Between the shocking behaviour of certain vloggers and the unjust demonetization of thousands of videos, it’s been a controversial year for YouTube. However, it’s important not to lose sight of all the great work published to the site each and every day. Below is just a miniscule sampling of that talent, a group who are a testament to what the platform can offer audiences when put in the right hands.
Danny Gonzalez & Drew Gooden
Former Vine stars Danny Gonzalez and Drew Gooden have seen a meteoric rise on YouTube this year and it isn’t difficult to see why. Both provide often hilarious commentary on the increasingly bizarre world of social media and the internet at large, but each of them tackle the challenge in their own comedic style.
This year’s highlights from Gonzalez included his series of videos on the ridiculous prank channel Troom Troom, as well as his brief run-in with kids animation brand Billion Surprise Toys. The latter ended with one of his best comedy songs to date, although his later rap about 1994’s The Santa Clause certainly comes close to topping it.
Meanwhile, Gooden guided viewers through the frightening world of a Jake Pauler by exposing the expensive Team 1,000 scheme as well as the superstar’s shambolic live show. In addition, his video on the insane “life hacks” currently circulating the internet serves as effective therapy for people who don’t have time to spend hours sticking random objects together with a glue gun.
Pretty Much It
Once a channel that covered movie news and reviews, Pretty Much It now specialises in creating commentary tracks for the best and the worst that Hollywood has to offer. Creator Eric Striffler has stuck around for the transition, joined by newcomer Jacob Shao. The pair bounce off each other consistently well, but the hour-long super-cut of clips from their Harry Potter commentaries ranks among the best content that they produced this year.
Scott the Woz
Scott Wozniak’s video-making roots stretch way back to 2009, but the last couple of years have seen his gaming show Scott the Woz skyrocket to over 400,000 subscribers. The show finds a perfect balance between humorous and informative, while the variety of topics covered keeps things feeling fresh each and every week. Most striking of all, the sheer amount of hard work that goes into Wozniak’s videos is clear to see, with slick editing, smart scripts and a variety of locations on display. It’s difficult to spotlight one entry in the channel’s expansive catalogue, but this episode on the evolution of game controllers proved particularly interesting:
Beyond the Trailer
Best Movie News
Grace Randolph is a unique voice in the YouTube movie news community. While her reviews aren’t always unanimously agreed with, the points she raises are interesting and presented well. Alongside speedy coverage of the latest trailers and announcements, perhaps the strongest asset in Beyond The Trailer‘s arsenal is Movie Math. The box office analysis show is always a fascinating watch, fueled by Randolph’s keen understanding of the business side of Hollywood.
Best Pop Culture
Jenny Nicholson’s clever yet understated humour is a refreshing change of pace from the more obnoxious personalities on YouTube. Her channel encompasses everything from bizarre fan fiction and entertainingly bad television shows, all the way to creative new angles on Hollywood’s biggest productions. Impressively, though some of Nicholson’s videos are almost an hour long, they’re always consistently amusing from start to finish. It’s no surprise she’s amassed over 2,500 supporters on Patreon: this is content well worth paying for.
Patrick (H) Willems
Best Video Essays
In an internet landscape glutted with increasingly tedious video essays, Patrick Willems manages to keep his feeling smart and relevant. Rather than presenting exclusively in the form of a smug disembodied voice over snazzy infographics, Willems is an energetic and engrossing on-camera presenter. Meanwhile, the skits and shorts that he bookends his videos with are equally entertaining and made skillfully with attention to detail. Need more convincing? His two-part series on Michael Bay presented some genuinely fascinating arguments about the merits of the reviled filmmaker. No small task indeed.
“We Quit Sugar For A Month, Here’s What Happened” by Wheezy Waiter
Craig and Chyna Benzine deserve an award merely for attempting this task of Herculean proportions, the fact that they finished it and made a genuinely insightful video log of the ordeal is a bonus. Craig Benzine (a.k.a Wheezy Waiter) has been cranking out quality content for some time (almost 1,500 uploads since the year 2007), and it’s fantastic to see him get the kind of mainstream exposure that he deserves. His comedic writing and delivery is among the best the platform has to offer and they show no sign of going away as his channel continues to evolve.