New­found­land Talk­ing Tom

Pop­u­lar Face­book video se­ries soon to sell T-shirts, other mer­chan­dise


The man be­hind the New­found­land Talk­ing Tom videos on Face­book is sur­prised by the popularity of his witty takes on New­found­land cul­ture through his Talk­ing Tom Cat phone app.

Richard Young, 49, was born on Ramea Is­land, but has lived in Corn­wall, Ont., since he was 22.

When he re­turned to New­found­land to at­tend a funeral in Pla­cen­tia re­cently, he was sur­prised by how suc­cess­ful New­found­land Talk­ing Tom had be­come.

“I had peo­ple com­ing up to me in droves to say hi,” said Young. “I was flab­ber­gasted; I couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Some of his most pop­u­lar videos, like “Most im­por­tant job in New­found­land,” have been viewed nearly 350,000 times. One of his ear­li­est videos about the price of oil now stands at more than 370,000 views.

“Any­thing that’s cur­rent or funny, peo­ple seem to grav­i­tate to­wards. It de­pends on how much the video hits a nerve,” he said.

It was while learn­ing to play the gui­tar and per­form mu­sic with his wife that Young first dis­cov­ered the Talk­ing Tom app on his phone.

“We were in the base­ment, think­ing of a song to try and we hit a dry spot and were just mess­ing around on the phone. We found the app and I fired it up and just gave it a shot,” he re­called. “We cracked up laugh­ing at it, and we thought, ‘You know what? Some­one else might get a good laugh out of this.’”

What may sur­prise many is that most of the con­tent pro­duced for New­found­land Talk­ing Tom comes about with lit­tle pre-plan­ning.

“Most of it is just right off the top of my head,” Young said. “Some­times I get a bit of writer’s block and I’ll sit down and put a bit of thought into it and get some­thing on the go. But I’d say eight of 10 ... it’s all done off the top of my head.”

Young is now look­ing to cre­ate a side busi­ness for New­found­land Talk­ing Tom and sell some mer­chan­dise through Face­book, in­clud­ing T-shirts, key chains and phone cases “I’m just in it for the fun, not the money,” he said.

“But I’ve had a lot of re­quests for T-shirts and other things.”

Young hopes his videos show­case not only his love of New­found­land, but his love of the province’s tra­di­tions and its peo­ple.

“My roots run deep, ob­vi­ously,” he said. “Once a New­found­lan­der, al­ways a New­found­lan­der.”

Richard Young

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