It all started back in sixth grade in Harlingen. Parker Coppins played a quack doctor on the stage. A few funny lines had the audience roaring with laughter and Parker was hooked — forever.
His smile, laugh and personality say it all — along with his many voices and silly nature, all of which are highlighted on a new Disney XD channel show called Parker Plays.
Aimed at teenagers, Parker uses his gaming skills and goofiness to entertain on his new show, which premiered earlier this month and is on four days per week.
But, Parker is quick to point out it is a team effort.
“We are able, with Disney’s help, to create these epic skits that are essentially just a couple of guys spit-balling for a while,” he said. “At one point, we have a choreographed, uncut samurai battle between myself and the crew of the show. It’s tremendous.”
However, anytime he appears on camera, it is obvious Parker has “it” and steals the show and he is “great on his feet.”
But, he also has goals other than what he is doing now.
“Stick a camera in front of me with a prop in my hand and I’ll give it everything that I have, but I definitely would like to work on acting itself,” he said. “It’s hard to tap into the emotional side of yourself that feels authentic to an audience. It’s a hard balance as well because you want the emotion to look real, but humans are fragile.”
A resident of Harlingen since the age of 4, Parker attended Calvary Christian School and Harlingen High School. He participated in plays at Calvary with Dr. Leibert, a local physician being his mentor and inspiration.
At age 16, Parker spent eight months in Los Angeles where he had a supporting actor role in a Lifetime movie and a few commercials.
He returned to Harlingen for some time, but is now back in L.A. where he is following his dreams with his own show.
“I am certainly surprised by my success,” he said. “To be fair, getting to this point doesn’t come without hundreds of sleepless nights, but it also comes with a tremendous amount of people who push you and believe in what you are trying to do.”
Parker’s acting credits
2016 – Go90 show Adventure Room – Four gamers discover the whereabouts of a secret real life video game portal only to discover its original creator is on the run.
Parker says: They locked four gamers into a white box with a projector shining onto walls. With some sort of magic, we could interact with the walls and we had to solve the puzzles to escape. It was a great time but also quite challenging.
2014 – The Black Tape – An intruder breaks into the home of an unsuspecting family in order to make a homemade murder film.
2011 – Born Bad – A young woman falls for a mysterious man who reveals his dark side.
Parker says: Long story short, it gets nasty. At one point I was tied up in duct tape for 12 hours a day, but I got to stab a guy with a retractable knife, so all was worth it on my end.
You may know Parker from …
ParkerGames – This is a YouTube Minecraft channel which grew in popularity and recently hit 300,000 subscribers.
He started the channel after returning from LA as well as pursuing other projects before submitting several pilots to Disney.
Parker on his future goals …
“I would love to work on a feature film. I really enjoy being the comedic relief and making people laugh is my all-time favorite thing, but I would love to dig a little deeper. I would love to play a young man who is recovering from something terrible that happened in his past and his story is about how he is coping with it. I think it would be a great change of pace, while also being incredibly challenging.”
About a year in the making, his new gaming show on Disney XD premiered earlier this month, on July 17, and is on Monday through Thursdays at 9 p.m. The show is essentially YouTube gaming channel with a bigger team. Parker plays video games for a few hours and that video is sent through the editors and the talented team to write skits and shorts which are then mixed into the game play.
Parker says: Whoever said you can’t a make living playing video games?
The daily show will run the remainder of the summer as part of a programming effort for young teens. Parker also is expected to be a guest on other new shows on the channel.
Family is everything
His parents Mark and Darla Coppins live in Harlingen. Mark is the pastor at First Christian Church and Darla works at Salazar Insurance Group. Parker’s older sisters, Kaitlin and Ashley, graduated from Harlingen High School and live in Austin and Oregon.
Parker says: My mom moved with me to L.A. when I was 16. We lived in a lady’s garage that we barely knew and ate beans and rice because that’s all we could afford, and my dad stayed in Harlingen and worked very hard to make sure that I could stay out there for as long as I could.
Without their unending support with acting, gaming, YouTube, and now the show, there is absolutely no way that I could possibly be here right now. I owe it all to them and the incredible people that I grew up in church with. I was able to watch the show on TV with my parents recently when they came to visit, and it just reminded me that I have the greatest parents any kid could have asked for.