David Deady delves into the depths of YouTube
Ever wonder about those sexy singles in your area websites? Or have you ever noticed how free shampoo is always better? Maybe you also believe there is something extremely intimidating about being asked the question: “do you have a pen?” Or perhaps you’ve noticed it’s always a jogger in the morning who finds the dead body? Don’t lie: these are observations that we have all certainly made at one point or another in our lives. However, few do it as humorously as Australian YouTube vlogger Natalie Tran (a.k.a. “communitychannel”).
While I concede that many of you reading this will have no idea who she is, I urge you to check out some of her videos. It was only by chance that I came across Tran while randomly surfing YouTube over a year ago. Her video “How to fake a six pack,” which now has over 30 million views, had me in hysterics instantly as the Australian began to draw muscles onto her stomach with a marker.
It wasn’t long before I was watching every video in her repertoire, uncontrollably laughing and agreeing with her many remarks and interpretations about the world. Her satirical re-enactments of situations, like checking to make sure your phone is switched off before gossiping about someone in case you accidently ring them mid-bitch, have garnered her considerable online fame. She has almost 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and a whopping 300,000,000+ total upload views to date making her the #27 most subscribed vlogger of all time. But what does all this mean in the real world?
Tran has described herself as every parent’s worst nightmare: the tragic twenty-something year old with unfinished degrees who sits at home in a basement making videos! Although she is certainly being modest about the depth of her career, there can be no doubt that there does seem to be a changing of the guards appearing in mass media culture. Some “internet celebrities” have exploded into mainstream perception; from the emergence of Justin Bieber, Charice Pempengco, Greyson Chance, Esmée Denters and most recently Darren Criss who plays new Glee character “Blaine,” YouTube has acted as the springboard for all of these internet personalities to leap into worldwide fame.
However, Tran sees her status as an online celebrity as nothing more than an “oxymoron” and largely shies away from TV shows and journalists. She is devoted to her art of making awkward, self-deprecating, three minute “slice-of-life” videos. As a YouTube junkie myself, it is refreshing to see someone so dedicated to just making people laugh with no ulterior, fame-grabbing motive. Her videos are not deep and meaningful; they’re just short snippets of pure joy and hilarity that have the ability to make a bad day instantly better after viewing.
Whether passing down wisdom in the form of her “f*ck measuring tapes, I’m an idiot technique” or contemplating the value of secret escape plans if someone were to ever break into her house, Natalie Tran deserves a place amongst the most renowned comedians and humorous commentators of the world. Although, one must wonder; had her video actually enabled us to fake a six pack, would we be even more appreciative of her genius?