Fosh speaking at the Union last weekNordin Ćatić

I meet Max Fosh – former London Fashion Show model, drag queen, and candidate for London Mayor, as well as current YouTuber, roundabout owner, and aspiring stand-up comedian – after his talk in front of a capacity crowd at the Cambridge Union. It’s safe to say Fosh has done pretty well since making YouTube his full-time job in early 2020.

Fosh is known for his light-hearted videos on YouTube which range widely: from tracking down a model in an old stock photo from his flat, to interviewing drunk university students on nights out about the ways of the world (a segment known as StreetSmart, Fosh’s original channel name). When I ask him what he sees himself as doing, Fosh tells me that he serves to entertain: “[the Max Fosh channel] is a silly place … where you can go for ten minutes of escapism and leave with a smile on your face. Nothing particularly profound gets said, but hopefully you’ll have a good time.”

Earlier this month, Fosh ran for Mayor of London to increase the youth turnout and to damage the campaign of Reclaim Party candidate Laurence Fox by repeatedly urging voters not to vote for him. Fosh admits there was more of a point to his mayoral campaign than simply entertainment, but “the content of the videos for the mayoral series was still very silly in and of itself.” Fosh is hardly disappointed in how he fared in the election, receiving 0.2% of votes. When I ask what London with Max Fosh as Mayor might look like, he groans. “It would have involved me getting the experts in every field imaginable. I’d be a total puppet. It would have been an absolute disaster.”

“Bloke buys a roundabout, how great is that, that’s really stupid isn’t it, that’s funny”

When all the candidates met at City Hall for the announcement of the next Mayor, Fosh locked horns with Fox in a feisty verbal exchange which saw Fox criticising him for not using his platform on YouTube of 440,000 subscribers to call for more meaningful social change. Did Laurence have a point? Does Fosh have greater responsibility? He doesn’t know for sure. “On the one hand, people come to watch a Max Fosh video for 10 minutes of escapism; ‘bloke buys a roundabout, how great is that, that’s really stupid isn’t it, that’s funny’. Where that line crosses into having an audience that I can also project onto is a whole different kettle of fish. I think I definitely do have responsibility; the level of that responsibility I don’t know yet.” “Just because I have an audience doesn’t mean they’re going to listen to everything I say. My audience follows me because they want the silliness.” He thinks his audience would protest if he were to “suddenly start talking about incredibly political topics.” “That’s not why they click on my videos.” He adds: “I’m not an influencer.”

Long before his mayoral campaign, Fosh started his YouTube channel as StreetSmart in his final year at Newcastle University. The premise was simple: head out on a night out, find some drunk students to interview, post that interview online. Although he still does StreetSmart videos, and some rank among his most popular, Fosh’s content centres far less on them than previously. He tells me that this transition probably wouldn’t have happened without the pandemic. “I would have sat making more StreetSmart videos until people stopped watching. The pandemic hit, I couldn’t make StreetSmart videos, and the views were tanking. I said to myself ‘Oh my God, what the hell I am going to do’. That was terrifying. I thought ‘this is it, that’s the career over and done with’. But if the pandemic hadn’t hit, I would have just played it safe. So the pandemic was the best and the worst thing that happened to me.”

“That’s not why they click on my videos.” He adds: “I’m not an influencer”

Something that has continually been present in Fosh’s videos since he started has been ‘poshness’. Fosh himself, who went to the private boarding school Harrow between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, often refers to his own privileged upbringing and has a distinctly posh aura; and much of his channel’s content features posher people, often students. Fosh’s most popular video is entitled ‘The Poshest Place On Earth’ and it features him interviewing drunk students at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. I ask him about his own feelings towards ‘poshness’: “When I went to university I surrounded myself with people who were not posh in any way, probably as a way for me to totally distance myself from that world. I then realised I didn’t need to distance myself totally from my background. I’ve leant into it a little bit but I try really hard to make my poshness a secondary feature as to who I am.” Does he ever play up to it? Usually no: “Maybe people think that’s my USP, but I try not to make it the thing that defines me.”


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Fosh has been making videos since 2017, but YouTube only became his full time job in 2020. Where did it all go right for him? Was there one moment? No: “There’s not one moment where I was like ‘Oh my god this is it.’ Because social media is such an instant platform and people can get whatever they like instantly, whether that’s sex or music or entertainment or comedy, they assume that success on that platform is just as instant, when it’s not. Like in every other career, in order to get to a place where you are deemed ‘successful’ it requires lots of effort and patience.” That said, he does admit: “There have definitely been periods where a video has done really well and it’s interesting hearing back the seminal videos of the Max Fosh channel.” I ask if the success of his ‘Maximus Bucharest’ video – where Fosh faked it to the top of London Fashion Week, earning 23 Million views on The Zac and Jay Show and boosting his subscriber count from 1800 to 60k – was one of those ‘seminal videos’ which got him where he is today. “[Without it,] I definitely don’t think I’d be as big as I am today. Still, I hope to have a lot more Maximus Bucharest videos in me in the next two or three years”

“I then realised I didn’t need to distance myself totally from my background. I’ve leant into it a little bit but I try really hard to make my poshness a secondary feature as to who I am.”

Looking into the future, whilst YouTube is still on the agenda, Fosh has made it clear he wants to move into radio and stand-up comedy. Criticism may be levelled that live comedy is worlds away from the edited world of YouTube, but Fosh seems at home in a live setting throughout the evening, and his personality and comedy mirror the impression of him that comes across in his videos. This strikes me as leaving the character seen in Max Fosh’s videos as an unedited and natural version of himself. From this, it seems he’d be at home in a live environment. He agrees: “I’ve been rehearsing on this so much. I’ve been working on the show since December 2019. I’ve been working on it for a while, so I’m super excited.” “Also, it’s a way of getting better at another type of entertainment rather than YouTube to make my shelf life as long as possible. I understand that on YouTube, you don’t have that long.”

Whatever the future holds, whether it’s in digital form or stand-up, Fosh will endeavour to carry on making people laugh with the characteristic brand of “silliness and escapism” with which he has become synonymous. I leave with the feeling that I am probably one of the few students to have met Fosh who hasn’t regretted it the next morning.