It’s very difficult not to laugh while talking to David Dobrik. After just a few minutes of talking, the charm and sincerity that made the low-key everyman a YouTube sensation are clear. And, sincerely: He is not a gym rat. “I was supposed to work out with my trainer today, but you called so I cancelled on it,” he says. “So, thank God for that.”
He got his start on Vine, but Dobrik is best known for his YouTube vlogs, which have gone from pranks on his friends to and giving away cars and driving around L.A. with Kylie Jenner. Over the years he’s amassed almost 18 million subscribers on YouTube, spinning the aforementioned charm to a truly massive audience. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dobrik stopped making vlogs. He’s decided to pause on his YouTube channel and take some time to experiment with other platforms and stay safe from the virus.
He talked to GQ on how he’s filling his days during the pandemic, dealing with the stress of the YouTube grind, and winding down with his favorite candle.
GQ: What’s your average day look like during the pandemic?
David Dobrik: My average day feels like it’s just day and night. During the day, I’m waiting for it to become night and then at night, I’m waiting for it to become morning. It’s getting so repetitive.
Usually I wake up around 10 or 11. I work with my roommate and we’ll get on some Zoom calls. And then usually they’ll go out and go on a run or they’ll go work in the backyard and I’ll make some sort of excuse where I have to shower, or I have to do some more important things [laughs]. But there have been a lot of days in a row where I’ve used some excuses to skip that part of the day.
Actually, I was supposed to work out with my trainer today, but you called so I cancelled on it. So, thank God for that.
Happy I could do that for you.
Next month, you know, I’ll work with the trainer next month. There’s gonna be lots of months in the future. I’m not the best at working out. I absolutely hate working out. I should say that: I hate lifting weights. I hate doing sit ups. I just don’t understand activities where there’s no clear goal or game involved. I love, love playing basketball and soccer. I love sports for a purpose and there’s a winner or a loser in that moment. There’s something about lifting weights that I find it’s so boring. I just end up getting so angry by the end of it.
That’s so funny to me, part of me has been dying during this whole thing because I can’t lift weights. I’m like: I’m gonna go to the gym and I have this super structured program that I’m following. It’s all about certain numbers I need to be hitting.
Why do you do it? Are you seeing serious body changes? Is it like, the second you see a little change in your body you’re addicted to it now? How does that work?
I enjoy the numbers aspect of it. I love watching like the strength gains you can make—being like last month I couldn’t lift this but now I can.
What you’ve done is you’ve built a game into what you’re doing. So you go and you’re competing against yourself, which is cool. I could never do it [laughs].
This is a “me” thing. I don’t think anybody’s ever had this problem, but when I grip weights and I’m like “Okay, I’m benching something.” I get really in my head. I think about my hand around the weight and I think about how my veins are bending around the weight, and how the inside of my hand is looking and it grosses me out so much.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody say that before.
I really love tennis, and tennis before quarantine happened. The courts were open and I could go out with a pro to play. It’s a three-in-one because you get a work out, you have fun, and you get a tan. My favorite part about coming back from tennis is looking tan. I don’t know why, I just love it, it feels like an added bonus.