A 27-year-old single guy is creating a name for himself as the unlikely creator and star of viral videos making millions of parents, among others, laugh at themselves and their kids.
If you are on Facebook, the chances are good that you have seen one of Trey Kennedy's viral videos. He's done comedic impressions of everything from Bible characters to "basic bros" to millennial boyfriends, but among Kennedy's biggest hits are his videos mocking middle school students — with over 15 million views on one video alone — and moms, with over eight million views on one installment.
Now, the Edmond, Oklahoma, native is taking his one-hour comedy show on a national tour with dates in 15 states — some of which have already sold out.
Kennedy didn't go to college planning a career in comedy or social media, but that is where his future began, making videos on the app Vine with his friends in his college dorm at Oklahoma State University. "I tend to get really hooked on things," he told TODAY Parents. "When everyone else stopped, I kept making them, and in six months, I had a million followers."
After Vine faded into obscurity, Kennedy continued to make videos elsewhere on social media, including Facebook. After three years, his Facebook followers number over 3.5 million. Kennedy also has a podcast, Correct Opinions with Trey Kennedy.
"I never, ever thought I would be doing this," Kennedy said. "I was a super shy kid. I am a prime example of someone who, without social media, would never have had the courage to get on a stage in front of people."
In his comedy, Kennedy tries to feature "everyday, normal things" and behaviors that will resonate with his audience and make them laugh a little at themselves. Though he has poked fun at himself and his fellow millennials, he found that a video he did featuring dad impressions did exceptionally well. That inspired Kennedy to tackle other "characters" that parents might find amusing, including moms and middle school-age children.
"I don't have children and I'm not a mom, but I was a middle school kid and I have a mom," he said. His own mom, Karen Kennedy, is the inspiration for his mom character whose expressions look and sound so familiar to moms everywhere, and the middle school kid impressions are "just an exaggerated version of my own behavior."
Now, "Facebook moms are coming to my shows!" Kennedy said with a laugh. "It's really amazing."
"I love him," San Francisco Bay-area mom Misa Sugiura told TODAY Parents. "When I showed my teen and tween the mom video, they kept pointing at me triumphantly and shouting, 'See? That's you!' and I got to say, 'See? I'm not the only mom who does that!' We all felt so vindicated."
Ohio mom of three Anna Luther said she likes to show Kennedy's videos to her husband to help him remember that their middle schooler isn't the only one who acts like, well, a middle schooler. "I talk to other moms and compare notes," she said. "My husband doesn’t have a network like that, so the videos really help him — and help both of us laugh at the same time."
Though his comedy is not all focused on parents and parenting, Kennedy — who plans to marry fiancée Katie Byrum in a few months — appreciates his mom for giving him great material and helping him find so much success.
"I'm fortunate to have a wonderful mom," he said. "I think all the moms who relate to those moments are good moms who care about their kids, just like her."