Look, normally we use hyperbole in articles — everything is the GREATEST OR THE ABSOLUTE WORST or MOST RAPEY! That’s the stuff that makes people click on articles, so in a way it’s your fault. But this time, we’re committed to actually delivering on the hyperbole. We want to make you a better, more well-rounded person.
NMR wants you to be able to walk into a room and hold a conversation with anyone about a topic of their choosing. Of course, while that creates an infinitesimal number of potential conversation topics that we can’t possibly cover, these 13 channels will get you much closer to the goal we have selected for you.
13. TEDx Talks
You have no idea how good you have it: see, once upon a time, TED Talks were exclusionary. You could only see them if you were fairly rich, fairly connected and invited by the TED people. It seems like an awful business model for a company trying to promote the idea of a better world. And so now TED Talks are open to everybody. Witness brilliant minds as they explain the future of the universe or sex or dancing or Scrabble or pretty much any other thing you can think of. Utilize the hell out of this resource.
12. Scotty Kilmer
Mechanical knowhow is a large part of being well-rounded. Sure you can talk a big game about urban recidivism, but can you retemper your car’s idle or fix a leaky pipe? Scotty Kilmer is a placeholder for all the mechanically-inclined channels out there. His knowledge on fixing cars spans 47 years, so you can certainly learn something from him. Be cultured in all things, not just the ones you think matter to educated folks. You’ll be surprised at how often fix-it stuff comes up.
There are a ton of science channels to choose from, and all of them are great, but none bring you the whiteboard comedy in the way ASAPscience does. They break down seemingly abstract concepts with words AND pictures. Instead of some talking head, you get a multi-sensory experience. And the people you meet at parties who like science are probably watching VSauce, so this is your chance to bring in your own fresh take.
YouTube is certainly a topic of conversation at parties now, the theory of YouTube and it’s future impact. For that, you want VlogBros. Hank and John Green are YouTube in a vacuum. Everything big that happens with YouTube — feuds, creepy rape allegations on musicians who are signed to their label, VidCon, web series, meeting the POTUS — it all goes down through these two guys. If you want to talk YouTube like somebody who knows about YouTube, start with this channel. Hell, their motto is even Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!
9. Every Frame A Painting
Who will you doubtlessly run into at any party? The cinema/art snob. That dick who thinks going to college for an Art or Film degree was a good idea. Now they work in a Human Resources office and they can’t wait to make you feel dumb. Don’t let ‘em — not because you’ll get all their “Brechtian” references, but because you’ll be able to tie the two worlds together with your breakdowns of the components of a film as an art piece. It’s fantastic.
Spiritual awakening in the form of honesty. GoldJacketLuke has been working on the inner self with this channel — a total immersion of the soul. Granted, it’s a little more New Age-y than we typically like, but being a master of conversation involves dipping your toes into a few pools that you normally wouldn’t. And GoldJacketLuke is certainly the most tolerable in terms of addressing spiritual well-being. Want to learn Lucid Dreaming? Learn it from Luke.
7. Simple Pickup
Most people think this channel is about getting girls cheaply — and in essence, they shortchange themselves by not listening to the deeper message: confidence. Girls are merely the medium through which Kong, Jesse and Jason educate you. Essentially, they are using a metaphor to relate self esteem to you. Sure it’s a dynamite method of relating that allows them to squeeze boobies, but hey, why shouldn’t the work be fun?
6. PBS Idea Channel
Mike Rugnetta is your best party friend (or your worst party enemy) because in addition to a myriad of topics about abstract life, he also shows how to examine logic itself. Oftentimes, seemingly smart people will make claims and statements that include fallacies or errors of logic. Mike shows you how to poke holes in the straw men built by arrogant snobs.
5. The Young Turks
News! The hallmark of party discussions. People love to talk about what’s going on in the news, so if you don’t know what is going on in, say, Syria right now, you’d do well to tune into The Young Turks for a heady heaping of current events. Cenk Uygur and pals will fill your brain.
4. New Rockstars
Ok, ok, so this is tooting our own horn a little. But hey, we like to think we spread the awesome wealth pretty well. If the MCU, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, or just geek culture in general is your thing, we like to think we’ll put you ahead of the curve and give you some pretty great ammunition for your “Yeah, but did you know…”-off with your friends.
3. Brand Sins
Think CinemaSins, but for companies and products. That’s because it is put out by the CinemaSins people. Attacking all manner of shoddy merchants, BrandSins gives you the ins and outs of what various corporations are doing wrong. It’s perfect fodder for a cocktail party in which some snooty uppercrust whitehair begins pontificating about how Taco Bell can do no wrong. Oh yeah? Brand Sins, motherf**ker.
2. Big Think
Imagine a channel that can teach you all those subjects you never bothered to learn in school: finance, math, history, etc. Big Think is your post-education education. It’s never too late to start learning, and for learning on a wide variety of topics, Big Think is your stop.
1. The Game Theorists
Here it is, the smartest channel on YouTube. All Hail The Game Theorists! MatPat, the showrunner, takes so many elements from the rest of these lists and blends them into heady analyses and theoreticals. Blending philosophy, pop culture, video games, statistics, humor, research and YouTube, MatPat has honed the fine art of rhetoric into a profitable career. If you learn one thing from this list, it is that you should absolutely be subscribed to The Game Theorists.
Basically, what we’re getting at is that we’re actually the snobs we reference throughout this. We’re like Samuel L. Jackson in “Unbreakable,” we’ve been training you to be the hero to our villain.
Share this piece to let the world know of our evil. Bwaahaaahaaa!