Admit it – we’ve all been to that side of YouTube. It always starts innocently enough, with a click on an obscure title or intriguing thumbnail, but it doesn’t take long before you are tumbling down a rabbit hole of insanity. All of a sudden, it’s three hours later and your suggestions are full of dancing Pikachus, bizarre performance art, creepy news stories, and totally inexplicable skits. What happened?
Like most popular websites, YouTube relies on ever-changing algorithms to deliver videos that users want to see. It’s a complicated process, but the long and short of it is, if you seek out dancing cat videos, YouTube will suggest (you guessed it!) more dancing cat videos. As a result, users get sucked in for much longer than they expected, for an average mobile watch time of just over 40 minutes.
But don’t worry, if you want to dive into the weird side of YouTube, you don’t have to go searching. Here we’ve collected 25 of the strangest YouTube channels, complete with art, dance, music, cooking, animals, and even a self-proclaimed “toilet fan.” Some are strange on purpose, while others are a glimpse into hobbies and cultures that we had no idea existed, but all are incredibly hard to look away from. Don’t forget to subscribe to your favorites for daily doses of the weird side of YouTube.
Do hair and nails continue to grow after death? What happened to the Titanic’s dead? Can a corpse turn to stone? Since 2011, L.A.-based mortician Caitlin Doughty has been answering all the questions you didn’t know you had about cremation, decomposition, coffin births, and more. In addition to her YouTube channel, Doughty is the author of The New York Times bestseller Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory, a memoir of her experiences. She also founded The Order of the Good Death, an organization focused on overcoming “death anxiety.”
It’s strange enough that this woman cooks with her dog next to her, but wait until you hear the kicker – the dog is the host! As the unnamed chef makes traditional Japanese dishes, Francis the dog gives step-by-step directions in English tinged with a Japanese accent. It’s a bizarre concept, but there’s something very soothing about the dog’s voice and watching simple ingredients come together to form intricate dishes. With well over a million subscribers, the public seems to agree.
You probably know the voice of zefrank1 from the Sad Cat Diary or the Dear Kitten, but did you know that he’s the president of Buzzfeed Entertainment Group? There, he’s put his comedy skills to good use, notably with hilarious animal and nature spoofs, but zefrank1 also has a darker side. Teddy’s operation might start innocently enough, but just wait until they get to the courage sack…
Meet Benjamin Bennett. Since July 28, 2014, Bennett has been live-streaming himself sitting and smiling at the camera for roughly four hours at a time. Today, there are over 200 videos, and the only thing that ever changes is the background and his clothes. What does it mean? Is it performance art? Some kind of personal quest? Only Bennett knows and, as of now, he’s not talking.
Deep in the weird side of YouTube is a subculture known as “living dolls,” that is, men who wear silicone female masks. We’ll let you explore that rabbit hole yourself – in the meantime, enjoy this video of Kerry Johnson masking and unmasking. It’s just as simple as it sounds, but completely mesmerizing.
Nick Bertke, better known as Pogo, caught Disney’s attention in 2007 after releasing “Alice.” The track, like most of his work, takes sounds and melodies from a movie, then loops them together to create an incredibly smooth, new track. Since then, Pogo’s remixed many more films and TV shows, including projects for Disney/Pixar, Harry Potter, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
YouTuber nana825763 is best known for her Creepypasta above, “username:666,” but that’s not the only strange video on her channel. In addition to bloody skits performed with dolls and puppets, there’s also an extensive ant diary of Queen Ant A-chan that’s one part creepy and two parts educational. Watch at your own risk!
I’ll never forget the feeling that went through my body the first time I saw “Don’t Hug me I’m Scared.” It was fear, excitement, awe, and disbelief all rolled into one spine-tingling sensation. The faux kid’s show only has 11 videos, but every one of them is a journey into pure and utter madness – enjoy them while you can.
9. Licking Guy
In the last year, the self-proclaimed “Licking Guy” has licked a crane, a military fighting jet, the YouTube building, and a whole lot more. Why? No one really knows. It all started with a cactus in August 2015, and since then he hasn’t been able to stop. For each lick he wears a black ski mask and sunglasses, making an already weird situation that much creepier.
Speaking of licking… welcome to Little Baby’s Ice Cream, but don’t let the sweet name fool you. The Philadelphia-based ice cream company is dedicated to making the “world’s weirdest ice cream,” and that means coming up with bizarre YouTube campaigns to go along with it. And the creativity doesn’t stop there! With flavors like Earl Grey Sriracha, Balsamic Banana, and Pumpkin Curry, they’ve quickly become a Philly favorite.
You’re probably in need of a palette cleanser by now, so here’s the Hydraulic Press Channel, where literally all they do is crush stuff. Gummy bears, books, diamonds, pineapples, a toilet… you name it, they’ve probably crushed it. We don’t know why it’s soothing, but it totally is.
Food reviews typically focus on high-end restaurants and five-star meals, but TheReportOfTheWeek gives people what they really want – that is, honest reviews on energy drinks and fast food, like Chick-fil-A, Domino’s, and Taco Bell. Each video is intensely serious, often featuring the host in a suit and tie with a crystal water goblet nearby. His dedication to describing the product in full and New York accent almost make you forget that he’s talking about food and drinks that you can find in a drive-through or gas station.
Freelance animator cyriak is known for bizarre and disturbing shorts, most notably “Baaa” which is featured above. Although he got his start on YouTube, he’s since been tapped to do projects for Coca-Cola, Adult Swim, and most recently, Netflix.
14. How To Basic
Lifehack videos are all the rage, but there are none quite like those on How To Basic. With misleading, click-bait titles like “How To Make Healthy Ice Cream” and “How To Ice Skate” what is delivered is far from what audiences expect. A word of warning – the video above is one of his tamer creations. Most are NSFW.
Remember that cute kid’s cartoon Jimmy Neutron? You’ll never look at it the same way again after visiting the channel of seinfeldspitstain. He says his most popular video, “Jimmy Neutron Happy Family Happy Hour,” was “inspired by a dream.” With its bizarre animation and “aggressive pizza,” we think it looks more like a nightmare.
There are two types of people in this world – those who find satisfaction from pimples, boils, and blackheads being popped and those who find it utterly disgusting. If you’re the former, check out Dr. Pimple Popper; if not, let’s move on.
17. Jillian Mayer
The art world knows Jillian Mayer well for her international exhibits and work at film festivals such as Sundance, but in 2011 she became internet-famous for her viral video “I Am Your Grandma.” Like all of Mayer’s work, it’s creepy, mesmerizing, and totally unforgettable. Although her other videos don’t have a high view count, each and every one is worth a watch, especially this gem that features the artist riding a jet-pack in the nude.
18. David Firth
You’ve probably seen Salad Fingers, but did you know that creator David Firth has a whole channel teaming with the bizarre? With a sense of humor that’s Roald Dahl meets Stephen King, crude animations, and minimalist voice-overs, it’s a true treat for anyone who delights in the weird. Firth himself said, “Raging commenters: the more angry you get about the content of my work and what you deem inappropriate, the most I laugh and feel encouraged to push it further. You aren’t telling me off you are spurring me on.” We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!
“You suck at cooking, yes you totally suck.” If you don’t know that jingle already, prepare yourself for 47 episodes of delight. There are talking eggs, pepper, pepper, pepper, a sandwich of justice, breakup pasta, pentagram yams, and a whole lot more that will keep you laughing from start to finish. While the channel has attracted sponsors, it’s virtually unknown with less than half a million subscribers. That said, we’re predicting that this one will hit it big.
theLittleFears consists of Creepypasta stories paired with home video footage, old photographs, and “a nice Canadian woman with a soothing voice” — need we say more? Sadly, the channel has been inactive for two years, but there’s still plenty there to enjoy. Nice Canadian woman, if you are reading this, please come back to YouTube!
21. Insane Cherry
Do you like The Pixies? Queen? The White Stripes? After seeing these animal “covers” you’ll never hear your favorite songs the same way again. Consider yourself warned and remember, he takes requests.
22. Autumn Asphodel
Autumn Asphodel claims to have multiple personalities, and while critics say it’s all an act, good luck peeling yourself away from her videos. Asphodel speaks openly about her alters, mental illnesses, and male-to-female transition, giving the public a glimpse into worlds that are often shunned. If it is an act, it’s a really, really good one.
23. Memory Hole
Memory Hole was named after George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and refers to a place where the government would store and destroy files that might incite the public – a perfect description for the brand of weirdness found on this channel. By clipping together random home video footage, Memory Hole creates videos that seem somewhat familiar but are wholly disturbing at the same time. The result is kind of like looking into someone else’s nightmare.
Elastic Spastic Plastic Fantastic, otherwise known as Shaye St. John, hasn’t been active for nine years, but we had to mention her work. In the early days of YouTube, she was an O.G. of the weird side of YouTube and has inspired many artists and filmmakers who’ve come after her. Considering that she still has a MySpace link in her “About Me,” we don’t think she’s ever coming back.
For the past six years, toiletfan1 has been uploading videos of toilets, but the weirdest part? The connoisseur of vintage toilets and urinals is just a kid. Most of his videos include a detailed look at the toilet in question, a few remarks, and of course, a complimentary flush or two. This kid is either going to grow up to be a plumber or one of those people who fall in love with inanimate objects – as of yet, it’s too early to tell.