Benito Skinner had not yet come out when he started posting lip sync videos as “Kim Kardashian” on Instagram in college. As much he loved acting, he never imagined he could use the internet as a platform for his queer, pop-culture laced, nostalgic, sometimes dark, and almost always snarky comedy.
“I’m from Idaho, so it never crossed my mind that that was a thing. I was like, do you just send your headshot to an agent?” Skinner told Jezebel. It wasn’t until his boyfriend encouraged him to make his Instagram, Bennydrama7, public, that he began to get traction on his videos and started shooting and editing his own skits. “I did my terrible startup job and then had a coffee after work and just like, edited these videos for so long until I could finally do it full time,” says Skinner.
Skinner’s comedy pulls from his own trauma of growing up in Idaho and being in the closet, and makes the queer experience both authentic and approachable for a wide audience, something that social platforms like Instagram and YouTube have made possible for many other comedians like him. “You know, I watch like a 14-year-old on TikTok making a really funny video, and I’m like, you’re a comedian. You don’t have to maybe do all these things that I think were part of the job a long time ago,” he said.
Skinner started out making zodiac videos that became very popular, though it was his parody of the popular show Queer Eye that really put him on the map. Since then, he’s amassed over a million instagram followers and channeled his inner Kardashian meets Elle Woods, Grimes as a girl scout, Jenni the TMI hairdresser, annoying-as-hell Gossip Girl, dark twisty Scorpio self, and a very needy Hannibal among many relatable, funny characters.
In this video, Skinner chats with Jezebel about how the Internet has allowed so many diverse comedians to get the recognition and the spotlight that they deserve.