If you've tuned into Vine lately and follow some of its famous families—from BatDad to Josh Darnit—you'll recognize the Eh Bee Family out of Toronto, Canada, whose lol-worthy videos are responsible for their ever-growing fanbase of 10 million followers. The wholesome family of four—Mama Bee, Papa Bee, Mr. Monkey and Miss Monkey—keep their giggle game strong, producing video after video across the breadth of social media apps and collaborating with YouTube stars like Miranda Sings and GloZell Green.
While on the set of a video shoot with Parents.com, and on the first day of a cross-country road trip courtesy of their latest promotional deal, Flonase Allergy Relief, the famous foursome opened up about their secret to skyrocketing success on social media, why they never reveal their real names, and how they somehow manage to live their lives as a totally normal family next door, despite getting recognized every time they go out for a milk run.
Parents.com: How'd you get started?
Papa Bee: We've always been making funny videos online, since the Monkeys have been babies, but we started around three years ago on Vine. We just started making funny little clips and it just took off and become viral. We put up more family-friendly content and then decided to go on YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram, and now we're all over the place.
PB: It was a really simple app, where we could record six-second looping videos, so it was really easy for us to just get on and make something really quick and put it out there. And it almost became addictive, because we'd do something and it'd do well and then we would just post something else and then that would do well, and we just blew up from there.
A lot of people try to get started on video apps like Vine and fail. What made you take off?
PB: I think the secret for us is just being ourselves and having fun with it and creating content that people can relate to and share.
A lot of Vine content is not so family-friendly. Do you guys feel like the odd ones out?
Mama Bee: Things like moral values and integrity have always been important to us since we had children, so we wanted to share our parenting style with everybody and the fact that you can have fun as a family, with your children, and enjoy the same things. Papa Bee and I kind of feel like big kids. We enjoy the same things as our kids, and laugh with them and that's what I think the world likes to see. I think people really appreciate the clean content as well, because we get a lot of messages from parents saying, "Thank you because I can leave my child watching your videos and I don't have to worry."
How'd you come up with the name—Eh Bee Family?
MB: "Eh Bee" are the initials of Papa Bee's name. When he first started out on Vine, he used his real name, but when he saw that the numbers were jumping high very quickly, we decided to go another route because we do like our privacy, we do like our anonymity and it kind of gives it an element of mystery.
Do you get recognized a lot?
MB: Absolutely. We can't go and get milk without someone coming up to us and saying, "I just want you to know I love your family and I appreciate what you do." Even at the airport, the border security officer said, "Please don't ever stop what you're doing. You make so many people laugh and feel good." And that's such a nice feeling.
Kids: How do you two juggle school alongside it all?
Mr. Monkey: My teachers are very flexible with giving me homework and if they don't give me homework while I'm on a trip, they catch me up when I get back.
MB: And while I'm on the road I work with them on their schoolwork.
And do the kids acknowledge what you do at school?
MM: Ninety percent of the time, people know at school who we are on the internet, and usually what they ask is, "Where are you going this time?"
MB: It's always an adventure.
So who comes up with all the video ideas?
PB: Mainly me, but I do get a lot of feedback from the family and Mama Bee is good at coming up with really funny ideas.
MB: I come up with the more relationship stuff, and we come up with the family stuff together. We get a lot of input from the kids and we alway want to respect them in their views with everything that we do.
Does it ever start to feel more like a job than fun?
MB: Absolutely not. I think making the world laugh is the coolest job ever. So we're very thankful.