YouTube sensation Nikunj Lotia, who found popular success through relatable, comic sketches posted on his YouTube channel ‘BeYouNick’, has come a long way in his creations and collaborations. From doing odd jobs at a cyber cafe and bartending to make extra money, the influencer now has over 4.11 million YouTube subscribers.
In a chat with IANSlife, he opens up about his beginnings, process, and views on YouTube. Excerpts:
Q: You didn’t have an easy beginning. Tell us about your days before creating content on YouTube.
A: There is NO easy beginning ever. We all struggle with our own limited capacity and capabilities and those add to our strength. When I was a kid, I was born into a well-to-do family but I saw things spiraling out pushing us to the other spectrum of socio-economic class. As a kid, I remember helping my mom make a living for us by delivering theplas, etc. Then I did a few ‘jobs’ including bartending with extra shifts just so that I could earn a bit more. Then there was a brief overlap where my videos were popular but not enough to sustain my family so that led to a lot of funny bartender conversations. I think life is a summation of all these experiences and what you learn from it and how you use it. That’s pretty much my un-easy – but thoroughly enlightening origins!
Q: YouTube leveled the field for content creators, especially for those who had fresh, creative ideas, and gave everyone ‘star’ potential. Would you agree?
A: I am not sure if it leveled the field or not, but to me honestly it was a platform that made it possible. Have an idea, write it, shoot it, put it together, and share it with the world. If it works, congratulations. I think it was more of an enabler than any other platform for pursuing your art in a video format.
Q: In a welcome trend, those who started from a YouTube channel a few years back, are beginning to have shows, specials, and cross-media collaborations of their own. Thoughts?
A: I think when you are good at something there’s a lot of vested interest to benefit collaboratively from it. YouTube is the perfect validation for how engaging your art form is, be it sketch comedy or stand up or cooking. When you get the audience behind you, specials cross-media collaborations are bound to happen.
Q: If you had to describe your work in a line, what would it be?
A: Relatable family-friendly fun content.
Q: How would you say your content has evolved over time? What’s something you want to experiment with now?
A: The beauty of sketch comedy is that it’s so observational that it organically evolves. Over the course of time that evolution from being in a classroom to a bar, to an online video call – had helped shape my content. There’s a lot of experiments that I keep doing, and I promise you that they will all be there on my social channels. Let’s not spoil the surprise!
Q: How was the lockdown for you? What learnings did it bring? What’s coming next?
A: The start of this year was great. We did mighty well, then we flew to LA and spent a month there to plan what all is to happen in the coming here. And then came covid and it sort of changed the world as we knew it. From jamming on ideas in flesh and bones to doing it over video calls, from playing pranks to playing pubg, and then finally getting infected and cured of Covid. It’s a LOT of learning. I might just write a book about it someday, it’s those many learnings!
I did a fair bit of collaborations, set up a few things there and I was supposed to be there in July originally. But COVID sort of shifted that for me. I have my bags packed but I think I will wait for a while till Trump followers and Biden followers get along a bit better than today. I have some offline businesses including a food truck in San Francisco, we are adding some more to our fleet, there are some creator collaborations we had promised, and we will be doing that when we finally get to go there.