Meet Scumbag Dad: The Influencer Parodying Annoying Internet Trends
Brad Podray is mad at the Internet.
Better known by the nickname Scumbag Dad, Podray is a comedian who has channeled his seemingly limitless creative energy into almost every medium. He has done short form videos, long form videos, music, cooking shows, and even dentistry.
The videos from which Podray derives his pseudonym, his Scumbag Dad series, offer a first-person view of a child with the world’s worst father. Under the pretext of spending days with the family, Scumbag Dad, played by Podray, has his son as an accomplice in drug deals, human trafficking and murder.
The videos are brilliant pieces of black humor. But his hard-working approach to Scumbag Dad hasn’t worked. Apparently, social networking sites like Tik TokYouTube and Instagram do not help creative creators, favoring the laziest work.
Contradicting the trends
“I see people who have little to no creative skills and are willing to lie and get big rigs from their dishonest content,” says Podray.
Podray chafes at the lack of work other creators put into copycat content whose sole motivation is to generate views and potential earnings. Knowing that he shouldn’t be staring a gift horse in the teeth, she’s engaging in the same kind of nonsensical content.
Seeing how little work people put into reaction videos—videos where people overlap reacting on top of someone else’s content—Podray began testing his own reaction videos.
“However, I’m a bit too stupid to do that,” says Podray.
To explain it, Podray’s attempt at a reaction video is to satirize the metaphysics of the premise. He will film himself reacting to a video. But it’s not a video; it is happening live next to him and is being filmed by a second camera. Then the “original” video will become popular and Podray and the other creator will fall out. All filmed by a third camera.
Sound confusing? It makes more sense in motion and speaks to Podray’s indefatigable approach to creativity.
Even when you’re criticizing someone else’s lazy content, anything with fewer than three cameras, a metanarrative, and sudden, inexplicable violence just won’t do.
But this is only the beginning of Podray’s satirical world.
Another style of video that he likes to parody is the ‘Rich vs. Really rich series. In these videos, you usually find a rich man being rude to someone in customer service, only to be outshone by a very rich man with his kindness.
“Every time someone creates a trend or series like this, what they’re doing is creating their own world where, for example, every day the rich guy you know is insulted by the really rich guy because they don’t understand kindness,” he says. I could.
“I tried to explore, like, what are other elements of this trend like this world,” he adds.
While the original creators of these series stick to their scripts, Podray deviates. In recent versions of his Rich vs. In the Really Rich parody, he begins to make his Rich character question the very reality in which he exists.
“Have we done this before?” We are in a Rich vs. Simulation of a really rich person”, Podray wonders in a video.
Going through Podray’s feeds, there are almost countless examples of him taking different internet trends and finding ways to deconstruct them.
Has any original creator been mad at him for doing it?
“We have had contact at this point. I’ll leave it at that,” Podray says when asked about Nicholas Crown, the original creator of Rich vs. Really rich series.
Fight against Internet manipulation
What frustrates Podray the most are trends that turn acts of kindness into a commercial act, or lies to onlookers to sell a product.
“A lot of the online population is quite young and quite impressionable,” he says. “I really have a lot of disgust for all the easy saccharin content that is being posted on YouTube. I hate the idea that morality should be rewarded.”
Podray points to videos in which creators ask strangers for money and then reward these strangers with large amounts of cash.
“At first glance, it’s a good story because they were charitable and rewarded. But they are forgetting that that is the exception of that situation. In a way, it’s a poor shame.”
To satirize these types of videos, Podray has created equivalents with his trademark dark twists. In one, the charitable person is rewarded not with money but with a used needle. In another, Podray poses as a homeless man who is available to be used in other people’s TikTok videos to gain influence.
Podray demonstrated how easy it is to create manipulative content with an experiment he conducted at Drake University. Parodying charitable videos of people approaching strangers and offering them money or the option to double the amount and offer it to the next person, he invited students to participate in a fake version of the video.
He assured the students that even though the video was almost obviously staged, it would rack up views. He was correct. The video garnered more than 3 million views on TikTok.
The real father behind Scumbag Dad
Using her humor to deconstruct trends is not where Podray hoped to be in life. By almost any measure, he is not a typical internet influencer.
Podray, in his forties, lives in Iowa with his wife Hannah and their young son and works full time as an orthodontist. His career in comedy began when he formed the pirate rap group Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew with his best friend from dental school.
After a few years of incremental success with the band, the band became a part of America’s Got Talent. Seeing how manipulative and staged reality TV was, Podray began to question the industry. A failed attempt to get into Masterchef followed and Podray was now committed to his career in comedy and music.
Since then, he has released around 40 albums and his videos have garnered millions of views. And while she’s gaining more and more followers through parodies of her, that’s not where her heart really lies.
The real core of what Podray is about is his daddy bastard Serie. For years, she has worked on a lengthy narrative for Scumbag Dad as her actions slowly fade into her once-innocent son.
But before he could complete the story arc he had loosely planned for the Scumbag Dad character, his content began to get banned from the platforms and his channels demonetized.
“I was really building a message and couldn’t get it done,” Podray laments. “I started getting banned all the time. So I had to nerf the series.”
Any use of gore or violence would cause a video to be removed. Drug references had to be completely oblique so their content wouldn’t be removed. Podray realized that the platforms through which he had gained fame were no longer willing to accommodate his dark creativity.
Using multiple locations, complex storylines, and a great ensemble of actors, the Scumbag Dad series was by far Podray’s most involved series. He is also the one she loved the most, relishing the chance to film ridiculous plots with his friends.
He still creates Scumbag Dad videos, but they don’t appear as part of a larger story in the same way anymore. It’s Podray’s passion project, but at the moment making his version of content “easy” is what gets the views. It is the origin story of Podray’s Scumbag Dad.