Five YouTube superstars you should know

Five YouTube superstars you should know

YouTube is a gift that keeps on giving. The new-gen content creators have reshaped the face of entertainment; they create bite-sized humor that you can consume whenever you want. You no longer have to watch a two-hour long movie or work around the schedule of Comedy Central. Google refers to these players as Generation C -- for their habits of "creation, curation, connection, and community." Some of the YouTubers make over a million dollars a year.

Here are our top five picks of funny YouTube celebrities. 

1. Ryan Higa (nigahiga)

Launched: 2006
Subscribers, as of October 2017: over 20 million
Views, as of October 2017: over 3 billion
Business inquiries: [email protected] or PO BOX 232355 Las Vegas, NV 89105 

Ryan Higa (born 1990) is an American comedian and actor, best known for his comedy videos on his YouTube channel, nigahiga. Higa, of Japanese descent, was born in Hilo, Hawaii, in 1990. In his school days, he competed in judo.

Ryan Higa

His YouTube career began in 2006 when he and Sean Fujiyoshi started posting their lip syncing videos on YouTube.  In 2008, veteran actor and producer Richard Van Vleet worked with Higa and Sean to produce their first feature-length film, Ryan and Sean's Not So Excellent Adventure (co-starring Michael Buckley). A few years later, Higa moved to Las Vegas to study nuclear medicine at the University of Nevada. In 2012, he launched his own production company, Ryan Higa Production Company, under which he and Sean Fujiyoshi produce content for the nigahiga channel. The same year, he helped form the YOMYOMF Network, which runs online video-making contests - the judges being Christine Lakin and Timothy DeLaGhetto.

Selected works:

  • Daily Life of Rustin Hieber
  • Movies in Minutes
  • How To Be Gangster
  • How To Be Emo
  • Off the Pill

2. Shane Dawson

Launched: March 2008
Subscribers, as of October 2017: over 8 million
Views, as of October 2017: over 1.3 billion

Shane Lee Dawson (born 1988) is a comedian, singer, author, podcaster, and YouTuber, famous for his sketch comedy videos on YouTube, and the fictional characters he created: Shananay, Ned the Nerd, S. Deezy, Mom, Aunt Hilda, Fruitlupe, and Amy. He was one of the stars in Forbes' 2017 Top Influencers List.

He has been making videos since he was eight. When his videos became popular, he was contacted by YouTube for their partnership program. And that event transformed his hobby into a full-time money-making gig. 

Shane Dawson

He often collaborates with various other well-known YouTubers including Joey Graceffa, BrittaniLouiseTaylor, TheFineBros, Trisha Paytas, iJustine (Justine Ezarik), Tyler OakleyColleen Ballinger, Sawyer Hartman, and Drew Monson.

In June 2013, Shane started a podcast named Shane and Friends. In 2014, he released on YouTube a parody of Taylor Swift's song "Blank Space". The hit video was removed citing "copyright infringement".  Shane is also a published author - I Hate Myselfie: A Collection of Essays (2015) and It Gets Worse: A Collection of Essays(2016)

Selected works:

Hot Teens Gone Wild on Degrassi! Part 1 (2009)
Hot Teens Go Wild on Degrassi! Part 2 (2010)
SD High: School Dance Disaster (2010)
Haunted House Party (2010)
Shane Dawson's Love Story (2010)
How Shananay Stole Christmas (2011)
Shane & Friends Halloween Special (2012)
Emo Love Story (2013)
I Hate Myselfie (2015)
I Hate Myselfie 2 (2015)
It Gets Worse (2016)

3. PewDiePie

Launched: April 2010
Subscribers, as of October 2017: over 57 million
Views, as of October 2017: over 16 billion
Business inquiries: [email protected]

PewDiePie, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (born 1989) is a Swedish comedian and YouTuber, and one of the most famous Internet personalities. He is best known for his Let's Play videos where gamers record themselves playing a video game, often with humorous commentary. With time, he ventured into vlogs, comedy videos, and rants and raves about various everyday topics.


While studying industrial economics and technology management at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, in April 2010, he started posting videos on YouTube. The success he received made him drop out of the university to focus full-time on his YouTube channel - a decision with which his parents were not pleased. PewDiePie then started working at a hot dog stand to fund his videos. His popularity on YouTube kept growing and in July 2012, his channel reached the magic number of million subscribers. 

As of October 2017, his channel has over 57 million subscribers, making him the lead in the subscriber race.

On the personal front, PewDiePie is in a relationship with Marzia Bisognin (CutiePieMarzia), also a YouTube personality. The couple lives in England.

4. Smosh

Launched: November 2005
Subscribers, as of October 2017: over 22.5 million
Views, as of October 2017: over 6.75 billion
Business inquiries: http://smosh.com/contact-us

Smosh is a partnership between two YouTube veterans from California: Ian Hecox (born 1987) and Anthony Padilla (born 1987.) The pair produces slapstick comedy videos on video games and pop culture, and they operate seven different channels. 

Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla

In 2002, Anthony created smosh.com. Soon after, his childhood friend, Ian Hecox joined him and they started posting comedy videos on YouTube in 2005. Success came quickly and they continued to amass a huge following in the following years, making them one of the most subscribed and watched YouTube channel. 
As of October 2017, their channel has over 6.75 billion views, with over 22 million subscribers, making it the 12th most subscribed channel on YouTube. Their website, smosh.com, syndicates their YouTube videos and hosts photos, cartoons, memes, blog articles, and their merchandise store.

Anthony left Smosh in June 2017 to create his own channel AnthonyPadilla.  The channel initially launched in 2006 has over 2.5 million subscribers with over 54 million video views. Currently, Ian is the active member and content created for Smosh. 

5. Philip DeFranco

Launched: September 2006
Subscribers, as of October 2017: over 5.7 million
Views, as of October 2017: over 2 billion
Business inquiries: [email protected]

Philip DeFranco (born 1985) is a video blogger and YouTuber best known for The Philip DeFranco Show, a 5-day-a-week, a daily show centered on current events, pop culture and the society with a humorous undertone. 

Philip DeFranco

Besides The Philip DeFranco Show, he also operates The Friday Show. In 2011, he launched another YouTube channel called SourceFed, which was later backed by Google as part of YouTube's original content initiative. The channel consistently remained one of the top original channels of the time and reached the 100 million video view milestone in May 2012.  Over the years, for the show, Philip collaborated with popular YouTube personalities including Joe Bereta, Elliott MorganLee NewtonSteve Zaragoza, Meg Turney, Harley Morenstein, George Watsky, Grace Helbig and Laci Green.

The SourceFed channel was officially shut down in March 2017, and Philip continues with his ever-popular The Philip DeFranco Show.

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