Montreal's own Eve Parker Finley is one of these stars, but the artist and emerging comedic talent is anything but unassuming.
Combined, her TikTok and Instagram accounts boast over 15,000 devoted fans.
Her videos satirize everything from the 'Bonjour-Ho' fiasco to third-wave baristas and say what we're all thinking — that sometimes, living in Montreal is just too absurd to be true.
MTL Blog spoke with Finley about her videos and what's in store for her growing legion of fans.
Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
Why do you think parody is an effective way to address some of the current events in Montreal?
People laugh at comedy for a bunch of reasons, but one of the reasons that are really powerful is when they feel like they see themselves represented in a way that feels really true but also kind of absurd.
There was a really big trend of satirical parody comedy in the 2000s... Recently in the late 2010s during the Trump era, parody is difficult to do because things are just so f*cked.
You don't even have to make it fantastical. It's actually just sort of speaking the truth back to the audience.
I just wanted to create stuff that's very based on my own life and my own communities. And I think people have been responding to it really positively, which is amazing.
What are your favourite videos that you’ve done so far?
I love "Ontario girls in first year," that is a character that is definitely gonna be seen more in 2021.
A lot of these characters don't seem like real people to me that will continue living on but I'm gonna spend time thinking about them a little bit more because I wanna develop some things for the new year.
I think the one that I've had the most fun playing with is the "gross boy" character that's based on a lot of my experiences dating men.
It was really cathartic and funny to create a character from that. That's the one that kinda started at all, I feel.
I want my videos to be spontaneous. I think that's the cool thing about the medium of like TikTok and Instagram is like, yes the internet is forever but it's ephemeral — it comes and goes, it gives you like a brief moment of joy.
I think that's a fun playground to play in.
What’s next for Eve Parker Finley?
I feel like my relationship with social media used to be that I wanted to do it to connect with the community and also promote my music. And then this whole comedy angle has kind of grown into its own branch of what I like to do.
All the things that I do, the music that I make, the comedy I make, the things I film — I see them all as part of the same, artistic mission around creating stuff for people that makes them feel seen or makes them laugh, makes them cry, makes them feel things.
Why You Need To Go: With incredible views, this terrasse recently opened atop the Humaniti building as part of the Humaniti Hotel. It's definitely going to be on Montrealers' must-do lists for summers to come.
"Quebec needs plasma donors," the sponsored post says. The caption reads: "Plasma donation changes the lives of thousands of Quebecers. Plan your visit to a donation centre near you."
Three months of abstinence
Beneath the non-profit organization's post are more than 400 comments. Some ask questions about the difference between plasma and blood (plasma is the liquid portion of blood), while others ask if vaccinated folks can give blood (yes, they can).
Then there are comments like this: "I would but I'm gay and you won't let me," "Then stop your prejudice of gay people" and "I'll think about it when they stop being homophobic entirely."
According to Héma-Québec, "a man whose last sexual contact with a man was 3 or more months ago can give plasma."
While this does not rule out gay donors, the three-month restriction does not apply to lesbians, men who have sex with women or women who have sex with men.
"I would totally donate blood, but I am a healthy gay man and you don't want me because of who I sleep with (even though I have been with the same partner for 21 years). Good luck with your antiquated rules, in an age where you can screen blood for HIV and other pathogens very very quickly. So there you go, do without, it's absolutely no loss on me. So now, stop advertising on my feed," wrote a Facebook user. He asked to be identified as "a member of Montreal's gay community" to protect his privacy.
"It's honestly ridiculous that they even still have this restriction. If women can sleep with men and donate no problem, then there is absolutely no reason why men who sleep with men (or, in your case, one man) should be denied. All of the donations are tested anyway," Gatineau resident Jami Tatlock replied.
On its website, Héma-Québec responds to the question, "Why must a homosexual couple in a stable relationship wait 3 months without having sex?" in order to donate blood.
"Sex can contribute to the propagation of viruses that may be transmitted to other individuals through blood transfusions. Héma-Québec uses a range of very rigorous screening tests. Despite the high performance of these tests, the risk of an infected blood donation going undetected, however slight, is not zero because of the sensitivity limitations of the tests," it says.
"For this reason, despite the use of screening tests, we exclude donors at high risk of infections that might be transmitted through blood."
Héma-Québec describes the three-month window as a period of risk or a "silent period" when people could be asymptomatic and test negative, despite being infected with HIV or Hepatitis. The three-month restriction also applies to people who have gotten piercings or tattoos.
Laurent Paul Ménard, Héma-Québec's media relations director, told MTL Blog the organization is working to make blood donation more inclusive as "scientific evidence becomes available and blood product safety is shown."
Ménard pointed out that, since 2013, Héma-Québec has submitted multiple requests asking Health Canada — which must approve all changes to donor eligibility criteria — to reduce the qualification criteria for men who have sex with men.
Between 1992 and 2013, a man who had sex with another man — even once — could never donate blood. In 2013, a man had to wait five years after having sex with another man to donate. In 2016, the deferral period was reduced to one year. And, in 2019, one year was reduced to three months.
A new behaviour-based approach
Ménard said Héma-Québec is planning to submit to Health Canada again to ask for a new approach that takes behaviour into account, based on a model recently adopted in the U.K.
Héma-Québec, he said, will ask Health Canada to allow some sexually active men who have one same-sex partner to donate without any restrictions.
In the meantime, some potential donors are left torn between doing good and standing up for what they believe is right.
"I am torn now between donating myself," Tatlock told MTL Blog. "I want to help people, but I also kind of want to hold off until they change their homophobic policies as a kind of protest."
According to Ménard, Héma-Québec will submit the request to Health Canada by the end of this year.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Isabelle Charest presented Bill 92, an act to move for "the creation of a specialized court in matters of sexual violence and domestic violence and relating to the training of judges in these matters."
"We no longer want people who are victims of sexual or domestic violence to hesitate to report and file a complaint in Quebec," Jolin-Barette said.
Dépôt du PL92 | Aujourd'hui, nous envoyons un message clair aux personnes victimes de violence sexuelles et de viol… https://t.co/VnMVx3iLQg
Jolin-Barrette insisted that "culture change is needed in the justice system and must happen."
The purpose of this special court on sexual and domestic violence, is, according to the minister, "to restore victims' confidence in the justice system, reduce delays and better meet the needs of victims with adapted and coordinated services."
The mandate comes out of 190 recommendations made in a report by a special government working group on sexual and domestic violence in Quebec, which was tabled last year.
"You can continue to count on the determination of the entire government [...] to make the necessary changes to better support the victims because I wish them to feel accompanied and respected in their process, to be prepared, and equipped during their testimony in court," said Charest.
If you require resources or assistance surrounding sexual assault in Quebec, the CAVAC helpline is available 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-532-2822. Other crisis lines and 24/7 options can be found at The Lifeline Canada.