Khaby Lame, TikTok’s Silent Star

As an immigrant kid growing up in northern Italy’s public-housing estates, Khabane Lame wanted nothing more than to make people laugh. When a global pandemic shut down Italy, and then the world, in March 2020 he found his stage. Posting as ­@khaby.lame on TikTok, the then 20-year-old laid-off factory worker from Senegal started spoofing the platform’s overly complicated “life hack” videos with simple, common­sense solutions. His exaggerated facial expressions, comic timing, and a memeable everyman shrug earned him tens of thousands of new followers with every clip. 

On June 22, he became the most followed TikToker in the world, with nearly 150 ­million fans. And he did it without words. “Body language is universal,” he said from the Milan apartment he shares with two friends. “By staying silent, I am understood. Everybody can laugh alongside me.”

This year the content creator is estimated to earn around $10 million.

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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