We chatted with Jack Sheppard, the King’s student who’s your new best friend on TikTok
‘I don’t see myself becoming Noah Beck anytime soon. Luckily, I don’t have a thick neck and six-pack’
I’m sure we’ve all spent hours scrolling through our FYPs to come across the hilarious King’s student Jack Sheppard pretending to be either the club bartender, the mum friend, or an Ellen DeGeneres look alike.
Jack’s amassed an impressive 67k followers since March with his skits and generally relatable content. His most popular TikToks have gained almost a million views apiece, taking aim at weird bartenders, bitchy mates, and insufferably posh private school kids.
We sat down with Jack to discuss his new-found TikTok fame, and all the highs and lows that come with it.
What made you want to start a TikTok?
I actually got it at the start of this year, but I properly started to get into it at the start of lockdown. I make comedy videos on Twitter, and a couple of my friends said I should upload them on TikTok and see how well they do. And I really reluctantly was like, “ugh, fine”, caved in and then downloaded it. I posted a video I had already uploaded on Twitter to TikTok. I didn’t go on it for a few days when I went back on it, it had quite a few views, so I was like “oh maybe this is a thing.”
Your mixologist TikTok blew up and had the likes of Florence Given sharing it, did you anticipate that reaction and how did it feel?
I never really know if a video will do well, it just depends if people will vibe with it. Basically, the only criteria is if I think it’s funny, which means sometimes videos do abysmally. My friend who follows Florence Given told me that she put it up on her story, so I messaged her, “this is me!”, and she was like, “I love the video” and we had a really brief chat in Instagram DMs. It is surreal that when a person you think is cool follows you or shares your content, it’s a pretty trippy experience.
How does it feel when people relate to your videos and comment “I know that person” and tag their friends in the comments?
I like it when people relate to it and it makes them recognize patterns of behaviour, especially when they’re toxic. It mirrors someone doing an impression of a public figure but really, it’s for that one type of person in everyone’s life. I love when people @ their friends in the comments and say “Oh this is such a Gary move”. It just makes me feel really weird that these people who all have these really different lives and friends can all relate to something as stupid and niche as that one joke.
Who was the most shocking share by a social media personality?
A couple of comedians I really like followed me on TikTok and Twitter, they’re just personal inspirations of mine. One comedian shared my video; when someone verified comments, I pop bottles. A YouTuber followed me on Twitter, and I was so obsessed with them when I was a teenager, and it was a really surreal thing. It also feels so stupid, because it’s a social media follow or share, it’s a nice serotonin rush.
You make quite political TikToks, especially the one about students in private schools, after A-level results day this year. How important do you think it is for people who have this platform to be vocal about similar issues, especially with how this year has panned out?
I think I’m quite a gobby person, I’m just always talking about my opinions and everything I do. There is the argument to be made that it is important to talk about relevant politics, especially making young people more privy to what’s going on in the world.
I guess I’ve had some backlash where people have been kind of aggressive and comment mean stuff, but it’s manageable. With the private school one, people are still commenting every few days. I get so many notifications because people are still debating in the comment sections.
What kind of hate do you receive, especially being an openly gay student?
So I have experienced homophobia on all of the social media platforms in different ways. I will say TikTok is weirdly better than most; it’s mostly support, and if you do get homophobia it’s not that intense. I get a lot of microaggressive homophobia, making fun of me having painted nails or the way I talk. I think the support is more than the pain, and TikTok is much better than Twitter. Twitter is quite a dark place.
Do you draw inspiration from real people?
It’s taking inspiration from nights out, you know me, I love the sesh. A lot of the stuff I say is very orchestrated and it’s not a direct quote. It’s just the general vibe.
Your content is very different from the likes of Hype House etc., do you feel that your content is more creative and they’re a bit mainstream?
No, I don’t think so, people like what they like. None of their millions of followers are being held at gunpoint, these people consensually want to watch their videos. They are clearly selling something people want to buy, I’m just doing my own thing. It’s me being a stupid bitch. There’s no cultural capital in me being a stupid bitch over someone doing a great TikTok dance.
How do your flatmates and friends feel about you doing TikTok, especially having to excuse yourself to film it?
So, I don’t normally record in front of people, but if I had an idea, I’d note it down. My friends have taken the piss but in a nice loving way. I think people think it’s funny more than anything. Because it’s really not a big deal, if you think about it, it’s the silliest thing. I make stupid videos and it’s funny seeing people acting like I’ve won an Academy Award.
Who do you think you look most like?
So people love to comment I look like Tom Holland if he was x, y, z. Honestly, the one I find most complementary is “Tom Holland if he was a drug addict”. I would take that. I’d say it’s pretty flattering to say I look like Tom Holland on coke.
Your following is obviously increasing, and with it comes opportunities for brand deals and the like. What would you like to do next?
I’m not in the financial position to turn down anything but I’m not aiming to be a social media influencer. I like doing it from the comedy point of view, so the aim is to go into some sort of creative endeavour like writing, acting, or comedy. This is a good way to sort of flex those muscles and hopefully meet some fun people. I don’t see myself becoming Noah Beck anytime soon. Luckily, I don’t have a thick neck and six-pack.