By Donald J. Lee
Sometimes I wonder which grown man plays a little child better, 48-year-old actor Marlon Wayans or 51-year-old TikToker Antonio Jones.
In the 2006 movie “Little Man,” Wayans plays Calvin Simms, a career criminal fresh out of prison who poses as a toddler so that he can win his way into the hearts of a young couple desiring to have a child.
Calvin, 2 feet, 6 inches tall, is left at the doorstep of Darryl and Vanessa Edwards’ home. Calvin’s goal: To retrieve a precious diamond that his partner Percy stashed in Vanessa’s purse earlier in a store while running from the police.
Calvin and Percy follow the unsuspecting couple home. Percy devises the plan for Calvin to pose as a toddler, the only doable strategy to get inside of the Edwards home.
From there, the laughter just goes into a crescendo to the end of the movie. It’s run time: One hour, forty-three minutes.
Jones, who can be found on TikTok by the address @ajballer (or Antonio Jones Plug), has nearly 25,000 followers and is the producer and star of some of the funniest videos on the app. His videos, with a general run time of 60 seconds, have garnered more than 367,000 likes.
In one of his most popular videos, Jones, who lip synchs extremely well, does his own rendition of another video that was on TikTok in which a little boy, known as “Lil’ James,” stands in a car’s opened passenger-side door to keep its driver from backing out of a driveway and leaving with his toddler sister in the back seat.
Jones, as Lil’ James, is demanding that the woman behind the wheel leaves his sister with him. But while he means business about his sister being left in his care, he’s also distracted by the yells of his grandmother, who is calling him from inside the house.
Jones, having Lil’ James’ attitude down pat and showing off an if-looks-can-kill expression directed at the driver as he stands in the doorway, also looks back toward the house to nervously acknowledge his grandmother’s call.
“Give me my sister, man! I’m tired of being (here) arguing with you!!!!” Lil’ James exclaims as he holds the door open.
“Stay right there!!! Stay right there!!! Go in the house!!!” he quickly turns around and yells to his grandmother. “Go in the house!!! I’m trying to come!!!”
“You’re not getting Jada!!! She’s not going with you!!!” the driver shouts.
“I’m getting my lil’ sister!!!” he fires back.
The camera switches from James standing in the doorway to James’ little sister in the back seat sucking on her thumb with a filter depicting colorful flowers wrapped around her head.
What’s just as hilarious and most definitely cute is that Jones also portrays Lil’ James’ sister, who goes from being seemingly unfazed by the commotion to rubbing her eyes while crying.
“@ajballer, dude, you got me crying laughing … U executed the (sh%@) outta this one,” reads one of the 200 comments posted to the video, which has received 2,657 likes — and counting.
The video ends with Lil’ James reluctantly conceding through his actions that this is an argument he won’t win. He walks back toward the house, but not before looking at the driver, balling up his fists and grimacing.
Jones’ videos get funnier and funnier as you scroll and then tap from one to the next and so on and so forth.
The Orlando, Fla, resident, who enjoys going to the gym to play basketball, says posting TikTok videos is gradually catching up to basketball as his favorite pastime, and is just shy of surpassing it.
A manager at Martin-Brower, a warehouse distribution center which serves nearly 500 McDonald’s chains, Jones has been doing TikTok videos for a year now. And if you look closely into some of Jones’ videos, you’ll see something McDonald’s-related.
“One of my friends told me about TikTok. I was like, ‘What is a TikTok?’ because I (at that time) never heard of TikTok,” says Jones, who wondered what his new hobby would be when the gyms were shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “He said, ‘Man, you’ll like it because you’re already silly.’ And I’ve been hooked on it ever since.”
The gyms’ closings meant Jones had nowhere to go to play basketball. Nevertheless, those changes proved to be a slam dunk, or a blessing in disguise. For he now has way more fans as a TikTok sensation than he’s ever had as a player in a pickup game of basketball.
Jones doesn’t only enjoy making videos. He also has fun interacting with fans who leave comments about them.
“I will reply to every comment. I do that on all my videos. I feel like I have to,” he says. “I had a barbecue at my house and one of my partners’ girlfriend mentioned to me that she likes how I reply to everyone’s comments on my page.”
Jones, who’ll be 52 on July 22, says it’s heartwarming to know that his posts have touched the lives of so many people worldwide.
“What really keeps me going is when I found out how much my videos are really helping people get through their day,” says Jones, who tries to make two to three videos a day.
One of Jones’ most adorable videos features him, as a child, wearing a Batman outfit, sitting alongside his 31-year-old daughter, Antoinette, who is dressed in a Batgirl outfit appearing, herself, to be a kid.
That video is captioned “When My Daughter Says She Did Not Want to Do a TikTok.”
When you’re on TikTok, follow “ajballer” and laugh until you feel pain in your abs. Who knows? You just might end up with a six pack.