When the host of a new television show for talented youth and seniors on NBC said it was rare to see a 20 year-old and his grandmother be such good friends, this Shelton native showed him they’re far from typical.
Lillian Droniak, or Grandma Lill, 87, of Shelton and her grandson, Kevin Droniak, of Newtown said they surprise many people when they tell them that they are in fact best friends.
Well, Kevin’s best friend is his grandmother and hers is Jesus, but Grandma Lill said her grandson is a close second.
Either way, the relatives-turned-best-friends’ relationship turns many heads and has gained many people’s attention through their popular Youtube channel. The duo has made 224 comedy videos over the last five years, have gained 553,230 subscribers, and more than 46 million views in total.
What began as a funny inside joke for Kevin in his freshman year of high school five years ago has now turned into he and his grandmother’s favorite thing to do together.
“For the first few years my grandma was completely unsuspecting,” said Kevin. “When I was a senior in high school, I had to fill her in because of how many people would approach her in public.”
When the series of videos began, Kevin would create far out stories and pass them off to his grandmother as if they were the truth, while simultaneously recording her priceless unsuspecting reactions.
Five years down the road, the duo has appeared via Skype on the Jimmy Kimmel show and most recently a show on NBC about talented youth and seniors called Little Big Shots.
The show on NBC featuring Grandma Lill and Kevin aired on Wednesday, July 5, and gave them the opportunity to meet and speak with host Steve Harvey.
“I love Steve, he’s great,” said Grandma Lill.
Despite Kevin and his grandmother actually turning their Youtube fun into a source of income, the 20-year-old said his family will not let him give up on his education. Kevin is currently a sophomore at Western Connecticut State University, where he studies communications.
While appearing on Little Big Shots, Harvey asked the duo about a hypothetical scenario where they would be offered a $50,000 a week paying job.
Grandma Lill said she would decline the offer for the both of them.
“You have to finish,” said Grandma Lill. “Money ain’t everything.”
Forming an unbreakable bond
From casual visits that consisted of just hanging out on the couch relaxing to now having week-long road trips from Connecticut to Chicago be filmed by camera crews, Kevin and Grandma Lill said their friendship is one that could never be duplicated.
“I never thought that we would have the relationship that we do, but I’m glad because he’s a lot younger,” said Grandma Lill. “I never ever saw this happening. I thank God that Kevin was born because without you I would’ve never done any of this.”
“Sometime I forget that she’s my actual grandma or that she’s quadruple my age, I don’t know, but it just seems like we’re more friends than anything,” said Kevin.
When they’re not making videos for their Youtube channel, you can catch the unusual pair of best friends hanging out at the local Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse or cruising in traffic.
Kevin said his parents are very supportive of their friendship because it keeps his already busy grandmother occupied and feeling good
“He makes me feel young,” said Grandma Lill who told the Herald she also enjoys swimming in the Shelton Community Center three times a week.
“Sometimes I just head over to her house to hang out and talk about stuff,” said Kevin. “We’re pretty boring but we are really best friends.”
Other times, Kevin heads over to his grandmother’s house with an ulterior motive.
“Sometimes when he comes over I already know that he wants to do a video,” said Grandma Lill jokingly.
Whether they’re reading comments left on their conjoined Instagram account, playing beer pong with prune juice or flip cup with water of course, or just discussing why it’s important for people to appreciate their grandparents the duo always has a good time, according to Kevin.
“Sometimes I think of my own ideas that I think will be fun and get the best reactions out of her,” said Kevin.
Lill has limits
The two discussed possible videos to come, such as a possible play on Uber drivers, their aspirations of taking a tropical trip together, and videos that are off-limits.
“A lot of the things I want to do with her she doesn’t want to do because she thinks that she’s going to get hurt,” said Kevin. “I wanted to go skydiving with her because it’s really fun, but it might be too draining on her.”
The future of Kevin and Grandma Lill
Kevin said it would be cool to eventually reach 1 million Youtube subscribers, but for now he’s enjoying hanging out with his grandmother and creating funny videos for the world to enjoy.
The two did say they have discussed moving out to California together, but not until Kevin finishes college.
“I would move out of my house of 51 years,” said Lill.
A message to their viewers
Bonding through the creation of nearly 250 videos has made Kevin and Grandma Lill appreciate their relationship even more than they already did — so much so that the duo made a video dedicated to people appreciating their grandparents.
“I think it’s good to visit your grandparents because a lot of the time they’re alone, especially if their significant other has passed away. If they’re just chillin by themselves why not go hang out with them?,” said Kevin.
Grandma Lill said she loves Kevin’s company, most of the time at least.
“Sometimes I like to be alone,” she said. “It’s nice and quiet!”