You might recognize Ryan Davis from his viral videos, but this vlogger was performing stand-up comedy before his online success even started. He has opened for stand-up comics like Tom Green and Jay Pharaoh, and he is now selling out his own shows across the country. His videos can be opinionated, shocking or even informative, but they are always hilarious. Everything he puts online gets millions of views leading to a solid fan base across the country. But who is Ryan Davis? CULTURE sat down for a chat with the comedian about his rapidly growing career, his roots, his authentic style of comedy—and his love of edibles.
How did your comedy career get started?
My career got started when I went to a movie theater and saw Kevin Hart’s Let Me Explain twice in a row. I had wanted to do comedy forever, but at that point watching him cry at the end of the movie, because he’s happy, because he sold out Madison Square Garden, I said to myself, “You know what, I should actually try. I might actually be successful at this.” Two days later, I got onstage for the first time. There was no real preparation, but I knew if I didn’t make myself do it then, then I would never do it. I got onstage that first night, and it actually went really well. I was addicted at that point.
“People die every day from alcohol-related accidents, people overdose on things, nobody ever overdosed on marijuana. I’ve never had an issue with people using marijuana, and I’ve never understood why other people do.”
Why did you start making online videos?
I actually started doing that in 2011. When I first started I would just post videos through YouTube. At first it was just more of a thing that I did when I was bored. I was always really opinionated, so I just really enjoyed it. Then I broke my camera in 2012. I was like a broke college student and so—career over. I wasn’t buying another camera. But after I started studying comedy in 2013, and I learned how to write a joke properly, I wanted to go back to doing videos. So I went back to doing them for fun, and before I knew it they were going viral. It was definitely unexpected, but the reason it’s so easy for me to keep putting out content is just because I love doing it.
Do you ever experience any backlash for your strong opinions?
Oh, of course. People are going to criticize no matter what you do. There was one thing that made me realize that I just can’t pay attention to the negative comments. There was a lady that went viral because of a Chewbacca mask she bought at a store. She put it on, and whenever she opened her mouth it made a Chewbacca noise. And she laughed hysterically for like eight minutes straight. And she had the most negative comments in the comment section. I could not figure out for the life of me why someone who was enjoying life and laughing at something as silly as a Chewbacca mask was bothering people. That’s when I came to the conclusion that people are just going to be upset no matter what. You just can’t worry about that. You just have to be yourself, and put yourself out there, and sometimes negative stuff is going to be said
Do you have any opinions on legalized recreational cannabis?
It’s about time. I’ve never understood what the drawbacks are. When I was younger it was always, “It’s bad; don’t do it because it’s illegal.” Well if the only thing you can think of is because it’s illegal, it’s illegal because we said so. When you become an adult you start asking questions like, “Why?” People die every day from alcohol-related accidents, people overdose on things, nobody ever overdosed on marijuana. I’ve never had an issue with people using marijuana, and I’ve never understood why other people do.
Are you a cannabis consumer?
I am the worst when it comes to smoking because I tend to say the first thing that comes to my mind. I don’t have a filter for some reason whenever I smoke. I consider myself to be a person who is somewhat intelligent, and marijuana tells everyone that I’m not. [ . . . ] I’m not like that with edibles though. Edibles are cool, I can’t smoke it, but edibles I can do. I did a 420 show in San Francisco this year. Before the show, the sponsors gave us a gift box with these awesome gummies. I dissected the box and showed everybody in the crowd what was in it, and I put the weed out there for my fans, because they knew I didn’t smoke.