The Future of Entertainment

Art by Ryan Flaherty

EDIT: This article was written in July and does not have information about the proposed ban of TikTok in the United States.

It’s no secret that TikTok has quickly become one of the largest social media platforms on the planet. Launching in 2017, the video-sharing app uses a democratic algorithm, meaning that the more users who interact with a video (liking, sharing, commenting), the more people that video is shown to. This has made it easier than ever for just about anyone to find internet fame and an exponentially growing follower count, and the industry is starting to take notice.

This past January, Charli D’Amelio, the app’s most followed user, and her sister Dixie both signed with the United Talent Agency which will work with the sisters on digital content, live touring, podcasts, books, TV, and licensing and endorsements [1]. Less than a week later it was announced that Addison Rae, a user with over 50-Million followers and a friend of the D’Amelio’s, signed with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, another talent agency with similar interest as UTA in working with the 19-year-old with her business in modeling, fashion, music, dance, TV, film, digital, podcasting, touring, books, licensing and endorsements [2].

Yet, these three are just a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the kind of talent on the app, most of whom don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve. With over 800-million users worldwide [3] the pool of talent runs very deep and so, today, we at TV Wasteland would like to highlight our favorite users who we feel have the talent to make it in the industry.


Haley Sharpe

courtesy of @yodelinghaley

Haley Sharpe is one of, if not the most, recognizable names on this list. Best known for being the mind behind the “Say So dance” which has been performed by millions of TikTokers all over the planet, Haley also appeared in the music video for the song alongside Doja Cat. A dancer from Alabama, Haley never knew how big the 15-second clip of her dancing to a pop song would become.

“I used to always say as a joke ‘I’m going to be famous when I grow up’ just because I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer… or ‘I want to be Kylie Jenner’… but now, having a platform, it’s not what I expected. It’s been really great to dip my toe into the dance world after being in the Say So music video. Something I always wanted to do was be a professional dancer and then I got what it’s like to be a professional dancer.”

Alongside her dancing though, Haley also posts plenty of comedic, videos as well as interacting with her fans. Haley has also been featured on sites like Vox and Cosmopolitan. We asked Haley what it was like becoming so notable at such a young age:

“It was something to get used to with going out and people looking at you like they recognized you, and then knowing they were going to come up to you at some point and say ‘hi,’ but it’s super cool getting to meet people that watch my TikToks, it’s been super fun.”

Despite her mainstream success, Haley is very down to earth. She has aspirations outside of TikTok of becoming a professional dancer and said about the future of her career:

“I’m definitely going to go to college after I graduate high school, so if I can continue having a platform on TikTok or wherever that would be great- but dancing has always been my passion so I definitely want to head in the direction of making a career out of that.”

You can find Haley on TikTok @yodelinghaley.


Mark Gaetano

courtesy of @m.a.rk

LA-DIES AND GEN-TEL-MEN! Mark Gaetano, better known as Snarky Marky, is a comedy/pov TikToker most known for his eerily spot on impressions of a teacher who takes their job just a bit too seriously. Raking in nearly 130 million likes, Mark has most likely been spotted on your For You Page shouting something like “Attention! The volume in here is out-of-con-trol!”

But if not, then you can check Mark out on TikTok @snarkymarky.


Wisdom Kaye

courtesy of @WISDM

Style is king on Wisdom Kaye’s Tiktok page. If you haven’t seen this 19 year old from Texas on your For You Page then you may have seen him last month in Vogue, which featured a piece about “The Best Dressed Guy on Tiktok.” It isn’t just clothes though that’s drawn 3.3 million users to hit the “follow” button. Wisdom edits his videos (which feature fashion advice, outfits of the day, outfit challenges, etc.) in a way that’s almost too compelling to look away.

You can check out Wisdom for yourself @wisdm8 on TikTok.


Sarah Lugor

courtesy of @sarahlugor

Sarah Lugor is a nineteen year old comedy TikToker from California who also posts fashion and singing videos. With 2.3 million followers and over 80 million total likes, the odds are she’s graced your For You Page at least once or twice. You might even recognize her from this video, which has almost 20 million views. We asked Sarah what she felt made TikTok such a unique platform:

“I believe it gives anyone a chance to be seen! It’s the reason I started posting in the first place. I never feel confined with what I can post, and generally am able to be my full authentic self. Whether that’s posting a singing video, showing my outfits, or creating a comedy sketch, I always feel like there’s a space for my content to be consumed.”

Sarah is also an outspoken member of both the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, and can often been seen posting on her instagram about social issues she’s passionate about. We asked Sarah how she felt TikTok had unified Gen Z:

“It’s a platform where we have been able to find other people like us without being ostracized. The For You Page on TikTok is spectacular at showing you content that caters to your specific interests, so it’s much easier to find content creators that you resonate with within Gen Z.”

You can check out Sarah on TikTok @shreksdumpster.


Carson Elliott

courtesy of @carsonsmelliott

You might not recognize Carson Elliott’s face, but you’d definitely recognize his sound. Carson Elliott is a musician on the app who, along with piano and drums, plays an instrument called a talkbox, which achieves a unique and almost futuristic sound in his singing videos. You may have heard his cover of Say So by Doja Cat, which has over 100 thousand plays on SoundCloud and 1.2 million plays on Spotify.

You can find Carson on TikTok @carsonsmelliott and check out his music on Spotify.


Jackie Jueny

courtesy of @jaxajueny

Jackie Jueny wants you to know exactly who she is. While she definitely posts her fair share of comedy videos, Jackie also regularly posts very real singing videos, candid videos of her with her friends, and serious videos of her talking about her political views. It’s rare to find a TikToker with a fanbase as big as hers (2 million followers) who is so unafraid to show the world exactly who she is. She’s a proud member of the BIPOC community who doesn’t hesitate to put others in their place when needed.

You can find Jackie on TikTok @fatraco0n.


Griffin Maxwell Brooks

courtesy of Griffin Maxwell Brooks

Griffin Maxwell Brooks is a TikToker with over 200,000 followers. Unlike other TikTokers on this list, Griffin’s content isn’t as easily classifiable. While he’ll post the occasional joke, a funny reaction video, or some funny photos from a beach trip with his friends, he focuses on providing a safe space for the LGBT community- and has no patience for homophobia no matter what their following is.

“TikTok’s algorithm gives a voice to people who may have not had one prior, because it is much easier to go viral – lots of people see and have the opportunity to interact with your content…which allows for the most supported and popular voices to be heard rather than those with pre-existing followings.”

Griffin also isn’t afraid to get political with his content, often approached in a comedic way. We asked him where he felt the intersection was between comedy and politics.

“I think Gen Z particularly has cultivated its own culture that circulates the combination of politics and comedy. We realize that the way to draw attention to certain important things is to make them funny, as that typically attracts more people. Sometimes this can be harmful, because reducing certain movements to memes can be offensive, but oftentimes it allows for a more productive dispersal of information.”

You can find Griffin on TikTok @griffinmaxwellbrooks.


Emmy Hartman

courtesy of @emmyhartman

Emmy Hartman is a comedy TikToker with an abstract sense of humor. Her videos are notoriously strange, but still bring in hundreds of thousands of views. On top of her humor, Emmy has a superb and unique fashion sense, often sporting counter-culture attire.

You can find her on TikTok @emmwee


Ian Smith

courtesy of @ianiznotugly

Odds are that if you’ve heard of Emmy Hartman, then you’ve probably also heard of Ian Smith. The duo are close friends and regularly collab on videos. Like Emmy, Ian also has a unique sense of humor and impeccable fashion. He makes some of the strangest yet inexplicably entertaining content out there and does it all in style. In addition to TikTok, Ian also has a youtube channel where he post vlogs.

You can find him on TikTok @ianisuglyy.


Brendan Radecki

courtesy of @brendanradecki

Brendan Radecki, a comedy TikToker, humbly admits that he doesn’t have the biggest following, but still chooses to use his platform to spread joy and awareness about social issues he’s passionate about like the Black Lives Matter movement. We asked Brendan about what he felt makes TikTok a unique platform.

“I think TikTok is pretty unique because it doesn’t matter who you are for your voice to be heard. Whether it be a post that is comedy, point of view, dancing, political, etc. you have a shot at getting on the For You Page and having people see your videos, even if you have, say, ten followers. It’s also really cool to be able to interact with people who share similar interests/lifestyles based on hashtags that may come up on your For You Page.”

Brendan has over a 100,000 followers and 11 million total likes. He also has plenty of interaction with his growing fanbase.

“My experience with fans has been amazing. It’s crazy to think that there are quite a few who follow me and like my content, and I love interacting with people. I’ve met countless incredible people through the app who reached out and wanted to get to know me more…it’s so cool to see who regularly comments on/like my videos…they all mean so much to me.”

You can find Brendan on TikTok @brendanradecki.


Chloe Frances

courtesy of @contrachloe

Chloe Frances is another comedian with a unique brand of comedy. Similarly to Ian and Emmy, Chloe’s content skews more towards the strange and irreverent. Her high energy videos clearly work, seeing as she has almost 600,000 followers.

Look for her on TikTok @contrachloe


Austin Smith

courtesy of @lameaustin

Austin Smith is a 19-year-old comedy TikToker and an outspoken member of the LGBTQ+ community. His fans recognize him by the signature butterfly clips he keeps his hair up with, but you may recognize him from this video which boasts and impressive 3.7 million views. Austin can often be found posting about his love for Lady Gaga, responding to comments from his 350,000+ followers, or just a funny thought he wanted to share.

You can find Austin on TikTok @austincantdrive


Ainsley Edwards & Tre Coast

courtesy of @ainsley.edwards

Ainsley and Tre are a brother/sister comedy duo who post some of the most bizarre content on the internet. The two are masters of comedy, with videos that feel somehow improvisational, yet meticulously scripted at the same time. Regularly posting videos that are almost impossible to look away from, we asked the siblings about their process, and how exactly they come up with the brilliant ideas that bring in hundreds of thousands of views:

“We honestly make a video with whatever we’re thinking of that day, not ever preparing to make a specific video. Our videos are like a look inside our brains.”

In any case, their content clearly resonates with their fans, garnering them over 100,000 followers and a total of over 4 million likes.

“Our fans are so cool and funny. Their comments always make us laugh and they have similar humor to us. We actually have a group chat with some of our fans that have become online friends on Instagram.”

On top of TikTok, Tre also makes music, and you’ve probably heard one of his songs, Don’t Talk to Me (feat. Lycia Faith). He also released a new single, Jessica, earlier this month, which they’ve been advertising using TikTok.

“Tiktok is insanely unique because there’s so many different sides- comedy, povs, dances, diys, etc. whatever you like to do, it has a place on the app.”

You can find the two on TikTok @insleyy and you can find Tre’s music on Spotify.


Caroline Ricke

courtesy of @carolinericke

Caroline Ricke is another comedy TikToker and a member of THNAF, a collective of TikTokers living together in Los Angeles. She loves parodying reality TV shows like ABC’s What Would You Do? and Lifetime’s Supper Nanny. She also has a popular series of videos parodying The Hollywood Fix, a TMZ style Youtube channel for social media influencers. Her sketch writing talent rivals that of some of the writers on SNL, and we think her quarter of a million followers would agree.

You can find Caroline on TikTok @richcaroline


Claire Drake

courtesy of @clairedrakee

Claire Drake is just your average teenage girl with nearly 700,000 TikTok followers. Claire posts relatable content and comedy videos, often with a very dry demeanor. Her straight-man comedy act might seem obscure to some but the simplicity of her content is actually kind of brilliant.

You can find her on TikTok @bigballerclaire.


Collin Brientall

courtesy of @collinb963

Collin Brientall is another comedy TikToker, but what set’s him aside from the rest is his very simple approach to comedy, using only other people’s audios. Without speaking a single word, Collin has garnered 1.4 million followers and accumulated 73 million likes. Like many others on this list, Collin uses his platform to spread awareness about social issues he’s passionate about.

You can find him on TikTok @collinb963.


Bonus Round:

@soupytime
Georgia is an 18 year old comedy TikToker from California. Her unique sense of humor and undeniable charisma has earned her over 850k fans. She often posts about experiences she’s had with her fans and her tagged photos on instagram are comprised mostly of fan art. The comment sections of her videos are even often filled with inside jokes among her fanbase. She also regularly posts about her taste in music, tv, and movies.

@torijacksonisthegreatest
At first glance, Tori Jackson might look like any other teenage girl on TikTok, but take a closer look and see that she’s actually one of the funniest comedians on the platform. Her comedy videos are incredibly simple in concept and hilariously relatable- and her skits are on the same level as something you might see on Ainsley Edwards’ page. Tori Jackson has just shy of 140 thousand followers and is quickly rising.

@cowboynamedriley
Ready to take the world by storm, 16 year old Riley Finucane is well on his way with over a half of a million TikTok followers. Riley makes comedy videos which combine his skill for storytelling with his thoughts on life as a teenager still stuck in high school.

@ladyefron
Brooke Averick is a comedian on TikTok who has her own brand self deprecating humor. Most of Brooke’s videos consist of her responding to questions from her followers, telling funny and embarrassing stories from her childhood, or talking about her love for Zac Efron (hence her username). Brooke holds nothing back and her hilarious sense of honesty has garnered her more than 550 thousand followers.

@talonbuzbee
Talon Buzbee is a Rodrick Heffley look alike with a sweet sense of humor. Often joking about the absurd and nostalgic, Talon’s content satisfies a niche that you may have not even known was there.

@nicholaspodany
When you think of the big broadway actors who use TikTok, Nicholas Podany may not be the first name you think of. The original understudy for Albus Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Nicholas brings his own brand of comedy to TikTok. His content often incorporates music, jokes about literature, jokes about broadway, and little something for everyone. He also has a new song out on Spotify. Nicholas Podany’s TikTok is a pretty safe bet if you’re looking for something good to watch.

@iamjustinvibes
The aptly named Justin Vibes is a musical TikToker and wiz on the vibraphone. Justin plays covers of modern songs on his metal melodica and averages hundreds of thousands of views. The 33 year old has 4.2 million TikTok followers and has released six tracks on Spotify in the last year.

@slimnotshadyyy
Slim Carlson is a super down to Earth comedian on TikTok who makes relatable content for Gen Z. Her brand of comedy is a bit out there but it clearly works, bringing in 200 thousand followers.

@char.byrd
Recognizable by her pink hair, Charlie Byrd is a TikTok comedian and a vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community.

@fishie.fish
Kiera is a TikToker with nearly 200 thousand followers. Her fanbase (which she calls her “cult”) love her content which ranges from comedy to music history facts.


Sources:

[1] Jarvey, N. (2020, January 15). TikTok Stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio Sign With UTA (Exclusive). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tiktok-stars-charli-dixie-damelio-sign-uta-1269781

[2] Jarvey, N. (2020, January 21). TikToker Addison Rae Signs With WME (Exclusive). Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tiktoker-addison-rae-signs-wme-1271521

[3] Mohsin, M. (2020, July 22). 10 TikTok Statistics That You Need to Know [July 2020]. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.oberlo.com/blog/tiktok-statistics

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