We’ve all done it… it’s late at night and we fire up our computer, watch a clip on Youtube and before we know it, we’ve traveled down into a wormhole watching clip after recommended clip. What we thought was just a few minutes of distraction turned into hours before we knew it.
Now, because the world is on lockdown, many folks are flocking to the internet to be entertained and kill some time. A Youtube phenomenon that’s not particularly new are “Reaction” videos. Basically a person or group of people check a piece of media and film themselves reacting to it. In the grand scheme of created content, it’s one of the lowest barriers of entry to get a Youtube page up and running and many have spun up Youtube pages because of this. Said pages vary in production quality, but lately they’ve all seemed to follow a trend, and that’s watching act from comedians they’re unfamiliar with, more specifically it appears Bill Burr owns the category.
This phenomenon appears to have started in October 2018 with one of the larger reaction channels out there, Frankenstein’s Lab. According to his channel, it began in 2012 by Frankenstein. Yet it wasn’t until 2 years ago when Frankenstein started posting videos of him and his cousin Rondo reacting to mostly movie trailers and the random song. The channel performed modestly, netting a few hundred or thousand views with each video. They then started reacting to comedy and Burr was one of the first comics. Videos grew, fast. Earning millions of views compared to the thousands they were. Setting off a precedent for the to dive into other comics – Joey Diaz, Patrice O’Neal, Bert Kresicher. But Burr’s clips seemed to resonate the best.
In January 2019, the music reaction channel No Life Shaq – a largely music reaction channel caught onto the trend and it too helped his channel reach an entire new fanbase.
It was only a matter of time before other reaction channels would follow suit, not only reacting to the same Burr clips but finding other clips and comics to check out. A quick search on Youtube will net you out a bunch of channels (25 before we stopped counting) reacting to Burr’s clips. It makes sense why, on the high end, over 1.5M people have watched these reaction videos. On the low end, 10-15K people watch these clips. Bill Burr brings in the eyeballs.
Additionally, it’s also very obvious that there’s so much of this reaction content that none of it stands out. What was once unique, is now saturated with clip after clip of people videotaping themselves laughing at Bill Burr Jokes. Some of the responses are interesting, but for the most part they are the same. In fact, there were a lot of similarities we came to about this phenomenon.
- Most of the early videos are made up of about 4 different Burr bits – “White Guilt,” “Racial Stereotypes,” “No Reason To Hit A Woman,” “White vs Black Athletes”
- The videos are often hosted by minorities who stated they’ve never heard about Bill Burr until they check out a clip
- One of these channels reacts to a new/different Burr clip the others grab it and follow suit quickly thereafter
- It started with early Burr clips, but as since gone up to his latest bits
It’s a nonstop cycle of – watch Burr clip, laugh, provide a simple response, post, spike traffic, the next reaction channel repeats.
While Bill Burr is clearly the driving creative in these clips, it makes us wonder if he can make any sort of content ownership claims to these videos and be entitled to a portion of the millions of hits these channels are driving. On the other hand, it’s very possible Burr could see this as nothing but a promotional campaign to get people to see him live as it exposes him to a completely different audience. Either way, it’s obvious that Bill Burr is out there inspiring a lot of people on Youtube.