Youtuber Kevin Droniak uploads new chapter


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Freshman journalism major Kevin Droniak came to Columbia with on-camera experience in the form of a YouTube channel with almost a half-million subscribers.

By Campus Reporter

Connecticut native and freshman journalism major Kevin Droniak may seem like a typical college student, but at the age of 18, he has already become an Internet sensation.

Droniak’s YouTube channel, thiskidneedsmedicine, features viral videos he made with his grandmother. Since he started producing videos of the two of them talking in the car four years ago, he has attracted almost half a million subscribers. Droniak’s channel also features videos of the two doing partner activities or depicting his grandma reacting to pop culture phenomena. In 2014, a clip of his grandma’s response to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” music video garnered almost 3 million views.

Droniak has gained national attention, by appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and he is currently partnering with Target for its College Styler campaign.

The Chronicle sat down with Droniak to talk about his YouTube success, why he chose to attend Columbia and how he is  adapting without his partner-in-crime at college.

THE CHRONICLE:Why did you decide to start making YouTube videos?

KEVIN DRONIAK:I’ve always wanted to get a following on YouTube because I like to watch YouTube videos, and it seemed like fun. I started making my own videos, and people started to watch them so I just kept it going. I really enjoy watching Connor Franta, Tyler Oakley and Jennxpenn [Jenn McAllister]. From doing YouTube and getting a following, I have gone to conventions and met all of them. They know me, and I never thought I would get to that point where I would get to know them.

Will you continue making videos in college?

I will be filming some stuff in my dorm—I just have to figure out what to do because I still don’t know. I started to post some videos by myself to get my subscribers used to [my channel] without my grandma. I have some videos planned of me in my dorm room talking to the camera and answering questions related to college that my people are wondering. I’ll let them know what college is like so they can know what I’m up to. I also have a bunch of videos stocked up with my grandma to last me until November.

Why did you decide to study broadcast journalism at Columbia?

[Choosing broadcast journalism] had to do with YouTube because I like talking to the camera. I talk to cameras better than I talk to people. I watch a lot of CNN and my local news stations back in Connecticut.

What do you enjoy the most about living in Chicago?

It is very cliché but it has to be The Bean because it is really cool. Also, the people are a lot nicer than [they are on] the East Coast. Everyone is more friendly and it is really nice. This is a nice area to go to college. It’s really fun living with roommates. They know [that I make YouTube videos] and they think it’s cool.

What has been your favorite YouTube-related experience?

Going on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” It was nerve-wracking at first because we did [the interview] on Skype, and I didn’t know what to say, and it was all live so I couldn’t screw up. It was fun and a cool experience to have.

What is your favorite video?

Carving pumpkins with my grandma because it was her first time carving pumpkins. Whenever we do something [for a video] it’s always her first time, like her first time doing yoga or her first time watching a video on YouTube.

Do people recognize you on campus?

[I was recognized] in Shake Shack. Some girl was like, “Oh my God, are you the kid that makes videos with their grandma?” That’s how it always starts. People were trying to find out where I am living from my Snapchat stories. I post pictures of the view of my window and people sometimes send or tweet me pictures of them trying to find where it actually is. One time that happened before and me and my grandma were in California, and I took pictures of the outside of the hotel, and then people came to the hotel to meet us because they [saw] my Snapchat story. It was pretty weird. [Fans] can be crazy sometimes.

What do you miss most about living near your grandma?

How she is always down to do stuff.[for my videos]. I would just show up at her house randomly and hang out. [Because] we are not close [by] anymore, I cannot just do that, which is sad. I miss being able to go to her house and have some fun and film a video.