The typical YouTuber is young, obnoxious, and speaks at an above-average decibel level. They love pranks. They love covertly selling you *products.* Even though they’re your age or vastly younger, they have more money in their bank account than you ever will.
Thankfully, not all YouTubers like that. This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the dedicated community of senior citizen YouTubers, here to make homemade pasta, deconstruct mechanical toys, play lullabies on their guitars, knit, apply make-up, and show you how to properly take a dip in the public pool.
If you’re going to be an influencer, at least use your power to show Xennials like me how to make proper tagliatelle.
For all their wisdom and *actual content knowledge,* senior citizen YouTube celebrities are nonetheless a rarity. The demographic data tells the story: 96% of youth aged 13 to 17 have used YouTube, compared to just 51% of those 75 and older. Just 67% of seniors aged 65 and over use the internet, and only 4 in 10 own smartphones.
So we shouldn’t be shocked that of the biggest names in YouTube — Fernanfloo, PewDewPie, Germán Garmendia, Rubén Doblas Gundersen i.e. El RubiosOMG, VanossGaming, and so on — all are male, and none, absolutely none, are above the age of 30.
That doesn’t mean senior citizens are absent from the platform, or that younger generations don’t love to watch older folks on screen. I know that I, for one, am not alone in not wanting to hear this guy opine about suicide prevention:
You just have to look a little harder to find the elders of the community, which we kindly did for you. Here are some of the leading senior personalities on the platform:
70-year-old Tricia Cusden formally kicked off her YouTube account and her personal make-up business, Look Fabulous Forever, five years ago. Cusden specializes in make-up made specifically for older women.
Cusden remembers when her manufacturer told her to put videos of her products on Twitter:
“I thought, that’s a really stupid idea,” Cusden told Mashable. “Millions of videos are uploaded to YouTube, people just won’t see them.”
Pretty quickly, however, Cusden’s videos started picking up real traffic: 1,000 views one day, 1,500 views on another. It was clear that Cusden had tapped into a real need — and that older women were (gulp!) using YouTube.
Cusden believes she was able to access this demographic because her product line was written up in print publications, which have older followers. These women presumably then followed her to YouTube.
In comparison to other brands that market token “anti-aging skincare” to older women, Cusden hopes to create a positive, stigma-free YouTube space:
“The beauty industry disdains and marginalizes this age group … [but] we won’t disparage you here,” Cusden says. “We won’t be negative.”
Cusden’s channel currently has 28,340 subscribers.
In recent years, knitting has had something of a comeback among the millennial Etsy set. But why learn from some dumb book when you can learn from *THE* Judy Graham?
Graham is a knitting legend. She’s now in her 80s, and she’s still producing videos nearly every week. In 2015, Graham complained to her son that it was a myth that all seniors hated technology.
“Seniors do know about tech, and they do use it,” Graham told her son, who later published her comments in USA Today.
Not everyone who watches “Knitting Tips by Judy” is older. She has plenty of younger fans (points at self).
If there’s anything that Judy proves, it’s that you don’t have to be a young, terrible California bro in order to be successful on this nightmare platform.
For all the optical illusion and unusual toy fans out there (I’m assuming that’s everyone on this list), Tim Rowett is your man.
Rowett’s YouTube channel, Grand Illusions, collects and reviews dozens of random toys. It’s whimsical and strange and exceedingly, unexpectedly popular: The channel currently has over 881,000 subscribers.
In 2015, the Telegraph named Rowett one of the best YouTubers over 50 years old.
The award was well-deserved. Is there anything more soothing than hearing a handsome older British gentleman with a BBC accent examine the mechanics of a bubble blower?
There’s no such thing as a dream job, except for Vicky Bennison’s. Bennison is the founder of Pasta Grannies, a YouTube channel featuring Italian grandmas making their best homemade pasta.
Bennison, who is 60, literally travels all around Italy hunting for the country’s most talented grandmas. Every episode, she highlights a particular grandma and their specialty pasta.
Pasta and Italian grandmas are universally beloved, which is why Bennison’s show has such a diverse, cross-generational audience. These women aren’t trained chefs, but they’re exceptionally talented and they know what a good pasta serving size is: one gallon per person.
“What you see on television requires armies of food stylists … These are things all people can do,” Bennison told Mashable. “[It’s why] I do have a broad audience … My demographics for Pasta Grannies is 25 to 65 years old.”
Some of these grannies are in their late 90s. Yet with more 341,913 subscribers, Bennison has nonetheless been able to build a digital fan base for these women.
Pasta Grannies, you are welcome in my home anytime.
Though he probably wouldn’t classify it this way, Bossa Nakane makes lullabies for stressed-out adults. This man is a nightingale. His music is delightfully tender: Think Nick Drake, but sung by a human robin.
Why would you ever sing “Happy Birthday” yourself when you can have the Bossa Nakane version instead? He’s better.
He currently only has 3,174 subscribers. Everyone, please follow now.
ElderGym is the only YouTube fitness series on the web I’m capable of completing. A 4-minute session on how to get off the floor? This I can do. March in place for 1 minute? Hell freaking yeah. ElderGym isn’t just for seniors, it’s for everyone.
Squeeze your shoulders for 1 minute. Congratulations! You’ve exercised.
Anyone who’s anyone in the senior YouTuber world knows Grandma Shirley, an 82-year-old gamer who records herself playing games for YouTube, among other places. She’s best known for playing Skyrim and currently has over 410,000 subscribers.
I’ve never understood the appeal of watching other people play games (why watch strangers play Grand Theft Auto when you can watch … anything else) but if I’m going to watch anyone, it will be Grandma Shirley.
Grandpa Kitchen operates a YouTube channel where he cooks enormous amounts of Indian food and feeds if to local orphans. The channel currently operates a Patreon page in order to fund their operations; however, I was unable to independently verify how that money is spent.
That being said, Grandpa Kitchen runs an excellent show. Look at all those potatoes. How can they not make you happy?
Gramma and Ginga are two sisters, one 104 years old, the other 99. They live a few blocks from one another in Clarksburg, West Virginia. If you’re the type of person who loves to see two charming older women bicker non-stop about nothing, this is for you.
Think Seinfeld, but with Grandmas.
Imagine a comedy podcast but the podcast were … actually funny. That’s Gramma and Ginga.
These women currently have 325,684 subscribers. In 2016, they made it to Jimmy Kimmel Live.
I tend to be skeptical of anyone on YouTube who has more than 500,000 subscribers and says they create “comedy.” Historically, YouTube comedy is an art form lower than improv.
Kevin and his objectively charismatic grandma Lill are an exception to the rule. We talk a lot about YouTube personalities but Grandma Lill actually has one.
As the kids say, she destroys me.
Look at her make chocolate chip brownies with her grandson Kevin, then try to pick yourself up off the floor.
Perhaps my favorite part of the series is when she introduces the episode, saying, “Hi fellas and girls.”
Just listen to it instead of reading my far inferior copy.
Grandma Lill says she didn’t really know much about YouTube before her grandson turned on his camera one day in the car:
“I was surprised, but I said, ‘Hey that’s good!'” Lill told Mashable.
You’d think that Grandma Lill would be an inspiration to her friends, many of whom are in the same age bracket.
Grandma Lill doesn’t think so.
“My girlfriends if they don’t have grandchildren [with access to technology] — they could care less about what I do! They don’t care where I’m going. They don’t have YouTube, Instagram.”
She also doesn’t particularly care how they feel. If there’s someone out there she can inspire — even if it’s not her best girlfriends, even if it’s just herself — she’s happy these videos exist.
“It keeps me younger,” Lill told Mashable. “I feel like 65 instead of 88 now. Nobody can believe I’m 88 … We’re just so good.”
A heartfelt thanks to *65*-year-old Grandma Lill and all the YouTubers like her.