When you hear gibberish coming from a little kid, you don’t think much of it. After all, they have yet to fully grasp how to acceptably communicate with others. But when you take those sounds and put them into the mouth of a fully-grown man, the conversations are so utterly destabilizing that you can’t help but laugh. “Convos With My 2-Year-Old” is Matthew Clarke’s way of capturing this odd humor in the form of a YouTube series, where he’s enlisted the comedic talent David Milchard to play the role of Coco, Clarke’s 2-year-old daughter.
Released in 2013, the first episode has gone viral with over 12.5 million views. The climax builds from Clarke getting home and trying to talk to his wife when Milchard (Coco) appears, wearing a little barrette and holding a doll. Clarke tries to broach the subject of dinner with his wife, but Milchard intervenes, saying, “She’s not your wife. She’s the princess,” in the most confident, completely oblivious tone children often display. “Go over there right now,” Milchard demands, completely refusing to let Clarke speak with his wife.
The whole situation is so out of place and perplexing that when the punchline comes — a shot of Clarke’s actual daughter, where Milchard was — you remember what’s going on, and it’s absolutely hilarious.
In an interview with Vulture Hound, Clarke said that he first came up with this idea when he was checking Coco’s diaper in a public café. Of course, no one batted an eyelash because he was checking the diaper of a toddler. But what kind of reaction would changing an adult’s diaper in public elicit? A peculiar and awkward one at best — confused looks, getting kicked out of the café at worst. This particular scenario was even explored in Season 1, Episode 4 of the series, titled “The Check.” It’s just as weird and uncomfortable as it sounds, proving Clarke’s point.
“Convos With My 2-Year-Old” has progressed over the years, as the real Coco has gotten older. The conversations turn even crazier, as the little girl learns enough about grown-up topics to copy them, but not enough to make educated comments on them.
Season 2 of the show showcases this in Episode 1, “Dinner Time,” when Milchard, as Coco, leaves the dinner table. “Well, if I have to tell you …” Milchard responds when asked where “she” is going, “I need to go to the store to get some gas prices.” Milchard leaves, but comes back after a few seconds. “Store was closed,” he says, displaying a stern expression of mock distress.
The sentences and circumstances of this comedy are baffling by themselves, but Milchard’s completely serious demeanor really highlights the differences between a toddler’s brain and an adult’s. At her age, Coco doesn’t understand what “gas prices” are, but she knows that they are serious and probably have some connection to the store. The complete lack of understanding, however, delivered in Milchard’s serious and indignant grown-up voice, is so confusing that it’s hilarious.
Episode 6 of Season 3, “Electricity,” also emphasizes how the brains of little kids just don’t work the same way as adults’. They just can’t understand things on the same level. In this episode, Milchard and Clarke come across an electrical box while playing outside with a scooter. Clarke tries to answer Milchard’s questions about the picture warning people not to touch the box; it shows a man being electrocuted, so it is clearly not a toy.
Clarke establishes that the inside of the electrical box is dangerous and shouldn’t be touched, but also that Coco shouldn’t touch the outside because it’s disgusting and covered in dog urine. And, because little kids don’t fully understand science, Milchard as Coco asks in all seriousness, “Can you get electrocuted when you have dog pee on your hands?”
Without any basic understanding of electricity, the little kid makes a connection that seems absurd to adults but completely reasonable to her. The disparity between Milchard’s appearance, as a man who clearly knows how electricity actually works, and the conveyed sincerity of his question, is stark and comedic.
The fun doubles during Season 7 of “Convos With My 2-Year-Old,” in which Clarke adds his younger son, Shepherd, to the mix. Of course, Shepherd is also played by a fully-grown man (Michael P. Northey). The Season 7 finale is titled “Traveling,” and anyone who has ever encountered a kid or been a kid in an airport can relate to this episode. The shenanigans that tired, grumpy, and bored kids will get up to in an airport are astounding, and they are amplified when being reenacted by two adult men. The faces of the onlookers alone are worth watching this episode for.
Additionally, in Seasons 7 and 8, more kids/adults join the crowd. Season 8, Episode 6, “Play Planning,” shows six kids and their counterparts trying and failing to decide what to play. The backward logic that all the kids display is made hilarious, because it is said by adults. None of these adults at all resemble the kids they are playing in either appearance, gender or age. The back-and-forth in this episode is disorienting and keeps the audience on their toes; the editing here, as well as in the rest of the series, is brilliant, because it manages to create dramatic tension in a scene shot by grown men in little girls’ clothing.
“Convos With My 2-Year-Old” manages to mix all of these aforementioned factors: the absurd logic of children, as well as the drama and tantrums that ensue when you add middle-aged men with with beards and barrettes into a hilarious, baffling, strange web series that keeps its audience engaged. Clearly, it’s appealed to the audience enough for the creators to sell merchandise. They sell T-shirts with tag lines like “I’m not wearing any pants” coupled with Milchard’s face, which is definitely something that people will remember at first glance.
So, if you need a break from schoolwork or just something to binge-watch uncontrollably this summer, check out “Convos With My 2-Year-Old” on YouTube. The shenanigans, from Northey body-slamming Clarke, to bath time with a fully grown man in the tub, will be sure to capture your attention as you marvel at the working combination of weirdness and hilarity. Just make sure you leave the eccentric behavior to the actors!