Who is PewDiePie and what has he got to do with laughter?
To answer the first question – as of now, PewDiePie, or Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is the producer of video content on the most popular channel on YouTube. This is no minor achievement, with his channel having 37,792,952 subscribers as of today the 9th of July, 2015, with 9,376,193,487 views of his videos. For those of you who are numerically challenged like me and are not familiar with numbers that large, that’s over NINE BILLION views. That’s a lot of views. Clearly he’s doing something right.
With regards to the second question, PewDiePie is in the news these last few days [Time, Irish Mirror, BBC] as a result of a commentary video he uploaded in response to discussions about his income. This video already has over 4.5 million views after only two days. It transpires that he earns millions of dollars each year and as a consequence, many ‘haters’ as he refers to them, are expressing their disbelief and at times, extreme displeasure at his ability to attract such an income from doing what he does. He felt it was time to react to his critics.
For instance, as one online commentator stated, “If only I could get paid that much for being a complete retard in front of a webcam and generate a few million views”, to which PewDiePie responded “I have a very nice camcorder, thank you very much.”
Despite the serious nature of the video, PewDiePie continues to joke and in my opinion, this is his magic formula, a formula which the aforementioned commentator is failing to recognise, or perhaps does recognise, but fails to appreciate.
If there is one theme, which returns time and time again in my research of laughter, it is the common experience that what is funny for one person is not necessarily funny for another. Indeed, it often transpires that when there is a disparity in opinions, that people become somewhat animated in the defence of their ‘superior tastes’ in humour, as the comments below portray [Listen to podcast #2, Comedy Snobbery to learn more on this].
On the ‘Go Bro’ side:
“I want to apologize for the haters out there, their small brains, and lack of laughter make them comment something rude and incomprehensible.”
“FYI, PewDiePie, ur AWSOME!!! U make me laugh so hard every day with all if ur amazing videos!👏✌️👊GO BROS!!!”
In contrast, on the ‘No Bro’ side:
“PewDiePie is a cancer to YouTube”
“This is my first PewDiePie video and I have to say 30 million people must have really boring lives if they have to watch this guy for entertainment.”
Does PewDiePie deserve to earn such large amounts of money in return for what he does?
Well, I would ask, would another comedian deserve to be paid millions for bringing laughter to billions of people? Like him, or loathe him (billions like him), PewDiePie is essentially a comedian and I have no doubt, as a result of having a YouTube content producing son (Schmavid David) that he puts a great deal of time and effort in to producing them.
There is undoubtedly more to making a video which makes people laugh than pointing a cheap webcam at yourself and screaming. As PewDiePie states – “I do work a tremendous amount…ask my girlfriend.”
Now, if only I could only figure out a way to make my podcasts funny, then I might be on to something…