One of the ways that Michael McCormick, a 2009 Washington High School graduate, stayed in touch with home as he studies at Purdue University in Indiana and participates in an internship in Vermont is watching the online comedy “Pittsburgh Dad.”
Hundreds of miles from the region, he can see comforting Terrible Towels and hear the Pittsburgh paterfamilias prattle on in two-minute snippets about “dahntahn” and needing to “redd up” bedrooms.
This past week, McCormick did more than watch an episode – he participated in one.
In celebration of the 100th episode of “Pittsburgh Dad,” which is posted weekly on YouTube, McCormick submitted a video of himself doing his best Pittsburgh Dad impersonation. Among the scores of entries, which were requested by creators Chris Preksta and Curt Wootton, McCormick's made the cut. It was included prominently in the 100th episode, which is a montage of the best of the submissions.
For the occasion, McCormick donned a fake beard and the same sort of unfashionable glasses sported by Wootton when he plays Pittsburgh Dad, and read from a script that was available to be downloaded from the show's website. McCormick had an inkling he would make the cut when the Pittsburgh Dad folks made positive remarks about his entry in online comments, but he was surprised by just how much time he got when the video went up Tuesday.
“It was overwhelming how many people were actually watching,” McCormick pointed out by phone Thursday from Burlington, Vt. “Even people who aren't from Pittsburgh were watching.” As of Friday afternoon, the 100th episode was viewed a bit more than 21,000 times.
A fan of “Pittsburgh Dad” since it bowed in 2011, McCormick is confident he has seen every episode. A veteran of high school and middle school theatrics, it wasn't a stretch for him to memorize lines, take on the accent and put on the fake beard. In the video, McCormick fires off zingers about taking out the trash, kids avoiding chores and the frustration of finding another disc in his “Iron Eagle” DVD case. Getting the lines down took a couple of hours, McCormick said, while he managed to get the performance down in about 30 minutes, using a video camera.
Though his thespian skills have won a fairly wide audience thanks to “Pittsburgh Dad,” it will likely remain an avocation for McCormick, who is majoring in landscape architecture at Purdue – a long way from any of the “Pittsburghese” that makes up the patois of Pittsburgh Dad.
“I have relatives who are big on Pittsburghese, but I don't really have a Pittsburgh accent,” he noted.