'Kid President,' 9, is on a mission: To make grown-ups less boring
Meet “Kid President,” a 9-year-old bundle of cuteness gussied in a fancy suit. The pint-sized president has been addressing the nation for months now in a series of hilarious online videos, and his platform is simple: To make grown-ups less boring, to make the world awesome, and to make people dance.
His real identity is Robby Novak of Henderson, Tenn., and he’s been building a loyal following ever since his October debut on the YouTube channel of SoulPancake, a website co-created by Rainn Wilson of “The Office.” In that inaugural video, Novak boldly announced, “I’m not in a party — I am a party.”
Novak's grown-up brother-in-law, Bradley Montague, said that line came about during a conversation about the nation's political system. Fans of of Novak's videos kept emailing him and asking him about his party affiliation.
"I was trying to explain to him, 'OK, Republicans, then there's Democrats and Independents,'" Montague said during a Wednesday appearance on the TODAY set with the snappily dressed Novak. "And he got really distracted and bored, and was like, 'I’m not in a party, I AM a party!'"
Novak's popularity really began skyrocketing after the Jan. 24 release of a video dubbed “A Pep Talk from Kid President to You.”
“I think we all need a pep talk,” Novak says sagely at the start of the video, which has been viewed more than 4 million times. “The world needs you to stop being boring. Yeah, you. Boring is easy. Everybody can be boring. But you’re gooder than that.”
The pep talk goes on to cite the wisdom of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.”
“Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the road less traveled,” Novak reads. “AND IT HURT, MAN! Really bad! Rocks! Thorns! And glass! ... NOT COOL, ROBERT FROST!
“But what if there really were two paths? I want to be on the one that leads to awesome.”
Asked on TODAY who comes up with the lines spoken in his videos, Novak looked to his brother-in-law, who helped create them.
"We do silly stuff," Novak said. "He makes the boring parts, I make the awesome parts."
Montague, who lives a block away from Novak in Henderson, said the videos started after he began taping some family fun.
"We’ve always just goofed around, and we put it online," he said.
Montague and Novak started posting videos and tweeting via @iamkidpresident last July. About three months later, their efforts got noticed by SoulPancake.
"It was a really good fit because they’re all about putting out positive things on the Internet," Montague said.
For members of Novak’s and Montague’s families, the videos have always held special meaning.
“Robby has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (a brittle bone condition),” Montague said. “He has had over 75 breaks since he was born. Our first videos spread because our family and friends knew how much this little guy has been through. To hear him say, ‘Less complaining, more dancing’ has weight to it. He shouldn't be running — yet you see in the video that he is.
“We never get the chance to talk about this in the videos because we don't want that to be his identity. We've wanted them to connect simply because of the content within.”
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