Cody Ko, Noel Miller and David Dobrik brought laughter and bright smiles to UF students Wednesday night, providing some unfiltered advice and insight on their lives behind the screen.
Accent Speakers Bureau, a UF Student Government agency funded by student fees, hosted the trio in a free event to UF students and faculty over Zoom. During the $120,000 show, they spoke about their experience with YouTube and what is to come in their futures.
More than 1,900 people attended Ko and Miller’s event, and more than 2,200 attended Dobrik’s, Accent Chair Steven Wolf wrote in an email. The cap for both events was set at 3,000.
The night began with a 45-minute conversation with the comedic duo Ko and Miller, known for their YouTube series “That’s Cringe” and Tiny Meat Gang podcast, moderated by UF public relations professor Natalie Asorey. She asked the pair about the biggest risks they’ve taken and their creative process.
Ko and Miller said their biggest risk was taking all of their podcast money to invest in GameStop and Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that recently spiked in the stock market.
Ko said he saw Elon Musk tweet about Dogecoin and immediately bought stocks when it was at its peak. Within hours, he and Miller lost it all. They didn’t specify how much money they invested.
“This was the stupidest thing I have ever done,” Ko said.
The duo stayed true to their YouTube personas, answering all questions with witty and sarcastic humor.
When Asorey asked if they are more left or right-brained, Miller immediately said: “Is that, like, a political question?” and Ko sarcastically followed up: “Yeah, and also, what’s your opinion on religion, Noel?”
The duo also joked about settling creative conflicts with fistfights and appealing to all generations’ sense of humor through fart jokes.
“Everyone thinks farts are funny,” Ko said.
During the 15-minute student Q&A, students asked Miller and Ko if they would have been friends in college and about the evolution of professionalism with newer generations.
“I don’t think I could afford Duke,” Miller joked, referencing Ko’s time at Duke University. “I mean, I don't think we could develop what we have if we didn't match in some way.”
The duo also said the concept of presentability has changed over the past decade and moved on to joke about how they ensure professionalism at Tiny Meat Gang, their comedy podcast.
Ko joked that their employees must read the bible and are not allowed to have tattoos, drink or smoke.
“The Man of God is actually what TMG stands for,” Miller added.
David Dobrik entered the Zoom call at 8 p.m. accompanied by his close friend and assistant Natalie Mariduena, both dressed in Gator hoodies. Journalism professor Harrison Hove moderated a 45-minute conversation with the pair, asking about Dobrik’s thoughts on college education and creative content creation.
Dobrik dropped out of high school because it wasn't for him, he said. Instead, he moved to Los Angeles to work in food service and soon started his career in entertainment through Vine. However, he told students that getting a college education and meeting the right group of people is still important.
“I don’t think you should drop out of school just because you are deciding that school is not for you,” he said. “You gotta f---ing work harder than anybody else now.”
Dobrik said at the peak of his YouTube career, he made $270,000 per month posting three to five vlogs a week.
He said YouTube stopped monetizing his videos due to inappropriate content a few years ago, and he hasn’t profited off of the platform since. With five times as many views on YouTube now as he had then, he said he’d be making $1 million per month if monetized.
During the 15-minute student Q&A, students asked Dobrik for his favorite piece of advice.
“If you turn face to sunshine, all the shadows fall behind you,” he answered.
Jenna Williams, an 18-year-old UF business freshman, said she has been watching the YouTubers for years and was excited to see them live.
“It was really cool to see them having a normal conversation just about their lives, their goals and their futures,” she said. “They kind of just make me forget about all the stresses that are going on in my life.”
Williams said she enjoyed the distraction. Her favorite part of the show was learning about the behind-the-scenes of their videos.
Kaylinn Escobar, an 18-year old UF public health freshman, said she’s a fan of all three YouTubers and was stoked to hear UF would be hosting them for the Accent event.
“I really enjoyed the night,” she said. “I was able to forget about my calculus homework for just a little bit.”
This article has been updated to reflect that David Dobrik dropped out of high school. The Alligator initially reported otherwise.
Contact Carolina Ilvento at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CarolinaIlvento.
Carolina is a second-year journalism major with a minor in sustainability. In the past, she covered stories and events for WUFT, and she is now reporting on Student Government for The Alligator. Carolina loves to do yoga and go to the beach whenever she isn't writing.