If you have kids and a spouse, chances are Dude Dad has popped up on your social media.
Dude Dad, also known as Taylor Calmus, is a comedian and content creator with nearly 8 million fans across social media platforms.
He has written three books and hosts his own TV show, “Super Dad,” on the Magnolia Network. He, along with fellow creators Penn Holderness, comedian Charlie Berens and Myles Montplaisir, are one-quarter of the “Husbands of Target” video that went viral in 2020.
Dude Dad Live: On Thin Ice will perform at the Genesee Theater in Waukegan on February 3 at 7:30 pm and at the Rialto Square Theater in Joliet on February 4 at 7 pm.
Calmus grew up in South Dakota and lived in Los Angeles for 10 years learning the entertainment industry. He and his wife Heidi, with whom he often collaborates in his videos, moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to raise their family.
He said if you’ve seen his videos, you have an idea of what his stand-up routine is like.
“It’s like a stand-up comedy version of those with lots of visual aids,” he said. “We’re pushing the envelope in terms of content much further than we did with videos.
“This is a program for over 18s; But if your child comes, they will either not understand what we are talking about or they will be embarrassed. Because there is a lot of marriage issues in it. There are a few surprises along the way and it’s very visual. “It’s a lot of fun.”
He dreamed of becoming a stand-up comedian. He said building a fan base through his viral videos made this dream possible.
“I think the great thing about doing a live show is that you get to see people and instantly hear their reactions to your comedy,” he said.
“Whereas videos, once they become a business, are still fun but… everything is very transactional and you don’t have the relationship with the audience that you have at a live show. So it was really fun to go out and meet people and be there with them in person.”
He said the show was a good date night opportunity.
“I think the most important thing is that it’s really relatable,” he said. “Most of my show is about my kids and my wife.”
One caveat to doing this tour is that Heidi and her two youngest children also come and are only out for a weekend and then come home for three weeks.
“I didn’t want to attend the show unless Heidi came with me,” he said. “I don’t want to be out performing, running everywhere and bringing him here alone with the kids. I don’t think this is fair.
“So our tour looks different than most people’s, we can’t leave for a month or two. We go for a weekend, then come back for three weeks. Then go for another weekend. It takes a lot longer, but this way I don’t disappear.”
Calmus was trying to make it as an actor in Los Angeles.
“It took me about seven years to try to break into the industry and I had some success, but it wasn’t enough to provide for our family,” he said. “Then we got pregnant and at that moment a match was lit under me and I thought, ‘I’ve got to be realistic about this.’
“That’s when I started Dude Dad as a way to stay creative even if I had to stop chasing the Hollywood dream. It was just a hobby. I’m going to start making videos specifically about fatherhood because I saw that as an untapped market. There were plenty of mom blogs and vlogs, but not much for dads.
“I did it at the perfect time and it resonated with a lot of people, and I found the format that worked for me to get this thing to go viral. It was taking off, and I started looking at it and thinking, this is our future; let’s dive headfirst into it.”
“Do something you love doing and would do even if you didn’t make money from it, because you probably won’t,” he said. If you don’t care about making money, you’ll still have fun.
The first video to go viral was her first pregnancy announcement, titled “Police pulls over his own wife.” A cop pulled Heidi over in a surprise moment as she was driving alone in the carpool lane — and she’s not alone.
“The next thing that really came out was when I revealed Rube Goldberg’s gender,” he said. “Rube Goldberg is like a chain reaction machine where one thing triggers something else, which triggers another thing. I built one of these from the top of our three-story house to our garage, and it turned out we were finally having a girl. This was a big turning point for us; “This happened.”
He said he had to hold himself accountable as a father for creating content about his family life.
“I want to make sure that I present myself a certain way and that I show up that way at home,” she said. “It also forces you to think about these issues and talk about it. All the videos Heidi and I make about our marital fights and spousal fights are actually real fights we’ve had.
“These videos are like a weird therapy session for us. Since I write these videos most of the time, I have to write his point of view. This forces me to think about how he thinks and understand his perspective. Because the best content comes from a real place, not made up.”
He said viewers can expect to make it a date night.
“Get a babysitter, have the grandparents watch, and have a night to yourself…laugh and rejuvenate.”
Dude Dad: On Thin Ice
When: 19:30 3 February
Where: Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan
Information: 847-263-6300; geneseetheatre.com
When: 19:00 4 February
Where: Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
Information: 815-726-6600; rialtosquare.com
Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.