David Dobrik shares wealth, not clickbait
October 17, 2019
YouTube personality David Dobrik is known for his outrageous stunts, iconic friend group, his podcast and now for single-handedly shutting down the University of Illinois for a day.
Dobrik got his start on the now non-existent app Vine. Now reaching 14.1 million fans, Dobrik’s platform is used to highlight moments in his everyday life in the form of “vlogs.”
Dobrik’s appearance on campus was announced to students as “An Evening with David Dobrik” and was hosted by the Illini Union and the Illini Union Board. The event, which was free to students with a valid I-card, was a part of the University’s Homecoming Week activities.
Prior to the event at the Union, David partnered up with the app Bumble to meet fans on the Main Quad and give away merch for the online connection builder. During the event, students began chanting “Save KAM’s” as Dobrik climbed atop a vintage trailer to speak to students.
The chants across the quad were likely a reference to an Instagram page titled “David Dobrik Save KAM’s” that has gained popularity among the student population.
“I got a lot of texts from friends that said ‘you need to save Kams,’ it’s nice that I know something that’s going on at this school,” Dobrik said. “So I feel like I’m filled in, I feel like I’m part of the student body.”
Though saving the bar’s longstanding location isn’t something in his wheelhouse, giving is a consistent theme in Dobrik’s vlogs. From giving homeless people cars large enough to live in to handling out laptops to struggling college students, Dobrik’s generosity is a quality he’s become known for in his online presence.
“Giving to someone is the most selfish thing you can do because it’s so easy to give back when you’ve been given a lottery ticket of a job,” he said.
Whenever he’s able to give back, he said there’s a special feel to each opportunity.
“Some are goofy, some are funny, [and] some are super serious and sentimental,” Dobrik said.
Dobrik brought his generosity to the University. During his appearance at the Union, Dobrik read aloud a sticky note he found placed on his car. It was from a student who asked to be in the vlog and for Dobrik to pay their tuition. The student was identified and then came up on stage. From there, she was promptly handed a check for $15,000 from Dobrik and Bumble.
Charity isn’t all David does.. He’s flown cross country to shoot friends with paintball guns, had Postmates workers help him to deliver a fake child and even brought his personal flamethrower into his house to show everybody. The vlogs work as a time capsule for the craziest times in his life.
A few members of his ever-growing posse joined Dobrik at the Union. Natalie Mariduena, Jason Nash, and Nick Antonyan, otherwise known as “Jonah,” came along to talk on stage. Fellow YouTuber Casey Neistat also tagged along with Dobrik and spent his night filming and meeting fans. Neistat is known for his “day in the life” style videos and extreme spending habits.
Throughout the hour-long event, Dobrik took questions that were being tweeted to him using the hashtag #IlliniAskDavid. He covered topics such as his time in high school, his favorite vlogs, what he did with his time in college and even his thoughts on the growing blurred lines in media as more and more “typical” celebrities cross over into his realm.
“If you gave me the movie Titanic, I could cut it down to three minutes, I could turn it into a comedy,” Dobrik said to the crowd at the Union.
Dobrik has a formulaic approach to his videos, with each being roughly four minutes and twenty seconds long and featuring an intro and outro.
In terms of content, working in one groove is what he finds works best.
“I definitely always feel the need to make the videos better,” Dobrik said, “but I also like to keep in mind what every video is and I don’t want one video to be here and then [another] video here.”
In the future, Dobrik hopes to host more events.
“I got to host the teen choice awards a couple of months ago, and I was so nervous, but it was so much fun,” he said.“I don’t really want to act. I kind of just want to be myself and be on camera.”
Dobrik ended his time at the University of Illinois the same way most students finish their night–hanging out at KAM’s.