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The Business of Content

Oct 22, 2020

In just about every article about TikTok, it’s portrayed as a video repository created by and for teens. Indeed, nearly every single one of its top-earning creators are under the age of 20, and polls have found that it ranks second only to Snapchat as U.S. teens’ favorite social media app.

Zarna Garg is an exception to the rule in multiple ways. For one, she’s a 45-year-old mom who barely even knew TikTok existed a year ago. And while most top users traffic in dance videos, lip syncs, and comedy sketches, Zarna’s specialty is standup comedy. Many of her jokes aim to capture the South Asian immigrant experience, and she says she’s carved out a niche explored by very few comedians, both inside the U.S. and in India.

I interviewed Zarna about how she cracked the TikTok algorithm, what impact her success has had on her comedy career, and how she’s leveraging that success to try to break into Hollywood.