Not just a meme, itsbrandonmax has earned nearly 3 Million subscribers on TikTok.
Brandon Max is a living emoji. His physical comedy is filled with facial gymnastics that define his parody videos. As the internet has an endless amount of cringe, Brandon has an abundance of content for reactions. His viewers love it. They watch his nonsensical home life mixed with off-the-wall challenges.
Though Brandon grew up in Pittsburgh, his videos are set in Anywhereville, USA. His family, while wonderful in real life, play adversarial characterizations of themselves who impose ridiculous rules on the youth. Requests like to mow the yard in the rain escalate later into all out food war within the family. Chips vs crackers, stolen cakes, and a 7-11 having a fight over the perfect donut.
There is parody in hyperbole. Now that videos trend with 15 seconds in length, Brandon reacts to his peers on social media with fast-pace-misunderstandings often pointing out the obvious. His over reactions are reminiscent of YouTube’s FRED but with a modern update. At the end of one video, the plot is revealed. He starts out with the meta commentary of the internet, “It looks real!” but after iPhone is revealed to be a Pancake exclaims, “I’m losing my mind.”
Brandon Max’s main sidekick is his father who has clearly lost his mind. Though it might be hard to spot across the sea of reaction videos, the core of what makes the itbrandonmax web series work is the relationship between father and son and a teenager’s fight to never to grow up, or at least into his insane father.
That subtle narrative is one reason why nearly three million people have subscribed to him.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Brandon’s family for nearly a decade. His father a media professional whose heart swells by helping others. His office is filled with a library of collectables from events he’s thrown. It ranges from simple thank you notes notes to large paintings gifted as extreme ‘Thank Yous’ from artists over a long career. Despite this, Brandon’s Father didn’t push his son into social media. Nor was it ever his goal to be on screen. Instead, it was an illness that helped propel Brandon to stardom.
At the age of 5, Brandon’s body changed over night. He was diagnosed with PANDAS syndrome: Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. The syndrome is chaotic with symptoms ranging from neurological changes like OCD in its symptoms. Brandon’s condition made regular interaction with school and friends difficult. He found an outlet on the social media app Musical.ly.
In between doctor appointments, Brandon filmed skits and songs with the phone in his pocket. Late nights were often honest chats with his growing fan base. During this time, he would open his heart to fans with a simple message, “It’s okay to be different.” His health struggles are always secondary to his strive to cheer others up.
When Musical.ly merged with TikTok on August 8th, 2018, he was fearful he’d lose that connection. Instead, his online persona ‘itsbrandonmax’ took off. Saying he ‘went viral’ would undermine his perseverance. As a performer, Max spends countless hours scripting, rehearsing, and listening to music (entire songs, no skipping) as he prepares content for his audience.
As TikTok grows, so does Brandon Max. He’s found a way to strengthen familial ties including his mom and dad in videos. He’s been collaborating with brands and local celebrities. When we speak, it’s never about his last video but what he can film next. There is no blueprint for internet fame. But itsbrandonmax is clearing a colourful comedic path for life. A life lightening the moods of friends, family, and the millions of fans tagging along.