YouTube stars film at NIU

By Darius Parker

DeKALB | YouTube sensations Kyle Nutt and Zade Abdullah, 19, of Dixon, use their channel “Hidden Reaction” to inspire viewers through comedy, while using campus as their set. 

Videos range from skits to social experiments and are based on what the creators are interested in at the moment. The idea for the channel was pitched by Abdullah who wanted to build a career and make money off YouTube videos. Nutt was reluctant at first but agreed to the possibility of this idea. A few million views later, the duo’s online popularity has grown to 257,937 subscribers.

Nutt said the pair try to release a video every week to keep their online presence consistent.

“My [favorite] ‘Hidden Reaction’ is when we dressed up like superheroes,” Nutt said. “That was one of our biggest, and we got great feedback because it was something meaningful [and] not just a prank.”

Abdullah said he wants viewers to use the “Hidden Reaction” channel if they ever need a pick-me-up or a laugh. He said his cousin, senior kinesiology major Omar Abdulla, is the reason they selected the campus for one of the experiments.

“Our first couple of videos went great at NIU,” Abdullah said. “My cousin said this would be the perfect [campus] to do some experiments because of the different people to choose from, and here we are a year later.”

NIU was home of the “Don’t you have a girlfriend!??” prank, where Nutt and Abdullah approached women on campus to flirt with them. But as soon as one of them caught a girl’s attention, the other would interrupt the conversation with embarrassing accusations of infidelity or having a sexually transmitted disease, all a ruse to scare women away.

Eliana McGee, junior hospitality and tourism major, played a role in the pair’s prank. She was approached, flirted with and filmed by the YouTube stars for the video that got 34,177 views.

“I thought [Nutt] was serious; I had no idea it was a prank,” McGee said. “Guys come up and get on that with me all the time, so I thought it was normal [until] the other dude came up talking about ‘where is his girlfriend?’ . I was so lost.”

“Date me” is a prank where both Nutt and Abdullah would pursue women on campus and ask to date them to see what their reactions would be.

The pair agreed the message they want viewers to take away from their channel and their story: Nothing is impossible.

“We had a little dream of ours, a couple of years ago, to make money off of YouTube, and here we are,” Abdullah said.