Tony Bame Is the Pothole King of TikTok

How to go viral from St. Louis: Focus on the one thing we do better than anywhere else

click to enlarge Tony Bame, pothole influencer. - BRADEN MCMAKIN
Tony Bame, pothole influencer.

We all know St. Louis roads are bad, but who knew you could make a whole TikTok channel about it?

A few years ago, Oakville native Tony Bame moved back to St. Louis after living in Los Angeles and started making social media content about the potholes he hit and the aftermath of ridiculous accidents he saw. He often stands in a pothole he just hit and tells you where it is. In one video, he holds up a piece of his car that fell off; in another he has a case of beer in the pothole for scale.

He's now reached more than 8 million views across all his social platforms. Unfortunately, a post earlier this year came at the cost of his car.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

So in a TikTok earlier this year, you said your car was totaled.

I was parked across from the Maplewood Schnucks and someone hit it. They said they were Snapchatting. I wasn’t even in the car. I walked out to it. There were five people around the car screaming, crying, laughing, kind of mocking me about it happening. I was like “Oh my gosh, my car. What did you guys do?” And they’re like “Dude, it’s just a car.” I’m like, “I know, but I really like this car.”

It’ll slow you down finding more potholes.

It has slowed me down, because Enterprise is out of cars right now. But we’re at 1.5 million views, so I guess we’ll make the best of it.

You often stand in potholes you just hit. Isn’t that dangerous?

Sometimes it’s dangerous to get the job done. I may be risking my life, but I could be saving someone else’s. They could break an axle [and] crash into another car. There could be a baby in the car. Who knows? Also, I’m pretty good about timing when I go out there and do it.

In one you said you’d spilled coffee on yourself from Cafe Dulce on the Hill. Was that real?

I spilled it all over me. I hit the pothole and got a flat, so I couldn’t move. I got up in front of the car and said, 'This needs to be fixed.'

You start all of your TikToks with the phrase “Wouldn’t you know it.” Where did that come from?

I have a few creative friends that help me produce the ideas. The brand is “wouldn’t you know it,” but it isn’t just St. Louis. We hope to have an impact on other cities as well. We want to bring light to the kind of situation everyone has to deal with.

Subscribe to Riverfront Times newsletters.

Follow us: Apple NewsGoogle News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS Feed

About The Author

Rosalind Early

Rosalind is the former editor-in-chief of the Riverfront Times. She formerly worked for Washington University's alumni magazine and St. Louis Magazine. In 2018, she was selected as a Rising Leader of Color by the Theatre Communications Group. In 2014, she was selected as an Emerging Leader by FOCUS St. Louis...
Scroll to read more St. Louis Metro News articles


Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.