Recently, I’ve been writing about and covering a lot of different ways in which YouTube is shaking up traditional industries that have been around for decades. Until YouTube, there was a certain way to do things – a certain way to “make it”. Now, the possibilities and opportunities have broadened enormously. It’s a great time to be a creator, and that includes comedians.
On YouTube, we’ve seen a new wave of comedians rising up, practicing their trade and honing their skills in their regular uploads to the platform. While the content may sometimes feel different from how we traditionally think of stand-up comedians performing, the end goal is the same – they’re here to make us laugh. And out of all the laughs we get on YouTube, Cody Ko may well be handing out the most. Here’s why we think he’s one of the funniest creators on the platform right now.
At a glance
Cody Ko is a Canadian-born 31-year-old creator currently based in LA. He shares a variety of videos on his YouTube channels (he has a 2nd channel alongside the main one), including vlogs, reaction videos, cooking, commentary and plenty more. Whatever he’s up to, you can almost guarantee it will provide you with fits of laughter. Even when he’s not trying, Cody is inherently funny, and it’s not surprising to see he’s built an audience of 5.8m subscribers on YouTube with plenty more across TikTok, Instagram and other socials.
Here’s what he has to say about himself in the channel description:
A man who can wear many hats, it appears. This is one of the many reasons he’s been so successful.
He’s constantly evolving
One of the keys to being successful on YouTube and in comedy, in general, is that you have to keep evolving. As brutal as it may seem, if you stand still, you become irrelevant and get left behind. Cody understands that well.
Originally, Cody became known for his hilarious 6-second shorts over on Vine (remember that?!).
In 2014, with Vine on the decline, he made the natural progression to YouTube (as many other popular Vine creators did at that time). While his Vine content was hilarious, it was made specifically for Vine, and it worked on that platform. But making 6-second videos wasn’t going to cut it on YouTube. So he needed to start over again and build something from scratch.
Of course, it helped that he had a solid foundation with an audience that had followed him over from Vine, but he still had to figure out what would work on YouTube in the long run. When you study his channel, you can see the many different iterations he’s gone through over the years. From vlogs to talking head videos in the early days to collabs, reaction videos and commentaries, it’s all there. Cody is someone who is constantly experimenting and pushing boundaries, as all the best comedians do.
Funnily enough, with the recent rise of TikTok, IG Reels and YouTube Shorts, we’re not seeing the Cody Ko content come full circle as he reverts back to posting shorter funny videos on these platforms. Having a background in Vine, he’s a master of the format!
He’s an entrepreneur
With his YouTube channel proving to be a huge hit, putting all his eggs in this basket could have been tempting. And who could blame him with every video clocking over a million views and tons of virality? But the thing is, Cody isn’t strictly just a creator or a comedian. He’s an entrepreneur who clearly sees the bigger picture.
Even before Vine and YouTube, Cody was creating business opportunities for himself in college. In 2012, he designed and built an app called “I’d cap that” – a simple app where you upload your photo, and it generates a random, funny caption. The app was a massive hit with 4 million users and no.1 on the Apple Store.
This ability to identify niches and create different projects that can generate income for him is reflected in his career as a creator. He hasn’t just built his brand around 1 channel. Here’s a partial list of things he’s done:
- Sold merchandise and custom mugs
- Appeared as an actor in scripted dramas
- Brand deals
- Started the TMG podcast with fellow friend and creator Noel Miller.
This last point is crucial since he generated over $90,000 of income EVERY MONTH with the TMG project. It also led to music production and live shows performing stand-up comedy worldwide.
It shows that you truly can now break into an industry such as comedy just by starting out on YouTube. Cody built an audience online by himself with his comedic videos and then managed to successfully transition to doing stand-up tours with live audiences. This simply wasn’t possible 20 years ago!
Not taking himself too seriously
You could argue that this is probably a prerequisite for any aspiring comic, but over on YouTube, it’s not always the case. What’s clear from the get-go throughout Cody’s content is that he’s more than happy to make fun of himself. He’s self-aware, down-to-earth and likes to poke fun at himself just as much as he does others – an essential trait in his line of work.
Furthermore, this self-awareness means he’s also authentic and honest. He’s had plenty of open and earnest discussions on his second channel (where he infrequently reacts to the r/CodyKo Reddit content). He talked about things like not being happy with his content, wanting to experiment and try different things, taking on too many brand deals and trying to balance the needs of the business with his creative wants and needs. In other videos, you’ll find him speaking honestly about mental health and even going to therapy.
While discussing these topics is not his aim or intent, all of this helps build a more loyal audience because people relate to this and can see that Cody is being his genuine self on camera. It makes us feel like we know him, and when he uploads a video, it’s a bit like hanging out with a friend.
This loyal audience is reflected in the many mediums Cody plays and the various businesses he operates. People will follow and support him wherever he goes and whatever he does.
So, are you subscribed? Cody Ko has given us plenty of laughs over the years, and there’ll be plenty more. With his innovation and entrepreneurial mindset, it’s a guarantee that his content will continue to evolve and change over time, keeping it fresh and exciting for his ever-growing audience.
He’s an inspiration who’s led the way in showing what’s possible for comedians looking to break into what felt like a very closed-off, challenging industry, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.