Ever want to hear what a short, crass man with a shovel chin (Grade) and his taller, silent companion (Under) have to say about various topics from the naming of animals, to the problems with YouTube, to politics, to life's hardest questions?
That's where GradeAUnderA, often shortened to "Grade", comes in.
He is a YouTube content creator from the United Kingdom that makes comedic rant videos that can be summarized as being based around whatever he finds interesting at the moment. His videos can generally be described as slideshows of MS Paint-drawn graphics with his voiceover, combined with some music playing to mark transitions and clips from other videos.
He also prefers to keep his likeness out of his videos and speak through his stick figures. Grade and Under collectively serve as the main "avatar" for the actual man himself, and there's also a slew of recurring characters (including Dickhead, a penis with a face, meant to represent the audience).
His first two videos were uploaded in early 2013, but he didn't start regularly uploading until fall of 2014. In the years following, he has gained millions of subscribers.
In September 2017, following roughly a year of an extremely sporadic and unstable release schedule, he uploaded what appeared to be his final video, showing signs that the man needed a break. According to the video in question, Grade had been suffering from serious burnout at the production and editing of his videos, to the point where it began to affect his physical and mental health — he described himself as depressed as a result of it, which made being funny (the focus of his channel) extremely difficult.
After over a year, he finally reemerged with a new video on New Year's Day 2019. He slowly put out a few more, but after releasing "Why We All Hate Valentines Day" in March 2019, he disappeared again for another year, resurfacing in May 2020 with another new video. To his credit, he claims that he has resolved his personal issues and will resume updating regularly.
His videos provide examples of:
- Art Evolution: Downplayed. Grade and Under got their heads redesigned after he came back from his hiatus. They are still crude drawings made on MS Paint, though.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Grade claims that the internet only has a one week attention span.
- Attention Whore: He claims that Nicole Arbour likes to say controversial things on purpose strictly for the attention.
- Berserk Button:
- He absolutely loathes both prank channels (he believes most of them to simply be fraudulent, while the ones which are actually real do nothing but harass innocent people) and reaction channels (which he claims steal creators' content by playing complete and unedited videos while adding nothing transformative, thus depriving the original creators of views and money).
- Plagiarism is also a sore spot with Grade, as he makes clear in his video calling out Matthew Santoro for it.
- Revealing other people's private information is another sore spot for him as he values his and other people's privacy, especially since it took him 2 million subs just to even do a face reveal.
- Big "WHAT?!": His default reaction to certain things.
- In one video, he discusses the grim connotations of the word "motherfucker" and reacts in disgust with this trope to the sentence "Suck my motherfucking dick."
- During a debate on Drama Alert with Joseph Costello, Joseph mentions a prank video he made in which he threw a dildo at his mom's chest and later upload to a porn website leading to Grade having this reaction.
- Probably the biggest one he's ever had was when he dissected Markiplier's "drama is bad" video and when the latter referred to himself as Markimoonote .
- In "Runway Fashion", Grade lets out several upon seeing the prices for the various clothes and accessories on Rick Owens's website.
- Grade has this reaction in "MY THOUGHTS ON POKEMON" when a kid says "I like shorts. They're comfy and easy to wear" before challenging him to a battle.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: From his very first video "Girly Drinks And Manly Drinks": "Manly drinks are just drinks that taste like lighter fluid! Or piss! Or lighter fluid mixed with piss!"
- But Not Too Black: In his "Racism Test" video, Grade himself has stated that he is "a man of color" and briefly drew himself with dark skin and a Funny Afro. Then goes on to say that it's only a "lil' bit of color" before lightening his skin tone and sizing down the afro.note
- But Not Too White: On the other hand, Grade mentioned in one of his Twitch streams that he was mistaken for a white guy by some people in real life and they were surprised he actually wasn't (completely) white.
- Grade begins "Why Animal Names Are Stupid" by asking his viewers if they'd like to see a pair of great tits... and then he shows a picture of two birds known as "Great Tits". In his next video, "Why I Hate Prank Channels", Grade demonstrates an example of an "innuendo prank" by asking a badly drawn pedestrian if she'd mind if he squeezed those tits, referring to the Great Tit birds that Under was holding.
- In "Why Tipping Is A Scam", Grade makes a few references to the previous episode, "Why Gift Cards Are A Scam", such as how the only reason why someone should be upset with being paid the amount they were supposed to be paid is if they were being paid with a gift card, and how it makes no sense that you can't give a loved one valuable money as a gift, but you can only give strangers money as tips.
- Captain Obvious: Grade points out in "The Most ANNOYING Things People Say EVER (+ Herpes)" how annoying it is when someone gives advice in hindsight, because if you can see what someone did wrong, they can probably see it too.
- "Now/but listen..."
- Being from the United Kingdom, he says the word "mate" a lot.
- Grade's usage of "Right?" as a Verbal Tic, which gets filtered through his accent to make the rather sweet-sounding "Roit?"
- "You bastard.", which is turned into "Ye bastud." through his accent.
- Comical Overreacting: While a lot of the complaints Grade makes are completely valid, he has a tendency to overreact to them.
- Devil's Advocate: This is most notable in his video about Youtubes new monetary policy which would display if a Youtubers content was suitable for advertisers. Grade justifies the policy and explains that the policy displays the problem and says that the policy shows where the problem lies in the videos. He still explains some of the problems with the policy but offers an alternate solution.
- Disgusting Public Toilet: Grade voices his displeasure for these, as the ones he's been to are filled with graffiti of knock-knock jokes and people leaving their name and number behind to be called to 'have a good time', among shit stains in cubicles and whatever's left in the toilet bowl from the last person who didn't flush.Grade: I will not call John for a good time after seeing his phone number on the fucking wall of Maccy's!
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: At the end of "Why We All Hate Valentine's Day (Tiny Bit Late...)", a split-second message claims that, by agreeing to buy his shirts, one waives their rights to sue him for "sexual assault caused by females who can't help but want your penis due to your suddenly increased sexiness."
- Effortless Achievement: In the "Top 5 Stupidest Trophies" video, Grade points out how ridiculous it is to give players trophies for things such as starting/pausing a game, failing at the game repeatedly and even not playing the game at all.Grade: Listen, unless you're a prostitute, right, you should not be rewarded for sucking.
- The Faceless: Initially, until he revealed himself using an old picture after reaching the 2 million subscriber mark. He has yet to show himself speaking, however.
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": Grade shows his disdain at how inefficient automated phone menus are, complete with ridiculously long options, ridiculous number of options, ridiculous amounts of time it takes to list an option and the ridiculous choice of hold music.Menu Voice: For car tax, including changes such as disabled and LPG, not taxing your vehicle, replacing or changing your address on your log book, other inquiries about your vehicle, please press '1'
Grade: (mouth gaping in disbelief) Piss off! That's just one of the options, and you've got seven more of them? You can fuck off, mate!
- Forged Message: According to himself, Grade forged his dad's signature so many times to avoid P.E. that he became better at it than his dad.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Most of his videos contain Unreadably Fast Text related to whatever he's talking about. Various info can be found here, from fun facts about the editing/production of the video, an added little fun fact related to the topic, or a comment from Grade himself.
- Gag Nose: Under's face has the same outline as Grade's face flipped upside-down, so Under's nose is massive instead of his chin.
- HA HA HA No: In "iPhone 7 & Samsung S7" when talking about what the new Sony and Nokia phones will look like.Grade: And finally, do you wanna know what the new Sony or Nokia phone will look like?
Grade: No! Of course you don't!
- Hypocritical Humor:
Grade: You made it through the course! Fantastic! So if you paid attention, to avoid coming across as an idiot to your friends and your peers, right, all you have to do is make sure you avoid saying these phrases. Or don't. Fuck it! Do whatever you want. I don't give a rat's ass.
- In "Stupid Phrases You Should Never Say Again", one of the phrases he finds stupid and meaningless is "I don't give a rat's ass." Then at the end of the video...
- In "Everything Wrong With YouTube (Part 2)", Grade calls out SoFloAntonio for creating the "Gone Sexual!" style of video titles. Grade's next video? "iPhone 7 and Samsung S7- LEAKED PHOTOS & DETAILS (Gone Sexual!)"
- In "Why Gift Cards Are a Scam", Grade rants about the pointlessness of gift cards, claiming they're just as thoughtless a gift as cash, but with the added catches of being able to spend them only in one particular store and expiring if not used in a timely fashion. At the end of the video, in an unrelated segment, he singles out a fellow YouTuber who had posted a clever response to one of his earlier videos. Grade goes on at length about how awesome the guy is... and then rewards him by presenting him with a 20 pound gift card.
- Implausible Deniability: In "Fuck Phone Calls (How To Get Out Of Them)", Grade apparently drops his phone just as he's recording the example of how to get out of phone calls, making the example unusable when his phone breaks...except he was able to make a recording of him apologizing for dropping his phone (which all his recordings are performed on). He then explains that he was tricking his viewers, and showing that you could get out of phone calls by making it sound like you dropped your phone.
- "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal: Grade admits that while using 'X told me to do Y' as an excuse is pretty stupid on its own, this rebuttal is even more stupid.Teacher!Under: If Johnny told you to jump off a cliff, or shove a cactus up your arse, would you do that as well, Grade?Grade: WHAT?! Obvi-No! Obviously not, you smart-arse! Do you not see a line's being crossed from 'throwing a paper aeroplane across the classroom' and 'leaping to my death'?
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Grade has a ridiculous chin that's bigger than his body.
- Lesser of Two Evils: This is the clincher in Grade's video on Donald Trump winning the 2016 presidential election. Grade reminds the audience that the alternative to Trump in office is the VP Mike Pence (who is for such actions as revoking weed legalization and Same-sex marriage) in office.
- Minimalism: Also see Status Quo Is God below. In contrast to many other creators, Grade's videos are almost exclusively done using Windows Movie Maker and Microsoft Paint. While this minimalist setup may have been rooted in budget/time restrictions originally, later on, it became a conscious choice; Grade has explained that he's rejected a fellow creator's offer to send him a free microphone, specifically because he didn't want his style of video to change. In his mind, the minimalist nature of the videos is a part of them.
- Morton's Fork: In "Stupid Things That Parents Do (+ FUPA)", Grade states this is the case for parents telling their children off; if they respond, their parents just get annoyed. But give them the silent treatment and they still get annoyed.
- Motor Mouth: How he naturally speaks, as shown by his Twitch streams. Grade has stated that he puts on an accent for his videos so that he can speak more slowly.
- Mundane Solution: From "People I hate at my door":Grade: ...Jehovah's Witnesses, I don't get why everyone hates them so much [...] obviously it's rude to tell them to fuck off... but just tell them to fuck off!
- Non-Indicative Name: One of the main points of "Why Animal Names Are Stupid" is that a lot of animal names don't fit them all, particularly the Mountain Chicken.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Grade's reaction when he (momentarily) sees his reflection on his computer's screen during one of his livestreams.
- In Youtube Is Over Party - I Could Lose *97%* Of My Ad Revenue Grade practically shits himself when he realizes how he would be affected by Youtube doubling down on curse words in videos.
- Perma-Stubble: Under is depicted with this.
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Grade's "Political Correctness Manual 2019 - Things You Can't Say" video takes this trope and runs with it, thanks to "mankind" being offensive because it has "man" in it. This includes changing "woman" to "woperson" to "woperchild", changing Germany, Romania, and Oman, banning "killing 2 birds with 1 stone" because it's offensive to vegans and PETA, "setting the record straight" isn't allowed because it could offend gay people, and Alaska and Alabama getting changed because it's offensive to non-Muslims.
- Potty Emergency: Grade describing how you're shopping at a local discount clothing store and suddenly needing to take a shit, only to find that the cubicles are soiled with shit and piss, before finally finding a cubicle that's somewhat decently clean...with no toilet paper.Grade: Fuck it, I'll just shit myself then! I'll wipe my arse with the shirt I bought!
- Or when you're lucky enough to find a decently clean cubicle that does have toilet paper, the lock doesn't even work.
- Potty Failure: In the video "Things I Found Stupid About School", Grade wets himself after the teacher doesn't let him go to the bathroom because he should have gone on break time. He uses this to show that not letting students leave the classroom because they might be lying could result in someone shitting themselves.
- Real Men Hate Sugar: Averted. In one of his videos, he explains that people look at him funny for drinking girly drinks but he retorts that proving your masculinity by drinking something that tastes "like lighter fluid mixed with piss" is really dumb.
- The Reveal: He finally shows what he looks like to celebrate having 2 million subscribers in "How To Find Any Songs Name (+ 2M Face Reveal)."
- Running Gag:
- Grade has a tendency to display a picture of someone's butt crack whenever he says "But", or whenever he brings up the drug crack.
- Digs at Nicole Arbour have become increasingly common in Grade's videos.
- He often uses a photo of Donald Trump to represent a hypothetical clueless person.
- In "People Who Use Long Words", Grade mentions that he reads Daily Mail.... and later, that readers of Daily Mail can barely read.
- When it seemed as though another YouTuber was copying his work, Grade left a comment in a description video asking why said person doesn't go plagiarize someone who is actually decent.
- In "The Stupidest Names on Earth", he says that the YouTuber with the dumbest name ever is... himself.
- "An End To Youtube Drama?" contains multiple examples.
- In a photograph of a horde of angry fans, one person says "Wow this video is so bad. Did GradeAUnderA animate it?", while another threatens to "force you to watch GradeAUnderA's older videos."
- When Grade is urging viewers not to hold their favorite YouTubers so high on a pedestal, he acknowledges that this applies to himself as well, admitting that he can be a huge jerk sometimes.
- At the conclusion of the video, he states that this will be his last drama video, and that he will be resuming his "stupid comedy videos" soon.
- In "Swear Word", he uses an image of himself to illustrate on the bad words, "cunt".
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: He rips it a new one in "People Who Use Long Words". Grade clearly isn't fond of people using it to sound smart and explains that by doing so, chances are the whole message of what you've said isn't even carried across since no one understands what you're trying to tell them.Posh!Grade: Pardon me, could I avert your attention here to this amphibian for a moment? It's rather large, isn't it?*said frog and Under frown in disapproval*
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Grade, and he makes absolutely no apologies for it, not even in the face of surefire punishment from modern YouTube policies.
- Status Quo Is God: Despite the massive growth his channel has seen since it started out, Grade continues to use the same low-end minimalist setup that he has used since the start; Windows Movie Maker to edit the videos, Microsoft Paint to compose and edit images, and his old Samsung Galaxy S2 to record his voice. This is intentional: in his video where he talks about how he doesn't enjoy making YouTube videos anymore, he admits that he doesn't want his videos to change in style, to the point where he even rejected an offer from a fellow YouTuber to send him a free microphone.
- Stylistic Suck: His videos are made on MS Paint and edited with Windows Movie Maker, giving them an early YouTube vibe. He has said that he will stick to those programs because he doesn't want his videos to look too good.
- Take That!:
- In Why Gift Cards Are A Scam, one of the unwanted gifts being sold on eBay is The Gherkin, a massive skyscraper in London... but it's listed as "Nicole Arbour's Dildo", which was unwanted because it was too small. Later in the same video, when he talks about how you can't use gift cards to pay hookers, he uses a photo of Nicole to represent the hypothetical hooker in question.
- Nicole again in The Stupidest Names On Earth:Grade: (referring to the name Richard being shortened to Dick) And while "Rich" is a good thing, "Dick" isn't!Stick figure with Nicole's head: Hmm, I don't know, Grade, I'd have to disagree with ya there...Grade: Fuck off, Nicole!
- In one of his earlier videos about Ray William Johnson stealing his job interview video, he states that Johnson in fact didn't steal his video and they are very different...because Grade's video is funny while Johnson's is not.
- Unreadably Fast Text: See Freeze-Frame Bonus above.
- Verbal Tic: Though it may be exaggerated for comedic purposes, Grade usually ends his phrases with "right?". He also uses "mate" a lot.
- Visual Pun: Occasionally pulls up certain pictures that play off of words that have been spoken in the same vein as Extra Credits. For example, Grade will show a picture of someone's buttcrack when he says the word "but".
- Vocal Evolution: Grade's British accent has gotten more pronounced and exaggerated than it used to be (in his first video, Grade's creator was likely using his natural voice). In some recent videos, such as the rant about tipping, Grade's voice is a little deeper, even sounding like an old man.
- The Voiceless: Under is silent in the majority of videos.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Grade has said that if he reaches $10,000 per month on his Patreon page, his parents will name him their favorite son.
- Well-Intentioned Replacement: Grade believes that diamond rings are far too expensive (they often are), and believes that Moissanite rings do the job just fine (he states that there are hardly any differences between the two materials and Moissanite is far cheaper).
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: In "The Stupidest Names on Earth", Grade goes after celebrities who give their children ridiculous names.
- You Keep Using That Word: In "An End To Youtube Drama?", he showed that people were beginning to refer to anything as drama, and refer to all drama as bad (by extension, seeing everything as bad).
- You Wanna Get Sued?:
Grade: Have the laws of physics, as we know them today, been shown to be false all along, by this YouTube prankster? Well in short, YES! They have! Because, right, the only other possibility is that this video is fake, which, I'm sure you'd agree, would be an absurd thing to suggest.
- In "Exposing Fake Pranks", Grade repeatedly specifies that there's only a possibility that these pranks are fake.
- Grade does the same thing (with a blatant "I'm paranoid about being sued message") in THE YOUTUBERS COMPLAINING ABOUT DRAMA RANT (Exposing Matthew Santoro), when accusing Matthew Santoro of being a plagiarist.
- The Donald Trump video takes this to the extreme. Throughout the entire video, he expresses paranoia about being sued, and takes great pains to point out that all of his criticisms of Trump are things that only deluded Trump-haters would say, and that he himself is only pointing them out to show how ridiculous they are. To complete the joke, there is a running gag where a chimpanzee in a suit (said to be Grade's lawyer) sits in the corner of the screen and makes an angry face whenever Grade says something negative about Trump, then changes to giving a thumbs up when Grade rephrases his comments in a more positive (albeit sarcastic) fashion.