Crazy life of wacky duo

Besides breaking Guinness World Records, YouTube stars Alfie Deyes and Marcus Butler are also often mobbed by fans

YouTubers Alfie Deyes (above left) and Marcus Butler (right); and with their fans at the Swissotel The Stamford hotel.
YouTubers Alfie Deyes (above left) and Marcus Butler (right); and with their fans at the Swissotel The Stamford hotel.PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN
YouTubers Alfie Deyes and Marcus Butler; and with their fans at the Swissotel The Stamford hotel (above).
YouTubers Alfie Deyes and Marcus Butler; and with their fans at the Swissotel The Stamford hotel (above).PHOTO: TWITTER/ MARCUSBUTLER

Two popular British YouTubers, Alfie Deyes and Marcus Butler, received a warm welcome from Singapore fans late last week when they were here for the Singapore Media Festival.

The festival is a platform that connects media professionals from the region, through events such as ScreenSingapore and Digital Matters.

The stars, who have a combined reach of almost 10 million subscribers to their YouTube channels, which play videos of wacky challenges and humorous sketches, proved their reach was not just online, but also offline.

They were trailed by followers the minute they arrived last Thursday.

More than 300 fans, mostly teenage girls, waited at Changi Airport to welcome them when their flight landed at 5am.

The duo was later greeted by another large group of fans at the lobby of the Swissotel The Stamford hotel where they were staying.

And at their first meet-and-greet session at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre the next day, about 400 fans showed up.

Student Anum Zynal, 17, who has been watching their videos for four years and was at the meet-and- greet, said: "Alfie is inspiring, funny and talented. I'm saving money to buy a camera so I can start a YouTube channel myself to be just like him."

While their Singapore fans were enthusiastic, Butler, 23, said they were also "very polite".

"They would wait quietly for their turn and ask if they could take a photo."

Deyes, 22, added: "In Britain, everyone would be grabbing your clothes and shouting."

The two full-time YouTubers got to know each other through the video-sharing platform about five years ago. Back then, each had only 200 subscribers and decided to meet because they shared the same passion.

Of their first meeting in person, Deyes said: "I actually lied to him about my home address because I didn't want to tell a random person where I lived."

But they quickly became fast friends and collaborators. They have worked on more than 40 videos together as well as broken several Guinness World Records as a pair.

In 2013, for example, they set a record for the most number of bras worn and removed by a team of two in one minute, which they achieved with six bras.

They also plan to do a video together about their trip to Singapore. Said Deyes: "We're going to make a video of us eating all the food we've been given, which has been a lot."

They have also been able to leverage on their online fame for various non-digital business opportunities.

Deyes and his girlfriend Zoe Sugg, also a YouTuber, who are dubbed the "Jay Z and Beyonce" of the YouTube world, have had wax figures of themselves on display at the Madame Tussauds museum in London since September.

Deyes said: "It feels crazy and weird, having your own wax figure. Nowadays, people message me online saying they met me today, when I've just been in bed, and send me photos of themselves with the wax figure of me."

He has also wrote two books - The Pointless Book and The Pointless Book 2 - which are interactive activity books filled with games and challenges. They reportedly sold 15,000 and 11,000 copies respectively in their debut weeks.

When he went for a book signing last year in London, police helicopters reportedly had to be sent to help control the crowd of 8,000 fans, many of whom had camped outside the bookstore.

Butler also released a book, Hello Life!, in July, which reportedly sold more than 6,500 copies in its debut week.

Online reports estimate that Deyes and Butler each make a six-figure sum annually off advertising on their video channels and selling related merchandise such as T-shirts, posters and mugs.

There have also been news reports that say Deyes and his girlfriend splashed out on a

£1-million (S$2.1 million) five- bedroom house in Brighton earlier this year, while Butler moved into a London apartment this year with his girlfriend Niomi Smart, also a YouTuber.

When asked about the reports, Butler would say only "that's nice". Deyes, on the other hand, said: "I don't even know what I make myself."

Regardless of the longevity of their YouTube careers, however, both want to keep making videos for as long as they can.

Said Deyes: "It's something I just love to do. I started it as a hobby and it was fun. I wasn't expecting to earn anything from it."

Added Butler: "Even if I do something else, such as movies, YouTube will always be my main thing. It's what I started with and it is what I enjoy the most."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline 'Crazy life of wacky duo'. Subscribe