|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2013)|
Benzine at VidCon in 2012.
October 5, 1980
Marshall, Wisconsin, United States
|Years active||2007 - present|
|Partner(s)||Chyna Pate (2011-present)|
Craig Gene Benzine (born October 5, 1980) is an American video producer, musician, and vlogger better known by his YouTube channel name of WheezyWaiter. As of April 22, 2014, his channel has over 530,000 subscribers and more than 86.5 million total video views.
Benzine started out, together with his fellow Driftless Pony Club band members, on the channel "sambonejr", co-starring in several short comical video clips, of which the first 19 videos were uploaded in March 2006. Together with his friends Zaid Maxwell and Amelia Styer, Benzine also created an album and a movie to the album under the name Ozark Cousins, of which a sample is still commonly used in his WheezyWaiter videos as background music, which plays when Craig moves his chair.
After an unprofitable shift in 2007 at the restaurant in Chicago where he worked as a waiter, Benzine's boss told him not to come in to work the next day because he doubted there would be enough customers. Benzine, as a result, was worried about how he was going to get money to pay his rent. On his day off, Benzine spent the entire day watching Ze Frank videos on YouTube, and was inspired to start his own vlogging channel. Originally, the vlogs were centered around Benzine's frustrations surrounding his job, but quickly grew to incorporate song parodies, cultural commentaries, and documentation of Benzine's daily life.
Eventually, Benzine was hired as the video editor for a web development company, and was able to quit his job as a waiter. He continued to produce content for his YouTube channel, despite having a small audience, usually making videos in the morning before going to his office job.
Benzine now works professionally as a video editor and vlogger. He continues to upload new content to his main channel, WheezyWaiter's channel on YouTube, as well as to his more personal channel, WheezyNews, and others.
Driftless Pony Club
Together with Matt Weber, Sam Grant and Nate Bartley, Craig is member of the indie rock band, Driftless Pony Club, as a lead singer and guitarist. Both the band and Benzine are signed to DFTBA Records. Driftless Pony Club has five albums available, Buckminster, Expert, Cholera, Janel, and Magnicifent. Their song "House of 1982, Built Like a Ship" is the theme song to the web series, MyMusic, which uses other songs in their library throughout the show.
The Good Stuff
The Good Stuff is a playlist-based web project (originally referred to only as a "Secret POJECT") co-created by Craig Benzine and his friend and bandmate Matt Weber. In February 2013, the first video playlist was uploaded to a new YouTube channel of the same name, "The Good Stuff". The Good Stuff releases playlists of videos of various formats connected by a theme. Themes so far have included "Miniature", "Rockstar Lifestyle", "Origins", "Airplanes", "Time", "Community", and "Geek Week"; the episodes have featured short films, interviews, documentaries and compilations of viewer-submitted content.
Benzine has been in a relationship with waitress and student Chyna Pate since 2011. They met at a Driftless Pony Club performance in 2010. The couple live together in Chicago, IL along with their snake Monty who was often featured in "Daily Vlogs" on WheezyNews, which ended on August 10, 2013.
Benzine has participated in and promoted various charity projects. In 2009 and 2010 he promoted Action Against Hunger as his contribution to the Project for Awesome, in 2012 he promoted the project Water.org. On his fourth mission for the Ford Fiesta Movement he organized a poker game to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Benzine has also made a video in which he promotes Water.org with fellow campaigner Matt Damon.
- Benzine, Craig (March 6, 2013). "Origin of Me". WheezyWaiter. YouTube. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- "WheezyWaiter's Channel". Wheezy Waiter. YouTube. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- "Driftless Pony Club channel uploads". Driftless Pony Club. YouTube. March 2006. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "Origins of DPC and Ozark Cousins". WheezyWaiter. YouTube. October 30, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- "Making of Greetings". WheezyWaiter. YouTube. June 30, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
- Benzine, Craig (December 7, 2012). WheezyWaiter Goes on The Interview Show, a Show in Which He Is Interviewed. Interview with Mark Bazer. The Interview Show. Chicago. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- Benzine, Craig (May 28, 2008). "Nothing You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheezy Waiter". WheezyWaiter. YouTube. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- Pagliarini, Robert (August 2, 2010). "When Success Doesn't Come Fast Enough". CBS News Moneywatch (CBS News). Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Eakin, Marah (January 21, 2011). "Craig Benzine of Wheezy Waiter". A.V. Club. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- Benzine, Craig (2012). "About WheezyWaiter". WheezyWaiter. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Driftless Pony Club". Madison.com. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- Milson, Tom (February 13, 2011). "thinking is terrible - Driftless Pony Club - Buckminster". Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "Driftless Pony Club". LastFM.de. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "Driftless Pony Club". Sputnik Music. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "DFTBA Records :: Driftless Pony Club". DFTBA Records. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "DFTBA Records :: WheezyWaiter". DFTBA Records. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- Houk, Sierra (March 19, 2012). "Nerd Band of the Week: Driftless Pony Club". Almost Nerdy. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Kotenko, Jam (August 21, 2013). "Here's Why You Need to be Watching the YouTube Breakout Hit Series 'MyMusic'". Digital Trends. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Gutele, Sam (June 10, 2013). "Wheezy Waiter Explores The Good Stuff In Show Based Around Playlists". Tubefilter. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Benzine, Craig (December 17, 2009). "Project for Awesome - Action Against Hunger". WheezyWaiter.
- Benzine, Craig (December 17, 2010). "Project for Awesome 2010". WheezyWaiter.
- Benzine, Craig (December 17, 2012). "Project For Awesome 2012 - Water.org". WheezyWaiter.
- Benzine, Craig (September 8, 2009). "Poker for Charity". WheezyWaiter.