CNN Comedian Khaby Lame has become the king of TikTok, all without uttering a word.
With over 142.9 million followers, Lame has dethroned teen dancer and content creator Charli D'Amelio to become the most-followed person on the platform.
Lame, 22, who was born in the West African nation of Senegal and now lives in Italy, creates videos in which he reacts wordlessly to absurd life hacks, racking up millions of views and likes with each post.
In the past few weeks, his fans have launched a social media campaign to push him past D'Amelio on TikTok. On Instagram, Lame has 78.3 million followers, compared to D'Amelio's 48.8 million.
Lah-MAY started posting videos after he lost his job as a factory worker in Italy in the early days of the Pandemic in 2020. He spent his days in the parents' home in Chivasso, Italy, looking for jobs. One day he downloaded TikTok and started playing with it in his bedroom, posting videos of himself under the name of Khaby Lame.
Like a lot of TikTokers, he created clips of himself dancing, watching video games or doing comedy stunts. In early 2021 he began making fun of the life-hack videos that flood social media platforms - reacting to them with a wordless shrug or a look of exasperation.
I came up with the idea because I saw these videos circulating, and I liked the idea of bringing simplicity to it, Lame told CNN late last year that I thought of a way to reach as many people as possible. In addition to the life hack videos, Lame also posts short comedy skits that show his expressive reactions but no words.
His reactions personify the term shaking my head, or SMH, in internet shorthand. After his common-sense approach to a task, Lame extends his arms with his palms facing upward, as if to say, 'duh. He sometimes throws an eye roll or a shake of the head.
He is one of the most recognizable digital creators on social media because of his silent but expressive reactions.
Lame's deadpan humor has attracted fans from all over the world who send him videos of people performing simple tasks in complicated ways.
His stoic facial expressions have also turned him into a meme star with his face reposted in reaction videos on social media.
He told CNN last year that he does not post the videos to gain fame.
I don't care if I'm first or second or fourth most popular on TikTok. He said that I started making videos because I wanted to make people laugh in the period of lockdown. I'm happy about my accomplishments, but those are not my main things. Lame said he wants to work with his favorite movie star, Will Smith.