It’s hard to predict what kid performer is going to be the next big thing. We’ve had Mister Rogers, Elmo, who was always a hit, and then there’s Blippi. He was one of the first to get huge on YouTube, curating videos aimed at kids’ education right at the same time screen time became a parenting survival tactic. We no longer felt guilty popping our kids in front of a tablet while watching a grown man excitedly discuss the alphabet and show off why the museum is so fun to visit. And it was great, for a while. Now, years later, fans are furious that there’s been a Blippi switch, but to be honest, it’s probably a good thing anyway. Here’s what went down.
Blippi, whose real name is Stevin John, started his YouTube channel in 2013 after leaving the Air Force and working as a marketing consultant for a brief time. After inspiration struck from his nephew, Stevin created the character of Blippi, and his YouTube channel was born.
Now, 12.5 million subscribers on his channel have watched over 258 videos that have totaled more than 9.5 billion views. He’s also created a toy line, merchandise that includes t-shirts and costumes, and launched a live tour across the country.
Blippi, and thus Stevin, has faced a few levels of controversy since his fame grew. Including the unearthing of a video, Stevin posted to YouTube, years before his Blippi persona, when he was known as Steezy Grossman. And his most famous video as Steezy was when he pooped on his friend.
As BuzzFeed reported in 2019, Stevin as we know him now, used to be Stephen Grossman, and in his Steezy persona’s claim to fame was a video where “Stevin ‘Blippi’ John takes an explosive diarrhea sh*t on his nude friend’s *ss in a truly shocking rendition of the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme,” the publication reported. And Stevin admitted it was him. “Yes, I did make a gross-out comedy video when I was in my early twenties, long before I started Blippi,” Stevin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News in 2019.
It seems like Stevin went through the hassle of changing his name so it wouldn’t be too obvious that the man who made videos titled ” Underwear Man” and “Turd Boy” was the same person providing that guilt-free screen time to our kids. Still, parents were unfazed. By that point, their kids were obsessed with Blippi, and a poop video wasn’t going to stop that.
But, when Blippi and his production company announced a Blippi Live Tour that wasn’t as advertised, parents were turning their backs on the child entertainer. He sold out tickets to concerts across the country where kids could sing along in person with their favorite entertainer. That’s not what happened, though. Instead, parents and their kids were met with a Blippi on the stage that wasn’t the real Blippi; as in Stevin, it was another man named Clayton Grimm.
People were outraged but moved on and were happy to still have the original Blippi on YouTube. But outrage is happening all over again. Why? Well, that same fake-not-real Blippi, played by Clayton, is now on the YouTube channel.
An Instagram post announced the return of Clayton, aka the “Blippi from the live show.” The post continued, “Due to popular demand, we are bringing more Blippi from The Live Show to you all! Don’t miss the launch of ‘Learn with Blippi’ tomorrow on Blippi’s YouTube channel. Who’s ready!?,” the post reads.
Parents were not cool, and outrage followed. Parents were confused by the decision; did anyone really like this Blippi version? It doesn’t seem that way, but all-in-all, maybe this Blippi switch is a good thing? Like it’s probably a positive to not have the same guy who thought he’d get famous by crapping on his friend and posting it for the world to see?
Clayton seems genuinely nice. And he’s done everything from teaching elementary music and chess. He keeps the same energy as Stevin, has the same over-the-top outfit, and the vibe seems very similar to the Blippi shows our kids are obsessed with.
So, yes, it’s a different Blippi. But if our kids can’t tell the difference between dressed-up Santa at the mall; they’re not going to care about this “fake” Blippi. And at least we don’t have to think about that poop video every time our kid jumps on the latest upload.