GFS grad, pandemic victim, now brilliant YouTube maven

Posted 5/13/20

John Paterson, who grew up on West Mermaid Lane and graduated from Germantown Friends School, has made 27 YouTube videos for “The John Paterson Show” while in isolation on a wide variety of …

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GFS grad, pandemic victim, now brilliant YouTube maven

John Paterson, who grew up on West Mermaid Lane and graduated from Germantown Friends School, has made 27 YouTube videos for “The John Paterson Show” while in isolation on a wide variety of topics such as political and historical subjects, current events, etc.

by Len Lear

Lots of people stuck at home because of the pandemic are cleaning out the house, doing more home cooking than they have in years, reading books that had been gathering dust, playing games from the back of a closet with the children, gardening, etc., but John Paterson is the only person I know who is taking this opportunity to begin a whole new creative venture — making YouTube videos (27 so far) of “The John Paterson Show,” such as a hilarious episode about what $2 trillion would buy (if it was not allegedly being sent to millions of Americans) and serious, thought-provoking ones about political and historical subjects, current events, etc.

“My husband and I think John is articulate, very smart, interesting, clever and very ambitious to do this on his own,” said Margie Gleit, Ambler resident, formerly of Mt. Airy, who brought John's videos to our attention.

John, 43, grew up in Chestnut Hill on West Mermaid Lane, graduated from Germantown Friends School in 1994 and spent two years at the University of Rochester, but he has lived in the San Francisco Bay area since 1998, six years in Oakland and the rest in the Mission District of San Francisco.

“I left Philadelphia because I was curious,” he said. “I had seen quite a bit of the east coast but wanted to see more of the west, California specifically. I also wanted to drive across the country. I convinced a friend to join me, and we no idea where we would end up. One of my first jobs was actually selling coupon books for golf courses. I would sneak around office buildings and try to sell them to people in their cubicles. It was fun, and I got to see most of the Bay Area after a short time.”

Eventually John wound up performing in a few bands, making a few documentaries and  working in the “Events” industry for over a decade until the pandemic hit like a hammer. “Our industry was one of the first to shut down due to physical distancing,” said John. “So, combining my desire to perform and my knowledge of audio and video equipment, starting a YouTube show came to mind immediately. I knew I would be stuck at home without work and that I would have the time to develop it.”

John made the first video on March 19. He usually picks a topic and starts researching it, writes a script, records the video, edits and releases it. It is obvious that considerable research goes into them. Watching the videos feels like taking a really compelling college course.

“My ambition for these videos is hopefully to educate viewers with a balanced in-depth, fact-based viewpoint ... and at the same time make my own opinion known. I also aim to talk about stories and issues that are not on the mainstream media sites.”

Contrary to the catastrophic effect the pandemic has had on so many people, it has not been disastrous for John. “To be honest,” he explained, “it’s made me happier and healthier. I feel less stressed, and I’ve been eating better. I worry, of course, about the future, especially in terms of the kind of work I do. I worry that concerts and events won’t fully return to normal for a while … but if I could live anywhere on earth, it would be in any cabin in any forest. I’m happiest in the woods.”

Paterson's latest video (as of this writing) on May 4, just over seven minutes, is called: “Conspiracy: China Must Pay.” It starts out with these words on the screen: “If the Chinese virus had started in the U.S., it would have been crushed in minutes! But China put this virus out on purpose and hid it from the world … or did it?”

Paterson proceeds to make the case that although China did in fact conceal information about the pandemic in Wuhan early on, as one would expect from a dictatorship with no free press, nevertheless, “The U.S. needs a scapegoat and a distraction from the embarrassing reality of a failure to prepare for the pandemic that they knew was coming.”

Although President Trump now says he knew nothing about the pandemic until March, Paterson quotes several sources demonstrating clearly that the administration knew at least two months before March of the coronavirus and its lethal consequences. One such source Paterson shows was the Centers for Disease Control website on Jan. 7 confirming the outbreak; another is a video of Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, standing in front of President Trump at one of his “briefings” in March admitting that “we were alerted Jan. 3” of the outbreak.

Paterson's father and step-mother, Morton Paterson and Susan Blair, are East Mt. Airy residents and actors who perform regularly in area community theaters. His brother, Ben, is a nationally acclaimed jazz pianist.

To see John's YouTube videos, Google “The John Paterson Show.” Len Lear can be reached at


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