YouTubers laughing - and yelling, so much yelling - all the way to the bank

YouTubers Stove Kitchen and Carter Sharer bought an LA mansion once owned by Frank Sinatra. Picture: Facebook
YouTubers Stove Kitchen and Carter Sharer bought an LA mansion once owned by Frank Sinatra. Picture: Facebook

Did you hear about the YouTubers who just bought an LA mansion once owned by Frank Sinatra for a reported $32 million?

It's not the setup for a joke, but YouTubers are laughing all the way to the bank. And if that opening sentence didn't convince you the popular culture paradigm has shifted absolutely, nothing will.

Entertainment is now about putting an alligator in your backyard pool or locking yourself in a box for hours or challenging your friends to walk on a treadmill for as long as possible, promising the last man standing a suitcase full of cash. And, of course, filming it all and uploading the video to YouTube. Just for kicks. And likes. And subscribers. And lots of money. Donning a dinner suit and crooning Fly Me to the Moon while sipping a martini is just so 1964.

Yet might Frankie have actually admired the chutzpah and money-making abilities of this new generation of entertainers?

The YouTubers who bought Sinatra's digs - Carter Sharer, Lizi Capri, Stove Kitchen and Ryan Prunty - are known as Team RAR (for "rare and ridiculous"). They make prank and challenge videos and put them on YouTube. Simple. Together, they have more than 12 million subscribers and millions of dollars in the bank.

How much money do they make exactly? It's difficult to say. It's easy to Google someone's net worth, but the results should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

The most popular member of Team RAR, Carter Sharer, blonde, preppy, perhaps slightly sadistic, is reported to earn more than $1 million a year, which sounds on the lower side of things.

YouTubers earn their money from advertising, merchandise ("merch"), channel memberships and premium packages where fans pay extra to see exclusive content.

Carter enjoys filming challenges like offering $50,000 to whatever friend can stay on the roof of some LA condominium the longest, waving the bundles of greenbacks in their face.

Oh, and Carter and his mates didn't buy Old Blue Eyes' mansion to live in. Oh, no, no, no.

They bought the house as basically a lavish set for their videos; their personal playground. Which is not as unusual as it sounds.

Even bottom-feeder YouTubers seem able to get their hands on a house purely to make their challenge videos, so they are free to make as much mess and do as much damage as possible. I sometimes fear for their neighbours' sanity. But they've probably been bought out as well.

Sometimes you don't have to even make anything to be a YouTube star. The highest-grossing YouTuber, according to Variety and lots of other sources, is nine-year-old Texas boy Ryan Kaji, whose channel has more than 26 million subscribers. Last year, he made an estimated $26 million.

He started his empire by getting ahead of the curve of the "unboxing trend" - his channel Ryan's Toy Reviews was about him opening boxes of toys and rating them. The channel has recently been renamed Ryan's World to branch into challenges.

And then there's people like Jelly, a 23-year-old Dutch gamer who has close to 20 million subscribers by "commentating" - read yelling and kvetching - as he plays mega-games such as Minecraft or GTA5.

Australia has its own YouTube stars in the Norris Nuts, a family of six kids from Newcastle called Sabre, Sockie, Biggy, Naz, Disco and Charm(their dad is former swimmer Justin Norris; mum Brooke is the mover and shaker.)

They have a combined reach of 6 million people across YouTube and Instagram. The older kids are champion skaters and surfers. They seem very happy and a bit more real about the whole YouTube sensation palaver. My 10-year-old daughter would happily move in with them. But she'd probably have to change her name to Fridge or Vacuum Cleaner.

There are some YouTubers I can just about stand. The Outdoor Boys let you live vicariously through them as a Dad and his kids go on adventures. And if you're talking challenge videos, I find the Dangie Bros, three brothers from California who build things in their backyard oddly sweet. And not too loud or swear-y.

Because what I hate most about YouTubers is the yelling. The yelling to draw attention; to keep attention. And the constant entreaties to subscribe (sometimes accompanied by threats if you don't).

And the queasy feeling of: "Would Mum and Dad be paying as much attention to their kids if the cameras were off and the dollars weren't racking up?" (I'm talking more about the YouTube kids in places like Russia and Ukraine, not the Norris Nuts, please don't sue me. Although those Nuts do like to yell. Get some nice Persian rugs for those wooden floorboards, guys!)

And of course, I take some life lessons from YouTube. Who doesn't?

In the mornings, I tell my kids I'll give $1000 to whoever brushes their teeth the longest. Their competitive instinct kicks in and they quickly forget about the money, which was always a joke. Obvs.

But I will try to film it next time. They need to earn their keep.

This story YouTubers laughing - and yelling - all the way to the bank first appeared on The Canberra Times.


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