If there’s a creator who deserves a YouTube lifetime achievement award, it’s Charlie McDonnell.
What defines YouTube to you? Is it the casual sit down vlogs that feel as if you’re catching up with an old friend? Is it silly challenge videos that instantly brighten your day? Maybe it’s those cute, relatable songs you jam to on your air ukulele? Whatever your definition, there’s a good chance Charlie McDonnell – AKA charlieissocoollike – has had a part in popularising or even straight-out inventing many of the trends now synonymous with YouTube.
However, all good things must come to an end. Charlie recently announced via Twitter that he’s retired from making YouTube videos. To remember and honour his amazing career on the site, we felt like sharing our 20 favourite moments from his channel, in the form of two jam-packed articles. Here we go; allons-y!
20. What is the best way to get featured on YouTube?
How about making a video tutorial on how to get featured and hope for the best? While going all WikiLeaks on YouTube’s secret algorithm doesn’t sound like the best plan, 2007 was a very different time, where featured videos were chosen by an actual human rather than the algorithm. The tips Charlie gives in How to get featured on YouTube. are surprisingly relevant 12 years on. (Although, not for getting featured, since that’s no longer a thing.)
In particular, it was his last tip that we think got the attention of the person in charge of featuring videos, “Make a video on how to get featured on YouTube. I don’t know if that idea actually works yet, but I’m sure we’ll find out.” With a bit of hindsight, we can say with certainty that it worked!
19. Spilling the tea on BBC Breakfast
Late in 2007, Charlie took on English stereotypes and “America by storm” with his now legendary video How to be English, an absolutely hilarious tutorial on how to make tea! Quickly becoming a viral sensation with over 40,000 views (it was 2007, remember), a 19-year-old Charlie even got invited onto BBC Breakfast, where he discussed YouTubing and denied claims he’d attracted the attention of Oprah Winfrey. (Something he would need to keep correcting in media publications for many years to come.)
18. What is that weird instrument?
Before the ukulele, Charlie had the melodica! Something we’ve always loved about Charlie is his quirky charm, and no video was more indicative of this than the music video for In The Absence Of Christmas. It’s a thought-provoking number involving Santa’s existential crisis during Halloween, which results in the usually friendly and jovial St. Nick becoming unusually violent, throwing jack-o’-lanterns at children and getting arrested.
On top of all of this frivolity, Charlie blows into this weird green, miniature keyboard instrument thing. It’s a lot to take in! We thank Charlie for introducing us to the melodica and look forward to many more unique songs to come!
17. The time Charlie ate 10 packs of Wine Gums off his floor
YouTubers today are known to put all kinds of even more unpleasant foods in their mouths in search of fame. Who could forget when, in 2008, Charlie bought 10 packs of Wine Gums and then proceeded to eat them off his hair-infested bedroom floor. (Ew!) Being Charlie, rather than doing it for attention, he did it to uncover the distribution of Wine Gum flavours. In other words, he did it in the name of science! Despite the state of the floor, it’s evident Charlie survived the ordeal.
Did the experiment disprove the three-second rule? Who knows!
16. When he invented the drinking ketchup challenge
Drinking ketchup as a dare is nothing new. In fact, we honestly wouldn’t be surprised if you found a cave painting depicting Stone Age teenagers chugging down a bottle of Heinz. Drinking ketchup for a challenge video in 2009, however, now that’s innovation. We don’t imagine Charlie thought his few tentative gulps of ketchup for his Challenge Charlie series would change the world, but they did, and the challenge has been a YouTube mainstay ever since!
15. Charlie has a secret twin?!
What’s better than one charlieissocoollike? How about two charlieissocoollikes! Luckily for us, we got that with the music video for Duet with Myself, which depicts two Charlies roasting each other. (Yes, he probably invented the Roast Yourself Challenge on YouTube as well.) Despite the song’s lyrics talking about accepting both sides of yourself, we love how some fans were confused into believing there was actually two of them, initiating some heated debates in the comments!
14. Dancing like Justin Bieber
Speaking about twinning, there was a time when we couldn’t pick between swooning over Charlie or Justin Bieber because, well, they kind of looked really similar! This became really apparent in Charlie’s video, Justin Bieber Fever, which gave us both of them in the same thumbnail. (Lucky us!)
Aside from some playful remarks made toward Beliebers, the video gave us some other great moments, such as when accused of having “Mild Bieber Fever” like Taylor Lautner, Charlie replies with, “Who’s she?” However, our favourite moment has got to be the little “dancing like Justin” dance Charlie does with his friend, Michael Aranda. Look how adorable and happy they both look. Such great memories!
13. We found Charlie’s head!
It’s a teensy bit disembodied, but maybe he’ll get better?
12. Unlikely things happen all the time
Something we really appreciate is Charlie’s kindness and dedication to his fans. This was evident when he met people for 16 entire hours over the two days of VidCon 2012 and when he started giving out “I found Charlie” badges to viewers he’d meet in his everyday life.
To the pessimists who think along the lines of, “I’m never going to spot you in real life, given the number of people on this earth,” Charlie tells us something so profound, we still haven’t forgotten it eight years on, “Unlikely things happen all the time.” He even wrote a song about us learning that from him!
11. Charlie’s rebellious teen phase
At the beginning of the 12th Challenge Charlie, Charlie informs us that dying one’s hair is something rebellious teenagers do, and even though he’s not a rebellious teenager, he’s going to do it anyway! Despite getting a lot of red dye onto his forehead – Charlie tells us he’s a bit embarrassed by it – we loved watching him transform into red haired Charlie, the one who gave us so many memories, including juggling and attempting an American accent!
There’s still more to come!
Like we said at the beginning, we’re aren’t just dedicating one article to our favourite Charlie moments, we’ve written two! Be sure to check back on 31 March for our second instalment, which includes such moments as the time he was the first UK YouTuber to hit one million subscribers and the time he lay across a table in just his bathrobe!
What are some of your favourite Charlie moments? Be sure to send us a tweet to @TenEightyUK and let us know! We’ll reminisce together.
Want more Charlie? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:
- Our Five Favourite Fun Science Moments
- Video Spotlight: Charlie McDonnell’s Hiatus
- Charlie McDonnell (Part 1): First Time for Everything
- Charlie McDonnell (Part 2): The Changing Face of YouTube
- Charlie McDonnell’s Guide To Rebranding Your Content