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 31)
Education University of Florida (BS)
Occupation Musical theater actor, singer, Vine and YouTube personality
YouTube information
Channels Thomas Sanders
Thomas Sanders & Friends
Years active2002–present
GenreComedy, music
Subscribers3.43 million (Main channel) [1]
351 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

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 January 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 mainly to Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, but also premiering some on TikTok. 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, and for the prank series “Disney Pranks with friends,” and the YouTube 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 theater 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 has 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 still lives there today. 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 occupation is a teacher. [32] Sanders' parents had four boys, Patrick, Christian, Thomas and Shea. Thomas is two years older than Shea, and eight years younger than Patrick and Christian. [33] 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. [34] When he got to high-school, he started combining acting and singing by doing his first roles in musical plays. [35] Later, Sanders combined his studies at the University of Florida with community theater, joining the Gainesville Community Playhouse in 2006, where he would do dozens of roles up until 2015. When he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering in 2011, [36] [37] he subsequently combined his daytime job as a manufacturing engineer at a pharmaceutical development company in Alachua [38] 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 being gay. [39]


Vine and Sanders Shorts

Thomas Sanders made his debut on Vine as "Foster_Dawg", named after his first dog, Foster, [40] 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 narrating normal everyday activities they were doing and showed their reaction. [41] [42] Other Vine series he's known for are Disney Pranks with Friends, Pokémon Pranks, Misleading Compliments, Musicals in Real Life, Stewie vs. Herbert (co-starring Taylor Shrum as Herbert) 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. [43]

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. [44] When Vine was shut down on January 17, 2017, Sanders had reached 8.3 million followers. [45] 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. [46] He also encourages his followers, who call themselves "Fanders", to draw fan art inspired on him and his work and send it to him, choosing some of the best examples and releasing weekly Instagram compilations each Friday under the hashtag "FanArtFriday". [29]

On February 24, 2015, Sanders appeared as a guest on The View , on 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. [47] Sanders has collaborated with Viners such as Vincent Marcus, [48] Brandon Calvillo [49] and Amymarie Gaertner, [50] and featured cameos and appearances from people such as Sean Bean, [51] Nicolle Wallace, [52] Stacy London, [53] Nick Pitera (with whom he did a series of Vines, Unexpected Duets), [54] Brizzy Voices, [54] Gabbie Hanna, [55] Tara Strong, [56] E. G. Daily, [57] Jim Cummings, [58] Dan and   Phil, [59] Adam Pascal [60] and the main actors from Hamilton , Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe, [61] among others.


Sanders opened his official YouTube account on March 15, 2009. [62] After amassing a following through Vine, he started publishing more frequently through YouTube. He had his first YouTube collaborations throughout 2015, consisting on 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. [63] From that date, his user count growth started progressively accelerating, having 200,000 subscribers by April 2015 [64] and more than 700,000 subscribers at the end of 2015. [65]

From the second half of 2016, at the same time his Vine activity got slightly diminished following Twitter's announcement of Vine's forthcoming closedown, Sanders announced he would be focusing on his YouTube content from then on. This way, he started publishing more frequent YouTube videos in more diverse formats. He retained games and challenges and also the monthly Vine, later Sanders Shorts compilations, but also included song performances, both solo and in duets, culture and social justice debates with a special support for LGBTQ+ issues or racial and gender equality topics among others; short films, comedy sketches, web series like Sanders Sides and Cartoon Therapy, shows with participation from the audience like Real or Fake Anime or Voices of Unreason and occasional live broadcasts, among other formats. As of February 2020, his channel has 3.33 million subscribers. [66]

On October 29, 2018, he debuted a second YouTube channel called "Thomas Sanders & Friends" which would be dedicated entirely to the unscripted shows he had done in the past in his main channel with the help of his guest friends, and also it would be there where he would release the monthly Sanders Shorts compilations from then on, while the main channel would be dedicated exclusively to scripted series and shows as well as his music videoclips. [67] His second channel reached 100,000 subscribers on November 7, 2018, nine days after its official debut. [68]

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., [69] 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. [70] It is a spin-off from the Vine/Sanders Shorts series, as Patton, Roman and Logan are inspired on 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 played by Sanders himself, though on occasion they have also been played by Joan S., Valerie Torres-Rosario, Terrence Williams Jr. and Talyn. [71] Joan and Talyn also collaborate extensively with Sanders on the production of the series, researching for the main topics of each episode, making props, decorating sets, designing and hand sewing some pieces of costume, doing some of the makeup, and helping with editing and visual effects. [72] Sanders Sides has featured sometimes appearances of guest stars like Lilly Singh [73] 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. [74] 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 as well as "hopefully" releasing Sanders Sides content more frequently. [75]

The Sanders Sides are "physical-mental projections" of Thomas' mind, [76] and represent different aspects of Thomas' [Note 1] personality. Thomas usually starts each episode as an ordinary vlog about a certain topic or dilemma. Sometimes he is interrupted by the Sanders Sides who pop up before him, and sometimes Thomas summons them for help. This initiates a debate where each of the Sides offers his point of view according to the personality trait he represents until they all reach a conclusion, both for Thomas and the viewers. All of this is combined with gags and comical, dramatic or thrilling moments between Thomas and the Sides.

The Sanders Sides' names are Logan, [77] Patton, [78] Roman [79] and Virgil, [80] although at the beginning they were known respectively as Logic, Morality or Dad, Creativity or Princey, and Anxiety until they revealed their names one by one. Logan is Thomas's logical thinking, his intelligence, and his acquired knowledge. He has the appearance of a high school teacher, wearing a black polo shirt, a blue necktie and black Warby Parker glasses. He is based on the concept of Logos by Aristotle, one of the three modes of persuasion which appeals to logic and reasoning. [81] Patton is Thomas' morality, his sense of right and wrong, his emotions, his feelings and his inner child. He has the appearance of the typical American family dad, wearing a blue polo shirt, a cardigan tied over his shoulders and black glasses, the same Warby Parker glasses Logan sports. He is based on the concept of Pathos, also by Aristotle, another of the three modes of persuasion, this one appealing to emotions. [82] Roman is Thomas' creativity, his fancifulness, his hopes and dreams, his romanticism and his love for singing. He has the appearance of a fairytale Disney prince, wearing a white 19th-century royal suit with a golden ornament on a shoulder and a red stripe crossing the chest, and sometimes he sports a katana as his weapon of choice. He is based on the concept of both romanticism for romance and Romanticism, the artistic movement involving tales of knights and princesses as one of its themes. [83] Finally, Virgil is Thomas' anxiety, his fears, his fight or flight reflexes and his survival instinct. He sports the appearance of an emo teenager, wearing a dyed purple shirt, a dark gray hoodie with purple patches, his hair all over his face and eyeshadow under his eyes. His name is based on the Latin name Vergilius which, although it is of unknown meaning, experts theorize it derives from "vigil" or "vigilant", and also on the Roman poet Virgil, who appears as a character in Dante's Inferno , a video game based on Dante's Divine Comedy , where he escorts Dante through the Underworld. [84]

Sanders Sides characters
Thomas' different sides
NameMain Function/AttributeIntroducedVine-based?Name revealed
LoganLogicSeason 1 ep 1YesSeason 1 ep 9
Prince RomanCreativitySeason 1 ep 1YesSeason 1 ep 11
PattonMoralitySeason 1 ep 1YesSeason 1 ep 13
VirgilAnxietySeason 1 ep 3YesSeason 1 ep 17
JanusDeceitSeason 2 ep 5NoSeason 2 ep 12
Remus, the DukeForbidden Creativity [85] Season 2 ep 11NoSeason 2 ep 11
Real humans
CharacterFirst mentioned
ValerieSeason 1 ep 7
JoanSeason 1 ep 14
TerrenceSeason 1 ep 14
TalynSeason 1 ep 14
Butch Hartman Season 1 ep15
Tara Strong Season 1 ep 15
DerionnaSeason 2 ep 6
KyleSeason 2 ep 6
DominicSeason 2 ep 6
Leslie Odom Jr. Season 2 ep 12


Apart from his Internet-based career, Sanders has worked in musical theater at the Gainesville Community Playhouse [29] for productions including Hot Mikado (2007), [86] Singin' in the Rain (2009), [87] [88] The Producers (2010), [89] Anything Goes (2011), [90] Into the Woods (2014), [37] and Les Misérables (2014). [91] In 2015, Sanders did his first professional theater work starring in Heathers: The Musical as J.D. in a production performed in Orlando. [92] From August 8 to September 2, 2016, Sanders went on a stage musical tour, Ultimate Storytime, written by Sanders 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


Though often critics classified Sanders as a baritone, [93] Thomas considers himself a bass singer. [94] He has sung multiple times in his Vines and YouTube videos, as well as in his Tumblr, Snapchat and the rest of his social media accounts. He has performed songs in a wide variety of genres, but he has personally showed a preference towards jazz music, mentioning Nat King Cole as one of his favorite singers. [95] He has also sung duets with dodie, Jon Cozart, Ben J. Pierce, Deedee Magno Hall, Adam Pascal, AJ Rafael and others. He released his first EP on Bandcamp on December 21, 2013, comprising Christmas songs and titled Merry Christmas. [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", [96] with words and music by Joan S. and piano accompaniment by AJ Rafael, inspired on real events in Sanders' life, which became available to stream and download on iTunes and Spotify on July 27. [19] It was followed by more singles along 2018, solo or in duet, and the announcement of a new EP. [97]

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. [98]
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 [99] 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] [100]
"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 [101]
"Crofter's: The Musical"Single, [21] performed on Sanders Sides. [102]
"On the Borderline"Single, [103] original song written by Joan S. [104]
"breathin"FotiSingle, [105] cover of a song by Ariana Grande. [106]
"Incomplete (The Puzzle Song)"Single, [107] original song performed on Sanders Sides. [108]
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


On January 27, 2017, Thomas Sanders guest starred in the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark, in the last episode of the first season, titled "In Your Space!", where he portrayed the titular reality web show's host Ian Finkelman. [26] [27] He also co-hosted a special episode of Walk the Prank , titled "Talk the Prank with Thomas Sanders and David Lopez", which was aired on Disney XD on March 20, 2017. [28]


In 2020, Sanders voiced the talk show host "Throat-Lobster" in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. [109] [110]

Awards and nominations

2014 Ryan Seacrest's Favorite Vine Celebrity ContestThomas SandersWon [111]
2015 Univision's Shorty Awards – Vine Star of the YearThomas SandersWon [12]
2016 Streamy Awards – Viner of the YearThomas SandersWon [14] [112]
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 [99]
Unicorn Awards – YouTuber of the YearThomas SandersNominated [113] [114]
2019 Streamy Awards – Best WritingThomas Sanders, Joan S., Adri White, Quil Cauchon and AJ Hentges for "Sanders Sides"Nominated [115]


  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. [69]

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  47. The Ellen DGeneres Show: Vine after Vine. 2014. Event occurs at 00:00:36. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  48. Vincent Marcus (April 30, 2016). Peter and Stewie Order Room Service . Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  49. Thomas Sanders (October 14, 2015). Guilty as Charged. Vine. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  50. Amymarie Gaertner (February 12, 2015). Always that one Friend. Vine. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  51. Thomas Sanders (August 6, 2014). I Think I Said it Better feat. Sean Bean. Vine. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  52. Thomas Sanders (February 24, 2015). I'd Be Such a Good TV Star. Vine. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  53. Thomas Sanders (February 26, 2015). If I Were on a Makeover Show. Vine. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
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  58. Thomas Sanders (November 5, 2016). The Question We Always Ask Ourselves. Vine. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
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  70. Thomas Sanders. "Sanders Sides Playlist" . Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  71. Thomas Sanders (May 23, 2017). Sanders Sides: Making Some Changes . Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  72. Thomas Sanders; Joan S. (July 19, 2017). Sanders Sides – Behind the Scenes Q&A . Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  73. Thomas Sanders (December 19, 2016). "Taking On Anxiety with Lilly Singh" . Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  74. Thomas Sanders (June 9, 2017). Sanders Sides – Becoming a Cartoon. Event occurs at 00:03:48. Retrieved November 9, 2017.
  75. Sanders Asides: Are there Healthy Distractions?. November 29, 2019. Event occurs at 00:18:46. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  76. Thomas Sanders; Joan S. (May 23, 2017). "Making Some Changes". Sanders Sides. Season 1. Episode 14. Event occurs at 00:04:45. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  77. Thomas Sanders (February 28, 2017). Losing My Motivation. Event occurs at 7:38. Retrieved October 5, 2017 via YouTube.
  78. Thomas Sanders (May 1, 2017). Growing Up. Event occurs at 00:13:06. Retrieved October 5, 2017 via YouTube.
  79. Sanders, Thomas (March 22, 2017). Am I ORIGINAL? | Sanders Sides (Video). Event occurs at 00:10:32.
  80. Thomas Sanders (July 15, 2017). Accepting Anxiety, Part 2/2: Can Anxiety Be Good?. Event occurs at 10:22. Retrieved October 5, 2017 via YouTube.
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  92. "Virgin Suicides: Heathers the Musical brings the 80's back to Orlando at the Dr. Phillips Center". July 30, 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  93. Matt Tamanini (August 17, 2015). "Gen Y's Florida Premiere of HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL is 'So Very' and So Much More". Broadway World. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
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  95. Thomas Sanders (February 11, 2015). Ask Thomas Sanders Episode 3. Event occurs at 00:02:57. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
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  98. "Proud of Your Boy from Aladdin". Tumblr. November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  99. 1 2 "7th Annual Nominees". Streamys. August 22, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
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  101. "Won't Say I'm in Love". iTunes Store. March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  102. Thomas Sanders; Joan S. (April 19, 2018). Crofter's: The Musical. Event occurs at 00:01:26. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  103. "On the Borderline". May 10, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  104. Thomas Sanders; Joan S. (April 28, 2018). On the Borderline . Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  105. "Breathin'". September 20, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  106. Thomas Sanders (September 14, 2018). breathin . Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  107. "Incomplete (The Puzzle Song)". November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  108. Thomas Sanders & Joan S. (October 29, 2018). Learning New Things About Ourselves . Retrieved October 31, 2018.
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