Khaby Lame just passed Charli D'Amelio as the most-followed TikTok creator.
Lame is famous for his comic expressions and deadpan reactions to overstylized TikToks.
On social media, users are now calling 22-year-old Lame the "king of TikTok."
In one of Khabane Lame's TikTok videos from last year, he reacted to a clip of someone using scissors to open a container of milk. To show how it's done, Lame simply peeled a milk carton open and poured the liquid into a glass while smiling goofily at the camera.
It's a simple act, something most people do every day. But the video has over 8 million likes.
On Wednesday, Lame, 22, surpassed 18-year-old Charli D'Amelio to become the most-followed TikToker in the world. While D'Amelio currently has 142.2 million followers on the app, Lame now has a following of 142.6 million.
His following has grown rapidly over the past few years, and in July 2021, he surpassed the 22-year-old influencer Addison Rae to become the second most-followed creator in the world.
Lame is a Senegalese-Italian creator based in Italy who began making TikToks under the handle "Khaby Lame" after he lost his job working in a northern Italy factory during the pandemic, The New York Times reported.
When The Times spoke with Lame in June 2021, he was bubbling around 65 million followers on TikTok. Within a month, the creator vaulted to 84 million, and less than a full year later, he has now gained an additional 62 million followers.
Here is how Lame built his following to become the most popular creator on TikTok.
Lame is known for breaking the fourth wall in his videos
Lame's earliest videos, which date back to March 2020, were a mix of dance parodies such as doing the "woah" while soaping his hands and random meme skits, like pretending to DJ with pieces from a chess set.
He became famous for his comic expressions and reaction videos, and by looking at the camera, he breaks the fourth wall — almost like TikTok's version of Jim Halpert from "The Office," who served as the sitcom's straight man.
"It's my face and my facial expressions that make people laugh," he told The Times.
Lame's videos are also characterized by a sarcastic form of 'silent comedy'
Another reason why Lame's videos have stood out to viewers is that the TikToker practically never speaks in them.
The creator often uses the hashtag #LearnfromKhaby under his videos, where he uses comedic sketches and facial expressions to teach viewers how to do various tasks, like draining pasta water out of a pot, or picking up your keys when they've fallen under a chair.
@khaby.lame Wow I'm so impressed how you drain the pasta!! Don’t you? 😂 Sono cosi impressionato da come scoli la pasta” tu no?😂#learnfromkhaby #learnwithtiktok ♬ suono originale - Khabane lame
His videos appear to mock TikTok "life hacks," a popular genre where users claim to offer advice on finding easier ways to do tasks. By silently doing the same task from the life hack video in a seemingly easier way, Lame has been praised for his comedic presence.
One video from August 2021 shows a person using an extravagant clipping device to grasp a cherry and remove its stem. Then, it switches to Lame sitting on a train with two cherries in front of him. He grabs one, looks into the camera, and yanks the stem. He pops the cherry into his mouth while shaking his head slowly, as if to say, "How easy was that?"
The video has 168 million views.
In June, Lame told Vogue, "The funniest part of my content is the silence," adding, "Silent comedy speaks a language that everybody in the world can understand."
Fans have constantly made remarks about Lame's distinct style on TikTok. "This man has never even spoken a word and has almost 100 million followers," one comment with 150,000 likes said under a TikTok posted by Lame in July 2021. Another commenter wrote, "Have you always wondered what his voice sounds like?," in August last year.
In addition to making TikToks, Lame said he's a passionate soccer fan — his favorite team is Juventus F.C., a club from Turin, Italy. He also named Eddie Murphy and Will Smith as two of his biggest inspirations, telling The Times he'd like to reach their level of comedy one day.
Lame offers an antidote to the professional polish of TikTok's top stars
One main reason for Lame's startling success seems to be how his videos are in contrast to many of the videos from top creators like Rae and D'Amelio.
Where many big video makers use high-quality cameras, intoxicating music, and carefully plan their lighting, Lame ditches those influencer trappings. His videos are often quiet and alluringly realistic. Instead of flexing ultra-smooth dance moves or entrancing transition skills, Lame frequently just sits in front of the camera. He doesn't bother to optimize the lighting, use color filters or edit his videos at all, which lends an air of authenticity.
Lame's fame has become so wide-reaching that fan compilations titled "Khaby Lame BEST TikToks" and "Funniest Khabane Lame Compilation" have each reached over 10 million views on YouTube. He has Instagram fan accounts with tens of thousands of followers. There's even a Reddit forum with almost 1,000 members devoted to sharing information about him.
Lame's supporters were rooting for the TikToker to become the most popular creator in the world
In early May, Noah Glenn Carter, a creator with 4.8 million followers who often goes viral for sharing trending news and TikTok drama updates, posted a series of videos saying he wanted to help Lame become the most followed creator in the world.
Carter urged people to follow Lame, and his videos cumulatively received millions of views and likes. The hashtag #KhabyToNumberOne, which was popularized by Carter, now has more than 15 million TikTok views.
—ᴢᴇᴜꜱ (@BadaVase) June 22, 2022
Lame did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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