Published: 20th January 2021
From mass bunking to interviews, why YouTuber Be Younick's videos are making 4 million peeps go ROFL
We speak to Nikunj Lotia AKA Be YouNick, whose videos on YouTube are relatable and rib-ticklingly funny, making him one of the top content creators in the country
Six years ago, in 2014, a young man from Mumbai's Dombivli burst into the rapidly-growing YouTube comedy scene. Hailing from a very humble background, he began making videos about things he observed around him, things that go easily unnoticed but that are insanely funny. Take for example his sketch on mass bunking in college or the job interview series. Not only are these rib-ticklingly funny and extremely relatable, but it also remains among his most viewed videos. Six years hence, Nikunj Lotia has now created a name for himself — Be YouNick — after his YouTube channel and as he is popularly known among his legions of fans, which includes various celebrities.
And while his first video has over 3 million views and Nikunj now has over 4 million subscribers, he still has his roots firmly planted in 'Aamchi Mumbai'. His stint making YouTube videos has taken him around the world, "but it has always found its way back home," he says. In a candid conversation, Nikunj tells us about his journey, his content and what exactly makes him so YouNick! Excerpts:
You make videos on everyday moments that are funny and can happen with anyone. That needs some serious observation. So are you always alert and hunting for content?
I don’t know if it's hunting for content or not, but I observe everything around me and that really, really helps. I was the class clown so I had the habit of making any situation funny. Those two combined are core in my content game.
What made you decide to make videos?
I saw a fair bit of content and thought YouTube was such a cool platform to showcase your art, your skills to the whole world. I tried my hand at it and failed, but I had enough fun doing it to keep at it.
What goes behind the making of a Be YouNick video?
It's an observation that my team and I jam on, we think of various ways to respond to it to make it fun and then build in our trademark special twist to it. Once we have the idea ready, it's just a matter of acting it out for the camera and then, our editor Cuttappa weaves his magic on it and that’s the video. I read a lot of comments, especially in the first few hours, and sometimes, these reactions even find their way to our next video.
Your journey is always summed up as 'From Dombivli to LA'. Take us through that.
It's from Dombivli all right, and it's gone to Monaco as the only Indian creator to be nominated for the Global Influencer award, it's been to other places too, including LA. But it has always found its way back home.
You have over 4 million subscribers, a lot of them are children and youngsters. What do you do to ensure the content is suitable for a younger audience?
There was a time when people consumed soft drinks because their favourite movie celebrity promoted it. Ever since the digital explosion, a similar trend has been seen with YouTubers. You never know what you might say in your videos that might end up becoming a fad tomorrow. So, I do not use any cuss words at all. I don’t want to be greeted with an expletive whenever I go on stage. Having said that, I have nothing against the ones who do. It’s their choice, just not mine.
Do you think anybody can become successful through YouTube? What, according to you, does it take, aside from good content, of course, to make a million-plus following?
One of the great thing about YouTube as a digital platform is that it acts as an aggregation to a broad spectrum of talent — be it the ability to make music out of cups or be it sand art. Other than good scripts and a loyal fanbase, consistency is one thing that can give a big push, at least in the initial phase.
What do you do to stand out among the ever-increasing list of content creators across various platforms?
I started off when the list of creators had only a few names. Now, or even then for that matter, I didn’t compete to stand out. I just want to be myself and do what I have been doing.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, some of your childhood experiences that defined you.
I studied at Sir JJ School of Arts. I have too many childhood experiences to narrate but there was a point when I really struggled, like being asked to wait outside class for not being able to pay the fees on time. So, I have always been using comedy just so that I can be a part of a group. I was a class clown for the right and wrong reasons so that taught me a lot about making jokes and making people laugh. I also realised that I could avoid being the guy being laughed at. Then, of course, I did odd jobs to help my family. I have been a bartender and I’d like to believe a very good one at that. I even won an award for a cocktail recipe. It’s been a crazy journey so far, but every day is a new premise and a new promise. So let’s see how long and far this goes.