Generations of comics past have earned their stripes by working the late-night comedy circuit and practicing their tight five for years to achieve perfection. Comedian Elyse Myers has taken a slightly different path to success: The comedian, writer, and digital content creator has helped millions of people find light in their darkest mental health struggles through her ever-growing TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube platforms. This year, with a podcast, scripted television series, and a book on the way (NBD), Myers is set to inspire many more belly laughs.
Myers has been dubbed “The Internet’s Best Friend” and reaches an audience of more than five million people from her home in Nebraska. Scroll through her TikTok feed, and you’ll find an endless stream of videos that can only be described as the Platonic ideal of surprise and delight: hilarious monologues of Myers recalling the day of her wedding engagement, French braid fails, and honest logs of living with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
In other words, Myers’ content defies niche, and in an interview with Well+Good, she says this lack of curation is 100 percent intentional. “I’ve just decided that I am going to do what makes me happy and what I love doing and creating,” she says. “I think creating content across many genres gives people a very clear idea that you are a whole person with different interests and hobbies.”
This devotion to authenticity hasn’t gone unnoticed by Myers’ community. When she posts a video of her picking a piece of her lower lip until it bleeds, she asks her TikTok followers if they do the same thing. The response is over 4,000 commenters assuring her that they do the same. The reaction is just as loud when she posts a rant about the term “clean eating” before Easter. “I’m trying to overcome a binge-eating and restrictive eating disorder, and trying to reframe the way I see food is so important,” writes one commenter.
Although Myers is not concerned with niching down, she is concerned with how her content touches her audience. “My goal has always been to make mental health not this weird thing to talk about, something that’s just as normal as talking about the weather,” she says. “Every time I sit down and talk about my OCD, my anxiety, or other traumatic things that have happened in my childhood, I’m always very intentional. I get nervous, but I know that if I feel that way, other people also feel that way as well about things that have happened in their life.”
During a time when so many people are navigating mental health crises and dealing with uncontrollable levels of stress due to politics, a global pandemic, and [enter whatever you’re personally going through right here, reader], Myers’ feed feels like a safe space. And in 2022, she’s making moves to create many more safe spaces across the media landscape. So whether you catch up with Myers in your eardrums via her soon-to-be-launched podcast, watch her show, or wait to hold her hardcover in your hands, it’s clear: the internet’s best friend is moving beyond the web.