The creative minds behind Kid History graced our cover for the Nov./Dec. issue of Utah Valley Magazine. Here’s an insider’s look at some of our own “snippets” we learned about Kid History:
1. Many have tried to copycat Kid History. The group’s attorney asked them how they felt about the Subway commercials that have adults mouthing with children’s voices. Dave Roberts told her they didn’t care at all. Brett Roberts explained, “Using a kid voice when you tell them exactly what to say is minimally entertaining. But if you can get them to forget you are filming, that’s when entertainment comes in. We were filming a Kid Snippet about basketball, and two kids were talking to each other when one of them refused to talk about basketball. She was getting angry — and it was hilarious!”
2. Episode 5 is the first time they used kids that weren’t their own offspring. The brothers went to New York to pick up Randy Roberts from dental school and filmed kids while they were out there.
3. The Kid History guys use Google Docs to write up possible stories from their past. Then they choose whichever one is best and use a list of bullet points to tell the story. The average length of “script” is one page.
4. Brett and Randy both served LDS missions to Chile but were there nine years apart. Episode 3 is a combination of their experiences in South America.
5. Dave Roberts was laying out on the beach with his family when a stranger stopped and wanted to talk about Kid History. Thirty minutes later, the Roberts family resumed their vacation. People also approach when they are eating. “I can’t imagine any celebrity I would do that to,” Dave says.
6. Possible spoiler alert! The Kid History boys got excited, animated and giggly telling me about an eccentric piano teacher who was very particular with how he used his own fingers — he wouldn’t carry in groceries because it might damage his digits. Sounds like an episode in the making …
7. Mary Roberts Smith, the mother of the Roberts boys, fed them healthy food from the time they were little. “We were eating wheatgrass 36 years ago before it was popular,” Brett says.
8. The four Roberts boys who star in Kid History also have two older brothers and two older sisters. One of the older brothers pulled Dave aside at one point when they were growing up and said, “It’s OK to do dumb things, but you can’t get caught. You have to plan this stuff out!”
9. Richard Sharrah (the only non-Roberts in the group) grew up in Oklahoma and moved to Australia for 8th and 9th grade. Then he yearned for big city life and moved to New York to study acting, which is where he met Randy and became part of the family. Now he lives in American Fork with the family of a producer he’s worked with on various acting projects. “His kids love Kid History, so they like having me around,” Richard says.
10. Richard has a twin brother who once found a question online asking, “Is Richard Sharrah of Kid History married?” There were 200 comments below, but the answer is simple: No!
11. They filmed parts of Episode 5 up in the mountains at 2 in the morning. At the time Brett declared that they were never making another Kid History episode again. “That one was so hard to get right!” he said.
12. The Kid History boys have been approached along the way to make a TV show and throw in adult content and swearing. They didn’t have to think twice. “It’s called KID History,” Brett says. “We throw those ideas out immediately.” But speaking of Kid History, Brett still isn’t sold on the name. “It sounds like history lessons for toddlers!” he says. “It’s really not a great name.”
13. For Brett’s family Christmas card, they all dressed up in ugly sweaters and sent out the funny photo. Not everyone was sure he was kidding.
14. Growing up, their dad owned a company that was a value-added reseller for HP. The Roberts parents divorced when the boys were mostly raised and out of the house.
15. As a teenager, Dave sold shoes at Sports Stuff in southern California. He and his brothers had compiled a collection of baseball cards worth $5,000, and the owner of Sports Stuff said he could display the collection and sell cards in the store. One day Dave showed up to work and everything was gone and locked up. “He just took everything,” Dave says. “It was all gone.” Dave also took a job at Taco Bell for a few weeks once to earn money for prom.
16. The boys were always playing sports, including an indoor game of hitting a rolled up sock around the house with a tennis racket.
17. Josh Groban once tweeted that his favorite online humor was Kid History. Then the boys asked Josh Groban to be in a Kid Snippet. When Josh had a concert in Utah, he invited all the guys to come backstage. Richard was the only one in town.
18. Mary has eight children, 27 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She proudly showed us pictures of many of them, including photos of Brett teaching his younger brothers how to bake at Christmastime.
19. Mary is an accomplished artist and has taught art lessons for many years, including a job as an art teacher at Liahona. She decided to retire at age 75 (she’s 76 now).
20. In the Christmas episode of Kid History, the boys invited a Jewish friend to come spend Christmas with the Roberts family. It was crazy — of course. The next fall, their mom saw the friend’s father and said that they would love to have his son over for Christmas again this year. He gave a lackluster response so nothing more was said and Christmas came and went. On Valentine’s Day, the Roberts family came home to presents on the porch. They were from the Jewish friend, and he had intended to bring them over for Christmas but hadn’t been invited. Mary felt really bad.
21. Mary took one of her granddaughters to the play area at University Mall awhile back. She made friends and had lots of fun. As she was leaving, the young Roberts girl said to her new friends, “If you want to see me again, look me up on Kid History.” This is one of the reasons the dads don’t let any kids become the “stars” of the series. “We don’t want it going to their heads,” John says.
Bonus: Here is a behind the scene look at our photo shoot with Kid History.