Veterans have always occupied a place close to the hearts of most Americans. Even before the rise of massive contemporary platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, videos featuring the troops showing off comedic songs, dances, and skits have often gone viral. In fact, troops fighting in the War on Terror often were the subject of popular obsessions in the United States. Men in the Army, clad in their Army sleepwear, have won the hearts of millions as they danced to popular songs.
But the rise of platforms like TikTok have made it even easier for the average content creator to have their comedy skits and dances broadcast to millions. And while Generation Z continues to be the core demographic of TikTok’s social media application, an increasing number of former Army service members are using their military background to jumpstart exciting careers in comedy and acting on the site. Bella Poarch, the newest massive star to surface on TikTok, served in the U.S. Army, and fans say that her military background only heightens their interest in her lighthearted and well-choreographed small musical videos.
Will Serra is another up-and-coming content creator utilizing TikTok to reach the newest generation of media consumers. Serra’s military background isn’t just a fun fact about the comedian. He cites it as one of the big contributing factors to his unique style and presence on the app. Serving in Afghanistan as an intelligence analyst for the Army, Serra disconnected almost entirely from social media for seven years. But during this time, his work interacting with people from varying world cultures helped him to cultivate a uniquely variable comedic style.
This culturally diverse delivery style has certainly paid off for the former Army man. His videos, which are primarily skits and parodies, have gone viral in 10+ countries aside from the United States. In just six months, Serra’s account has grown from zero to over 108k followers. A wide age range characterizes his primary target demographic, which is likely another facet of his variable, fun, and open style of comedy.
What is it that makes former service members so appealing to consumers of entertainment media? It’s hard to say for sure. To Serra, his military service prepared him to communicate comedy to an extremely versatile group of audiences—audiences that non-service members may never even encounter. How many other TikTok account holders can say that their videos have gone viral on more than three continents?
As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, Serra hopes that his videos will bring some light into the lives of people going through dark times. It seems unlikely that audiences will lose interest in the rising TikTok star, whose work has been shared by celebrities like 50 Cent. With over 2.8 million likes, the world has once again affirmed that servicemembers are not just welcomed, but encouraged, in the world of comedy.
From Afghanistan to TikTok, Will Serra’s journey to comedy has been unique. And if he has anything to say about it, the story is just getting started.