You probably haven’t heard of Craig Benzine even though he’s been creating content on YouTube since 2007. And throughout his 12-year career, he’s made over 1,500 videos. Even after this, he hasn’t even cracked a million subscribers. Craig’s channel is WheezyWaiter, and you should be watching his content.
Why the name WheezyWaiter? When he created his channel, Craig was waiting tables, and he has been a life-long asthma sufferer. Back in 2007, it was a simpler time for user names. He was part of some of the first wave of YouTube celebrities including, the Vlogbrothers, Charlieissocoollike, and iJustine, a time when creators made videos because they loved to make them and not because of Ad Revenue, (the Partner program wouldn’t launch until the end of 2007.)
In the early days, Craig was creating sketch comedy from his apartment. He had a really simple setup; a camera and a tripod. These videos feel quaint now in the age of ultra edited 4K content, but back then this is what passed as entertainment on YouTube, and honestly, they’re still good today. Craig’s craft quickly improved and he found his voice while establishing some of his most well-known tropes; He addressed his audience as Beard Lovers, due to Craig fashioning a very full beard, he would constantly use and refer to his ‘clones’ which he made using simple crop tools, and punching eagles, banjo face, and crocodile pits thrown in for good measure. He was an absurdist comedian and one which could use the freedom of the internet to do whatever he wanted, and yet he kept everything as family-friendly as possible. It was wholesome good fun, but that sort of video never hit the mainstream all that often. But his beard lovers were devoted, and his output was consistent.
As well as releasing on his channel, he could be seen presenting on the Vlogbrother’s educational Crash Course and the Mental Floss channel. He then set up The Good Stuff with his friends from his indie band, The Driftless Pony Club. The Good Stuff created mini-documentaries on a wide range of topics. Ultimately, this venture didn’t pay off, and Craig left the channel along with other members of the band, leaving Matt Weber to run the channel. Ironically, it would be this kind of content which would see Craig gain the most recognition he’s had on his channel.
In 2018, 11 years after creating his channel, Craig became tired of his old format. To counteract this, he posted the first of his ‘Why do people like…’ series. In this series, he asked the question, why do people like certain activities, things or trends. He then followed this with his most successful video to date ‘We Quit Sugar for a Month. Here’s What Happened.’ In this video Craig and his wife, Chyna Benzine, unsurprisingly cut all sugar from their life and documented the outcomes. The video was watched 9.8 million times. He’s continued both series, exploring why people like to do stuff, and what happens when people do things for a month. Craig has honed his craft throughout the years, which has helped him create some of the best content on youtube, and it contains some of the best cameos from parents in any medium ever.
Remarkably, WheezyWaiter hasn’t surpassed 10 million subscribers, his videos have become well researched and engaging, and he should be recognised more for his work. In this time of influencers insidiously selling merch, YouTube drama, and the commercialisation of the platform, it’s great to see that even the YouTubers that were around before ad revenue are still doing what they’re doing because it’s their passion.
You can watch WheezyWaiter here: youtube.com/wheezywaiter