In January of 2009, David DeVore‘s father, also named David, uploaded a video of his then-7-year-old son to YouTube, delirious from dental surgery. Since then, the video has been viewed more than 60 million times. It’s also netted the family more than $150,000 from YouTube fees and merchandise, and allowed David Sr. to quit his job.
The Business Insider got in touch with David’s family, and discovered that they had made roughly $100,000 from YouTube and $50,000 from merchandise, including “t-shirts featuring cartoon drawings of their son post-dental surgery.” They have even more ambitious plans, including getting Crest or Colgate to sponsor davidafterdentist.com.
But how does the 9-year-old on whose teeth this empire of merch feel about his global celebrity and his family’s moneymaking schemes?
While his family is busy finding ways to monetize off the video’s success, the younger David is just trying to live like a normal 9-year old kid. After finishing the 3rd grade on the honor roll, David is on summer break and just attended football camp in Tampa Bay. He is also taking guitar lessons though that doesn’t necessarily translate to more on-camera time for the young viral star.
“He’s not interested in becoming a TV star, he’s just a regular kid,” his father tells us. “He’s got other things that interest him.”
The family isn’t all bad — they did donate “close to a total of $7,000 to their church, David’s school, a local dentist, and Operation Smile.” And rolling with the punches is probably a better response when confronted with unexpected viral fame than is freaking out and trying to stop the unstoppable flow of the Internet. And: 15 minutes of fame, et cetera. But it’s at least a little creepy that they would so aggressively dive into monetizing a video of their young child, and one wonders when David gets older how difficult it will be for him to shake the identity of “that kid in the viral video” and forge one of his own.