Top 10: YouTube Rabbit Holes to Fall Down

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YouTube website. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

It’s 2 a.m. You laid down to go to bed at 11 p.m., yet here you are – awake. Your eyes burn from the electric blue glow of your cell phone as the 20th YouTube video of the night plays. You have fallen down a YouTube rabbit hole.

YouTube is a phenomenon that completely perplexes my parents but seems to have shaped the way my friends and I consume entertainment content. You can find videos on how to format a works cited page – I’ve watched this video more than I’d care to admit– how to do laundry or pretty much any other thing a college student might be too embarrassed to ask a person in real life how to do.

Of course, the majority of the time I’ve spent on YouTube has not been educationally enriching. I usually use YouTube videos as 5-10 minute breaks from studying. Often times, those breaks end up being a little longer than 10 minutes when I am watching videos from the following 10 categories – so naturally, I chose to share those categories in hopes that you, too, can experience the joy of the YouTube rabbit hole.

1. TV Show Snippets

Quite possibly my favorite YouTube rabbit hole to fall down is Saturday Night Live (SNL). With eight million subscribers, SNL’s YouTube channel has changed the way viewers watch and share the classic sketch comedy show. SNL uploads all of the live sketches the night that they air, meaning viewers can watch each skit whenever they’d like without lengthy commercial breaks. Refer to Rachel Bell’s article on the top SNL skits for some excellent sketch suggestions.

Dr. Phil also provides convenient cuts of his talk show for those searching for a concentrated dose of the Oprah-made psychologist. Learn about various psychological disorders – or just subscribe for the drama.

2. Celebrity Content

Nobody makes keeping up with Hollywood A-listers more entertaining than evening talk show hosts. James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke series involves Corden driving famous vocalists around Los Angeles, singing along to the artist’s songs and partaking in all sorts of shenanigans. Ariana Grande’s episode is my personal favorite.

Both Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon also offer a large variety of comedic videos and interviews with celebrities that are sure to drag you right into a night of YouTube binging.

For a unique twist on a celebrity interview, check out Vogue’s 73 questions. Watch as household names such as Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and Blake Lively answer 73 random rapid-fire questions as they guide the cameraman-interviewer throughout their home.

3. Concert from the Couch

One of the most addictive genres of YouTube content is music. Clips from pretty much every Broadway musical ever performed can be found on YouTube – which is great for me, a musical theatre stan with limited resources to use to get my hands on a Playbill. I have watched most scenes from Mean Girls, Heathers and Dear Evan Hansen for free on YouTube.

I also enjoy a good cover artist. Rachel Zegler is the most talented I have ever come across – she’ll soon star as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake at only 17 years old. Zegler covers show tunes and pop songs so well that I can’t stop listening.

Over Christmas break I found myself frequently falling down the Billie Eilish rabbit hole. Eilish’s music and music videos both have a haunting, ethereal feel that I can’t seem to look away from. The “when the party’s over” music video is disturbingly stunning.

4. YouTuber Youtubers

There are people who create YouTube content and then there are those who I consider YouTubers. This category mostly includes solo creators who have turned talking to a camera about life into a full-time career. I personally prefer the more comedic Vloggers.

Emma Chamberlain’s videos have a blunt authenticity to them that people gravitate towards. They consist of her obsessing over iced coffee, thrifting, dancing and being completely transparent with her viewers. They are never of the highest quality – but this is on-brand with Chamberlain and has perpetuated her success.

Lilly Singh’s channel, “Superwoman,” consists of her comedic impersonations of her parents and various parodies. Her “Types of People” series is hilarious.

5. Like Cooking, but Without the Dishes

I like food. I like making food. However, what I like most is watching professionals make food.

“How To Cake It” with Yolanda Gampp produces weekly instructional videos on how to make elaborately decorated cakes. The amount of precision Gampp uses when creating her cakes will soothe even the most neurotic of perfectionists.

“Pick Up Limes” is a high-quality nutrition channel that provides vegan recipes and health tips from nutritionist Sadia Badiei. Her voice is incredibly soothing and her tips are actually helpful.

6. Bucket List

Travel videos are great for those days when you need to get out of the Midwest but don’t have a private jet.

Brad and Hailey Devine create travel vlogs and professionally-done videos of their world travels with their two adorable daughters, Lucy and Gretta. I have not quit dreaming of teal waters and Canadian mountains since watching their Banff travel guide.

My other favorite travel videos are made by my friend, Lucy Mann. She also creates wedding and lifestyle videos. My favorite video of hers is of the Amalfi Coast – the music and footage will make you feel like you are right there in Italy.

7. Everything is Better in a Set

There are several YouTube series that I have watched almost every episode of because they are so addictive.

The first is Refinery29 video producer Lucie Fink, who has a series called “Try Living With Lucie.”  She completes various five day challenges, such as 5 Days of Going Vegan or 5 Days of Facing My Fears.  These videos are entertaining and include a lot of helpful lifestyle tips.

I also have a strange obsession with ballet-related videos. I have watched every single episode of Joffrey Elite. It has drama, it has dance and it has competition. I highly recommend the series.

CUT’s lineup series consists of strangers making judgments on other strangers. It sounds odd – and it can cause secondhand embarrassment – but the videos are addictive and explore the stereotypes humans are influenced by.  

Buzzfeed’s Worth Itseries taste-tests cheap food, moderately priced food and extravagantly expensive food and then chooses which option is the most worth the price. They’ve tried $914 coffee – and I thought my $4.75 Roasterie Cardinal Grind was a splurge.

8. Am I Really Procrastinating if I’m Learning Something?

Educational content on YouTube can be a great way to learn something new in a brief period of time.

AsapSCIENCE quickly explores wild questions most people never think about, like what would happen if the whole world went vegetarian or whether or not you personally are normal.  

If you are feeling particularly lost in a class, CrashCourse creates some excellent videos on literature, science, sociology and many other subjects. The videos are brief and easy to follow. Fun fact: Author of “The Fault in Our Stars” John Green teaches the literature content, and his brother does the STEM videos.

I also enjoy a good astronomy YouTube video – one that has always stuck with me is this size of the universe video. It kind of terrifies me, but in an awe-inspired way.

9. Yeah, I’m Sure I Could Look Like That

Something about beauty videos is incredibly addictive, whether it be a good makeup routine or a hair transformation.

James Charles was the first male CoverGirl and has gained a loyal gang of followers who refer to themselves and each other as “sisters.” This kid is an ARTIST. He literally did a Bob Ross tutorial on his forehead.

Refinery29 hair transformation videos capture drastic haircuts and colors that always make me want to chop off my hair and dye it pink. I love seeing the before and after. I also love Refinery29 beauty evolution, which takes regular people and uses makeup and hair to transform them into three different iconic celebrity looks.

You can’t go wrong with a good capsule wardrobe video – it always inspires me to clean out my closet in the interest of living a more minimalist life. My favorites are Hailey Devine’s capsule wardrobe videos.

10. Baby Fever

This YouTube rabbit hole is my guiltiest pleasure. If you search “Teen Pregnancy Story Time” on YouTube, hundreds of videos of teenage girls talking into the camera about how they told their parents they were pregnant in high school will pop up.

I’m not sure what it is about these videos that I find to be absolutely fascinating, but I have watched many of them. Some teen moms, like Yazmine Switzer, create lifestyle content that gives people a look into what life is like a high schooler and a mom. The videos are meant to provide encouragement for teen mothers to stay in school and ignore stereotypes.

The world of YouTube overflows with wealthy influencers, whiny kids and billions of hateful comments. It also is full of inspiring lifestyle, entertainment and education content. Navigating YouTube can be difficult, but you now have been given the tools necessary for an epic marathon of procrastination – use them wisely. When the slothly process of a YouTube binge gets out of hand, remedy your laziness with a fun YouTube yoga or workout video. YouTube truly has something for everyone.

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