All Gussied up for Viral Laughs

Gus Johnson’s videos have garnered over a billion views

Emilee Wentland

ON THE TUBE. Gus Johnson is inspired by personal peeves to imagine relatable skits about shared frustrations.
ON THE TUBE. Gus Johnson is inspired by personal peeves to imagine relatable skits about shared frustrations.

Breaking stuff can be fun. Absolutely destroying a kitchen table and getting shards of wood all over the living room, on the other hand, is a great time. That’s what YouTuber Gus Johnson thought about his video “Tapping On The Table,” which was his favorite to create. 

“I literally just have to wake up and if I think it’s kind of a funny idea, I’ll just make it and I don’t have to double-check with anybody.” – Gus Johnson

The video, posted last August, depicts two men tapping their fingers on table. As the video continues, the men get progressively more carried away and they eventually hammer a hole in the middle of a dining room table.

“That was a really fun one,” Johnson said. “I really liked shooting that with my brother, where we just break a bunch of things.”

Johnson, who graduated from UW-Stout in May, uses the name “gustoonz” on YouTube. He has more than 400,000 YouTube subscribers, and his videos have earned him more than 1 billion views across social media platforms.

While Johnson felt good about hitting the billion mark, he said meme pages on Facebook and Instagram steal his videos and reupload them, and that’s where some of those views came from. This has made a fraction of the billion views “stolen,” Johnson said, meaning he wasn’t given explicit credit for the videos. Johnson likes to think about the bright side of the situation, however, because people are still watching content he created.

Most of the time, Johnson comes up with a general idea for a video before he films, but the rest is improvised. The bulk of the preparation, Johnson said, is in coming up with the idea, rather than writing a script or creating a concrete plan. His video inspiration comes from day-to-day occurrences that annoy him.

“And then I think … is this something that other people can relate to, is this something that could annoy other people?” Johnson said. “And then I try to deliver it in kind of a relatable kind of format.”

Johnson said his favorite part about being a content creator on YouTube is the independence.

“I don’t have to run my ideas through a filter,” Johnson said. “I literally just have to wake up and if I think it’s kind of a funny idea, I’ll just make it and I don’t have to double-check with anybody.”

In Johnson’s nearly 500 YouTube videos, he’s collaborated with other YouTubers, his favorites being iDubbbz, Sugar Pine 7, and Johnson’s best friend, Eddy Burback.

This summer, Johnson is moving to Los Angeles with Burback, where they will continue their jobs as full-time YouTubers and record a podcast together featuring guests. He also plans to do some acting through an agency.

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