The celebrities of tomorrow are all being minted on social media. It’s no wonder, then, that everyone wants a piece of YouTube. Many stars have tried the platform, with some even amassing a following, but few people have been able to make the transition away from the big screen. Jack Black is an exception.
Last month, the comedian / musician announced the arrival of his new gaming-focused channel, which features videos edited by his son Sam. The video was short, but it smartly incorporated shout-outs to YouTube giants like PewDiePie, all while showcasing Black’s familiar, dramatic humor. A week later, Black’s “Jablinski” channel reached a million subscribers.
This weekend, Black uploaded his first real video to the channel, taking viewers into the Pinball Hall of Fame. The video is raw, and in the description, Black apologizes for the somewhat low quality. Throughout the vlog, the camera shakes as he pans it around. This might sound like a problem, but actually, it’s exactly what makes Jack Black’s approach to YouTube good.
There are no bells and whistles here, no fancy production or editing tricks. The appeal lies 100 percent in Jack Black’s persona and personality, which are strong enough to carry that weight. The video mostly feels improvised and off-the-cuff. This is in stark contrast to, say, Will Smith, who absolutely has a crew helping him plan and edit glossy videos that are only possible because he’s rich. Watching Smith’s videos feels like watching commercial studio products from an official Movie Star. This type of approach tends to makes celebrities feel inaccessible and distant, which is not what vlogs are supposed to be about. YouTube fans demonstrably like to feel as if they’re actually getting to know their entertainer.
Unlike most mainstream celebrities, Black invites viewers to feel like his buddies, tagging along on a trip he’s taking. He breaks out into song, he makes dorky jokes, he gets excited about obscure old games. It’s great. Black feels authentic, which might explain how he’s already piled on 2.6 million followers as of this writing, which is more than half the following Will Smith has built over the last year.