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Lars Lindström

COLUMN Why Pewdiepie is Sweden’s hottest Internet star

Entirely on his own, in the dark at the computer, Felix Kjellberg, 22, created the phenomenon Pewdiepie.
He’s got 71 million views on Youtube, hundreds of thousands of young fans around the world – and is almost entirely unknown to all adults.
Why fans love him? Easy. He is a great comedian, a natural talent.

All teens know who Pewdiepie is… Now the rest of you also know.
He is the latest Swedish Internet phenomenon and one of the strangest. How it happened he doesn’t even understand himself.
Felix Kjellberg from Gothenburg, Sweden, is playing horror games like ”Amnesia”, ”Afraid of Monsters” and ”Cry of fear” at the computer and simultaneously comment on his moves. Respond with screams and laughter. Adding voices.
He is a huge success on Youtube. Today his channel has 309 000 subscribers and his videos have 71 million views. He has 84 000 fans on Facebook. He says:
– I studied at Chalmers university and started with this a year ago, as a hobby. I am easily frightened and thought that it might be easier to play horror games if I film myself and post the videos on Youtube.
For the last seven months, he has posted least one video a day. And the fans are flowing to him. Pewdiepie is getting 3 000 new subscribers to his Youtube channel – every day!
His admirers write songs for him, are doing remixes using his voice, post tributes, comments, write letters … Felix Kjellberg has been forced to change phone numbers because there were so many fans calling, even at night.
He had 25 million views on Youtube last month, and Youtube sells a lot of video advertising on his Pewdiepie channel. He also gets revenue from t-shirt sales.
Felix Kjellberg will not tell me how much money his company has earned from the phenomenon Pewdiepie, but he earns his living on it. He says:
– This is my job now. I took a break in my studies. This is my dream job, I could not ask for better. I’ll decide my own hours, I get to do what I like most, I have adorable fans …
Another advantage is that he can do his job from all over the world, at a computer. In a few months Felix Kjellberg is moving from Sweden to Italy. He will be staying in Venice with his Italian girlfriend Marzia. But rest assured, Pewdiepie fans: he continues to record videos. Although he is actually thinking about taking a day off a week.
That Felix Kjellberg has a comic talent is indisputable. It is both amazingly awful and amazingly funny when a father bikes around with his son in the game ”Happy Wheels” and both get crushed and bloody again and again and Pewdiepie improvise absurd comments as the game continues.
The secret is that he really loves to play these games and that he has fun doing it. He says that he’s just trying to empathize with the whole thing. He has succeeded so well that he is Sweden’s hottest Internet star right now.

[Updated english version, by demand].

[Link to Happy wheels montage]