The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Pranking Grandma As An Old Man

Entered in Facebook


The idea behind this video is very personal to both me and Granny. My grandfather, her husband, passed away 35 years ago. I never had the chance to meet him, but he was a very important person in her life. He was a natural comedian and would have loved what Granny and I do with our videos. Her goofy side didn’t really come out until after he was gone, so I wanted to find a way to resurrect his kind of humor and “hang out” with Granny to watch the two brands of humor collide. While she loves being around younger folks, I wanted this prank to feel more familiar to her. Obviously, the extensive makeup and prosthetics needed to transform me into “The Old Man” highlight all that does change with age, but the goal for this video (as with all of our content) was to showcase the aspects of our elders that remain funny, cool, and just as valuable as they were when they were younger. 

Strategy and Execution

It actually took years of planning to bring the pieces together for this video. First, we needed to find special effects makeup artists to create and apply the prosthetics — all of whom work in Los Angeles, while Granny and I both live in Ohio. We needed to plan out every detail, coordinate schedules, and travel to the West Coast within the very small window of time when all involved were available, including celebrity guest, Howie Mandel, who made a cameo. The day of filming, I was in the makeup chair for six hours. Meanwhile, we needed to distract Granny from catching onto us by making it seem like a typical day in LA, all while hiding the cameras and crew that were capturing everything in real time. When all was said and done, we were kind of shocked by how long I’d been able to hang out with Granny without her realizing it was me, her grandson, under the mask. I’d never seen that done before in this way, and the prank’s success speaks to the skills of our team and overall vision. It was also one of our longest and most complex shoots to date, involving several scenes, location changes, and lighthearted but layered storytelling. While many other entertainers have put in the time in the makeup chair and dressed like an “old-timer” for a comedy skit, we’d never seen it done like this (e.g., successfully pranking a close family member). It was a wholesome comedy piece and ended up being one of our favorite videos we ever made.


This video surpassed all of our expectations. It was a home run across all metrics. From the makeup to the execution, everything went off seamlessly without a hitch, and Granny still talks about it today. To date, it has garnered 2 million views on Facebook with 1.2K comments and 36K likes. Fans expressed how much they love our close grandmother/grandson relationship, and many commented that the video inspired them to reach out, rebuild and/or strengthen their own family relationships. We also received some comments criticizing me for confusing Granny (understandable, but she didn’t mind, I swear) and some that suggested that Granny may have actually had a crush on Frank — all of which reveal just how beloved Granny is and the kind of impact she continues to make through our content.


Video for Pranking Grandma As An Old Man

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Ross Smith & Granny, Ross Smith & Granny

Entry Credits