While we may not remember all the superfluous math lessons or all the out of control parties that went on in high school, many of us remember who won the coveted title of Class Clown. In Hollywood, many former class clowns have gone on to successful careers in comedy, such as Robin Williams, Amy Schumer, and Kate McKinnon. However, for Kurtis Conner, it took a while for him to come out of his shell. âI always thought I was funny, but I was never really an extrovert,â Conner shares. âI’ve never been the type of person to say, ‘Everyone, look at me!’ But I guess that’s kind of what I’m doing now.
Although not sociable at school, Conner found a space to show his wit online and began to build a following on Vine. Conner was able to tailor his comedy to his target audience, Gen Z, and make a name for himself as a Six Second Wonder. Once Vine launched the bucket, Conner and other creators fled to other platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube. The latter has become a new home for Conner, who admits the change took work. âSwitching from Vine to YouTube wasn’t easy at all because they’re so different,â says Conner. âOn Vine, if you have an idea and you shoot it, it’s done in 30 seconds. But for my YouTube videos, it’s about 10+ hours of scripting, two to three hours of filming, and then about 20 hours of editing.
Although becoming a YouTuber proved to be labor-intensive, Conner thrived on the platform and found a community that wanted to see him grow in his niche as a commentator. “When [subscribers] see something weird or stupid or people doing bad things on the internet, they’ll send it to me and say, âKurtis, that would make a good video,â Conner says. “It’s really hard to think of new ideas every week and luckily my channel has gotten to the point where people are sending me stuff.”
In the five years that Conner has been on YouTube, he’s honed what works best for him as a comedian. âWho I am in front of the camera is not necessarily who I am 100% of the time,â says Conner. “I don’t just walk around all the time making jokes and I think if you are all the time you lose who you are.” Through commented comedy, he found a healthy balance between showing off his personality and protecting his personal life, something many creators struggle with today. âIt’s good when there’s a YouTuber I love who shows parts of their personal life in a natural way, but I think sometimes it goes too far,â says Conner. âIf you put a lot of your life on the Internet, at some point that’s part of the character you play. “
Conner’s career in comedy continued to evolve and as he grew more confident he leaned into the stand-up world and adapted his jokes from screen to stage. “[In my set] I used to do a lot of puns and puns or fake stories that I wrote. But now it’s more about traditional stand-up and observational storytelling, âsays Conner. âI have a lot more fun doing this and there is more freedom to play. It’s a lot of fun to be more open on stage and I think you get a better reaction from people when you’re honest. Conner will continue to provide his subscribers with weekly content on his YouTube channel, but in the future he aspires to make stand-up a much bigger part of his brand. “But who knows, maybe I’ll waste my life and start a family vlogging channel.”