DJ Pryor is a comedian whose video of himself chatting with his babbling infant son has gone viral.
On June 4, his wife Shanieke Pryor posted a video on her Facebook page of Pryor sitting on the sofa discussing the Empire season finale with their 19-month-old son Kingston in their Clarksville, Tennessee home. DJ Pryor’s ability to improv a believable conversation with their adorable little son struck a chord, and the video has since been shared over a million times. You can watch the video below:
The couple told The Leaf Chronicle that they shot the video about a month ago and never expected it to go viral. “It’s just been crazy,” Shanieke said. “I think sometimes we’re just in disbelief on just how fast it has grown. My husband didn’t even know I had posted it.”
DJ said that the video came together quite naturally. “I was responding based on what I thought he might say, so I started to play off it to the camera,” he told The Leaf Chronicle. “I said, ‘OK, we’re having a conversation, so let’s continue!”
DJ and Kingston appeared together on CNN on June 7 to talk about the phenomenal virality of their video.
According to DJ, the family records videos like this for their sons to enjoy in the future. “I was making them for a home movie type of deal, so when he’s older, when they’re older, my older son and him, they can see and look back on childhood memories,” he said.
Pryor is a working comedian, and thanks to this viral video, his star could soon be rising.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. DJ Pryor Is the Oldest of 12 Children
In an interview with APSU TV, Pryor said he was born in Virginia when his mother was just 13 years old. His father was in the military, so the family ended up moving to Tennessee where Pryor lives today. He is the oldest of 12 children.
Pryor told Clarksville Now that the inspiration for his comedy comes in part from his upbringing. “If I was getting in trouble, I would use (comedy) as a tool to make my grandmom, aunt, or my mom forget why I was in trouble,” he said.
He went on to say that his style has evolved a lot since then. “My comedy used to be about the game of clowning around and making people laugh, but I wasn’t talking about anything. Now, my stand-up represents my truth; talking about where I come from,” he explained. “My stand-up is about telling the truth, and doing it from such a unique perspective, with crazy energy, that people want to watch it.”
Pryor and his wife Shanieke have two children together: 19-month-old Kingston and an older son who is eight years old.
2. He Started Doing Standup Comedy When He Was Just 15
DJ Pryor knew early in life that he wanted to work in comedy. He says he started doing standup when he was only 15 years old. In an interview on APSU TV, Pryor shared that he used to have to sneak into comedy clubs to get the chance to perform. “This place called The Comedy Zone, I used to sneak in there,” Pryor grinned. “I used to sneak in there man, to get some stage time.I told the guy, the bouncer, if I can make you laugh will you let me in there, and I was hooked ever since.”
Speaking with Clarksville Now, he credits a high school teacher with opening his eyes to the possibilities of standup. He said he was a class clown, and one day a teacher pulled him aside and suggested he try standup. The teacher even offered to give him the last few minutes of class to tell his jokes if he could stay focused until then.
3. He’s Appeared in Commercials and Starred in Several Short Films
In 2017, Pryor did voice work in a Jack Daniels commercial. In a Facebook post about the commercial, he wrote, “Truly want to thank GOD for allowing me to land a principle/lead role (actor lingo) in this international commercial and also I’d like to thank Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey the company for allowing a young black actor,comedian & musician and to represent your brand meanwhile showcasing my acting and creative process of working on my music!!!!!”
Pryor has also appeared in a commercial for Allstate.
He also starred in a few short films: Country Strong, The Konichiwa Kid and Message Read. He is represented by the Dan Talent Group.
4. He Supports Anti-Bullying and Suicide Prevention Group I’m Invisible
In a Facebook post, DJ Pryor shared that he is teaming up with author Sharon Kaye Edwards, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts and others to work for the I’m Invisible campaign to stop bullying and prevent suicide. “Together We Can Definitely Make A Huge Change That Will Last!!! Extremely Grateful & Excited To Use My Influence & Power For The Right Reason’s!” he wrote.
5. He Was Selected for the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase in January 2019
In January, Pryor was selected to perform in the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase. Pryor was picked from a pool of thousands of hopefuls to perform six shows in Los Angeles for an audience of comedy insiders and casting directors. Past performers in the showcase have gone on to grab roles in Jane the Virgin, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and other high profile shows.
With this showcase under his belt and his newfound viral fame, it will be very interesting to see what DJ Pryor does next.