Entrepreneur: Kurtis Conner
Tilt: Satirical takes on current events and trending topics
Scene: YouTube (4.15M), Very Really Good podcast, Patreon, Instagram (1.3M), Twitter (988.8K), Twitch (301K)
- Kurtis Conner started on Vine before moving exclusively to YouTube in his early business days.
- When an in-the-moment comedic take included an ableist TikTok clip, he apologized to his audience to recognize his mistake.
- Once Kurtis grew an audience in the millions, he expanded to other products, including a podcast, merch, and a live tour.
Why We Stan: Kurtis is a great example of how “overnight” audience success doesn’t mean “overnight” business success. He’s worked hard for many years to build and grow an audience that supports his content. We also like how he attracts an audience through his free podcasts but encourages them to subscribe for bonus content on his Patreon account.
The Story of Kurtis Conner
Known for his unique comedic sense of humor and timing, YouTuber and performer Kurtis Conner has made a living from uploading videos with his satirical comments and takes on everyday events and trending topics. He participated in Humber College’s Comedy: Writing and Performance program. He dropped out of college his freshman year after deciding an English degree wasn’t for him.
In 2014, at the age of 20, Curtis posted his first two videos to YouTube and quickly gained 350K followers on the channel. During that time, he also used the now defunct Vine, with videos of his meals and his trusted skateboard. In 2017, he went full on comedy and focused exclusively on YouTube.
Every upload is different from the last, with a creative and fresh take on interesting and sometimes problematic corners of the internet and world. His lengthier videos range from A Deep Dive Into Disney Adults, exploring the franchise’s complex history, to the TikTok Mafia, discussing the good, bad, and ugly of people pretending the be in the Mafia on the popular app.#ContentEntrepreneur @KurtisConner entertains millions with his funny takes on interesting and sometimes problematic corners of the internet. #Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
Earlier this year, Kurtis described his unconventional approach to content creation in an interview on the YouTube channel In the Grey: “The way my brain receives it is how absurd the things people say are. So, since it’s that absurd, it’s not much harder to make it funny. Absurdity is inherently funny … I just have to repackage the things they are saying in a non-terrible way.”
Kurtis grows audience, expands content products
Now 28, Kurtis has a combined audience in the millions, with his content appearing on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and a podcast (with bonus content available through Patreon subscriptions.) He also has taken his comedy on the road with a live tour and hosts a merch store..@KurtisConner shares exclusive bonus content from his free Very Really Good #Podcast with his paid subscribers on @Patreon. #Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet
But while his audience count has grown over the years and Kurtis earned enough to quit his full-time job, it hasn’t been easy.
Pressured to perform and produce videos, he hired an editor to help him. Even then, he sometimes thought he wasn’t doing enough. He also has hit bumps around his approach to subjects addressed in his video. For example, he apologized to his audience members who were upset after he spotlighted an ableist TikTok clip in one of his YouTube videos. “It’s obviously the worse feeling because it’s not something I want to [profile],” he explains.
He even elaborated on this in an interview on the Build Series: “If I have this audience, I feel I have a duty to spread positive messages that can help people … I wouldn’t be able to do this if I wasn’t putting out good messages.”
As Kurtis grows his audience and expands his revenue stream, he never loses sight of his content tilt: “At the core of what I do … is something I can do that would be really funny.”
About the author
Shameyka McCalman is a wordsmith whose work often centers around fashion, art, and other creatives of color. She earned her communications degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston and enjoys sifting through clothes in local vintage shops, frequenting nearby plays, and gazing at exhibitions on view in museums.