The Arty Semite

The Boy With 'First World Problems'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Zach Katz

Zach Katz, with his “The First World Problems Rap,” has provided a much-needed antidote to self-indulgent teen videos, like the one offered earlier this year by a bar mitzvah boy who shares his first name. (In case you missed it, “I’m Zack” by Zachary Freiman was a spectacular doozey.)

The self-aware Katz belied his 17 years by penning this spot-on critique of upper-middle class American teens. His delivery is fun and clever, but his satire is biting. With more than 900,000 views in just seven days, he’s been holding up a cringe-inducing mirror to teens and their parents. You may even know one or two of them.

I first saw the video when a friend of mine, a mother of a teenage boy who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, sent me the link by e-mail. Her only comment was a knowing “Oy.”

“First World Problems” is just the latest video in Katz’s “Funnyz” empire on YouTube. His clips have gotten around a total of 14 million views so far.

“I got started in 2006 when I got a video camera for my birthday. I uploaded a few videos to YouTube, and nothing happened. But they gradually kept getting more views,” the Virginia teen told The Arty Semite by e-mail. He writes his own lyrics and a couple of his friends help with the filming. “But I write, edit, and produce them all myself,” Katz emphasized.

With his newest video Katz said that he noticed the phrase “First World Problems” popping up around the Internet. “I like to make rap songs about different subjects, so I figured why not make one about that?” he wrote. Katz shared that people seem to like the video, but some were upset by his flushing a dollar bill down the toilet at the end. “But I think it was necessary to illustrate First World problems the best,” he retorted.

The young filmmaker does not have any specific career plans other than to keep making videos at the pace of one per week. “But larger goals? Not really, at least not now,” wrote the high school senior.

That may be, but we won’t be surprised to see Katz, with his astute observations, obvious talents, and entrepreneurial spirit go places… even as far as Hollywood. Yeah, you know — that capital of First World problems.

Watch ‘The First World Problems Rap’:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zach Katz, Zachary Freiman, YouTube, Renee Ghert-Zand, Music, Internet, I'm Zack, First World Problems, Film

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.