5 Nigahiga, 9.2 M Subscribers
Ryan Higa offers slice-of-life commentary through his high-energy, high-laugh rants. Well, a slice of Ryan Higa’s life at least: a quirky, pseudo-celebrity Asian web star’s life. The whole channel has a very standup comedy feel, with the added bonus of cut scene visualizations. Or, perhaps, it’s what “Jack Ass” would look like with a degree in film and a dry wit. Either way, nigahiga brings the laughs with each new rant.
4 RayWilliamJohnson, 9.6 M Subscribers
Ever wondered what Tosh.0 would be like with a funny host to comment on the videos? Ray William Johnson answers that question and then some with motor-mouthed aplomb. Updating weekly with a selection of the freshest and quirkiest uploads, Ray offers incisive commentary on the wacky and occasionally baffling Internet video community. His rants represent a barrage of video, photographic and verbal jokes that reward re-watching – especially because they come at you much faster than you could hope to take them all in. The first views are still thrilling, washing over you like a hilarious tidal wave.
3 JennaMarbles, 9.8 M Subscribers
The appeal of Jenna Marbles is obvious: What guy wouldn’t fall head over heels for a cute girl that doesn’t mind being silly? (Even if she does teach you how to trick people into thinking you’re good looking.) And she represents a smart and independent voice that her female fan base can relate to on every single upload. Topics of fashion and social interaction come up a lot in Marbles’ diatribes, but her gift of gab is impressive enough to take them from the realm of “girl” topics into universal observations.
2 PewDiePie, 10.1 M Subscribers
Swedish video game commentator Felix Kjellberg has come out of nowhere to become the second most popular YouTube channel on the net. How did he do it? Sheer hilarity. PewDiePie specializes in testing awful games and making fun of them while he does it, with a weird accent and some “super manly” squeals. He also elevates his fans by referring to them as “Bros,” making them feel welcome in his demented world. Pandering both to gamer fanaticism and unexpected humor, PewDiePie might be the YouTube personality who best encapsulates the WTF? culture that defines the internet.
1 Smosh, 11.1 M Subscribers
In our nerdophiliac culture, Smosh’s unbridled popularity comes as no surprise. Combining Adam Sandler-brand comedy with pop culture mythology, Anthony and Ian offer warped perspectives on the junk food junkie mentality. While it’s certainly silly, it can be surprisingly clever and surreal in its re-appropriation of everything a fanboy dreams of. All this highfalutin talk doesn’t mean that they’re above classic bits or pratfalls. Quite the contrary. Like true fanboys, Smosh seem hell bent on doing their inspirations justice, and the results are enjoyable for anyone who gamed their way through college.