18-year-old Joey Nero knew he wanted to make TikTok videos the first time he heard about the app—he just didn’t know they would make him famous. But Joey’s hilarious videos, pranks, and rants were an immediate hit on TikTok and his follower count quickly skyrocketed to more than 4 million.
Joey (@joeynero20) first heard about TikTok from his friends and quickly became enamored with the app. “I found TikTok addicting because it wants you to start scrolling [and] everything is so different,” he told In The Know. “One second you’ll get a funny video then you’ll scroll and you’ll get a dancing video, so you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Soon, Joey’s competitive streak got the best of him, and he decided he wanted to make the kinds of viral videos that first got him interested in the app.
“I’m very competitive. I want to be the best of the best,” he explained. “I start making comedy videos, people love it, it starts blowing up, and it changes everything basically for me.”
Joey started by posting dance videos, but really hit his stride when he began sharing comedic content. Viewers loved his abrasive, short-tempered persona, and began to tune in regularly to watch Joey prank his mom, hang out with his sister, and yell about the things that make him mad.
“Basically my content is me screaming, yelling, cursing, and complaining,” Joey said to In the Know. “And people like that because they like my accent. And I’m not tall. I’m like 5 foot 5, so they all think it’s funny that such a short kid has such a high temper.”
While Joey is the star, his TikTok channel is a family affair. Not only does Joey’s family appear in his videos, his mom even helps him manage his account.
Joey admits that he could never have reached his level of TikTok success without his mom. She helps him decide when to post and helps him strategize his content. She also keeps him from getting too overwhelmed with the pressures of TikTok success.
“My mom helps me a lot behind the scenes. She actually does everything for me,” Joey explained to In the Know. “If it wasn’t for her, I mean, I wouldn’t be able to do basically anything because it would all just overwhelm me and I would just have to sit in my bed all day.”
For Joey, TikTok is about more than getting laughs. It’s about encouraging his followers to stand up for themselves and speak up when they’re upset.
He explained, “There’s always like a hidden message in my videos. It’s like, speak up. If something bothers you, no matter how light it is, say it. Speak up. Don’t let it just sit there and bother you.”
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