As I might have made apparent before, I spend quite a bit of time on YouTube. The site can be quite a significant time sink and a general enemy of productivity, but there are a lot of channels that actually feel worth the time investment. They may show it in a lot of different ways, but these channels put their heart and soul into every video they post. They might have amazing production value, boldly terrible production value, original and well-executed ideas, or a unique, pervasive sense of humor in every second of content. Today I’m going to share my five favorite channels run by individuals (so no Rooster Teeth, sorry), and explain what makes their videos worth watching.

TierZoo

This is a newer channel with a phenomenal core concept. This guy has a degree in biology (if I remember correctly), and he uses it to create educational zoology videos presented as tier breakdowns for a video game. He talks about competitive viability of different “players” (people and animals) in the worldwide “meta,” and how they have spec’ed their “evolution points” to survive in various “servers.” If that’s not making sense, just go watch one of his videos. They are short, easy to follow, and endlessly rewatchable. The only setback to note is that he references a handful of games fairly regularly and without explanation, so if you don’t at least know the basics of competitive Smash Bros., Overwatch, or others that have probably gone over my head, you’re going to be confused by a lot of the jokes. Even so, these well framed, well-paced, informational videos are sure to delight any fan of both video games and nature channels.

CircleToonsHD

CircleToons has created, without a doubt, the most genius form of animation ever devised by man. It’s revolutionary, reaching across the bounds of different mediums to create something really special. And when I say special, I mean dumb. Bafflingly, incredibly, amazingly dumb. He points a camera at his computer screen, on which he moves each character around by hand while providing an improvisational voice over. It’s essentially the animated equivalent of sock puppets. Circle is a funny guy on his own, and his artwork is inherently hilarious despite (or perhaps because of) its simplicity. Combine those factors with his ridiculous “animation” style, and you have a recipe for some quality entertainment. He has some videos with more general jokes, but the majority of his content is game/anime based. Of course, that’s anything but a downside for this community.

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ProZD

Strong language warning on this one

Speaking of a focus on games and anime… enter SungWon Cho. This guy uses his incredible vocal talents and lovable pudgy face to create extremely short comedy skits about our favorite nerdy media. The skits are funny on their own, but the funniest thing about his channel is how he’s created his own archetypal characters to reuse in every video. After watching his entire catalogue, you can slowly piece together the epic tale of the heroic Archibald, the traitorous Lysanderoth, and Dennis as they face off against King Dragon to save Prince Horace. Or, from his anime content, the quirky adventures of Tomoko, Sousuke Bousuke, and a full cast of sentient furniture. These videos may be short, but you’ll find yourself spending hours in hysterics as you binge all of them in one sitting.

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Quick special mention to Gus Johnson, another short-form YouTuber who is outrageously funny. It was pretty difficult to choose which of these gentlemen to include on the list, but with this being TAY I opted for the nerdy one.

YourMovieSucksDOTorg

This channel has easily the highest production value of any on this list, unfortunately at the cost of upload frequency. Adam’s big projects may be few and far between, but their quality consistently reaches untold heights as a result. YMS’s bread and butter videos pick apart terrible movies on a minute, technical level, allowing you to learn a lot about filmmaking in between fits of laughter. I honestly feel that I can be far more critical of movies after watching Adam’s content, since he often discusses things like shot composition, framing, lighting, and other aspects of filming that are easy to miss for an untrained eye. His rote, monotone delivery adds a lot to his dry wit, creating an almost impossibly sarcastic persona that is hard to stop watching. If you like his content and crave more of it, he also has a podcast called “Sardonicast” that he records with fellow YouTubers I Hate Everything and ralphthemoviemaker, two similar channels that are also worth checking out.

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videogamedunkey

The man, the myth, the legend. Your mileage may vary with dunkey depending on the kind of humor you’re partial to, but even his haters would have to admire his consistency. Every one of his videos is unique, funny, and created with a good mix of fresh jokes and running gags. This guy has created more memes than just about anyone else, including classics like “not even close, babyyyyy,” “is that a Pro Genji?” and “thank you Dark Souls.” He even has more serious content with some interesting discussions on the gaming industry and video games as a medium, though expect his usual goofball humor to permeate even those videos. This man is without a doubt my favorite YouTuber, and leaves me craving exactly one thing: more dunkey.

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Man, this list was hard to narrow down. There are so many incredible YouTube channels that deciding on just five was difficult to say the least. Who are your favorite YouTubers? I’m always on the lookout for new content, and the best way to discover new channels is by word of mouth, so share your own top five lists in the comments!