From The Try Guys to ASMR Darling: How these 10 YouTubers responded to the coronavirus

Clockwise from top left: The Try Guys, AmazingPhil, SYAxRIA, ASMR Darling.
PHOTO: YouTube screengrab

You're stuck at home. You're bored. You've lost count of how many hours you've spent perusing YouTube.

From comedy to solemn advisories to relaxing videos, internet celebrities have been drawing our attention with all sorts of coronavirus-related content now that everyone is staying indoors. 

We take a look at how some of your favourite YouTubers have responded to the coronavirus:

SYAxRIA

Two of Singapore's largest social media personalities, Deekosh and Hirzi, have been collaborating in a series called SYAxRIA — a fusion of the names of Hirzi's character Syasya and Deekosh's Ria Warna.

Both are known to dish out unfiltered opinions in the content they put out and this comedic series is no exception. They cover the coronavirus situation in the 7th episode "The Wuhan Virus AKA Covid-19", which was trending on YouTube for a bit. 

It's very on-brand for them. Filled with puns, a whole slew of comments (that are most definitely NSFW) and jokes that really toe the line, they do offer some important reminders for the audience as well. 

For example, Syasya made it a point to remind Ria Warna not to call Covid-19 the "Wuhan virus" anymore, explaining how it perpetuates stigma against the Chinese. They also pointed out irrational behaviour such as panic buying and wearing a mask over one's eyes.

Syasya shared a piece of wisdom: "People's panic is validated but people's reactions are not."

Ria Warna's right — someone needs to put that on a T-shirt ASAP!

The Try Guys

If you've ever been on YouTube, there's no way you haven't heard of The Try Guys before.

Consisting of Keith Habersberger, Eugene Lee Yang, Zach Kornfeld and Ned Fulmer, the four-person group was originally formed under Buzzfeed and skyrocketed to fame after the video series of them trying all kinds of things went viral. They've since struck out on their own since 2018 under their production company, 2nd Try LLC.

Well-loved for being a hilarious, down-to-earth bunch, they've also proven to be capable of toning it down to discuss more serious issues when the situation calls for it. The current coronavirus pandemic is one such situation.

In the episode "The Try Guys Coronavirus Channel Update", they addressed issues such as the importance of social responsibility, flattening the curve and not panic buying.

"We're going to lose a lot of things, but the one thing we cannot afford to lose is our humanity," Zach sombrely reminded.

They also updated their audience on their work-from-home situation.

"We react to stress through being creative, so we're going to keep making content for you," Keith reassured their audience, promising to continue delivering content such as daily Vlogs from their homes - and deliver they did indeed!

For example, the video "The Try Guys Get New Hobbies At Home" features Keith teaching his wife Becky how to juggle, Ned playing with his son Wes, Eugene helping the audience get to know his boyfriend through daily Q&A segments and Zach gaining spiritual fulfilment through pottery. 

LaurDIY

Known for her vibrant, creative videos and her bubbly personality, Lauren Riihimaki runs the channel LaurDIY. In response to the pandemic, she has utilised her DIY expertise to teach her audience how to make their own cloth masks.

Riihimaki explained that surgical and N95 masks are critical supplies for healthcare providers, hence encouraging the rest of us to try crafting our own cloth masks. Most of us are likely to already be in possession of the required materials after all —fabrics and elastic bands.

She shared straightforward, step-by-step guides on how to make three different DIY masks, starting with the easiest one which requires no sewing at all. Even the most challenging one, she reassured her audience, is fairly doable even for those who lack sewing experience.

Doctor Mike

Dubbed the 'Sexiest Doctor Alive', Mikhail Varshavski (or better known Doctor Mike), has proven in his extremely informative videos that he is far from just a handsome face.

Expectedly, he has put out a whole slew of coronavirus-related content since the outbreak of the virus, utilising his medical expertise and his far-reaching platform to debunk misinformation.

In the video "Doctor vs Conspiracy Theories", he shot down speculations that Chinese people who ate bats were to blame for the spread of the virus. "What's the use in talking about 'bat soup' outside of getting clicks? Zero," he remarked. 

He also condemned businesses that are taking advantage of the pandemic to promote their products, calling it a "cheap shot preying on folk's vulnerabilities" in a time when everyone should be "banding together" instead of trying to "make a buck off of each other".

In the face of blatant media sensationalism, his exasperation as a medical professional is evident in the video "Doctor Fact-Checks Media On Coronavirus".

He criticised the media sites that are misrepresenting the coronavirus situation in America, expressing his disappointment at seeing fear-mongering tendencies even from established sources like the National Geographic.

Wong Fu Productions

Founded in 2003, Wong Fu Productions is known as one of the 'OG' YouTube channels alongside Nigahiga and is lauded as one of the trailblazers for authentic Asian-American representation.

In the video "Let's talk about Coronavirus", the team gathered to share their insights regarding the xenophobia and racism that have arisen following the global spread of the pandemic.

"It kind of feels like we've backtracked in our progress," one of the editors, Taylor Chan, lamented, referring to how the Asian American community seemed to have made great strides in gaining more visibility before the outbreak.

They went on to cite the award-winning film Parasite, the upcoming Disney film Mulan as well as the fact that they had even had an Asian-American presidential candidate, Andrew Yang.

Co-founders Wesley Chan and Phil Wang suggested that perhaps many are simply taking advantage of the backdrop of the coronavirus to expound their racist sentiments.

Ryan Higa

"How to be Ninja", "The Big Bouncing Inflatable Green Ball"... anyone who watched YouTube in the early 2000s would have stumbled upon these classic Nigahiga videos at some point.

The channel-owner, Ryan Higa, has impressed many by being able to continue churning out relevant comedic content after more than 10 years. 

In one of his latest videos "Ugh! There's just nothing to do!", he calls out those who have been complaining about their boredom from being stuck at home through a surprisingly catchy tune.

The music video contains a hard-hitting message but delivers it with a comedic twist in classic Nigahiga fashion.

AmazingPhil

Phil Lester, also known as AmazingPhil, is a YouTube star adored by millions of fans across the world.

Most of his videos are fairly light-hearted and exude good vibes — and his videos during the outbreak have been no exception.

In the video "Social distancing and Animal Crossing", he played the new Nintendo title Animal Crossing: New Horizons while making some quirky commentary. 

He also showed the audience his attempt at make Dalgona Coffee, the drink that practically everyone on every platform has made during the lockdown climate. With a festive Easter touch. 

ASMR Darling

A faint rustling of medical gloves, gentle tapping of nails on plastic, a wispy, soothing voice speaking softly into your ears... and you've fallen asleep to the sounds of a 'doctor' testing you for coronavirus.

ASMR, which stands for an autonomous sensory meridian response, refers to a relaxing tingly sensation triggered by auditory and visual stimuli.

Regular watchers of ASMR videos have probably heard of ASMR Darling. In fact, she was probably the gateway drug for many who are fans of the genre on YouTube.

In the video "ASMR Testing you for Coronavirus (Raising awareness and debunking myths)", the channel-runner who goes by Taylor Darling roleplayed as a doctor testing someone for various illnesses, including the coronavirus.

While it might seem odd to those who are not familiar with ASMR, she has clarified that the aim of the video was to help those who are stressed out about the current situation to relax as well as debunk certain myths about the virus.

Watcher

Watcher Entertainment is by far the youngest channel in this list, having been established only late last year. It is the brainchild of Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej — former Buzzfeed creators and hosts of three of its most popular series, Worth it, Unsolved and Ruining History.

In the video "Our First Quarantine Show!", Ryan mused that while he used to feel bad about lying in bed watching Netflix the entire day, now he felt like "a hero" for doing so instead of going outside.

Elicited some understandably incredulous looks from his co-hosts, he pushed on by declaring: "Everyone out there, if you're bingeing Watcher, you're a hero, maybe."

A questionable choice of words, perhaps, but a valid point nonetheless.

Connor Franta

Come for the aesthetics, stay for the deep, candid discussions. Connor Franta's videos are appealing for a multitude of reasons, including being highly insightful and relatable.

He used the platform to express his overwhelming anxiety regarding the coronavirus situation as well as how he has become paranoid about possibly exhibiting coronavirus symptoms to the point of experiencing mental breakdowns.

He also admitted that he has been feeling a mounting pressure to take advantage of this time to do productive things because he is privileged enough to be able to, but reassured the audience that it is also valid if one is finding it too difficult to be productive during this stressful time.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.

jayliang@asiaone.com