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YouTube Channels for Gen X Dads

Five online shows that you don’t have to pretend to like for your kids

Photo collage of youtube screengrabs
Paul Spella

If you don’t live with preteens or teenagers, you’ve likely never heard of PewDiePie or MrBeast. Lucky you.

I won’t get into the details, but they’re hugely successful YouTube personalities who make videos about playing video games or giving away millions as a joke — MrBeast once gifted $1 million to people but with only one minute to spend it — and nothing has ever made me feel more old or out of touch. Where are the YouTube channels for adults?

They’re out there. If you’re a Gen X dad who wants video content designed for him and not a kid with ADHD, here are five channels you’ll love.

Dad, How Do I?

Watch if: You grew up without a dad, or want to be a better one.

Rob Kenney, whose own father abandoned him and his seven siblings when Rob was just a teen, has become an online dad for millions, dropping knowledge on everything from unclogging a bathroom drain to changing a car battery to filing your taxes. It’s a master class in how to teach without being condescending or boring. He even throws in the occasional corny dad joke. “How do you weigh a millennial?” he asked in a recent video. “In insta-grams.” Terrible? Yes. But it still makes us want to come back for more.

* * *

Neutral Drop 

Watch if: Your favorite part of any action movie is when cars get demolished.

If you have the inexplicable urge to see perfectly good automobiles destroyed for no good reason, this is the channel for you. A pair of New Yorkers who go by the names “Camera Man” and “Stunt Man” have giddy fun doing everything a reasonable person would never inflict on a car, from filling a Porsche Cayenne’s motor with nails to turning a Nissan pickup into an engine-revving switchblade by violently breaking its chassis. The channel’s name refers to the thing we were all taught not to do back in driver’s ed: revving a car’s engine while it’s in neutral, then slamming it into drive. The hosts neutral-drop repeatedly and giddily, like adult Beavis and Buttheads who finally have the disposable income for pointless carnage.

* * *

Good Mythical Morning

Watch if: You love Jackass and Gen X nostalgia.

A channel that asks the really tough questions like, is a Canseco! 40/40 Bar from 1991 still edible? (And does it contain steroids that’ll make your testicles shrink?) Will super tiny pancakes satisfy actor Terry Crews? Can a Furby be killed with a guillotine? Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal look like they run a hipster craft brewery, but they’ve got enough goofball-dad energy to ruin any preteen sleepover. They’re especially entertaining when they’re daring each other to eat vintage snacks, whether it’s Superman pretzels from the ’80s or shooting gummies straight into their mouths with a hot glue gun.

* * *

Cinema Therapy 

Watch if: You’re a movie nerd with unresolved emotional trauma.

If it was just licensed therapist Jonathan Decker psychoanalyzing movie characters, that’d be enough. But it becomes magic thanks to cohost Alan Seawright, a filmmaker who needs (by his own admission) lots of therapy. The back-and-forth between them never fails to offer at least a few surprises. In the episode on Fight Club, for instance, Seawright confesses that the movie “triggered things in my brain” and he ended up forming his own fight club in college, which was basically “a bunch of Mormon kids … beating the s--- out of each other.” When discussing Raiders of the Lost Ark, we learn how Indiana Jones is a pretty good role model for resilience and adaptability, and also that the sound of the rolling boulder that nearly squashed Indiana was made with an old Toyota.

* * *

Hot Ones

Watch if: You think the best conversations happen around a plate of hot wings.

The concept may seem thin at first — host Sean Evans forces celebrity guests to eat chicken wings slathered with progressively more scorching hot sauces — but the results are surprisingly charming. Whether it’s Bryan Cranston, Will Ferrell or Seth Rogan, watching A-listers try to answer questions without passing out from heat stroke never fails to entertain. Would Dave Grohl have admitted how much he believes in UFOs if his mouth wasn’t on fire? Okay, maybe. The premise might just work because, as Anna Kendrick once suggested, we just “want to watch [them] get tortured.”

Follow Article Topics: Family-&-Fatherhood