Rob Kenney has been dubbed the “Internet’s Dad” after starting a Youtube channel called “Dad, How Do I?” this past April — and his how-to videos have since gone majorly viral.
Though he has a great relationship with his own two children — Kristine, 27, and Kyle, 25 — Kenney, 55, said he decided to create the channel to help young adults who don’t have the privilege of calling up their own dads or father figures to ask them simple questions. His videos allow people anywhere in the world to become a little more self-sufficient, as he teaches tasks like how to change a tire, how to tie a tie, and how to fix a running toilet.
Kenney knows what it’s like not to have a dad to turn to growing up, and said that his own father’s absence was part of what inspired him to start “Dad, How Do I?”
“My dad left me as a teenager, and after that, I determined I would never do that to my family,” he explains. “Now I am creating videos about things I wish I knew how to do when I was younger.”
The Kent, Washington, native — who learned his handyman skills on his own and from his brother — says he thought up the idea for the channel a couple of years ago. His daughter had pushed him to go through with it, but it wasn’t until the coronavirus crisis hit that he decided it was time to turn his dream into a reality.
“Since we have been quarantined, I ran out of excuses,” Kenney jokes, explaining that he talks to his kids almost every day, and they have been incredibly supportive. His daughter helped get the word out by sharing his channel “in a kindness group called the ‘Scrubbers’ from a podcast called Scrubbing In,” Kenney says. “The reception was so overwhelming she thought other people could use it, so she shared it with a few other ‘Kindness’ groups, then Reddit got ahold of it, then Tiktok, then… here we are.”
An Account Manager by trade, Kenney thought that a few people might find his channel helpful, but was completely blown away by the number who have since tuned in to his self-shot videos.
“I knew some people — like 30 to 40 people — would find it useful,” he says. “But I had no idea it would blow up as it did.” He currently has just over 2 million subscribers on Youtube, and his audience is still growing.
Since starting the channel, Kenney says he has received messages from far and wide thanking him for his videos, including many from people who have lost or are no longer in touch with their fathers.
“The stories of pain and heartbreak can be overwhelming,” Kenney says. “But the stories of encouragement definitely bring me joy.”
While he’s still working full-time, Kenney says he wouldn’t be opposed to making “Dad, How Do I?” his full-time career.
“Depending on the opportunity with this, I may transition to do it full or part-time,” he explains. “I also want to start including some ‘dadvice’ for adulting, as there is so much more to being a dad (or a parent in general) than just being able to fix things around the house, or at least there should be.”
Currently, he’s releasing a new how-to video every Thursday, and a tool-focused video every Tuesday (which he’s calling Tool Tuesday).
And like any good dad, Kenney also excels at another skill: Dad jokes. His best? “Why don’t cannibals eat clowns? Because they taste funny.”