Over the last couple of years, I’ve sough a lot of emotional comfort in YouTube channels and videos. It started when I was in a really rough place while in the US. Job hunting wasn’t going well, my bank account was slowly depleting, and I felt like it was hard to find joy in anything.
One day, I decided to turn to some Sims videos that made me really happy back when they were actively being uploaded. Then I went through another series on that channel. And then another. And then back to The Sims 4. It made me feel better.
There was comfort in something that was so familiar and watching someone else make decisions that I really enjoyed. I found that a lot of long-form YouTube videos where I got to watch other people accomplish something or play videogames alleviated my worries about making my own decisions.
I was still really stressed by life, but as I found more channels that brought me comfort, it made my days a little bit easier.
I’ve been following these two weirdos for several years now. My sister introduced me to them back in 2015 and I quickly became obsessed with their content. More so Dan’s videos because I liked his style of talking about his life experiences, but their dynamic kept me coming back to their joint content.
When they started playing The Sims 4, I knew it would be a series I returned to often. There are a lot of play-throughs of The Sims on YouTube. A whole community has been built around it where people do all kinds of challenges. The difference is that those gamers are good at this life game - Dan and Phil are not.
The chaos of them trying to keep a little person alive in a computer game is one of the highlights of my life. Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong for them. The fact that Dan hasn’t played it before either makes everything funnier as he discovers how the game works.
As far as YouTube series go, this is one I’ve watched a lot. I binged through the whole playlist of nearly 60 episodes in about a week, laughing at the pure madness of it all. There were so many things that I forgot happened despite having seen everything multiple times.
There’s also their Undertale series that I love. The voices they give each of the characters is what makes it so entertaining. It’s not one of the play-throughs that shows off how skilled they are, but the banter and how they bring each character to life never fails to make me laugh. I’ve tried watching other people play the game, but this is what I always come back to.
They’re also the ones who introduces me to Overcooked, which I love a lot. I’ve proudly played through both games and completed all the levels with Jemi.
What keeps me coming back to this channel and choose it over their individual channels is that it’s entirely joint content. When I’m feeling down, often times what I need is comedy and familiarity. Having watched both Dan and Phil for so long, I feel like I’m spending time with chaotic older brothers.
While I don’t usually know the games they play, it’s ultimately more about how funny their content is. Surprisingly, watching them scream and panic about something doesn’t make me feel stressed, but makes me feel better about the choices I make.
There is no one who does bookish content quite like Kayla does. She’s so incredibly creative with her video ideas all the time. I have no idea how she comes up with all these ideas, but the whole online book community has been thoroughly blessed by her long videos.
What I like so much about Kayla’s YouTube content is that it’s relaxing. I can put on a video and sit back for at least an hour as she reads from her various TBRs and shares her feelings on what she’s reading. It’s like putting on a short movie once a week.
She’s one of the few peoples whose recommendations I trust without a second thought when it comes to thrillers. We generally have the same feelings about things and get bothered by the same things. With the exception of a few books, I’ve learned that if she says something is good, I should pick it up.
One of the things I love most about YouTube is the diversity of content I can find for comfort purposes. This channel is perfect for when I want bookish content without going on Instagram.
As a creator, I came across Kayla’s content a few times before really sitting down to try her videos. It was her Closet Clean-out series that made me fall in love with her channel. It was like nothing I’d seen before and as far as YouTube videos go, it’s one I’ve gone back to a few times.
Some of my favorite things are when she challenges herself to read books she normally doesn’t like or try books from authors she didn’t like. Another series she does annually is trying to guess what book will win either the Horror or Mystery/Thriller genres on Goodreads at the end of the year.
There are also videos of her trying different reading journals, allowing books to control her day, reading 30 books in 30 days, and re-reading books from her childhood. It’s so different from what I’ve seen other people do and Kayla always manages to stay original as she continues filming YouTube videos.
I think this is the most on-brand kind of content you’d expect me to watch when I’m feeling down. The majority of channels I’m subscribed to on YouTube are book-related, but not all of them bring the level of comfort I feel with Kayla’s videos.
Another gaming channel that I’ve grown to love over the past couple of years.
Though Séan is mostly known for being the screaming Irish gamer, I find the way he plays games to be really funny and calming. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t scream as much now.
The YouTube series that got me into his videos were What Remains of Edith Finch and Sally Face, but I eventually got into his Little Nightmares play-throughs as well. Since then, I’ve seen a few different series and some of his horror stuff.
He’s one of the few people I can watch play horror games because he makes it less scary with his endless commentary. The fact that he tends not to react as dramatically also helps.
As far as YouTube channels go, I think this strays the most from what people think of when they think of things I like. Séan’s videos are largely horror based and I’m a massive scaredy-cat, but I’ve still been able to enjoy a lot of things because of the way he films and plays.
There are certain games I prefer to watch him play on YouTube because of the way he talks about video games. I’ve learned random things about game lighting design and music because of him. A fun little bonus while I relax as he screams about killing a monkey in Animal Crossing.
I can’t fully explain why someone with such high energy is one of the people I turn to for calmness. If it were in person, things would probably be different. Maybe it’s the separation given by the camera and the computer screen, but there’s something about the way Séan talks and plays video games that makes me less stressed.
The Game Theorists
Lastly, we have the my edutainment channel. Well, it’s more like four channels, but I’m grouping it under Game Theorists because it’s the first of the channels and how I came to love everything.
The literal genius behind these four YouTube channels is Matthew Patrick, better know as MatPat. I feel like he’s become another Internet big brother since I’ve started watching his videos. The way he combines pop culture and education makes me feel like I’m getting smarter just by watching YouTube.
I’d seen some of his videos on and off over the past few years, mostly related to the Five Nights at Freddy’s game franchise, but there were also some Film Theorists videos that I’d seen here and there. It wasn’t until November last year that I really got into their videos more.
Of course, since I’d watched parts of the very confusing FNAF series already, it felt fitting to finish it out since the newest game came out in December. I still don’t think I fully understand what’s going on in the game franchise as far as lore is concerned, but I also have a strange amount of knowledge around it considered that I’ve never played the games and don’t intend to.
After finishing that playlist and watching a few others, I’ve been picking through some of the older uploads here and there as things get recommended by YouTube that pique my interest. I’ve also subscribed to The Film Theorists and The Food Theorists channels because I love the style of videos.
There’s something calming about watching a very smart person explain things about videos games, films, and food in ways I never thought of before. Or to have him answer important life questions like whether a hotdog is a sandwich (the answer is no and I can officially make that argument because Mat taught me how to prove I’m right).
Learning while being entertained at the same time has done wonders for me. It reminds me of why I enjoyed school before education became about finding a paying job. It also reminds me why I loved classes like Young Adult Literature, Media Law, and Communication Theory. Those classes taught me things that I can use in day-to-day life.
While I can’t really say that knowing what kind of dinosaur Yoshi is helps me on a daily basis, it is a fun fact that I get to throw out. And I now have a strangely comprehensive understanding of how animatronic suits work…
Even the gameplay channel GTLive has been a great source of comfort. If you’ve been following my monthly look-backs, you’ll know that these channels get mentioned every month. Partly because it has been a large amount of what I watch and partly because I was starting from a point where one of their off-screen team members joined.
This is another YouTube channel that I can watch play horror games because Mat gets just as scared as I do. He logics his way out of why things are scary, which also makes it a bit easier on me. I can focus on his narration rather than what’s happening on screen. And there’s always a chance that I’ll learn something random after a jumpscare happens.
Knowing that I can expect about six videos a week makes a difference too. At this point, it’s almost become a part of my daily routine to have a video to watch. With three GTLive videos a week that make me feel like I’m listening to a podcast, there’s comfort in my parasocial relationship with them.
There we have it! The four (technically seven) YouTube channels that bring me immense comfort all the time.
I tend to rotate between watching them depending on whose content I want the most of. Over the past several months, it’s been Mat’s videos, but I still watch everyone else when my mood calls for it.
Having these channels around has done me a lot of good over the past couple of years. When life decisions were up in the air, I always had these to rely on. There was always someone on the Internet who felt like a friend and whose content could make me forget about how stressed I was.
YouTube, for all the weird and wild things it has, has been the place where I found all these creators. If not for the platform, I don’t know where else I would have found this comfort. Perhaps I’d read more, but I’d also be less of who I am.
Especially when it comes to Dan and Phil and the impact of MatPat’s videos, these two channels have taught me a lot and become big parts of my life. I wouldn’t want to change any of that.
I’m curious to know if you have comfort YouTube channels. If there are creators out there whose content you think I might like, do let me know so I can check them out!