Among her acting roles have been Aday Walker in Tyler Perry's horror comedy film Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016) and The Explorer in the YouTube Premium series Escape the Night (2017). She starred as Violet Adams in the Hulu drama television series Freakish (2016–2017), and she both produces and stars as the title character in the YouTube Premium comedy series Liza on Demand, which was released in June 2018. Koshy was a contributor to the MTV television series Total Request Live from 2017 to 2018. She is the host of the Nickelodeon game show revival Double Dare, which premiered in June 2018.
Koshy's main YouTube channel has amassed more than 16 million subscribers, and her two channels have a total of more than two billion combined views. She has received four Streamy Awards, four Teen Choice Awards, and a Kids' Choice Award. She is a member of the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment list.
Early life and education
Koshy was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Her father is Indian and her mother is of European descent; her parents are Jose Koshy, a petroleum executive, and Jean Carol née Hertzler, a yoga instructor. She has two older sisters. From kindergarten until 5th grade, she was placed in a dual language educational and cultural program, where she learned to speak Spanish. In 2014, after attending Lamar High School, Koshy enrolled in the University of Houston and began to study business marketing. In 2015, Koshy left college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career.
Koshy began posting comic videos on the Vine platform, in 2013, under the pseudonym "Lizzza", where she posted short comedic videos. When Vine closed in 2017, Koshy had 7 million followers. By 2016, Koshy was also becoming noted on the YouTube platform. In November 2016, just before the 2016 election, Koshy interviewed president Barack Obama on her YouTube channel to encourage voter registration. Koshy's videos feature "her loud facial expressions, quick pace, and her commitment to looking as ridiculous as possible as the joke demands. [Some of her videos] take serious issues – like anxiety, the pressure to fit in and internet trolls – and make them accessible and engaging for her viewers." She suspended adding new videos to her main YouTube account in early 2018 as she turned to full-time acting and hosting work. She resumed posting new videos in 2019.
In 2017, Koshy became "the fastest YouTube personality to reach 10 million subscribers". As of April 2019, her main YouTube channel had over 16 million subscribers and more than 2 billion views. Videos on her main channel average nearly 10 million views. Her second YouTube channel had more than 7 million subscribers, and her two channels had a combined total of more than 2.5 billion views. She also had more than 17 million followers on Instagram, more than 11 million on TikTok (formerly Musical.ly), more than 2.9 million on Facebook and more than 2.3 million on Twitter. By August 2017, her total social media penetration was approximately 45 million followers.
In 2016, Koshy starred in the Hulu original horror series Freakish as Violet Adams. She reprised the role in the show's second season in 2017. Also in 2016, she played the role of Aday Walker in the horror-comedy feature film, Boo! A Madea Halloween, and starred as herself in the YouTube Premium series, Jingle Ballin'. Koshy starred as Princess Aubrey in the 2016 comedy film FML. In 2017, she played a recurring character, The Explorer, in the YouTube Premium mystery-reality series Escape the Night.
Koshy stars in and co-produces a YouTube Premium situation comedy series, Liza on Demand, which was released in June 2018, "following the chaotic misadventures of the eponymous character" as she works to become an "elite tasker" doing odd jobs for pay. A reviewer for the Los Angeles Times wrote: "The first episode ... is not bad. Yet it's also ordinary and a little stiff. … But the second ... is better ... and shows off Koshy to good effect, some effective physical comedy included. It made me laugh, anyway." In November 2018, Koshy voiced the character Owl in Crow: The Legend, an animated virtual-reality short film written and directed by Eric Darnell, starring John Legend. The film premiered on the Liza Koshy Too YouTube channel and Oculus VR on November 15, 2018. She is set to return to Escape the Night in 2019. She is also set to appear in the Netflix dance-comedy film Work It, alongside Sabrina Carpenter, which is filming in 2019.
Koshy hosted the live preshow at the 2017 Golden Globes Awards, which received 2.7 million live viewers on Twitter – a record for the medium. She also hosted Nigel Lythgoe's series Every Single Step and was "the only social entertainer chosen to promote the 2016 MTV Movie Awards." She was one of the hosts on Total Request Live on MTV from 2017 to 2019 and served as a producer and developer of content for MTV. Koshy was the first "digital star" interviewed for Vogue magazine's "73 Questions" web series. Koshy conducted interviews of the celebrities attending the 2018 and 2019 Met Galas on behalf of Vogue.
Koshy collaborates with The Giving Keys, a jewelry company that employs and supports the formerly homeless population, on a necklace collection. Her online advertisements for Beats Electronics draw four times more viewers than those of other celebrities.
|2016||FML||Princess Aubrey||Supporting role|
|Boo! A Madea Halloween||Aday||Supporting role|
|Jingle Ballin'||Liza||Main role|
|2017||Crow: The Legend||Owl||Supporting role|
|TBA||Work It||TBA||Filming (upcoming)|
|2016||Making a Scene with James Franco||Herself||Season 3|
|2016–2017||Freakish||Violet Adams||Main role|
|2017||Escape the Night||The Explorer||6 episodes|
|2017||Total Request Live||Herself||Co-host|
|2017||Ellen's Show Me More Show||Herself||Guest (1 episode)|
|2018||Liza on Demand||Liza||Main role; also co-creator and executive producer|
|2018–present||Double Dare||Host||Also executive producer|
|2019||"Woke Up Late"||Drax Project||Jonathon Singer-Vine|
Reception and awards
Koshy has won four Streamy Awards and Teen Choice Awards, and a Kids' Choice Award. Teen Vogue named Koshy to its 2016 list of "The 7 Female Comedians You Need to Know". The Hollywood Reporter included Koshy in its 2017 list of "15 Rising Crossover Stars". The Washington Post cited Koshy as one of the "funny women...at the top of their game today [who] girls get to study" as models for comedy and empowerment. She is a member of the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment list.
John Jurgensen of The Wall Street Journal described Koshy's appeal as follows: "Her comedy is heavy on self-deprecation, slapstick and wordplay, more goofy than snarky. ... One reason her sketches work for advertisers is the replay factor, [squeezing] in dozens of puns and double meanings, in part to encourage easily distracted viewers to re-watch. ... Koshy has proven to be safe territory for established entertainment companies and advertisers who have fled from edgier online content".
|2016||Streamy Awards||Breakout Creator||Won|||
|2017||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Social Media Star||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Female Web Star||Won|||
|Choice Comedy Web Star||Nominated|
|Shorty Awards||YouTuber of the Year||Nominated|||
|Streamy Awards||Creator of the Year||Nominated|||
|2018||Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Funny YouTube Creator||Won|||
|10th Shorty Awards||Creator of the Decade||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Female Web Star||Won|||
|Choice Comedy Web Star||Won|
|Streamy Awards||Creator of the Year||Nominated|||
|Comedy Series: Liza on Demand||Won|
|Acting in a Comedy: Liza on Demand||Won|
|2019||Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite TV Host (with Marc Summers for Double Dare)||Nominated|||
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