When the Ravens face their archenemy the Steelers at Heinz Field on October 1, Curt Wootton will be watching the game on TV at his Pittsburgh, PA, home. But the actor, a diehard Pittsburgh fan, will be doing more than rooting for his black-and-yellow heroes.
He’ll be getting fodder for his wildly popular YouTube series, Pittsburgh Dad, on which he plays an earnest, blue-collar father who dispenses his own brand of wisdom and has the bad luck to live next door to a Baltimore fan named Tom. His neighbor, of course, bleeds purple, irking Dad to no end.
The mostly three-minute episodes, directed by Pittsburgher Chris Preksta and co-written with Wootton, imitate the style of a ’70s sitcom (laugh track and all) with Wootton addressing characters never seen by the audience.
“That’s the best part,” says Wootton. “The fans make up in their own heads what the characters look like.”
Brace yourself, Baltimore. Here’s how Wootton imagines our brethren: “He wears sweatpants, a stained wife-beater [shirt], flip-flops, is a little overweight and hairy.” Ouch.
But the sitcom, with more than 22 million viewers, is more jocular than mean-spirited, even if you’re not waving a Terrible Towel. “We’re not above poking fun at ourselves,” Preksta says. “Dad has to take his medicine. He gloats when [the Steelers] win and stews when they lose.”
Ravens fan Tony Mayes, a landscape contractor who lives in Towson, relates to Dad since he and his Steelers-loving brother have a similar rivalry. “It’s a great character, a great shtick,” says Mayes. “It’s extremely entertaining.”
There are also segments set in Ocean City—yup, our Maryland resort—a vacation haven for many Steel City citizens. In real life, Wootton makes the trek himself with his wife, Kaitlin. He has even held a meet-and-greet in the beach town, and he and Preksta would like to do the same in Baltimore one of these days. (Brave man!)
For now, the duo is working on a feature-length film about Pittsburgh Dad and taunting us from afar. But there is common ground, Wootton assures us: “I believe we both hate the New England Patriots. We hate them more than we hate each other.”