What happens when you combine theater chops, a lifelong obsession with video games and an unadulterated passion for content creation? You get Jirard Khalil, better known as “The Completionist.” One of YouTube’s biggest gaming stars, Khalil has amassed more than 1.5 million subscribers, thanks to his energetic, entertaining videos that cover games from the perspective of someone who won’t put the controller down until he’s explored every last nook and cranny a title has to offer.
Khalil’s lively on-camera presence and serious gaming bona fides recently landed him a gig at the newly resurrected G4TV network, where you can catch him co-hosting shows like “Xplay” and “Attack of the Show” — two programs that inspired him to be a gaming personality in the first place. With Khalil’s new G4 project, “God of Work,” on the horizon, we sat down with the popular YouTuber to discuss his journey, his favorite gear and his advice for anyone looking to become the next great internet star.
A fateful argument that led to a YouTube career
After getting his college degree in theater and film, Khalil found himself working at a Best Buy while figuring out his next steps. The answer, it turned out, would come to him after a fateful fight with his manager pushed him to pursue his YouTube dreams full time (“It’s either my superhero or my supervillain origin, depending on who you are,” he says). Khalil had already been creating videos and helping his friends write and produce theirs, but now it was time to take a real shot at it.
“I got this burning passion to succeed,” says Khalil. “And I said to myself, what’s one thing I love doing? Completing games. How do I share that passion with the world and make that passion my identity? And I made my first video. It went somewhat viral, and 11 years later here I am, a host of G4TV and ‘Attack of the Show.’”
Take a quick look at any of Khalil’s videos and it’s easy to see why The Completionist is one of the biggest gaming channels on YouTube. His slickly edited videos are backed by his articulate, authoritative and entertaining narration, which make the channel’s deep dives on retro games and modern blockbusters accessible for even non-gamers. And as his nickname implies, Khalil truly completes every game he covers — meaning snagging every collectible, slaying every boss, exploring every difficulty option and so on. It’s borderline masochistic (and Khalil is quick to play up his tribulations for laughs), but it also helps give viewers a true sense of how much value a video game has to offer.
After more than a decade of becoming one of YouTube’s primary gaming authorities, it’s perhaps no surprise that Khalil’s career came full circle when one of his favorite cable networks came calling in 2020. But while the G4 folks knew they were talking to a top content creator, they weren’t quite expecting Khalil to take so quickly to a professional television setting.
“When I did my audition, I don’t think anyone expected me to be so … I’ll say the word professional, and to be so focused on being able to carry my weight,” says Khalil. “And so I think I was the dark horse. They didn’t think that was going to blow them away. And I think I did, because I’m still here a year later, I have my own TV show now that I’ve pitched to all hell, that I pushed and bullied to get made. And we’re just a couple weeks away from showing it to the world.”
Enter the God of Work
After nearly a year of relentless pitching and refining, Khalil is getting set to debut his new series, “God of Work,” which looks a lot like “The Office” if it were filled with angry video game characters rather than checked-out cubicle workers. Co-created by Khalil and Emily Rose Jacobson, the show stars The Completionist as Kratos from the popular PlayStation game God of War, who finds himself at a fictional temp agency where big gaming protagonists go to find work in between big releases. And as you can see in our exclusive clip below, things quickly go off the rails in hilarious fashion.
“This is a Kratos that’s overweight. It’s a Kratos that is disconnected from reality. He thinks he’s a rock star and that he’s made the big time since he came back in 2018,” says Khalil. “And because everyone’s scared of Kratos … he’s [become] the Michael Scott bully character of ‘The Office,’ where he can just get away with murder and no one will tell him not to do it.”
Launching in August, “God of Work” will be available as one big video on The Completionist’s YouTube channel and will also air in weekly installments — complete with extended scenes, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage — on G4. If you want to see what happens when the likes of Kratos, Scorpion, Link and Luigi all get stuck in a dead-end office job together, keep an eye out for it.
Parting advice from a pro
The Completionist’s journey from a Best Buy kiosk to a gigantic YouTube channel and now national television didn’t happen overnight, and came with no shortage of obstacles. So how did he make it all happen? According to Khalil, there’s one important factor.
“You have to have unfiltered, incredibly focused, by-the-barrels passion,” says Khalil. “You have to really embrace that passion and use it as your tool, your weapon, your cloak, your utility, to get you to the day, because you’re going to encounter so many people who say you can’t do this. And my whole career was built on just betting on one person. And the one person was me.”
The Completionist’s favorite gear
Like many content creators we’ve spoken to, Khalil’s path to YouTube and TV fame didn’t start with the most expensive or flashiest equipment. In his early days — before there was a wealth of YouTuber-focused gear out there — Khalil relied on his trusty Blue Yeti (which is still our best microphone pick) long before they were super popular, and a Hauppauge PVR video recorder for capturing gameplay from his consoles. His previous gaming PC included two Nvidia 1080 Ti graphics cards and an Intel Core i7 processor, which got him through a crucial era of creating, capturing and editing before it was time to step things up.
“I used that gear for about four years,” says Khalil. “I used it until it was time to move on. And move on I did.”
Here are some of the key parts of The Completionist’s setup today:
"The Yeti took me as far as I could go, but I needed to go with the SM7 Shure at some point," says Khalil of this popular high-end mic that can be seen on countless top YouTube and Twitch channels. "It does so much with so little. And with the right mixer and the right plug-ins, it does all the work for you."
See all that high-quality gameplay footage on The Completionist's channel? It's all made possible thanks to Elgato's Game Capture device, which allows you to easily record or stream gameplay directly from your console or PC.
"[It's] one of the most essential pieces of hardware that I use," says Khalil. "And it's the one that's the most portable and flexible."
Another mainstay amongst content creators we've spoken to, the GoXLR is a high-quality studio mixer that makes it easy for broadcasters and YouTubers to adjust volume levels and activate all sorts of filters and special effects on the fly.
"[It's] a pretty powerful device," says Khalil. "It wasn't when it first came out, but now it's like the standard. And I've really grown to love it."