|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (May 2013)|
Benzine at VidCon in 2012.
October 5, 1980
Marshall, Wisconsin, United States
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 June 2015, his channel has over 575,000 subscribers and more than 100 million total video views.
On January 23, 2015, Benzine became host of the Crash Course U.S. government and politics series.
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 with fictionalized elements, such as living with his clones, whale, David Hasselhoff and Michael Phelps.
Eventually, Benzine was hired as the video editor for a web development company, and was able to quit his job as a waiter. His title as Wheezy Waiter refers to his waiter job at the time and the asthma that he has had since birth. 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. Benzine also met his fiancée through the band.
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 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.
On September 15, 2014, Benzine uploaded the 1000th episode of WheezyWaiter in which he proposed to Chyna Pate. The episode documents him attempting to list off titles of other episodes. He then asked Pate if she could see a pattern in the first letters of the most recent videos. In chronological order, the videos titles read "Chyna will you marry me" followed by a question mark as the title for the 1000th episode. Pate agreed to marry Benzine. They currently reside together in Chicago.
- Benzine, Craig (March 6, 2013). "Origin of Me". WheezyWaiter. YouTube. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- "WheezyWaiter's Channel". Wheezy Waiter. YouTube. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
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- "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.
- Benzine, Craig (September 15, 2014). "? - (1000th Video!)". WheezyWaiter.