Comedian Kareem Rahma hosts a viral TikTok series that invites cab drivers to choose the location.
He interviews them as they take him to their favorite spots in NYC to spotlight "humane content."
He told Insider he's glad viewers love the connections he makes with people from different cultures.
At the end of a viral TikTok posted on November 11, a comedian is quoted a $427.50 cab fee in New York City. At first, he appears shocked, before replying, "Hell yeah brother, the more the merrier."
The two-minute clip shows 36-year-old Kareem Rahma getting into a taxi and inviting the driver to take him anywhere of his choice. Rahma can be seen instructing the driver, whom he refers to as Vinnie, to "take me to your favorite place and keep the meter running." Vinnie suggests a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in College Point, Queens, which Rahma said he had never visited before.
@keepthemeterrunning “VINNIE” PART 2 // Kareem’s ride with Vinnie continues all the way to a Buffalo Wild Wings all the way in COLLEGE POINT, QUEENS 💀 SPICY wings but hey at least they got a ride to JFK 😵💫 created by @kareem.rahma a @madrealities series #taxi #cab #travel #anthonybourdain #nyc #newyork #india #queens #hotwings #madrealities ♬ original sound - KEEP THE METER RUNNING
The video shows them eating hot wings together, chatting about their lives, returning to the taxi, and taking a detour to an airport before the video ends.
The TikTok is part of a weekly series called "Keep The Meter Running" where Rahma makes the same request to different drivers in New York City, and goes on a tour of their favorite spots. His account, which has over 112,000 followers, has posted 15 times, with each journey split into several parts. To date, the videos show him being quoted a total of $1,722 for the journeys, and the videos have a combined viewcount of over 12.8 million.
Rahma told Insider he wanted to create positive internet content that shows how we all have opportunities to connect with strangers.
Rahma had no idea the TikTok series would be this successful, but he's glad his audience loves it
Rahma has worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. His writing and comedy were nominated for multiple Webby awards which honor the "best of the internet" and in 2020 he published a collection of poems, but he told Insider his latest taxi series is "my favorite thing I've ever done."
The concept was inspired by an experience he had with a taxi driver two years ago. "I was going through a really hard time in my life and I didn't have anyone to talk to, and I got a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn and I started talking to the taxi driver and we really connected on a human level."
Rahma said the experience gave him the idea to create a show that delivered "humane content that's still comedic," interviewing taxi drivers from different cultures and learning about their favorite places to spend their time.
@keepthemeterrunning Replying to @madrealities Abdur // Ep 1 Part Three // Keep The Meter Running As much as we wanted to keep the meter running, our journey with Abdur had to come to an end. Not before a quick pit stop at a local mosque. Hopefully, our paths cross with Abdur again soon. An all new episode of Keep The Meter Running next week! #nyc #taxi #newyork #pakistan #cab #anthonybourdain #travel #interview #queens ♬ original sound - KEEP THE METER RUNNING
Not all taxi drivers are willing to participate, and Rahma said it can take between five and seven drivers before one says yes, but the ones who do agree are very happy to do so, and seem motivated by the experience and not the money.
Rahma told Insider he pays for the taxi ride as well as any food and activities involved in the trip, with funding from a media company called Mad Realities which co-produced the series.
In his most expensive fare, Rahma appears to be charged $525 in a TikTok video with over 117,000 views, after spending seven and a half hours with a driver called Ali. They explore the city together, pausing the drive to take a helicopter tour and visit sculptors in a mold-making studio on Ali's request.
@keepthemeterrunning “ALI” PART 3 // Ali wanted to go to the moon so Kareem took him for the second best. COMMENT FOR MORE EPISODES 🚕 🚖 created by @kareem.rahma a @madrealities series #nyc #newyork #taxi #cab #queens #tour #food #anthonybourdain #conversation #madrealities ♬ original sound - KEEP THE METER RUNNING
The videos have received a positive reaction from commenters who have praised the idea, and Rahma's conversation with the drivers. "This is hands down one of the best TikTok series I have ever watched," one comment with over 700 likes posted, while another said, "This show brings me so much joy."
Rahma said he had "absolutely no idea" the videos would become so popular so quickly, but he thought it had the potential to be successful as he was filming the first video, and he has big plans to make many more, with a "surprise" video planned for the end of the year.
"I'm really glad it resonated with so many people of different backgrounds," Rahma told Insider. "When we highlight someone's culture, their entire community gets behind them."
Read the original article on Insider