LAKE STEVENS — Eight months ago, Brett Kelly was a mild-mannered salesman at the Alderwood Macy’s.
Thanks to a pandemic, he’s now on national TV, rocking out with a pumpkin over his head.
Kelly’s TikTok video “Pumpkin Man” aired Friday on CBS’s “The Greatest #AtHome Videos,” hosted by actor and comedian Cedric the Entertainer.
In the video, Kelly, 24, wears a white lab coat over black tights as he dances through the streets to “Spooky, Scary Skeletons.”
He has 1.4 million followers and 36 million likes on TikTok. “Pumpkin Man” is one of hundreds of videos he has made over the years. This was his first TV exposure. The show reached out to him. A CBS producer said: “The video is very Halloween, as well as entertaining, original, and just oddly watchable.”
Scroll through the TikTok feed for BrettKelly1 to see the range of his slapstick humor. His lanky body moves with elasticity, his facial expressions exaggerated.
“I have a lot of props and costumes and I like to play a lot of different characters, like the Grinch and my grandma characters,” he said.
In some videos, he’s a booty-shaking “Grandma Gertrude.”
Last Halloween, he reported to work at Macy’s in a grandma getup.
“When he came in I didn’t know it was him at first,” said Hawar Zebari, a Macy’s sales supervisor. “He was our winner for the Halloween contest.”
Another time Kelly did a juggling act at a store event, as shown in a TikTok video.
“His videos are hilarious,” Zebari said. “At work, he was a hard worker.”
Kelly’s pandemic layoff from Macy’s, where he last sold women’s shoes, allowed more time to do videos, which bring in a little money.
COVID influenced some videos, such as washing his hands so much they become skeleton bones and wielding a measuring tape as a patrolling professional social distancer.
Kelly said it takes 30 minutes to five hours to make a video, not including editing time.
“I’m like my own little film crew,” he said. “I like to focus on different filming techniques and try to incorporate it into comedy sketches.”
Skits include “How NOT to Mow Your Lawn” and “Annoying Things People Do.”
“I want to make people smile with the content I create and the stories I have to tell,” he said. “Even if it’s public humiliation, like smearing glitter on my face.”
His “Glitter Man” video went viral. “That one got 1.8 million likes and upwards of 20 million views,” he said.
Kelly applied real glue to his body before adding glitter.
He didn’t stop there. He lathered his face with tomato sauce, then stuck on pepperoni and cheese, melted by a hair dryer, to become “Pizza Man.” In the birthday cake video he appears to get into the oven. He doused himself in mustard to become Pikachu.
He shops at dollar stores for supplies.
And yes, it makes a huge mess. He said the videos were made with the blessing of his parents when he was home from college.
Kelly, now of Lake Stevens, grew up in Mill Creek and was home-schooled until the ninth grade. He graduated from Cedar Park Christian School in Bothell and with a degree in theater performance from Seattle Pacific University.
“I love doing character acting and comedy skits,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to get into the acting world. I’m planning to move to L.A. eventually and start auditioning.”
Macy’s shoppers and dollar store clerks can say they knew him when.