Jimmy Tatro & American Vandal: The Actor Who Plays Dylan Maxwell

jimmy tatro

Getty Jimmy Tatro.

The main character in Netflix’s new high school dick caper American Vandal is the lovably dim-witted high school prankster, Dylan Maxwell.

The spoof of shows like Making a Murderer and Serial, American Vandal tells the story of two (fictional) documentary filmmakers who unravel the school board’s rush to judgment against the school outcast, Dylan, for painting dicks on teachers’ cars in the Hanover High parking lot. (If you want to know who “drew the dicks,” you can read spoilers and theories here.)

Some people on Twitter are even convinced that the show is real. However, it’s fiction, and the actor Jimmy Tatro plays Dylan. Who is Tatro? His casting is genius because of how neatly his biography as a YouTube prankster matches the fictional bio of Dylan Maxwell, who’s trying to be a YouTube star with farting-on-baby jokes and by convincing an elderly neighbor that the government is monitoring his vacuum cleaner.

According to IMDB, Tatro, who was born in February 1992 in California, “is an actor who started his career using YouTube, making sketches which were relevant to his college lifestyle at the University of Arizona in which he was part of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He and his friend Christian started the YouTube channel and series named ‘thejimmytatrochannel’ in 2011 which later switched to ‘LifeAccordingToJimmy.’ He writes, produces, directs and stars in each of his sketches.” The You Tube channel has more than 2.7 million subscribers. You can watch one of the sketches above.

He also has a JimmyTatroChannel on YouTube with more than 100,000 subscribers, and he’s on Twitter.

By 2014, Tatro already had more than 2 million YouTube subscribers and more than 200 million views, according to The Los Angeles Loyolan, and he was doing college stand-up routines. “As a University of Arizona graduate and a member of Pi Kappa Phi, Tatro shared many stories of his collegiate experiences, including parties and confrontations with the police,” the Loyolan reported. “In a particularly funny anecdote, Tatro reminisced about a bad drunken experience that involved him in an elf costume at a Greek event. After one too many drinks, he lost track of where he was and was pursued by the police. Instead of running the other direction, he tried to scale a fence and was stopped while halfway up.”

Tatro has also had roles in 22 Jump Street, Grown Ups 2, and was cast in a Gary Busey summer camp comedy, Camp Manna. In 22 Jump Street, “Tatro is one of the football team captains and plays a ‘huge douchebag’ named Rooster. He also has a faux hawk with red highlights,” reported The Source.

He told the Source, “I’ve always just enjoyed creating sketches and stuff. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live and Seinfeld, those were my two shows, we never had cable. So I liked the concept of making sketches and stuff and then I found out about Youtube, and I found out people were just making livings off of making sketches once a week. I thought, ‘I can do this, this is something I can definitely do.'” Once a video went viral, he focused on “being consistent,” he told the site.

In 2014, Tatro’s channel was named one of the top 100 on YouTube by New Rockstars. “Jimmy Tatro is a YouTuber who is most well known for his sketches. Many of his sketches depict the life of a ‘bro,’ or in other words, life according to Jimmy. Recently, Tatro has branded out into Vine where he has 1.3 million followers. His vines are just as funny as his YouTube videos and definitely worth the six seconds,” the site said (Vine no longer exists.)

Tatro’s net worth is generally estimated at around $2 million, money generated from his YouTube stardom. Judging from the positive buzz for American Vandal, the Channing Tatum lookalike is just getting started.