People spend a lot of time on YouTube—falling down rabbit holes, searching for how-tos, checking out music videos, and laughing at funny clips—but we found our entertainment there more than ever this past year spent at home.
Today, YouTube announced the top-trending videos on the platform this year—the new uploads (excluding music videos) that got a whole lot of views, but mostly sparked a great deal of conversation. A mix of vids from some of the biggest YouTubers, commentary on current events, uploads from celebrities, and clips from quarantine, they all represent this unpredictable year in one way or another. Below, find the top-trending uploads and give ’em a watch if you’re eager to reflect on the past 11 months.
List of Trending YouTube Videos 2021
Views: 18.3 million
What to know: In the middle of the first lockdown, actor John Krasinski tried to bring some smiles into fans’ lives by launching Some Good News, his unofficial news broadcast highlighting good things going on in the world. The first episode, which includes a reunion with The Office co-star Steve Carell, was a hit.
Views: 41.1 million
What to know: Just about everybody fell into at least one of several clichés of how they spent their year in lockdown, from going pants-less on Zoom calls from their at-home office or giving yourself a haircut at the kitchen table. Popular comedy/stunt collective Dude Perfect captured just about every one of those stereotypes in this video that is certainly hashtag relatable.
Views: 16.5 million
What to know: One of the few pre-pandemic videos on this list, but a pop cultural moment nonetheless: host Ricky Gervais’ opening to the 2020 Golden Globes. It may be hard to remember a time when we got to see movies in the theaters, but here, Gervais roasts a handful of stars from them.
Views: 51.1 million
What to know: Gamer YouTube has always claimed a big chunk in popularity on the platform, but this year it took off even more with people having to socialize online. This video is over 40 minutes of Minecraft, and it’s pretty wild to watch as YouTuber Dream tries to beat the game while three of his friends play against him.https://1edbb10943de8c0951b2d60b819f2842.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Views: 36.3 million
What to know: Beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager, who has been sharing makeup tutorials often featuring celebrity cameos for over a decade, revealed to her fans that she’s transgender at the start of 2020. It was a big moment in the online beauty community, not only because de Jager rarely discusses her personal life in videos, but for representation.
Views: 56.7 million
What to know: The title of this one says it all: The ever-viral prankster MrBeast pulled one of his most explosive challenges yet, purchasing the most expensive and biggest fireworks available.
4. We Broke Up.
Views: 33 million
What to know: What would a YouTube year-end list be without a bit of drama from famous vloggers? This was one of the biggest of the year, featuring makeup mogul Jeffree Star informing fans of his breakup with his longtime boyfriend, skateboarder Nathan Schwandt.
Views: 29.9 million
Channel: Saturday Night Live
What to know: The 2020 election was inescapable—and as overwhelming as that was, it at least made for a few memorable skits on Saturday Night Live, one of them being a reenactment of the first presidential debate that made everybody’s heads spin, with Beck Bennett playing moderator Chris Wallace, Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, and Jim Carrey’s debut as Joe Biden.
Views: 49.8 million
Channel: Mark Rober
What to know: Popular YouTuber Mark Rober, who is a former NASA engineer and has a channel devoted to sharing science experiments and inventions, went above and beyond in explaining how to build the perfect bird feeder. Instead of a simple how-to meant for yard-obsessed dads, he shows off an obstacle course he created to not only keep the squirrels away, but demonstrate how much freaky agility those tree rats really have.
Views: 29 million
Channel: Netflix Is A Joke
What to know: Following the death of George Floyd, who was pinned down on the kneck by a police officer’s knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Dave Chappelle hosted a stand-up special that was unlike most of his other acts. Rather than cracking jokes throughout, the event that was held in-person in Ohio, with appropriate COVID-19 restrictions in place, and then made into a free, public video was a commentary on the violence and excessive policing committed against Black Americans, intended as a social address.