This Stoner In A Beanie Is One Of The Most Wholesome, Prolific, And Viral TikTokers
"People essentially know me for saying the word 'Wow,'" said Joel, aka @flamingoboy1196.
If you've been on TikTok anytime in the past month, you've probably seen one of Joel's videos.
Actually, you've probably seen, like, 200 of them.
Joel, aka @flamingoboy1196, has rapidly become one of the most prolific and popular TikTokers on the app. The 23-year-old — who outside of TikTok works in videography, makes music, and has a job in a restaurant — has skyrocketed to more than 1.1 million followers in just over a month.
Joel, who lives in the Baltimore area, has amassed devoted fans for his signature content which is basically just videos of him, looking out-of-this-world stoned, and reacting to other people's TikToks, usually with his signature "Woooooooow."
"People essentially know me for saying the word 'Wow,'" Joel told BuzzFeed News on Friday. (Joel asked his full name not be used for privacy reasons.)
TikTok has become well-known for catapulting young people to fame practically overnight, and Joel — flamingo hat and all — has become one of them.
Much of his sudden rise to TikTok fame came about just because of how much he's posting, which is...a lot.
“I just started posting a lot," he said. "Honestly, realistically, it could be anywhere from 20 [videos] to the most I ever posted, which was like 90 or something.”
Joel said he's mostly just finding the videos — primarily "satisfying" content — on his For You Page, just like anyone else using the app.
He also takes reacting to the videos very, very seriously.
"When I'm watching a video, I don't watch the whole thing to make sure my reaction is real," he explained.
Joel said his rather stoned appearance in the majority of his TikToks is not an act. He's been smoking pretty often recently, he said, to treat chronic pain he's struggled with for years.
"It’s getting a lot better, but I was in a car accident a few years ago, and I’ve been going through a lot of neck and back pain for years, so it helps me relax and not be stressed out about it," he said.
The comments section is perhaps one of the best parts of Joel's TikToks, with followers typing back imitations of his wholesome, amazed reactions.
"Everyone in the comments, they’re all really hilarious," he said. "I couldn't ask for better people to support people."
Joel said he was pretty anxious to see the comments when he first started making TikToks, but when he realized how universally positive the reaction was, he was really pleasantly surprised.
"I go through my comments now and scroll from top to bottom, and there will be practically zero negativity," he said. "If they go to my account, they know if they comment something, nobody's gonna comment being rude to them. It's a safe space, in a way."
Joel has so much love for his fans, he said, and their positivity has been the best part of his rise to TikTok fame. While reaction videos are Joel's bread-and-butter on the app, he said he's working on some creative new kinds of videos he's hoping fans will be surprised by.
"They're the best. I love them, I really do, and I'm so grateful and appreciative of them," he said. "They're changing my life exponentially, and I can't wait till I'm finally able to give back and help all them out too, if I can."