As one of the earliest YouTubers, Kassem Gharaibeh (better known as Kassem G) learned how to grow on the video platform from truly the ground up. He explained to Rhett & Link on “Ear Biscuits” how he honed his craft by going through the classic YouTube motions and finding his comedic niche.
Gharaibeh actually starting posting videos to YouTube before he became a “YouTuber.” In the early days of the video platform, he was performing stand-up routines, taking video clips of what he perceived as the highlights, and posting them to YouTube. Very few people watched, until Gharaibeh met Cory “Mr. Safety” Williams, whom Gharaibeh had hired to work at Best Buy and who had achieved some success on YouTube via a viral cat video.
Williams told Gharaibeh about the YouTube community. He’d said to Gharaibeh, “There’s a whole group of people who want content, but you’ve got to talk to them.” Williams showed Gharaibeh how to participate in meetups and, most importantly, how to connect with other online creators to collaborate on videos. “He pretty much held my hand in the very beginning,” Gharaibeh said.
This hand-holding led to a collaboration with Rhett & Link on the video “Phatdippin’,” which featured an impressive number of early YouTubers, including Justine Ezarik and Iman Crosson impersonating President Obama. “I was on the moon,” Gharaibeh said of the collaboration.
After that, Gharaibeh saw his subscriber numbers rise in a big way. He described working with other YouTubers as “like crack — you just wanted to collab and collab and collab,” so you could sit in front of your computer, watching the subscriber numbers on your YouTube channel go up and up.
In addition to attending meetups and working on collabs, Gharaibeh tried another staple of the YouTube world — vlogging. “It was around that whole time that you were either just a vlogger or you did something else, but vlogging was an easy way in,” Gharaibeh explained, “and I did it, and it felt kind of gross to me…I didn’t like having people peer into that side of my life.” From this, Gharaibeh realized YouTube for him wasn’t going to be about sharing intimate, personal details. Rather, he wanted to focus on comedy.
“The comedic standard” is part of why Gharaibeh ultimately decided against vlogging. “You like to craft and take time with jokes, not just turn on a camera and upload whatever it is,” he said of identifying as a comedian on YouTube. Hence the birth of the show “Ask Kassem,” which was kind of a play on the “responding to comments” vlogging video genre. Gharaibeh started off making fun of the genre, then the show evolved into its own beast…and people really liked it.
Gharaibeh got lots of comments around that show. He responded to the audience engagement by being engaged himself, another important aspect (originally taught by Williams) of succeeding on YouTube. “I enjoyed the engagement,” said Gharaibeh (“Ask Kassem” is no longer). “I don’t like to be this transient YouTuber that goes away and comes back for a while.”
Now, Gharaibeh has completely honed his unique mode of creating on YouTube — definitely more as a comedian than a vlogger. To learn more about how he found his place on the video platform, tune into this week’s “Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link.”