Slovak internet personality David Dobrik is one of the most popular online stars of the 2010s. How did he first make his name and become famous?
David Dobrik first made his name on Vine, where he collaborated with a number of other popular Viners such as Jason Nash and Gabbie Hanna. He later moved to YouTube where, as of writing, he has 18 million subscribers. Dobrik posts comedic videos, including pranks and dares with his friends.
For more on David Dobrik and his path to online superstardom, read on.
Dobrik’s presence in the United States was illegal but he is protected by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and allowed to remain in the country. In high school, Dobrik was a talented tennis player and won third place in doubles at the 2014 Boys Tennis State Tournament.
He was confident in his ability to make a career from social media and moved to Los Angeles after graduating from high school, keen to be closer to Hollywood.
Dobrik uploaded his first video to Vine in 2013, when he was 17 years old. While posting on Vine, Dobrik enjoyed collaborations with other stars of the website, such as Gabbie Hanna and Jason Nash, many of whom continued to appear in videos with him for several years afterward.
Vine’s emphasis was on short clips and these limitations gave Dobrik’s creativity a chance to shine. By sharing very quick comedy sketches and footage of pranks on his friends, Dobrik’s following skyrocketed from 120,000 followers in 2014 to 1.5 million in 2015.
Dobrik’s move to Los Angeles in 2014 was a key component of his rise to internet fame. His collaborations with top “Viners” greatly increased his profile and led in part to the exponential growth he enjoyed in the following twelve months.
The quick-cut editing style that Dobrik used on Vine has stayed with him throughout his online career since, influencing an entire generation of YouTubers who have inherited and imitated his style.
YouTube and Beyond
Though he was highly successful on Vine, the platform had its limits. Dobrik had already been appearing as part of “Second Class”, a YouTube group, when he decided to start his own channel in 2015.
Dobrik’s channel was highly influential in changing the landscape of YouTube. While YouTube had been largely genre-oriented, with videos featuring a particular subject, hobby or interest, Dobrik himself was the star of his channel.
His videos take the form of comedy vlogs, discussing and sometimes recreating incidents in his life with varying amounts of scripting. Some of Dobrik’s Vince collaborators reappeared on his YouTube channel, which grew in popularity at a startling rate.
A year later, in 2016, Dobrik launched a secondary channel, “David Dobrik Too”, featuring less polished videos, bloopers and anything else that he doesn’t feel belongs on his primary channel.
Dobrik was awarded the Diamond Play Button by YouTube in December 2018. This award marks a YouTuber surpassing 10 million subscribers, making it exceptionally rare even today.
His online success saw him drawing attention offline, appearing in articles in W magazine, Variety and People, winning People’s “Sexiest Heartthrob of 2019”. He also hosted the 2019 Teen Choice Awards, where he also won an award for being “Choice Male Web Star”.
An appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” marked Dobrik’s breakthrough on late-night TV and did very well in the key 18-49 ratings demographic, a reflection of his connection with the younger audience.
Perhaps his most memorable comedic bit came in May 2019, when Dobrik legally married Jason Nash’s mother, Lorraine. The marriage, unsurprisingly, lasted a month.