Today, all you need to make a silly, simple YouTube video is the camera on your phone–it could even go viral. Many creative people have taken this simple video platform and turned it into a career, making consistent, quality entertainment that keeps us up and laughing past 2 a.m.
Dan Howell and Phil Lester are two of those people. And they’re coming to Richmond one week from today.
With over ten million subscribers between their channels, “danisnotonfire” and “AmazingPhil” respectively, Howell and Lester have taken their personal brands and self-deprecating humor (that would even make Conan O’Brien proud) and made themselves into household names.
Based in London, they each uploaded their first videos in 2009 as vlogs (video blogs), Howell’s being titled “HELLO INTERNET” and Lester’s being “Phil’s Video Blog – 27th March 2006”. They have since collaborated their efforts, making various videos both together and separately on each of their channels that range from funny stories, ‘Day in the Life’ videos, memes, and general thoughts on life and current events.
While their content on the whole is generally dry, self-deprecating humor (Howell made a video on the incredible feat of how to get out of bed), on occasion they get a little serious for the betterment of their younger fanbase. Howell alone has made a couple videos addressing his own experiences with having depression and how that affects his life.
Dan and Phil speaks to my generation (millennials) specifically for these reasons, and uses self-deprecation as a way of coping. Our generation is in this weird, in-between place where we have both fewer financial opportunities and advantages than the generations both before and after us, but are still held to an unreasonably high standard. We’re struggling to find work, to buy a house, to live an adult life as we all ebb closer to our thirties–still drowning in school debt, with no relief in sight, and no ounce of compassion from our “suck it up and get over it” older generations, who navigated entirely different economic and political terrains in their 20s.
And it’s not just because we’re all buying avocado toast. This writer personally isn’t even a fan, but rock on if you are.
“I just prefer a different kind of humor but I can definitely understand why they have so many fans,” said local Richmonder Rob Morley. “They’re not the only ones doing that kind of humor, like you said. It’s maybe a coping thing.”
Even those who are not huge fans of the duo can see the valuable and relatable social commentary that their videos provide to millennials, who struggle to find understanding from elders, yet discover solace and kindred mentalities with the humorous commentary of YouTube stars. While Dan and Phil’s video output has slowed down (no doubt due to preparing for the upcoming tour), I’m sure there will soon be more to make us laugh until we cry and remember (ironically, of course) the crippling amount of debt and stress we are under.
Interactive Introverts: Dan and Phil 2018 World Tour is happening now and will be at the Altria Theater on July 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $33, and more information can be found here.