Jon Jafari has been producing content as JonTron on YouTube since 2010. Currently, the channel has 127 videos, which would have been more but for various reasons JonTron has privated or removed videos over the years.
Due to producing content for over 10 years he has grown and changed considerably as a creator so to better differentiate this I will be breaking up the JonTron Top 10 into two lists covering two distinct periods in his career. So Classic JonTron will covers from 2010 until December 2015, and New JonTron covers from January 2016 until Now.
Classic JonTron is the period when is content is focused entirely or at least mostly on games and gaming. As we get closer to 2015 we see that Jon begins to experiment with his content, producing several videos which are non-gaming related. However after 2015 we transition into New JonTron, which is marked by a shift towards videos focusing more on general pop culture. Additionally while ‘Classic’ JonTron involves and heavily features Jacques, Jon’s green-cheeked conure parrot, New JonTron does not feature him in any significant role, with the exception of a single video.
So now that we’ve more clearly defined what I mean by Classic JonTron and New JonTron, It’s time to move on, if you would like to skip straight to the list then click here. Alternatively if you’d like to find out a little bit more about Jon, and his channel then keep reading.
Jon Jafari, better known online by his pseudonym JonTron is an American comedian, reviewer and YouTuber. He started his channel ‘JonTronShow’ back on August 31st 2010, and uploaded his first videos, Daikatana Review Part 1 and Part 2 that same day. These original videos, while considerably rougher than what he would eventually go on to create, contained some of the elements which would be part of his future episodes, albeit more straightforward and relatively similar to content by other online reviewers. JonTron eventually retooled his show, going for a more original approach, while still retaining what was popular about his previous content, such as his energetic, random and over the top reactions and the JonTron we all know and love was truly born.
Also in 2010, concurrently with the creation of JonTronShow, and while making videos for screwattack.com (which is now called Rooster Teeth) Jon met Austin Hargrave (more commonly known as PeanutButterGamer or just PBG) and together the pair went on to form NormalBoots (formerly formerly Normal Boots, with a space) a creative community and content portal, where they could post their own original video content. After they established this platform, they invited other creators to join them, such as The Completionist and Continue?
NormalBoots continued in this format until 2012 when the platform closed down, due to Google’s AdSense program meaning that the creators would be earning more money using YouTube than posting exclusively to NormalBoots. As it turns out, this was just a temporary hiatus, because the site later reopened on January 25th 2014, with a major redesign, but just retaining all of its original members.
The reason for the creators returning to NormalBoots in lieu of or in addition to YouTube, was that during this time creators were having issues with YouTube such as their content being flagged for copyright infringement and also for many the desire to have a place to post content which they could not post on their YouTube channel. Following the return of NormalBoots, additional members joined such as Jared Knabenbauer (more commonly known as ProJared) and Satchell Drakes (also known as Satchbags).
JonTron continued to make content during this period, but it was after his video DinoCity BRO!!! (which features his first attempt to sing Firework by Katy Perry, which I eventually reviewed) and that videos subsequent posting to Reddit that he really started to become popular. It was during this period that he caught the attention of fellow internet personality Arin Hanson (also known as Egoraptor) who was then quite popular due to content posted on Newgrounds and his YouTube Channel and who was fresh off his appearance on the third season of The Tester, a serialised reality program created by Sony Computer Entertainment, which aired between February 7th 2012 and April 3rd 2012.
On July 18th 2012, Arin and Jon formed a Let’s Play channel together called Game Grumps, with Arin playing the role of ‘Grump’ and Jon playing the role of ‘Not So Grump’, the title of the show and the roles they built are a reference to an incident where Jon and Arin were playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl and arguing over whether or not the character Wolf was too similar to the character Fox in terms of their fighting styles. After this their friend, animator and voice actor Ross O’Donovan (also known as RubberRoss, RubberNinja or CondomRoss) told them that they had a tendency to get a little ‘grumpy’ with one another while playing games. As a result of this Arin conceived of a podcast, the concept for which eventually evolved into the Game Grumps as we now know it.
Jon and Arin hosted the show together until Jon left the channel on June 25th 2013 (having posted approximately 619 videos during his tenure on the show) to focus on making content for his own channel, JonTronShow, which has fallen somewhat by the wayside while he was working on Game Grumps. Speaking of which and before we move on to the next stage of JonTron’s history, I’ve written Top 10s for his tenure on the show, and you can check those out here and here.
Jon continued to post content sporadically during this period between leaving Game Grumps and the present, often posting in short bursts followed by varying periods of inactivity. Following certain remarks he made while on the Twitch stream of Steven Kenneth Bonnell II (also known as Destiny) he received considerable backlash, including a drop in his overall subscribers, having his voice acting removed/replaced via a release date update from Yooka-Laylee (a crowdfunded video game, and spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie series, which he has previous expressed a fondness for) and coming to a mutual understanding with the other members of NormalBoots, that although he would always be an honoured founder of the community, that he would leave NormalBoots, which officially happened on May 18th 2017.
He talked in greater detail about his remarks on Destiny’s Twitch stream while on the H3 Podcast (a YouTube channel produced by husband and wife team, Ethan and Hila Klein of h3h3Productions) but didn’t retract his previous statements. That pretty much brings us up to now, and I hope after having read all that you feel like you know a little bit more about JonTron.
So this video has actually made multiple iterations of this list and it’s because it has consistently entertained me for years. The reason for this is that honestly the game itself is incredible and absolutely crazy and it gives Jon fertile ground to really react and do what he does best. A particular highlight was Jon’s reaction upon receiving no praise or congratulations for actually completing the game.
So it’s videos like these where Jon begins to experiment with content, moving away from video games to talking about pop culture in general. This is similar to the Goosebumps episode but earns a slightly higher spot on this list because of the funnier introduction to the episode and because I liked Are You Afraid of the Dark more as a series.
Another awesome two part episode. In this one he plays various food related games. It’s so funny, the Yoshinoya bit in particular always cracks me up. Also the Gollum like food slave Grimbo was fantastic and fleshed out the sketch segment of the episode.
I touched on this when talking about Are You Afraid of the Dark? But Goosebumps was also a great two parter. It was funny and had Jon comment on the campy nature of the 90s TV show.
5. Clock Tower
Not only does this game look awesome, but Jon manages to blend in his comedy well without undercutting the potential tension from the game. In particular the argument about whether or not to run away from the Scissorman as he might actually be Angus Young from AC/DC and the ending with the ham, which pays off a reference made earlier in the episode.
So JonTron’s StarCade is a truly fantastic series, not only does it have super high production values but it also features cameos from lots of other big YouTubers such as Octopimp, Ross O’Donovan, Ricepirate and Egoraptor just to name a few. Additionally, it shows the breadth of games available in the Star Wars Canon and presents it in a fresh and unique way.
This episode is important just for the fact that it has Jacques return from war. But beyond that this was a really fun episode, which focuses on my favourite Greek hero, and is replete with funny moments and reactions.
So this is a brilliant episode, and it’s a testament to how much awesome content he has that it’s not higher on this list. I think what I liked most is that it’s just a little absurd. For a start it has Jon playing MySims for the Wii, and he is so overwhelmed by the game that he travels from California to Texas to tell PBG (PeanutButterGamer) all about it. It’s just really funny but what I like about it were the outtakes at the end which felt really organic and honest, like buddies just hanging out and goofing off.
So this movie is bonkers, like not only can I not imagine how it was made in the first place, but even factoring in the sunk cost fallacy, how after the footage was lost in an act of industrial sabotage that they didn’t just call it quits. But Jon’s video is superb, I particularly liked the Mr. Clean sketch towards the end, which was hilarious.
10. The Zoo Race
Much like the previous entry, this is such a ridiculous piece of media and Jon treats it with exactly the level of seriousness that it deserves. It’s so over the top and yet it works perfectly. Also I’ve probably watched this episode about a dozen times…at least. But I literally only just noticed that in the intro sequence that when the Jon sprite is getting ready to race that Jacques is holding up his legs like a wheelbarrow, not only super cool but also adorable.