Shane Dawson is crushing it in the YouTube game, but who is he really?
Shane Lee Yaw known by his YouTube name Shane Dawson, is one of the first people to rise to fame on YouTube, and has since gained a following of over 18 million subscribers. He’s written books, made films, and has produced attention-grabbing docuseries, which delves into the lives of controversial internet celebrities.
But let’s start at the beginning.
Shane Dawson was born July 19, 1988 and is the son of Teresa and Kyle Yaw.
He grew up in Long Beach, California, where he attended Lakewood High School and has been open about being bullied for being overweight and growing up poor.
In a 4-part video series, Shane opened up about his past. He revealed that he was mentally and physically abused by his alcoholic father, who eventually abandoned the family.
But, despite Shane’s struggles, he was able to find joy in creativity.
In High school, Shane started making videos for school projects with his friends and fell in love with video creating. When Shane was 18, he joined Jenny Craig and lost around 150 lbs. He needed a job, so he began working there and quickly was promoted to manager.
Meanwhile, he was trying his hand at acting by auditioning for local commercials, but he wasn’t finding a lot of success in it, so he decided to do his own thing.
YouTube was created in 2005 and as it gained popularity, Shane quickly jumped on the platform. On March 10, 2008, Dawson made his YouTube channel, called “ShaneDawsonTV” and his first video was called “Hodini’s Street Magic”:
Shane later did a “Days of My Life” video series, in which he showed himself working at Jenny Craig…with a twist: “The joke was that we got the biography of Valerie Bertinelli, because she was our spokesperson. So, we had to give this book to all of our clients. All of my clients were like 80-year-old women. She talked about sex and drugs a ton in the book, so then I was like ‘I want to do a video of me forcing my 80 year-old clients to read filthy passages from this book.’ So I did that.”
Shane continued making comedy sketch videos and by 2010, he had gained over a billion views. One of his most popular videos from this time was “Fred is Dead”. That video now has over 25 million views.
Shane started making music videos in which his production value has obviously increased and shane embraces his self-deprecating humor. He also started Parodying popular songs like One Direction’s “Story of My Life”:
Soon, Shane caught the eye of Hollywood and had some pretty exciting prospects: The show came full circle for Shane, as his script titled Losin’ It is based on his experiences working for Jenny Craig.
The show has not made it to air, but Shane saw it as a success no matter what. In 2013, Shane began his podcast, Shane and Friends which he co-hosted with Lauren Schnipper (originally Jessy Buttafuoco) and Drew Monson
The podcast had over 140 episodes and ended in early 2018.
Shane was featured on the STARZ filmmaking competition show, The Chair, where he made a feature film called Not Cool.
Not Cool came out in 2014, and followed a group of teenagers from Pittsburgh spending their Thanksgiving break experimenting in love, friendship, partying, and sex.
The film was not a critical success, but was generally loved by fans and Shane even won the competition. Shane commented on the critics while talking to The Observer. He said: : “A lot of the reviews really treated my movie differently than they would have treated any other teen comedy. It was like every review started off with ‘Youtube dumbass Shane Dawson…’ It felt very much like, ‘Oh, you’re not even going to give the movie a chance.’”
Shane wrote two books that ended up being NYT best sellers: I Hate Myselfie and It Gets Worse: A collection of Essays
Then, in 2015, Shane started a new channel on YouTube. This time, he pivoted away from comedy and started delving into conspiracy theories.
He covered, pop culture conspiracies, political conspiracies, and even tested out suspicious social media trends. The conspiracy theories were going well, But things pivoted when Shane introduced a new, more vulnerable series of videos.
In 2017, the series we mentioned earlier describing his abusive father came out. It was called Shane’s Dad Series and was broken into 3 parts: “The Truth About My Past”, “Confronting My Mom” and “Confronting My Dad”.
The series was so popular with fans, Shane began doing it for other people. He launched another investigative series about the disastrous events of the infamous Tanacon and the series even won the highest honor at the 2018 Streamy Awards, where Shane won Creator of the Year and it looked like Shane found a brand new YouTube format.
In 2018, he came out with a five part docuseries featuring another controversial YouTuber, Jeffree Starr. The series was again incredibly popular, gaining over 20 million views. But the buzz about Shane’s docuseries reached main stream media when he announced his next subject as Jake Paul.
Jake and Logan Paul have been a hot button in the media, ever since Jake’s brother Logan came out with an incredibly insensitive video set in Japan’s suicide forest
Logan was scathed in the media and it brought attention to the brothers. Following the events of the Japanese Suicide Forest, and a myriad of other controversies, Shane went on to try to discover if Jake Paul is a sociopath.
The series is getting a lot of attention, as it is finally addressing a question that everyone is wondering: Is YouTube broken? Controversial incidents involving creators like Pewdiepie, Tana Mongeau, FouseyTube, or the Paul brothers have painted the platform as a whole in a negative light
Shane’s expose into Jake Paul and the Paul family looks in conjunction into the world of YouTube and how the platform allows for an encourages controversial content. Many fans see Shane’s evolution into investigative documentaries as an important step for YouTube.
Maybe just maybe Shane can help YouTube finally make the step into high quality content respected by the main stream. Dawson now lives in Los Angeles, California with his boyfriend, Ryland Adams, who has appeared on networks like Buzzfeed, Clevver, Awesomeness TV.
Shane has 2 dogs, Uno and Honey, and a cat, Cheeto.
In July 2015, Dawson came out as bisexual in a video he posted on Shane Dawson TV. This announcement came after he broke up with then girlfriend, Lisa Schwartz.
So what do you think about Shane Dawson? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.