivity, with her vlog ‘how to love yourself’ opening up a tough, frank conversation about self-esteem and body image. The value of that, especially considering that her audience has got to be mostly young women, cannot be understated. Plus, she has a vlog where she squeezes herself into various kinds of Spanx and it’s maybe the realest thing I’ve ever seen.
#5 David Correos
Now that you are entirely familiar with YouTube and all its banal brilliance, allow Billy T winner David Correos to flip it and reverse it. At times more torturous than a Saw marathon, Correos puts himself through the wringer by doing everything from eating challenges to fake infomercials. If you’ve seen his comedy, you’ll know what to expect. Whether it’s trying to smoke a pack of cigarettes under a minute, eating everything on the KFC menu or doing a ‘hobo’ haul video, Correos’ channel is a disturbing parody of everything bad that YouTube and influencer culture has become – the desperation, the excess, the terrible advice. Just make sure you hit like and subscribe.
This article originally stated that Guy Mansell still worked at ZM. The Spinoff apologises for this error.
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