Khaby Lame: An Example of Perfect Timing

Do you know who the most followed person on TikTok is? Here’s a hint: it’s not Addison Rae, or MrBeast, or even Charli D'Amelio.

No, the title of ‘Most-Followed TikToker’ goes to 24-year-old Khaby Lame.

With 162 million followers and counting, Lame’s popularity has skyrocketed since he joined the platform in 2020, taking the number one spot from D’Amelio in 2022.

Aside from being a monument to just how quickly creating content online can change your entire life, Lame is also a prime example of how powerful timing can be in the world of content creation. Let’s get into it.


Meet the world’s biggest TikToker, Khaby Lame

In just two years, Lame went from unemployment to becoming the most popular TikToker in the world. This is an incredible achievement for anyone, let alone someone who’d never made videos online before finding TikTok.

Lame’s journey to stardom started with a particularly bad turn of events. In March 2020, the Senegal-born creator was laid off from his job working in a factory in northern Italy.

With lots of time on his hands, Lame started posting short, comedic videos to TikTok. The premise of his videos was simple: he’d find overcomplicated ‘life hack’ videos and use the platform’s Stitch react with a video of himself performing the same task in a much simpler way. When the original creator peels a banana with a meat cleaver, Lame peels a banana by, you guessed it, peeling the banana, punctuating the gag with an eyebrow raise, as if to say, ‘See how simple it is?’

Within the first month, Lame had amassed just two subscribers (his dad and his neighbor), but over subsequent lockdowns, his following grew, and so did his appeal to brands; according to Forbes, Lame has grossed $16.5 million from brand deals.

Lockdown, authenticity, and silence: a winning combo

As you may be thinking, Khaby Lame is far from the only creator on TikTok calling out impractical ‘life hacks.’ So, what is it about his videos that won him such popularity? Let’s find out.

Right place, right time

Lame joined TikTok at a time when we were all desperate for a distraction from the horrors going on in the world around us. Considering we were all locked down inside our houses, doing our best to avoid reading the news, it's no surprise that we turned to snackable and short-form content platforms like TikTok for entertainment and a sense of community.

And Lame’s videos perfectly tapped into the zeitgeist of the pandemic era. His simple yet hilarious reaction videos struck a chord with audiences who were seeking relatable, lighthearted, and easy-to-consume content, winning him a dedicated following.

He’s just like us!

While Lame has more than a few bucks to his name today, he was far from wealthy in 2020. Newly redundant, he filmed his videos in his parents’ house, often posting from the bedroom he shared with his brother.

During a period when traditional celebrities were called out every day for their lack of perspective and relatability, Lame represented the everyman with a lifestyle reflective of many of his viewers.

His videos have a universal appeal

By using exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures in lieu of spoken words, Lame created content that everyone could understand and relate to, opening himself up to a global audience.

As fellow creator Nas Daily puts it, “He didn’t talk, so everyone understood. He was funny, so everyone laughed. And he was simple, so everyone shared.”


Is timing really everything?

Aside from the importance of relatability and accessibility, there’s one big lesson that creators can take away from Khaby Lame: there is power in striking the right chord at the right time.

While timing isn’t everything in the world of content creation, it is important. By keeping attuned to the content trends dominating your audience’s FYP and how cultural moments are shaping your audience’s overall moon, you can create content that resonates deeply — and spreads like wildfire.

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