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.”