No shirt, no pants, no problem.
For self-proclaimed gay YouTuber Davey Wavey, a normal workday involves being permanently shirtless while filming himself making penis puns and sexual jokes, much to the enjoyment of his primarily gay male audience.
Declaring he would never be able to commit full-time to living in Los Angeles, Davey splits his time between filming YouTube videos in Los Angeles and enjoying his down time in Rhode Island. Davey started his YouTube channel back in 2007 and has since created over 700 videos that chronicle his life as an out-and-proud gay man. His talent, he states, is being an openly gay creator on YouTuber. His videos are as unfiltered as they are funny, and include classics such as “What Gay Guys Think About Vaginas” and “Coming Out To Siri.” This past June, Davey participated in YouTube’s #ProudtoLove campaign and shared that he hopes his YouTube videos help kids battling with their sexual identity know there is nothing wrong with being gay. In August, Davey will be embarking on his world tour — what his friends have jokingly nicknamed his “foreskin tour” — that will take him to eight countries in thirty days and is hoping to meet some cute male fans along the way.
Laughing off our jokes about dressing up for our interview (he actually had on a shirt for half of it), Davey Wavey talked with NMR about his sexual misadventures with fans, swimming in a $67,000 pool of lube and why YouTube is the perfect platform for his content.
Check out the full interview below or visit the last page for the partial video interview.
When you go out, do you usually get recognized?
Davey Wavey: A little less than 60 percent of my audience is men, which in YouTube, especially among YouTubers where 90 percent of their audience is generally young girls, it is pretty weird, but they’re not just any men, they’re gay men [laughs]. And definitely when I go to a Pride or to The Abbey, that’s like my target demographic and my biggest single demographic, despite being like almost 60 percent male it teeters back and forth between girls between the ages of 14 and 17 and men between the ages of 45 and 55. Isn’t it so weird?
That’s really strange.
So weird. It’s either 45 to 55 or 55 to 65. It’s like much older than you would think is watching YouTube, but they watch my videos in huge numbers. But so if I go to The Abbey people recognize me; if I go to the mall, like maybe two or three people will say something, but if you go to The Abbey that is like Joey Graceffa going to The Grove. Joey goes to The Grove and gets swarmed by little girls, but that’s like if I go to The Abbey ‘cause that is my audience.
Is it ever strange to be recognized by fans because they know so much about you and your life but you know very little about them?
Whenever someone recognizes me from YouTube, like the immediate reaction is I can only do what I do because they watch my videos, so you feel this immediate sense of gratitude which then oscillates between weirdness and gratitude because then they’re like, “Oh how is your dog Chipotle doing?” and I’m like, “How do you know my dog’s name is Chipotle? Oh ‘cause she’s been in videos.” So it’s weird ‘cause you’re kind of just making videos and putting them out there, and it’s easy to forget that like millions of people are then on the receiving end of that, but it’s also really cool and I do get recognized more with my shirt off with the nipples out.
And that is the way anyone wants to be recognized, you know?
I do want to be recognized for my nipples, yeah. That is my legacy on this planet [laughs]. Not that I want to make it a better place, I just … [shrugs] nipples.
You’re welcome world.
Yeah enjoy [laughs].
Where did the name “Davey Wavey” originally come from?
So when I started, it was first a blog that I would just write stuff, and it was like on Xanga — this is like millions of years ago — and it needed a tagline, and so what came to mind was “A little Davey Wavey goes a long way” — my parents used to call me Davey Wavey when I was little. And when people started watching my videos and then reading my blog they just started calling me Davey Wavey because of that tagline, and I was like, “That’s pretty cool because it’s like super Googleable and it’s easy to remember. Shit rhymes.” There is a lot of Davids in the world, but there is only one Davey Wavey [laughs] so it was kind of perfect. I just kind of fell into it. All the YouTube stuff it feels like it just kind of fell into place in some magical way. I’m not saying that God sent me to be the gay YouTuber, but he did [laughs]; the stars aligned.
Why did your parents nickname you that? Was it for a specific reason?
My sister’s name is Jeanine. They called her Jeanine, Jeanine the Jelly Bean, so I think it was just …
There is a lot of rhyming happening in this family.
Yeah I think it rhymed and that was good enough: Davey Wavey. I don’t think there’s– it wasn’t deep.
When was the moment you had been making videos on YouTube that you thought, “I want to pursue this full time”?
It was about three years ago when I made the switch to do it full-time, almost three years ago, and I remember being so scared to like give up my real job to do this because there is this perceived risk and you’re jumping into the unknown, you’re putting yourself out there. But in hindsight I think the real risk would have been to keep working and look past this amazing opportunity that YouTube had handed me; that would have been the real risk. Because it’s like I’m doing what I love, what I’m passionate about, like driven by that passion in a way that — not that it’s saving the world — but like some of my videos I think there is a certain value in people seeing an openly gay man accept himself and be unapologetic about who he is. There is a certain value in that, and so I’m doing what I love driven by my passion in a way that helps other people, and how could you ever possibly fail doing that? You can’t, like you couldn’t.
Have you always felt confident in being who you are in front of other people?
No, for the first probably 22 years of my life I went to Catholic school, Catholic high school, Catholic college, like I learned day in and day out that I was going to hell because me being gay, because of who I was attracted to and in a society — though it is getting better — still treats you essentially as a second class citizen in a lot of different places. It’s getting better but that’s still the reality. People can get fired, they can get kicked out of their house, whatever, parents disowning children, that in the face of all that that you can look yourself in the mirror and be like, “This is who I am and I would not want to be any different, that I love the person that I am,” that’s a pretty big step to take, and it took me a while to kind of get there, but I have, and hopefully when people watch my videos, they feel inspired to do the same.
What was your coming out experience like?
I came out to myself I think in sixth grade, and that was when I realized that there were other gay people because when I was in sixth grade we didn’t have YouTube or people making videos about anal douching or whatever, and “Will and Grace” was not on TV, and so that’s when I learned there was something called being gay, and that’s when I was like, “Oh I’m not the only one. There is other people like this.” And then I came out to my parents when I was 17 — my friends when I was 16 — but even like now I’m 29, and you still come out to people, like everytime I hold a man’s hand on the street that I’m seeing, like you’re coming out to the people that see you on the street and sometimes for better or worse, and so it’s kind of an ongoing process that even like, yes, millions of people have seen my gay videos all over YouTube but I’m still coming out.
Is it ever draining to feel that you are constantly coming out to people even with as simple a thing as holding someone’s hand?
No, not really. I really just don’t think of it that way, just like, “Oh I’m holding his hand ‘cause I like him, but then you see the looks from people who are like kind of shocked or double takes, or they turn around and look. “Yeah, I like dick. That’s what’s up.” [laughs]
How did you family respond when you came out to them?
When I came out to my parents my mom sent me to a Catholic priest, and he told my mom that the only problem was that I was too comfortable being gay [laughs]. But if it took me 17 years to become comfortable enough to tell them, then I realize that I could give them some time to become comfortable with it, and it took them a few years to kind of get to where they needed to be, but today they treat the guys that I see no different than they’d treat my sister’s husband or boyfriend. To them, it’s kind of the same thing. But it took a while, and yeah.
Does your family watch your videos?
My parents aren’t allowed to watch my videos, no [laughs].
How does that work out?
My mom thinks that if she watches one of my videos, I will know, that I have installed some piece of software — totally, totally untrue. I hope she’s not watching [laughs]. But I will show them the ones that I think are appropriate, ‘cause not all my videos are about penises! There’s some that are PG-13 slash like R slash triple X [laughs], but the ones that are appropriate I show my parents, and I mean at the end of the day, like would you want to hear your son talking about sex? No, probably not. So, it’s like reading your kid’s diary I think, but she gets upset ‘cause she’s like, “Millions of people all over the world can watch your videos but your own mother can’t watch it.” Yes [laughs].
How would you describe your content to someone who has never seen it?
I would say it’s pretty gay. I would say it’s like 500 yards away kind of gay, like yeah, like, “Oh that’s gay, that’s gay.” But I try to do content — yes it’s gay — but I try to make it so that like as a straight woman you could watch it, as a straight guy you could watch it, and that it doesn’t feel like an inside joke. Like maybe it’s kind of interesting ‘cause you are learning a little bit about this different culture, but like I try to make videos that are authentic to who I am and that my audience likes but can reach lots of people. So instead of doing videos that are just about anal douching, maybe like– I did a video, “What Gay Guys Think About Vaginas,” and that’s funny for gay guys to watch, but it’s also funny for women to watch and for straight guys to watch, so it’s gay-focused but — god, this is such a long answer — it’s just gay. It’s gay.
Why focus your videos on your experiences as a gay man, and why did you decide to go about them in a humorous way?
Well it’s like if I had some sort of talent, I would make videos about that [laughs]. If I could sing or dance that’s what I’d do. I don’t have that; I don’t have a book coming out. Like my experience is as a gay man, that’s my point of reference, that’s my knowledge base, and so that’s what I talk about. And I do it in a funny way because it’s like if you don’t, it comes across as really preachy, and like no one wants to watch that, so if you can take a message that’s really good and powerful and package it in a way that is funny or sexual and just all in all engaging, then people will actually be able to like watch it and enjoy it and maybe share it, so that’s kind of the challenge I have with the videos.
And some people have been critical about your choice to generate all of your YouTube content off of your sexuality and have that build your fame on YouTube. What comments do you have to this?
Well I mean it’s like some people do have channels where they sing, like some people have channels where they cook, like this is what my channel is, and if people don’t like it, there are other channels or they can start their own. And that’s just kind of what my shtick is, and it continues to evolve over time, but yeah, I do what I want [laughs].
How do you continue being creative with your content?
Well I mean, look, it’s like I think I have maybe like 700 videos, and if you think about how like interesting and engaging and dynamic this world is, like 700 videos that’s not the tip of the ice — that’s nothing; that’s like a drop in the bucket. I think in some way I feel like I’m never going to run out ideas, because I mean look around you, like I just learned what “frotting” was the other day — do you know what that is?
Coming soon to a video near you, yeah, yeah. I will never run out of ideas [laughs].
What are your days typically like?
I would say that my daily routine is I’ve very much like a basic bitch, that like I go to the gym, make my breakfast, a lot of it is answering emails and like figuring out video concepts, filming, sometimes stuff like this, but 99 percent of it is super ordinary, and then the other 1 percent is like flying on a plane to the Czech Republic to film a video with a bunch of Czech porn stars, you know. Like it’s like mostly mundane punctuated by these really extraordinary moments where you’re like pinching yourself like, what is going on?
What have been some of those incredible moments?
I swam in a pool with $67,000 worth of lube in it. That was the highlight of my career ‘cause pretty much after that you can only go down hill.
The whole time you were slipping or swimming around in lube, were you just thinking, “I’ve made it”?
[laughs] The reality of the lube pool though was that the lube was really cold and it was really heavy, and I kept like sliding back and I kept thinking that, if I go back underwater that they’re going to try and reach in and rescue me, but I’m so lubed that they’re just going to slide off my arm and I’m going to drown in this pool of lube, and I will be dead. This is how I will die. But in a way, that’s such a fitting and amazing death.
Yes, one you would want written on your tombstone: “Died in pool of lube.”
Or on YouTube. If they captured it on YouTube that would go viral.
That would be an incredible last video.
That would be a great legacy.
What was that lube swim for?
That was what it was [laughs], just swimming in a pool of lube. Well I did it ‘cause I did a series of like bucket list things, so I jumped out a plane with a drag queen, I climbed a volcano in Hawaii, I rode an elephant in Thailand, I did a list of things I wanted to cross off my bucket list, and swimming in a pool of lube was on that list, and honestly I thought it was probably the one thing that was so inaccessible ‘cause lube is really frickin’ expensive, and to like swim in a pool of it, I’m pretty sure I’m like the only person in the world who has done that.
Yeah, that’s a lot of lube. I was finding it for like weeks behind my ears or like between my toes. I thought it was going to be really hot, and it wasn’t quite so hot.
Did you accomplish everything on the list?
Yeah, yeah. I need some new bucket list, ‘cause I’m 29 and I’ve done it all.
Has traveling always been a passion of yours?
Yeah, and I have a world tour coming up in September. It’s 30 days and it’s eight cities around the world, so it’s like three days in each city. It’s really, really intense, and I’m not a particularly great traveler. I mean, I enjoy the experience of it, but when you’re on a plane for like a month going from eight different cities, like it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be a lot. My friends have been joking that it’s like the foreskin tour of the world because virtually every city that I’m going to is like especially known for their foreskin, so there might be some sort of sampling as we go around. That will get me through; that will get me through the experience.
Besides sampling, what will the tour entail?
Well, I’m going to film a video in each city, so it’s Montreal, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney. In each city I’m going to film a video and do a meet-up with the people that watch my videos. They voted for where they want me to go, so in theory it’s like the eight most heavily concentrated Davey Wavey fan cities. So it’s kind of like a way to say thank you and to meet fans and to film some great content, because when you go to these places there is always really cool stuff to find.
What are you most excited about for the tour? Is it a different experience with each group of fans?
Yeah it is. Wherever I go the people are always so friendly and so sweet, and I think because my videos aren’t mean-spirited, like if you’re subscribed to my channel, you’re probably a good person. And the fans have been really, really supportive and really, really sweet so it’s kind of nice to just see the faces behind the names and say thank you. I always get really like choked up when I meet them ‘cause it’s an amazing experience; like these are the people that let me do what I do. So that would be nice, and hopefully there will be a few cute ones too ‘cause that’s just– it’s picking the low hanging fruit, you know [laughs]? If someone recognizes you from YouTube — this is an education, this is a teachable moment — if someone recognizes you from YouTube, there is a 99 percent chance that they’ll sleep with you. Statistically true.
I have two other interviews today so I’ll just ask them that statistic as well.
Yeah ask them, and they’ll be like, “Oh yeah, yeah.” It’s picking the low hanging fruit. And at the end of the day, if someone is sleeping with you just because they recognize you on YouTube, I’m fine with that [laughs].
Have you ever dated a fan?
My videos have been seen like in total by 150 million people. There is not a lot of gay people in the world so chances are like a lot of gay people have seen my videos, and so I’ve gone on dates with people that like know of me or know who I am. A few times I’ve dated people that have been following — it just gets very weird; it gets like weird when you wake up at night and they’re like Instagramming pictures of you in their bed or something. That’s when you have to kind of draw the line, like okay, we need a little bit of boundaries here.
What has been your craziest fan experience?
I mean there have been a few. Like I said most of the time it’s great and they’re very sweet, but like I’ve had meet-ups where people have like flown in to meet me. Oh my god the best experience was — and it was actually very sweet — I was in L.A.; I was doing a meet-up at like the Highland Mall or some kind of mall on Hollywood Boulevard, and there was a kid that was like 12-years-old who came in with his mom. It was on Mother’s Day; she drove him from Palm Desert into the city, they got stuck in hours of traffic, and — I was with a friend of mine — and after the meet-up we were going to see the Cirque du Soleil show in L.A., and they literally drove in on Mother’s Day to say hi. And they came in just at the very end of the meet-up, and I got to say hey and thank you, and we ended up giving them the tickets to Cirque du Soleil ‘cause it was like Mother’s Day, and they could go celebrate. And then we just got more tickets, but then we got to see them come in, and it was like really, really super cute. That was a fun experience, but then on the other hand you get like people who Instagram you at night when you wake up in bed, and you’re like, “Really? Like really?”
What does a YouTuber need to know before they hook up with a fan?
[laughs] Make sure your phone is on lock. Yeah I mean, I think that you just have to know what you’re getting yourself into and wear a condom [laughs].
Are you currently dating anyone?
I’m– yeah I’m dabbling.
What do you look for in a guy?
I think a guy that’s like really like– I think the biggest turnoff for me is a guy who would be like very judgemental, so if a guy is like sweet and genuine and very nice and friendly, that’s great, and if he has a big dick, that’s just like icing on the cake, you know what I mean? Is that too much to ask? Like a very sweet, nice guy with — I mean like a big dick [starts moving arm up and down], like wah! If you’re out there, tweet me @thedaveywavey. Like this [points to forearm].
What opportunities do you feel YouTube has given you?
I mean it’s opened so many doors, and like swimming in a pool of lube, which I probably otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do, but it’s given me I think the opportunity to I think leave the world a little bit more loving than how I found it, which is really just kind of what I hope to do with my videos. So it’s given me the opportunity to help people accept themselves, to help them come out of the closet, to laugh. Like maybe if the video makes you smile, like there is a real value in that too. So it has opened a lot of doors, and it continues to do it. I feel like I’m Alice falling down the rabbit hole that you keep discovering new things and who knows where it is going to go but probably somewhere really cool.
Do you hope to stay on YouTube, or do you see it as a stepping stone?
Yeah I’m always open to doing other things in film or on TV. I think for me YouTube just gives you so much freedom to like do what you want to do without anyone controlling that. Like I could today decide I want to make a video and edit it, film it, post it tomorrow; there is no one else involved in that process, so it’s so authentic, and I think people really respond to that. If you go into TV or film, you lose, you give up some of that freedom, but then on the flip side, you reach so many more people, so I don’t know. I’m open to seeing where things go and whatever opportunities come across, but I think YouTube kind of has a ?special place in my heart.
Do you feel like your personality is the same on and off camera?
No not really, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Like maybe if there is a camera in front of you you shouldn’t say things that you want to date a guy who has a penis as big as your arm. Maybe most people have like a filter that could kind of turn that off and I don’t. So I would say though on camera I’m more energetic than I am in real life, ‘cause like whatever I have to make up for in what I’m saying not being interesting, I try to make it up for being interesting by flailing my arms, so I’m not this animated in real life. But I am this naked; I really don’t wear clothes very often.
We feel honored you put on pants for us.
Yeah this is like my tuxedo. Yeah. This is a big deal.
Who are YouTubers that really inspire you?
You know I don’t watch a ton of YouTube because it’s like that’s what I do for my job, make YouTube videos, so it doesn’t necessarily always feel fun to watch YouTube, but there are a lot of other gay YouTubers that I look to: Arielle in New York, she does really great content. And it’s kind of like I think with gay YouTubers, I think there is this mentality of like lifting each other up through our success, and I think we all kind of — for the most part — buy into that, and so we like lean on each other when we need to and like instead of competing for limited pieces of the pie, let’s make the pie bigger type of thing.
What opportunities has YouTube specifically created for the LGBT community?
Well I think that YouTube is a huge resource for young people growing up. Like I said, there wasn’t YouTube when I was little, and had there been, I would have seen people like Tyler Oakley, you know, or Davey Wavey or whomever that are making this content which would have been super helpful to know the things that people are sharing or just even to see the example of an openly gay person living their life, so I think it’s probably been a really amazing resource for a lot of people. Or seeing people come out of the closet, like those videos are incredible and had I seen someone come out to their mother on camera, maybe I would have had my coming out be a little bit different, and that would have been very helpful.
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Photography By Robin Roemer