TikTok’s popularity has grown astoundingly throughout the pandemic. With over 100 million active users, the platform’s average use went up from 12.8 hours per month in 2019 to 21.5 hours per month in 2020. This increase shows in times of need and anxiety, people turn to any form of entertainment that may distract them from the cruel reality. TikTok became the perfect source of entertainment, with creators from all over the world sharing challenges, dances, advice, stories, and comedy. One of those creators is Dave Fein, the therapist and stand-up comedian saving the pandemic one TikTok at a time.
Dave Fein grew up knowing the stage is where he belonged, and performing was the career of his dreams. He attended Emerson College and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Film, moving to LA shortly after graduation to pursue his artistic career. There, he worked on different projects such as a feature film, his acting career, countless web series, and screenplays, adding his comedic streak to everything he did. But after a while, Fein realized there was something else he wanted to do with his life: spread kindness, compassion, and laughter. So, while still pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian, he returned to school and received his MA in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.
Like many others, during the pandemic, Fein faced the most complex challenges of his life. He lost his grandfather and a close friend/mentor as well as his apartment, and his different diagnoses intensified, making his situation even more challenging. But he did not give up. This psychologist continued to see his patients, adding comedy to therapy to make them feel better about their personal circumstances. Throughout this, he realized there had to be a way for him to continue bringing comedy into people’s lives through his stand-up performances. How could he do it when everything was closed, and social distancing was still in practice? The answer was obvious: TikTok.
“TikTok was the closest thing I could find to stand up comedy in this tumultuous time,” says Fein. “I could reach audiences live through streaming and make short videos and jokes.” In a matter of months, he grew his account to over 129K followers, over 20 viral videos with more than two million views, survived one TikTok ban, and reached audiences worldwide. His videos aim to make people laugh, trying to bring a little light in times of darkness. As he has struggled with this darkness himself, Fein wants his followers to have a good laugh and distract from how difficult their reality has gotten in the last year.
Although many new creators joined the platform in recent months, Fein seems to stand out for his desire to make life better for everyone. “My hope,” says this comedian, “is that folks know life is a rocky, bumpy unpredictable river that acceptance and surrender can only travel. Everyone’s context is different. Not one person’s pain is greater or less than another’s. We all need to practice compassion and empathy, especially in the post-pandemic world.” This is a message he shared through his different videos and jokes.
When life gets hard, we look for a life jacket that will keep us afloat. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for many, the life jacket was social media, particularly TikTok. Those turning to this platform for help found Dave Fein, the therapist and stand-up comedian saving the pandemic one TikTok at a time, realizing life can turn around and become everything you have dreamed of if you practice kindness and compassion and laugh a little harder every day.
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