Aspiring comedians these days can put their humorous commodity out to audiences without ever having to step foot on a stand-up stage. Thanks to avenues like YouTube, comics can take their creativity and freedom, and connect with potentially multitudes of fans with relative ease. Here are some comic artists who have found a way to follow their hearts and talent, and make a lucrative living in the process.

Internet comedy duo Rhett and Link consists of Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln “Link” Neal III. Their content includes comedy songs, a daily morning talk-show called Good Mythical Morning, and their YouTube Red series Buddy System. Among their channels, they’ve garnered over 18 million subscribers. A steady output of viral videos reportedly earns them about 486 thousand dollars per year. The two men met in first grade in North Carolina. Because they both were caught writing swear words on tables, they had to stay inside the classroom during recess time. Their friendship was born, and continued to blossom. In middle-school, they signed a blood oath stating: “We will do something together some day.” Rhett and Link attended college together and were even roommates–and their bond remains strong as ever with both men living in Los Angeles running the production company Mythical Entertainment. Here is their Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek which has about 34,000,000 views.

Canadian YouTube comedian, actress, vlogger Lilly Singh, also known as Superwoman, specializes in voices, accents, and impersonations. As her parents are originally from Punjab, India, Lilly often portrays Punjabi culture in her satirical videos. She delves into topics about everyday life, controversies, as well as humorous complaints. Singh also launched a talk-show series called #GirlLove which serves as a platform to promote a support system within the female population. Her videos have received more than 1.6 billion views, and garnered over 10.6 million subscribers. This makes her one of the most successful YouTube personalities yet. In fact, Forbes reported that she earned a whopping 7.5 million dollars in 2016. Singh released her first feature film in 2016 entitled A Trip to Unicorn Island. Before creating YouTube content, Singh was suffering from depression and feeling very lonely during her last year of college. But she discovered uploading a video to YouTube caused her to feel happy. And at this rate, she must be very, very happy.

Smosh is a web-based sketch comedy duo consisting of Ian Hecox and Daniel “Anthony” Padilla. In the beginning, Padilla built a website called smosh.com to post Flash animations. But it wasn’t long before his sixth-grade science-class friend, Hecox, joined him as the two discovered their comedic rapport. At first, their funny videos were intended for their own viewing pleasure and sharing with friends. But when they received positive feedback for their lip-syncing videos to theme songs like Power Rangers, they decided to create a YouTube channel. Indeed, when they posted a Pokemon-theme music video, it garnered over 24 million views, but it had to be removed for copyright reasons. Smosh then started creating more channels for their YouTube videos including skits like Food Battle; a games section along with video-game themed music videos; they delved into pop-culture trivia; and launched several web series. Most recently, Smosh created the film Ghostmates for YouTube Red which was released in December. Smosh has over 22 million subscribers, 6 billion video views, and reportedly makes about 4.5 million dollars per year.

These YouTube comedians dared to start their channels not knowing where their adventure would take them. They embraced who they were and maintained a strong emphasis on their personal relationships. When they received positive feedback from viewers, they went with it and evolved over time. And they continue to evolve and expand their horizons, making a good living all the while.

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