Caitlin Reilly enjoying a well-deserved beach break

Caitlin Reilly’s Hysterical TikToks Sets Her Apart From Other Creators

Her Instagram bio reads, ‘multi-hyphenate powerhouse,’ and that title fits her perfectly. The comedian has made waves on TikTok with PG-13 comedy that doesn't use marginalized communities or awkward faces as her punchlines.
August 11, 2021
7 mins read

Legions of content creators such as Brittany Broski, Gilmher Croes and Adam Ray Okay have collected massive followings on TikTok due to the comedic nature of their videos. TikTok creator Caitlin Reilly has recently joined their ranks and her follower count has not stopped growing. She captivates audiences with her 60-second skits that entertain and poke fun at “problematic” and cringe-worthy individuals who you have undoubtedly encountered before.

Even though she only published her first TikTok in February 2020 under the username itscaitlinhello — otherwise known as Caitlin Reilly — she has already garnered 2 million followers. Variety reported that she graduated from The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts, studied at the Groundlings improv school and accumulated years of on-screen acting experience. As a result, her content is well-developed and deliberate; the actress knows how to make her posts funny and elicit positive reactions from her viewers.

In an interview with PopSugar, Reilly explained to readers what drives her to continue creating her viral videos. She revealed that the uncertainty of life during the coronavirus pandemic prompted her to join TikTok.

“I needed a creative outlet. I started making videos and then the rest is history,” Reilly said. “[TikTok] brought me back to having my passion be my main focus.”

The online star has succeeded at precisely what she set out to do. Reilly’s hilariously accurate impressions and impeccable comedic timing shine in each TikTok she produces. She adds in a blend of eccentric facial expressions and perfectly placed vocal inflections to further fulfill her comedic vision.

Almost anyone could watch a few of Reilly’s TikTok videos and feel entertained. It is not hard to understand why she has attracted such a broad audience in the first place.

Since starting her account, Reilly has found enormous opportunities. One of the projects she pursued earlier this year involved a guest-starring role in an episode of “General Hospital” that paid tribute to her late father, actor John Reilly. Before his death, Reilly’s father was primarily known for playing Sean Donely on the daytime television soap opera. The younger Reilly portrayed the role of his daughter, Annie Donely, on the tribute episode.

She has hardly slowed down since the start of her career. As of late, Reilly has gone to plenty of auditions, obtained even more impressive acting roles and partnered with various well-known entities (e.g., Tubi and Nestlé Crunch) — all while maintaining a sustained presence on TikTok.

On the itscaitlinhello account, no characters are off-limits. In her TikToks, Reilly impersonates many hateable and oddly specific personalities that she conjured up. The content creator’s most-liked post satirizes WASP-y moms who take their daughters to the hair salon.

“The last time that [my daughter] got her hair done, she looked like Lord Farquaad from the film ‘Shrek,’” the character whispers to the imaginary hairdresser. “So, she has a wide-set face. If we could just turn that down, that would be fantastic.”

Although she plays out a particularly unique scenario in her video, it hits home for hundreds of her viewers; multiple users described their troubling experiences with their own overbearing, conservative mothers in the comment section.

Reilly frequently mocks the stuck-up “WASP mom” stereotype on her page. Urban Dictionary defines the term WASP as White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, as well as makes a reference to Reilly herself:

“The acronym WASP first came into use in the 1950s. It is now commonly used to refer to moms who are white, wealthy, and essentially a basic bitch,” the website reads. “Commonly found in Caitlin Reilly’s viral TikTok videos.”

Like the internet personality’s skit suggests, these women have uptight, judgmental and controlling dispositions that regularly annoy their peers and their children.

Reilly’s content functions as the perfect kind of PG-13 comedy that does not rely on making marginalized communities her punchlines or using exaggerated, unsettling facial expressions for laughs; the same statement cannot be said for most TikTok comedians.

Similar to mainstream comedians, countless TikTok comedic personalities have taken over the app and created posts that use offensive humor. Those who call themselves fans of such crude, derogatory jokes usually mean that they enjoy making racist and misogynistic comments without getting into trouble. One creator, Nick Foster, specializes in making fun of different minority groups; interestingly enough, the video-sharing platform has banned him six times for violating the community guidelines.

Even though these comics quickly jump to defend themselves and categorize their insensitive remarks as jokes, audiences should not see them that way. Punchlines work to amuse people or make them laugh and entertainers should not target vulnerable populations for their material. It is not “edgy” humor — you are just a terrible person with poor taste.

Other “comedians” such as Croes and Lele Pons have also become popular online due to their skits. Internet personalities like those two heavily depend on making ridiculous, over-the-top faces in their content, which they refer to as comedy. Although such physical comedy has garnered them hundreds of thousands of views and followers, it has also prompted criticism from the public (and rightfully so).

Such reliance on awkward facial gestures for content begs the question: Is that all these so-called creatives can do? Do they seriously lack any comedic skill? If so, the masses should not label these media giants as comedians.

In 2019, YouTuber and former Viner Kurtis Conner made a video titled “Tik Tok’s Most Talented Comedians,” where he briefly analyzed Croes’ poor Jim Carrey impressions and praised the actor’s legendary slapstick performances in comparison.

“The thing about Jim Carrey is that he is so funny because his facial expressions and his acting — it’s at the perfect level. Like, he does it, like, so well,” Conner stated. “Any more of it — any more of the facial expressions — any less, it’d be not funny. It’d be weird.”

Unlike other online entertainers, Reilly does not need to count on disrespectful quips or strange facial expressions to entertain viewers. Instead, she merely uses her life experiences to create critically acclaimed media. Reilly’s posts flawlessly balance a mixture of priceless (yet tasteful) jokes with exemplary acting.

Thus, the emerging star has struck gold; Reilly continues to gain positive reception for her material, while her contemporaries who have tried to mimic her style face extreme difficulty. Simply put, her peers fail to realize that it does not require too much effort to make a genuinely funny joke.

Ariana Quijano, Georgia State University

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Ariana Quijano

Georgia State University

Hi! My name is Ariana Quijano, and I am a journalism major at Georgia State University. In my free time, I enjoy reading up on current events and scrolling through TikTok.

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