Roman Atwood's toddler prank: A dad humor fail?

Comedian Roman Atwood might have crossed a line with his recent prank involving his toddler son. What counts as off-limits?

Screenshot from YouTube
A screenshot from Comedian Roman Atwood's YouTube channel shows his wife rushing to save a dummy who she thinks is actually her toddler.

As family traditions go, playing little pranks is pretty commonplace, except when you’re the mother of Roman Atwood's kids, and you end up on YouTube shaking and crying over the lifeless body you think belongs to your toddler, but is really a dummy in a Spiderman costume.

Mr. Atwood may be a good comedian, but as a father he just raised the bar for bad form when he gleefully enlisted his young son Noah and toddler son Kane in making his partner Brittney Smith believe that he had just thrown the toddler off the balcony of their Los Angeles home on November 30.

The setup was that mom came home to find dad playing with the toddler who was wearing a new Spiderman costume, his face covered by the mask.

Then Atwood sends Ms. Smith downstairs to fetch him some water and swaps the toddler for a dummy of the same size already in the same costume.

Dad then lies on his back and holds the dummy Kane  up with his feet to play airplane while calling loudly, “You want to fly? I’ll make you fly.”

Mom has just about enough time to register that the child she’s just seen is resting on Atwood's feet when he suddenly launches the “child” up and over the balcony railing nearby.

Upon discovering the dummy,  Brittney shrieks, “Why would you do that?!” as she trembles in shock. 

“It's just for fun,” Atwood responds through gales of laughter.

She informs him he will be sleeping on the couch and kicks him in the groin, neither of which had much impact, judging from what he posted on his YouTube channel.

“NEW VLOG!! Looks Like It's The Couch for me Tonight :) !! haha thanks for coming along this day with me! Worth IT!! Smile More :),” Atwood posted on his video log on YouTube after the prank.

His fans posted some comments that seem venue-appropriate to a channel largely devoted to the kind of shocking pranks that leave the victims emotionally compromised.

YouTubers posted comments attacking the boys’ mother, one use even telling Smith that she should be grateful that Atwood provides for her through his comedy videos.

As a mom it’s hard to watch the video even when you know what’s coming next.

Seeing Smith react, racing down a flight of stairs only to reach the little body lying on the carpet as she begins keening for her baby, it’s hard not to become angry.

This is not the first time Smith has suffered a prank by her partner - there was the video in which the couple was celebrating their five year dating anniversary in Aruba and Atwood planted a hidden camera and told her he had cheated on her. 

Unfortunately for him, the camera had not gone undetected by her and after his false confession, she too confessed to having strayed. Atwood buys her story hook-line-and-sinker deteriorating into a rage before learning he’s been had.

While parents can still be pranksters with each other and their kids, and laughs are welcome, there should be a common, unwritten rule change: cruelty is off the table. Also, you do not involve the kids in reckless, dangerous, mean, or violent things.

It feels as if Atwood is far from understanding parenthood because he’s still living at life’s kid’s table where he has prospered and provides for his family via monetized videos and merchandise sales.

You can watch their lives play out through a series of inappropriate parenting events, including daddy sucking down helium and then giving it to the young boys at the party to try sucking on helium balloons. While the squeaky voice effect is funny, it is not safe for kids. When dad makes it a joke, it’s hard to not want to imitate him. 

Atwood sells merchandise related to his pranks with the motto, “Smile More.”

Perhaps instead he should be given a shirt to wear that reads, “Think More” or “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Editor's Note: In the original version of this story, Brittney Smith was listed as Brittney Atwood, wife of Roman Atwood. The couple is not married.

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