Thomas Sanders (entertainer)

Last updated

Thomas Sanders
Thomas Sanders' logo used from February 2016 onward.
Personal information
Born (1989-04-24) April 24, 1989 (age 33)
Education University of Florida (BS)
Occupation Musical theater actor, singer, Vine and YouTube personality
YouTube information
Channels Thomas Sanders
Thomas Sanders & Friends
Years active2009–present
GenreComedy, music
Subscribers3.43 million (Main channel) [1]
382 thousand (Second channel) [2]
Total views272.19 million (Main channel) [3]
13.06 million (Second channel) [4]
Associated acts
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers2015
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg1,000,000 subscribers2016 [5]
Known forNarrating People's Lives (Vine)
Sanders Sides
Cartoon Therapy
Awards Shorty Award
Streamy Award

Last updated: June 14, 2020

Thomas Sanders (born April 24, 1989) is an American singer, actor, scriptwriter and internet personality made famous by Vine and YouTube. He is best known for his YouTube channel and Vine career, which lasted from April 2013 until the social media site was shut down by Twitter in 2017. [6] [7] [8] [9] After the shutdown of Vine, he continued releasing videos across various social media sites. Sanders creates long videos on YouTube, while simultaneously posting shorter videos in the style of Vine to Instagram, Tumblr, TikTok and Twitter. His work consists of comedy sketches, pranks, stories, singing and civil rights activism.


Sanders is mainly known for the Vine series Narrating People's Lives, also known as Storytime, for the prank series “Disney Pranks with friends,” and on YouTube for the series Sanders Sides. He reached over 7.4 billion loops and 8.3 million followers on Vine, [10] making his career one of the most successful in this social media platform's short history. As of 2020, his account on TikTok has a following of 7 million followers. [11] On YouTube, he has two channels, "Thomas Sanders" and "Thomas Sanders and Friends". As of November 2020, his main channel has 3.49 million subscribers and his second channel has around 376,000 subscribers. Sanders has won two Shorty Awards [12] [13] and one Streamy Award, [14] for best Viner and best YouTube comedian, and has been nominated for a Teen Choice Award [15] to "Choice Viner" among other recognitions.

As a singer, Sanders has published one EP in 2013, [16] [17] one album in 2016, [18] and several singles from 2017 [19] onwards. [20] [21] He has had a career in musical theatre in his hometown in Florida since he was a teenager, performing since 2006 in Gainesville and Orlando, Florida, and starring in a tour through 17 cities in the USA and Canada with his own stage musical, Ultimate Storytime, based on his Vine series. [22] [23] [24] [25] In 2017, he made a guest appearance on the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark [26] [27] and co-hosted a special episode of the Disney XD show Walk the Prank alongside David Lopez. [28]

Personal life

Sanders was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida [29] and currently still lives there. His great-grandfather on his mother's side was born in Ireland. [30] His great-grandmother was a Ziegfeld Follies girl, something Sanders called his "ancestral connection with stage". [31] Sanders' father is a teacher. [32] Sanders has three brothers named Patrick, Christian, and Shea. He started singing in public and took his first steps in acting in middle-school at Kanapaha Middle School, located in Gainesville, singing in several choruses and appearing in several school plays. [33] In his high-school, Buchholz, he started combining acting and singing by doing his first roles in musical plays. [34] Later, Sanders combined his studies at the University of Florida with community theater, joining the Gainesville Community Playhouse from 2006 until 2015. When he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering in 2011, [35] [36] he subsequently combined his daytime job as a manufacturing engineer at a pharmaceutical development company in Alachua [37] with his night-time job in theater, until his success on Vine prompted him to leave that first job and focus on Vine and theater. [29] In June 2017, he publicly came out as gay. [38]


Vine and Sanders Shorts

Thomas Sanders made his debut on Vine as "Foster Dawg", named after his first dog, Foster, [39] on April 14, 2013. An impression of Stewie Griffin from Family Guy in a drive-thru was his first Vine to go viral, leading to continued success on the app. [29] He later rebranded his channel to "Thomas Sanders". His channel reached 1 million followers on Vine in October 2013. [29] His biggest success on Vine was the Narrating People's Lives series, also known as Storytime, where he approached random strangers, comically narrated everyday activities they were doing, and showed their reaction. [40] [41] Other Vine series he is known for are Disney Pranks with Friends, Pokémon Pranks, Misleading Compliments, and Shoutout Sunday, among others. [10] By April 2015, Sanders' Vine account had over 5 million followers, which made Thomas Sanders the 17th most followed Viner at the time. [42]

When Twitter announced that it was closing Vine down at the end of 2016, Sanders announced that he would continue making Vines until the app's last day. [43] When Vine was shut down on January 17, 2017, Sanders had reached 8.3 million followers. [44] Since that date, his short videos, now known as the Sanders Shorts, are first released on his Instagram, where as of November 2018 he has 2.5 million followers. [45]

On February 24, 2015, Sanders appeared as a guest on The View in a segment featuring Vine stars, where he was interviewed about his popularity on Vine, [29] and one of his Vines was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in their section Vine after Vine. [46] Sanders has collaborated with Viners such as Vincent Marcus, [47] Brandon Calvillo [48] and Amymarie Gaertner, [49] and featured cameos and appearances from figures such as Sean Bean, [50] Nicolle Wallace, [51] Stacy London, [52] Nick Pitera (with whom he did a series of Vines, Unexpected Duets), [53] Brizzy Voices, [53] Gabbie Hanna, [54] Tara Strong, [55] E. G. Daily, [56] Jim Cummings, [57] Dan and   Phil, [58] Adam Pascal [59] and the main actors from Hamilton , Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe, [60] among others.


Sanders opened his official YouTube account on March 15, 2009. [61] After amassing a following through Vine, he started publishing more frequently through YouTube. He had his first YouTube collaborations throughout 2015, consisting of pranks, games and challenges. Up until 2014, his subscriber count grew at a lower rate, with around 80,000 subscribers at the end of that year. [62] From that date, his user count growth started progressively accelerating, having 200,000 subscribers by April 2015 [63] and more than 700,000 subscribers at the end of 2015. [64]

From the second half of 2016, at the same time his Vine activity slowed following Twitter's announcement of Vine's forthcoming closedown, Sanders announced he would be focusing on his YouTube content from then on in order to create more diversely formatted content. As of October 2021, his channel has 3.49 million subscribers. [65]

On October 29, 2018, he debuted a second YouTube channel called "Thomas Sanders & Friends", which would be dedicated to the monthly Sanders Shorts compilations and the unscripted, guest-oriented shows he had done previously on his main channel. The main channel would thereafter be dedicated exclusively to scripted series and shows as well as his music videoclips. [66] His second channel has 396,000 subscribers as of August 2021. [67]

Sanders Sides

Sanders Sides Series logo since September 1, 2017. SandersSidesLogo.png
Sanders Sides Series logo since September 1, 2017.

Since October 19, 2016, Thomas Sanders has run a YouTube web series called Sanders Sides, co-written with Joan S., [68] in which he discusses personal or existential issues with four main characters, collectively known as the titular "Sanders Sides". Sanders Sides consists of two seasons with a total as of May 2020 of 30 episodes released on a variable periodicity. Season 1 has 17 episodes released from October 19, 2016, to July 19, 2017. Season 2 began on September 1, 2017, and as of May 2020, it has 13 episodes. [69] It is a spin-off from the Vine/Sanders Shorts series, as Patton, Roman and Logan are inspired by characters that had previously debuted on Vine in 2014, the Dad Guy, the Prince Guy, and the Teacher Guy respectively. The Sanders Sides are usually all portrayed by Sanders himself. Sanders Sides has featured sometimes appearances of guest stars like Lilly Singh [70] or Butch Hartman who, apart from appearing as himself, created an animated sequence exclusively for Sanders Sides where Thomas and his Sides became cartoon characters. Tara Strong, who had already appeared in several Vines and Sanders Shorts, also made a voice cameo in Hartman's episode. [71] On November 22, 2019, a companion series titled Sanders Asides was premiered, featuring the Sides in lighter stories in shorter episodes designed, in Sanders' words, to feature stories not directly linked to the main narrative. [72]

The Sanders Sides are "physical-mental projections" of Thomas' mind, [73] and represent different aspects of Thomas' [Note 1] personality. Thomas usually starts each episode as an ordinary vlog about a certain topic or dilemma. The series is mostly comedic with some more dramatic elements.


Apart from his Internet-based career, Sanders has worked in musical theater at the Gainesville Community Playhouse [29] for productions including Hot Mikado (2007), [74] Singin' in the Rain (2009), [75] [76] The Producers (2010), [77] Anything Goes (2011), [78] Into the Woods (2014), [36] and Les Misérables (2014). [79] In 2015, Sanders did his first professional theater work starring in Heathers: The Musical as J.D. in a production performed in Orlando. [80] From August 8 to September 2, 2016, Sanders went on a stage musical tour, Ultimate Storytime, written by him with songs composed by Jacob Fjeldheim, and based on his Vine series Narrating People's Lives, performing in 17 cities in the USA and Canada, including Toronto and New York City. [22] [23] [24] [25] In 2019, Sanders was cast as the understudy for The Beast in Beauty and the Beast [ citation needed ]


Though critics often classified Sanders as a baritone, [81] he considers himself a bass singer. [82] He has sung primarily on Vine and YouTube. He has performed songs in a wide variety of genres but has personally showed a preference towards jazz music, mentioning Nat King Cole as one of his favorite singers. [83] He has musically collaborated with dodie, Jon Cozart, Ben J. Pierce, Deedee Magno Hall Adam Pascal, and AJ Rafael. He released his first EP, titled Merry Christmas, on Bandcamp on December 21, 2013; the EP consisted of Christmas songs. [16] [17] In 2016, he released the soundtrack of his Ultimate Storytime stage musical, recorded alongside his co-stars, Terrence Williams Jr., Nicole Visco, Jay Harper (also known as JayIsJo) and Leo Anderson (also known as Leo the Giant). [18] On July 22, 2017, Sanders released on YouTube a new original song titled "The Things We Used to Share", [84] inspired by real events in Sanders' life. [19] It was followed by more singles in 2018 and the announcement of a new EP. [85]

EPs and albums

  • Merry Christmas (EP) (2013) [16] [17]
  • Ultimate Storytime (2016) [18]

Songs and singles

YearTitleDuet withData
2013"Snow in Venice"Jacob Fjeldheim (piano)Cover of a song by Elizaveta
2014"A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes"Jazz cover of a song from Cinderella
2015"Proud of Your Boy"Cover from the musical Aladdin published in Sanders' Tumblr account. [86]
2016"Vine vs YouTube" Jon Cozart Song based on "Anything You Can Do" from the musical Annie Get Your Gun
"Middle of a Moment"Cover from the musical James and the Giant Peach
"Freeze Your Brain"Cover from Heathers: The Musical starring Sanders in 2015
"What You Own" Adam Pascal Cover from the musical Rent
"The Internet is Down"AVbyteOriginal song by AVbyte
"RIP Vine: A Song" Jon Cozart Song nominated to a Streamy Award [87] based on "Agony" from Into the Woods
2017"Lies"Original song written by Thomas Sanders and Chris Shaw and performed on Sanders Sides
"Birds" dodie Cover from Sanders' Ultimate Storytime musical
"Dear Happy"Original song by dodie
"Warrior Girl" Deedee Magno Hall Cover from Sanders' Ultimate Storytime musical
"A Lovely Night" Ben J. Pierce Cover from La La Land
"Waving Through a Window" dodie & Ben J. Pierce Cover from the musical Dear Evan Hansen
"Aggressive Bouts of Beat Poetry"Rap song written by Joan S. and performed on Sanders Sides
"New York, New York" dodie Cover from the musical of the same name
"The Things We Used to Share"Original song written by Joan S., first original single [19] [88]
"Tomorrow Never Came" Ben J. Pierce Cover of a song by Lana Del Rey
"12 Days of Christmas"Christmas song performed on Sanders Sides
2018"Rear View"FotiOriginal song by Foti
"Disappear"AJ RafaelCover from the musical Dear Evan Hansen
"I Won't Say I'm in Love (mash-up)"Terrence Williams Jr., Jamahl Rawls & FotiSingle, [20] cover of a song from Hercules mashed up with several Disney songs [89]
"Crofter's: The Musical"Single, [21] performed on Sanders Sides. [90]
"On the Borderline"Single, [91] original song written by Joan S. [92]
"breathin"FotiSingle, [93] cover of a song by Ariana Grande. [94]
"Incomplete (The Puzzle Song)"Single, [95] original song performed on Sanders Sides. [96]
2019"Seasons of Love"A chorus with several of his friendsSingle, cover of a song from the musical Rent .
"Friends on the Other Side – Disney Villain Mash-Up"Brittney Kelly, Valerie Torres-Rosario, Foti, Jamahl Rawls, Terrence Williams Jr., & Leo AndersonSingle, cover of a song from The Princess and the Frog mashed up with several Disney songs
"Forbidden Fruit (The Duke's Theme)"Single, original song performed on Sanders Sides
"A Gay Disney Prince"Jon CozartSingle, original song mashed up with several Disney songs
"Recipe for Me"Single, original song written by Joan S. and Jamahl Rawls
2020"Rhythm Redux"Single, original song performed on Sanders Sides
2021"Seventeen"Nicole ViscoReunion cover from Heathers: The Musical which Sanders and Visco starred in 2015
"Hallellujah"Caleb Hyles, Jonathan Young, Dan Vasc & Colm McGuinnessSingle produced by Caleb Hyles, cover of a song written by Leonard Cohen


2016 Sanders Sides Various characters Webseries

32 episodes

Nominated for Streamy Award for Best Writing

2017 Bizaardvark Ian Finkelman1 episode [26] [27]
Walk the Prank Himself1 episode [28]
2020 Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe Throat-LobsterVoice [97] [98]
2022 Hamster & Gretel Neighslayer, Additional VoicesVoice, episode "Neigh, It Ain't So!" [99]

Awards and nominations

2014 Ryan Seacrest's Favorite Vine Celebrity ContestThomas SandersWon [100]
2015 Univision's Shorty Awards – Vine Star of the YearThomas SandersWon [12]
2016 Streamy Awards – Viner of the YearThomas SandersWon [14] [101]
Teen Choice Awards – Choice VinerThomas SandersNominated [15]
2017 Shorty Awards – YouTube ComedianThomas SandersWon [13]
Streamy Awards – CollaborationThomas Sanders and Jon Cozart for "RIP Vine: A Song"Nominated [87]
Unicorn Awards – YouTuber of the YearThomas SandersNominated [102] [103]
2019 Streamy Awards – Best WritingThomas Sanders, Joan S., Adri White, Quil Cauchon and AJ Hentges for "Sanders Sides"Nominated [104]


  1. The Thomas that appears as a character on Sanders Sides is a fictional character based on the real Thomas Sanders, who talks about him in third person. [68]

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