Spotlight on Content Creator “Dude Dad”

Taylor Calmus, better known as Dude Dad, creates hilarious videos that poke fun at Colorado stereotypes.

Taylor Calmus
Photo by Jake Holschuh.

Taylor Calmus, the Colorado-based comedian and content creator better known as Dude Dad to his millions of followers, is the most popular guy in his neighborhood—and not just because of his widely watched comedy skits about parenthood, marriage, and life in Colorado. Sometimes, life imitates art for Calmus, who has a knack for finding that fine line between dad jokes and fatherly wisdom. Take, for example, his children’s book, Dad and the Recycling-Bin Roller Coaster, about a loving father’s over-the-top DIY project to build his kids the best day ever. “When my kids saw the book, they felt cheated, so I had to build a backyard roller coaster for them,” Calmus tells me over coffee and animal crackers on a rainy morning this spring. “Now it is even permitted by the city, and all the neighborhood kids come over to ride it.” I met Calmus, his wife Heidi, and their four children at the family’s Fort Collins home for a chat about Dude Dad’s funny family guy persona, creative process, and transplant stereotypes. Here’s what he had to say.

On his transplant story: “We’re originally from the Dakotas. Then we spent 10 years in Los Angeles where I was pursuing acting, and Heidi was pursuing me. I started doing Dude Dad when Heidi was pregnant, and staying in L.A. seemed unrealistic. We decided to move to Colorado, bought our house sight unseen, and have loved Fort Collins ever since. We love cul-de-sac life and have no plans of moving.”

On raising good natives: “We just try to push them outside all the time. Theo and Otto are down there right now trying to put on their mud boots and crawl through the kitty door to play in the rain. We just try to have them be a part of their community, keeping them active and off screens.”

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On his favorite ChapStick brand: “Oh man, I just grab whatever I can. I just lose it all the time. I could buy a three-pack and it’s gone in three days. The sun, it’s a thing here and will get you real fast. You don’t realize it.”

On Colorado content: “We waited a full year before making a Colorado video to make sure we nailed it. The positioning is super important. Like for the Colorado Transplant School video, I had to realize it’s really the Front Range Transplant School. On the Western Slope, it’s Coors Light and Carhartt, not IPAs and Patagonias.”

On advice for new dads: “Just be present and live in the moment and enjoy the chaos. If you aren’t overwhelmed, you probably aren’t doing it right. And if you are a Colorado dad, buy a house with a south-facing driveway.”

On naming kids: “Yeah, we poke fun at names like Aspen and Chaco, but we named our son Kelso, which is a mountain in Colorado. And now, HuffPost includes Kelso on their list of trending 2024 baby names because of us. Well, and Ashton Kutcher.”

On classic spouse fights: “What’s cool about these skits is that they are all based on actual fights we have. And working on the scripts is a great form of therapy for me. I have to really understand Heidi’s mindset in the fight to make each side compelling and validate both people. For a classic Colorado version, we would probably be fighting about who gets to ski Keystone on the powder day, and who stays behind to watch the kids. Or who gets to park their car in the garage, not that we have room in there for a car anyways.”

On their favorite gear in the garage: “For me, it’s all the bikes. We love to get out on all the trails around us and are pushing for a bike park in Fort Collins. Last winter for Heidi, it was the leaf blower she used to get snow off her car.”

On what his kids have taught him: “Don’t sweat the small stuff. They want to jump in a mud puddle and I’m all worried about them getting dirty. But really, why? We will wash it all anyway, so go have fun.”

On upcoming content: “We are adding an addition to our house this summer, which will produce lots of great content from DIY videos to comedy skits.”