TikTok icon Mark Gaetano (aka @SnarkyMarky) speaks out about having a viral voice and investing in his offline life

Mark Gaetano, known on TikTok as @snarkymarky, went viral for his impersonations of teachers, secretaries and other office ladies.

The audio behind his most viral posts has become a phenomenon in itself. Anyone who’s spent their fair share of time on TikTok is probably familiar with the signature nasally twang of his characters.

His catchy quotes have saturated pop culture so deeply that they have permeated the world outside of the platform. He was even honored on TikTok’s Discover List.

“The volume inside of this bus is astronomical,” he said in one of his iconic videos. His voice has been remixed, spliced with a Megan Thee Stallion song and used in hundreds of thousands of videos. And that’s just one of his posts.

Gaetano spoke to In The Know about what it’s like to go viral on a massive scale and how he’s investing in his offline life like a version of Hannah Montana for the TikTok era.

Tell me a little bit about you — whatever you’re cool with people knowing.

My name is Mark. I’m 19 years old, and I’m from Toronto, Canada. I’m living in a smaller town in Ontario called London. It’s not the one in England; it’s not even comparable in the slightest. But I’m here because I’m a student at the University of Western Ontario and I’m studying geography.

I’m kind of living a double life. I guess you can say I’m Hannah Montana in a way.

@snarkymarky

POV: you betray your friend at the pool

♬ original sound – mark

What drew you to geography?

I’ve always been so captivated by world geography, like different practices and ways of life in different parts of the world. When I was about 5 years old, I was memorizing the countries of the world and all the flags … It’s been a dream come true to be able to study it full time. I can’t wait to apply my knowledge in the real world.

Tell me about your Hannah Montana side — your TikTok. How would you describe it?

I consider myself to be quite an average Joe … but I have this other side of me … [in which] I condense situations I experience in real life and broadcast it online. So I guess you could say, “don’t get in my way, or you will be indirectly brought up and talked about on my socials!”

I feel like a lot of the things you say in your TikToks are now just a part of our vernacular. How did you get started on there?

@snarkymarky

#duet with @amberylee77 thought i would hop on this trend 🤪

♬ Cashier Challenge – Amber

I downloaded TikTok, and I remember it very vividly — it was April of 2019, around Easter. I would be scrolling on my For You Page and think, “How can I become this? How can I go viral?” I just wanted one video where I can say I went viral and have that bragging point. So I started doing the most random things to try to go viral.

Nothing really worked until September 2019, when I started imitating teachers’ pets — people who were literally in my classes as I started making these. Then I started doing videos about teachers and … people I encountered in my grocery store job.

When you were younger, did you ever feel like you were destined to go viral?

To be honest, I always thought I was a little bit too bland and a little bit lacking in energy to be able to make this dream a reality. I mean, I tried here and there to be a lifestyle YouTuber or vlogger. It never worked out to me.

Maybe it was a lack of energy or personality [holding me back], but by tapping into these other characters … that’s what people like to see from me. It just took a while to figure out what works for me.

You go viral all the time for the sounds you create. Do you ever hear your own voice while scrolling through TikTok? How does that feel?

When my astronomical video came out in February 2020, that went viral, but then DJ Yames — shoutout to him — remixed the audio with “Captain Hook” by Megan Thee Stallion. And I’m not kidding, every five or six videos, I heard my own voice. I actually was at a club the other week, and I heard “Captain Hook” come on, and it startled me because I was so used to hearing my voice along with the song.

@snarkymarky

POV: you’re on the bus ride back to school after a field trip and the teacher is yelling at you because your class is too loud #viral

♬ original sound – mark

It’s super surreal to this day when I hear my audio or my voice pop up on my For You Page. It’s a crazy experience not a lot of people get to go through, but it’s super cool. And I’m super proud of it.

You’re obviously striking a chord with those videos and with your characters. Who are your favorite characters to play?

@snarkymarky

POV: Donna’s leaving work and is about to have a Girl’s Night Out, and you ask if you can join her and the other employees

♬ original sound – mark

Donna [the office lady] because I really crafted her. Some of my other characters are generic, but I started from scratch with her. There’s a storyline. People said I created a cinematic universe with her, and that’s the biggest compliment I have ever received.

You’re one of the first people I think of when I consider creators who have two separate accounts. What’s the divide between them? What content goes to your main account, and what goes to the alt?

The alt account is my crap-posting account. I feel bad saying this, but I don’t put as much effort into those videos. If I have a random thought off the top of my head, I throw it out there into the world and just see what happens … it’s more effortless and carefree.

When I share something with this smaller audience, the backlash from when someone doesn’t agree with what I say is smaller. Like with the silo post, I had a random thought that popped into my head, fully satire, and people took it seriously. People got angry about it. I guess you could say that the satire worked.

I would love to hear what kind of hopes and dreams you have for your TikTok and for your career.

I’ve been riding this wave for over two years now. It’s been so amazing, and I’m so grateful for it. And I’m going to ride this wave for as long as possible. I hope it lasts.

Hopefully, it provides me with opportunities to get into the entertainment industry, perhaps with acting or hosting, but that’s a little bit of a reach. If the wave ends, I’m super grateful for my legacy … but being realistic, that’s why I’m still in school pursuing higher education. I am super passionate about geography as much as I am with TikTok and social media. My plan is to finish my undergraduate degree and pursue a master’s as well.

If I could do both at once, that would be absolutely perfect. But whichever way I’m sent, I’m absolutely grateful.

It seems like your social media persona — especially with your spam account — is a lot like who you are.

I think I’m wired a little bit differently than the average person. My intrusive thoughts just get projected online, and I’m not sure that’s a normal human response.

One of my biggest traits is being very observational. I’m always picking up on the smallest and most minuscule details … which is sort of why I think my videos have been successful. I pick up on things other people wouldn’t.

You’ve received some backlash for celebrating your weight loss. I know you’ve addressed it in the past, particularly in a recent interview with NBC News. Is there anything you want to say about that?

I’m someone who’s a public figure and aiming to lose weight, and I know I can sort of approach it in two different ways. I can choose to remain silent about it and let people notice and draw their own conclusions about how I lost weight, or I could share it publicly and perhaps turn it into a learning experience for others.

@snarkymarky

I am so much more healthier, and I couldn’t be happier ❤️

♬ original sound – Taylor Swift

Something I don’t like is the rumors being thrown around about me … [in which] people have drawn their own conclusions about how I’m losing weight with no evidence of anything. So I decided to be as candid and vocal and honest and raw as possible about it.

I’ve been met with a lot of positivity and support, which is about 99.9% of the comments. But there’s this 0.1% of people who … are trying to turn something that was good for me into something bad. They’re jumping to conclusions that what I’m doing is unhealthy … or that I’m promoting toxic eating. That’s the opposite of what I’m trying to promote. I’m just excited about reaching my goals.

[People have said] that I hate fat people now, which is so far from the case. I’ve learned throughout this journey how prevalent and real fatphobia is. I’ve seen a difference in how people treat me. I’ve seen people hold open doors for me and give me the time of day now [that I’ve lost weight] and been very aware of it.

The last thing I would want to do is provide someone with the same treatment that I received, whether it’s subconscious or intentional.

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If you enjoyed this story, read our interview with TikTok’s Duchess of Decorum.

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