The history behind Kid History

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We can’t help but laugh at the crazy things kids say. But when those crazy things are coming out of an adult’s mouth, the hilarity is taken to viral proportions.

A year ago today, “Kid History – Episode 1” introduced this concept and made quotes such as “Don’t punch our car” and “I’m gonna steal your birthday stuff” popular when it first debuted on YouTube. That video now has more than 1.2 million views, a number that continues to grow each day. Now, with a sixth episode as well as a new series just released, the kid’s funny quotes just keep on coming.

Randy Roberts and Richard Sharrah drink from the gutter in Episode 2 of the popular “Kid History” web videos.

Kid History first began when Randy Roberts, then finishing dental school at New York University, decided to enter the Lingo Film Festival in New York. He was determined to win, so he enlisted his brothers John and Brett, as well as his NYU roommate, Richard Sharrah, to help.

“It was my last year out there and I wanted to do something that I thought would for sure win,” said Randy Roberts, who now has his own dental practice in Taylorsville. “I had the idea for Kid History and I brought it to Utah to have my brothers and Richard help throw it together.”

The film ended up winning in the festival, but more importantly, it gained a quick following on YouTube, with more than 800,000 views in the first three days.

When asked why they think the videos have grown so popular, the Roberts brothers all agreed it most likely has something to do with the cleanliness and the relatability of the content.

“I think it appeals to a lot of different ages,” Brett Roberts said. “You can have parents and kids laughing together.”

Kailee Brown, a senior from Kaysville, is a huge fan of Kid History and said the thing she loves about the videos is their clean sense of humor and the children’s antics.

“I like that it’s something that anybody could watch and not feel ashamed,” Brown said. “And it’s hilarious. You can’t get any funnier than what those kids are saying.”

Each episode of Kid History depicts a real event in one or more of the brother’s lives, and producing the films is a multi-step process. The Roberts will first tell a story of their childhood to the kids and will then film the kids retelling the story back to them. Finding quality content in the kids’ rambling re-tellings can sometimes be a challenge, the brothers said.

“The hardest part of the whole process and the most time-consuming is editing the kid’s videos into something that’s both five to eight minutes long and funny,” Brett Roberts said.

Half of what the kids are saying is completely unrelated to anything their parents told them, Randy Roberts said, citing one video’s Polly Pocket chatter as an example.

“After we were done filming the Polly Pocket stuff, we didn’t think we had anything that was usable,” Brett Roberts said. “But we decided to make Randy’s character the Polly Pocket character, and it ended up being really funny.”

“If we just went by the script of what actually happened, the film would only be about two to three minutes long,” John Roberts said.

The Roberts’ will then go through and edit the kids’ portion, which they said can take hours and hours. After editing, they play back the audio to film the adult portion. Getting the mouthing to match with the audio is harder than it looks, the Roberts’ said.

“It takes a few shots to get the lip-syncing just right,” Brett Roberts said. “There’s a part in Episode 6 where John and Richard are lip-syncing over each other for 27 seconds without stopping. That is hard to do. We almost didn’t attempt that because of the difficulty, but they pulled it off perfectly.”

At the beginning, Brett Roberts did most of the filming. He still films the kids, but they have also enlisted Amber Media, a Utah Valley media company, to help with production.

The Roberts’ started out by using their own kids for the films, but have since worried about them becoming too overexposed. In the most recent episodes they have also started using the children of their close friends.

“We would like to use our own kids every time, but we worry about them getting too much exposure,” Brett Roberts said. “Kid stars get this fake self-confidence and they don’t develop any other areas of their lives.”

“We don’t want any Lindsay Lohans,” Randy Roberts added.

Despite that worry, the Roberts’ said they love working with the kids as they provide the videos with some of the best material.

“We said, ‘what would you say if someone hit you in the face with a bike?’ And they said, ‘don’t hit me in the face with a bike.’ We’re like, OK! We’ll use that,’ ” Randy Roberts said.  “You can’t write the kind of stuff that the kids give you. We write the script, but we can’t come up with the fun stuff that they do.”

Brett Roberts agreed, saying that for Episode 5 they had to perform a stabilizing effect on one scene because the camera was shaking so much from the adults’ laughter.

“When a kid says something like, ‘I’m gonna come up there and punch you like I always keep doing’ — there’s no way we could have come up with that line,” Brett Roberts said. “We’ll be filming the kids and behind the camera we’re cracking up, trying not to make any noise. Because this stuff is gold.”

The Roberts’ have several other projects in the works, including a new episode of Kid History as well as their new series, Kid Remix. Kid Remix started when John Roberts saw a video of his cousin’s child rapping in her bathroom, thought it was funny, and decided to make a remix of it.

“Kid Remix is not replacing Kid History,” Brett Roberts said. “They’re not competitors, they’re friends.”

People are encouraged to submit videos of their kids’ original songs to their website, boredshorts.tv. They said they have already received a good number of usable submissions.

“We’re not trying to to have the best song, best production, lyrics or anything, we just want something that’s funny and clearly from a kid,” Brett Roberts said. “Something where you can tell a kid made it.”

Up next for Kid History is a Christmas episode as well as a possible Halloween episode,  if they have time. They are not sure how many videos they will produce.

“As long as it’s still fun, we’ll keep doing them,” John Roberts said.