Prank Star: Meet Shop Owner and Social Media Sensation MajorKeyLife

Around here, Youssiff Boudib is known as the manager of South Street Mini Mart. But he’s got a big following on TikTok and YouTube for his quirky sense of humor.
by Rachel Simon | photographs by Terrence Jones

Youssiff Boudib

If you walk into the South Street Mini Mart in Raleigh’s Warehouse District, you should probably stay on your toes — because when you go to grab a candy bar from the shelf or a beer from the freezer, you might just get pranked. The convenience store happens to be managed by Youssiff Boudib, aka MajorKeyLife, a social media sensation who’s earned over 9 million TikTok followers thanks to his highly entertaining, quick-hit videos featuring silly pranks on unsuspecting customers. 

A 41-year-old Garner resident of Senegalese descent, Boudib started posting videos to his channels (which also include YouTube, Instagram and Facebook) three years ago, in March 2020. Like so many others, he was home with his family during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, looking for new activities to pass the time and trying to stay upbeat.

His niece and nephew suggested that he start a TikTok account to post dance challenges, and while he liked the idea of having a creative outlet, he was hesitant to join the platform. 

“I said to myself, eh, it’s a kids’ channel,” Boudib recalls. But when his boredom hit a peak, though, he decided to give TikTok a chance. 

Boudib began uploading videos showcasing everyday life at the store, where he was still working. Before long, one video — of a shopper hitting the jackpot on a scratch-off lottery ticket — went viral, earning over a million views. Boudib, an entrepreneur at heart, was keen to capitalize on the moment.

“Once I started seeing the views rise up, then I had other ideas and started putting my own creativity into it,” he says. “And it just started growing.” 

That creativity took the form of pranking — silly antics like squirting water guns from behind the fridges, putting “fart spray” on products to gross out shoppers at the register or sending remote-controlled mice racing around the floor. 

The videos of customers’ over-the-top reactions quickly gained traction with viewers. (Having seen too many videos of unsuspecting prank victims grow upset over their involvement and not wanting a mishap of his own, Boudib now primarily focuses his attention on family, friends and the store’s repeat customers.) 

When he started using his now-popular catchphrase, “it’s night-night time,” after one especially surprised customer dropped to the floor, the videos’ popularity skyrocketed. They got even more popular when his longtime friend Ronnie Perry, aka “Uncle Rich,” began appearing in the clips, either as a game prankee or an amused accessory to the antics. 

Ronnie Perry, aka “Uncle Rich,” and Youssiff Boudib, aka MajorKeyLife.

“One day he walked in and started saying some funny stuff, and I happened to record it, and once I posted it, viewers fell in love,” says Boudib of Perry, a 64-year-old Henderson native. “He’s a fan favorite.” 

(When asked about his commitment to appearing in his friend’s videos, the far more reticent Perry simply shrugs off his stardom. “I come flying on in here every day, doing the same thing every day. I ain’t got nothing else to do. I’m retired,” Perry says.) 

As Boudib’s channels have grown, he’s devoted more time to producing content, often filming and editing at least one video a day in addition to responding to fans and maintaining his website (which features MajorKeyLife merch), all while managing the Mini Mart full-time.

“It’s tough,” he admits. “Dealing with working the front and the customers, then filming with Rich or doing my own thing, it’s a balance.” And although Boudib occasionally craves some downtime, he knows that his viewers expect their regular dose of mood-boosting content. “My fans want to see videos every day,” says Boudib. “If I have a day or two off, my DMs are full” with questions.

Still, he has few complaints, especially because he’s recently started to earn income from his channels and chat with other creators about potential collaborations. The goal, Boudib says, is to eventually expand MajorKeyLife’s reach to more than just the Mini Mart.

Referring to both himself and Perry, he says “we’re trying to establish ourselves more to get out there — get better known in Raleigh, get known in Miami, anywhere,” adding that he hopes to also work on other forms of entertainment like podcasts and TV. “We’re just being patient and waiting for the right opportunity, for somebody to come knocking on our door and say, hey, we want you to do something with us,” he explains. 

In the meantime, Boudib says he’s more than happy to keep pranking around the store, posting his videos and connecting with his fans, both online and around Raleigh, where he and Perry are both increasingly stopped for photos and autographs. 

“Our community knows who we are and knows what we do. They just want us to continue pursuing our dreams and taking it further,” he says. “We’re just here to make people laugh, and to make this world a better place.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of WALTER Magazine.