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Donald Trump is the Laziest Parody Account on Twitter

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I’d like to think I know a thing or two about parody Twitter accounts. I have roughly four failed accounts and one that is successful, so I know what works and what doesn’t–with years of experience to back up my findings. That is why I can proudly say, without a doubt, that Donald Trump is the LAZIEST effing parody account Twitter has ever seen.

I mean, I saw Adele Dazim Twitter accounts that tried harder than Donald Trump. He’s the only person I’ve seen on Twitter whose parody accounts of himself do a better job at being him than he does. He has absolutely know idea how to grasp the power of nuance, and while that may have been the lacking quality that got him elected, it is simply not sustainable when playing the long game.

The most important thing to keep in mind when developing a parody Twitter account, is to constantly find a way to reinvent it before it gets stale and people start to unfollow you. Donald Trump has zero desire to build or grow his parody account as is evident if you analyze his social media presence since the inauguration. Let’s begin with one of his more recent tweets:

Seriously, man, this is some lazy ass garbage tweet if I ever saw one!

Let’s humor him for a minute, and assume his statement regarding CNN, ABC, and NBC is correct. Let’s also assume that his supporters believe it as fact. Then, the only opinions he needs to sway are that of liberals, democrats, snowflakes, and late night television. If you’re trying to get people to listen to you, there must be some element of subtlety and presence of literal facts. Don’t just scream at me, Mr. President. Manipulate me into wanting to look into seeing things from your point of view. You’re not winning any fans that you already don’t have. You got those fans during the campaign. You’re going to have to do more now. What did I say earlier about parody account longevity? IT NEEDS CONSTANT REINVENTION. Tweet of God became a Broadway play. Miranda Sings became a television show. If you continue to throw the same mundane nonsense into the ether, even your most devoted followers will get bored. It’s the reason I no longer make as many jokes about Cats. This social media behavior from out President is both #lazy and also #sad.

OMG seriously WTF is this nonsense!? Did you have this tweet saved in your draft folder from August and just decided to hit SEND on a random Saturday morning two weeks into your term? So lazy, man! We’ve heard it before and GET IT. You’re like those people who button ironic questions about themselves with “asking for a friend.” SO LAZY.

HOLY STINKBALLS, you are well over four years into your parody account and you still haven’t figured out a consistent sentence structure? I mean, you’ve got random spaces in between punctuation marks, and then a period after an ampersand–the entire thing is just a mess! If your brand is to be loose and casual, or to sound like an alien who doesn’t understand human language, @jonnysun already does that better. Parody accounts are only successful when they are UNIQUE, and you sir, are just poorly navigating well-trodden territory. You have to try harder, man, or people are going to unfollow you!

I could abrasively blabber on, but then I’d risk being as bad at getting my point across as our nation’s president. I only ask that if you are considering creating a parody Twitter account, learn from those who have done it right, and pray that President Trump starts to try a little bit harder and be a little more calculated online as soon as possible.

#covfefe

9 Times I Shoehorned Jurassic Park References Into Annoying Actor Friend

By ANDREW BRIEDIS

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Today, July 13th, 2016, marks the fourth anniversary of when I created Annoying Actor Friend. I was bored out of my mind and had nothing better to do on an extremely hot day. Nothing has changed! Hence this blog post.

Yesterday, I asked a friend, “How should I celebrate my parody Twitter account’s birthday tomorrow?” Upon hearing those words come out of my mouth un-ironically, I promptly asked the universe to send an asteroid to my GROWN ASS ADULT’S house because that is some serious Millennial bullshit. But, hey, look around, look around… Pokemon GO is still a thing after an ENTIRE WEEK. We get to be children forever now!

Publicly celebrating the birthday of a parody Twitter account is probably the most #ShamelessSelfPromoting thing ever, which is certainly “on brand” for Annoying Actor Friend, and when it comes to brands that define myself, Jurassic Park is pretty much the only thing I’ve got going on right now. So, for this blog post that I am 100% certain that nobody will read, I’d like to list and annotate all of the times I shoehorned Jurassic Park references into the voice of a character that was created to satirize the life of a Broadway actor. Think of this as my version of the #Hamiltome, except without the insightful stuff and more Jeff Goldblum.

1.) Spielberg Don’t Give a Shit

In the Smash blog, “Spielberg Don’t Give a Shit” (Mar. 2013) I gave Mr. Spielberg a few GREAT suggestions for how to up Smash‘s rating by using elements from some of his most famous films. I’ve spoken greatly about how of the 20+ Smash recaps/blogs I wrote in the winter/spring of 2013, this one marks as my favorite. It was the first time I made a series of memes, and I am still proud of this one:

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While I was actually giving myself an excuse to devote an entire section of a blog to my favorite Spielberg film, I was too paranoid that one of my friends would pick up on it, so Jurassic Park only gets a tiny mention at the end, urging Smash to “add dinosaurs” to the show.

2.) Mr. DNA Deciphers the Tiered Production Contract

In #SOBLESSED: The Annoying Actor Friend’s Guide to Werking in Show Business (Oct. 2013) — ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! — there is a passage in Chapter 4: “On the Road,” where the Old Annoying Actor Friend explains how the Equity national touring contracts devolved over time. In that section, I gave a nod to Mr. DNA, the cartoon exposition extraordinaire who explains to the audience exactly how Dr. Henry Wu (played by Broadway’s B.D. Wong) was able to clone dinosaurs out of DNA found in fossilized amber by filling in the genome sequencing gaps with the DNA of frogs…

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The highlighted line is verbatim what Mr. DNA says in the film, except it’s said in a labored and exhausted manner because that’s how tedious it is to connect millions of strands of DNA to create one dinosaur. I chose this reference in particular, because upon doing my research, I was equally as exhausted by the confusing manner in which many of the more profitable Equity touring contracts seemed to disappear. It felt about as easy to explain in this book as it would be to revive an extinct animal.

(NOTE: There is also a reference to Game of Thrones within the same sentence. I use many Game of Thrones references in my AAF writing, depending on what time of the year it is. I believe most of my Tonys drinking games have some mention of the show because the season finales are in June).

3.) JURAAF Productions

In the summer of 2014, ten incredible and generous actors (Alan Cumming, Lesli Margherita, Megan Hilty, Julia Murney, Will Swenson, Keala Settle, Tituss Burgess, Krysta Rodriguez, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, and Brian Dennehy), along with two equally incredible and generous audiobook producers/directors (Piper Goodeve and Jayme Mattler) donated their time and talents to the audiobook version of #SOBLESSED, where all proceeds and royalties benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Due to scheduling, the recording of this audiobook began in June 0f 2014, but didn’t wrap until the end of September. So, I had a lot of time to come up with the only piece of new writing this project needed: a production/publisher name. That name wouldn’t need to be established until we had locked down the voice we were looking for to read the opening and closing sections–which included the credits. Naturally, I procrastinated until that time.

In July, we were fortunate enough to grab a few hours of Alan Cumming’s time, so that morning I frantically tried to come up with some sort of title that would live on this project forever…and I still couldn’t use my own name. Borrowing from Jujamcyn Theaters (which derives from the first handful of letters of the names of the original chairman’s grandchildren), I took the first three letters of JURassic Park and the initials of Annoying Actor Friend, to come up with JURAAF PRODUCTIONS. My nickname is also “baby giraffe” because that’s what I look like when I run, so the entire thing worked for me.

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At the end, Alan Cumming reads my full name as executive producer, followed by “JURAAF PRODUCTIONS,” and that is probably the most “hiding in plain sight” moment from when I was anonymous.

You can download the audiobook for FREE, and BC/EFA will still get their donation if you follow these directions: How to Get “#SOBLESSED: the Audiobook” for FREE!

4.) Where’s the goat!?

It wasn’t until June, 2015 that I stopped caring about being found out. I had planned my reveal for December, and Jurassic World was a huge thing at the time, so I thought it was appropriate to bring some truly niche and forced jokes to Twitter.

This is pretty terrible. Edward Albee has a play called The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and Lex Murphy (Ariana Richards) says the famous line, “Where’s the goat?!” before a goat leg drops on their windshield. The word “goat” is about all the two have in common, although I’m sure Edward Albee has at least seen Jurassic Park.

5.) #Sufosteraptor

This is my most favorite tweet I have ever done, or will ever do…

I was on a red-eye coming back from Kauai (where most of Jurassic Park was filmed) and I had left my entire playlist on shuffle as I fell asleep. At some point in the middle of the night, “Gimme Gimme” popped on, I didn’t skip it, and when Sutton Foster got to the lyrics, “clever girl,” my hazy mind went to those two famous words Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) utters to the velociraptor just before she devours him.

6.) Dennis Nedry is #GRATEFUL

#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason (Nov. 2015) — ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY — is the “choose-your-own-show-business-destiny” sequel to #SOBLESSED. It is four times as large as its predecessor, and thus has four times as many references to Jurassic Park.

There are four main stories that break down into close to a hundred smaller stories, depending on which avenues you choose. One in particular, is semi-autobiographical–wherein you quit being an actor, become a personal trainer, and then create a version of Annoying Actor Friend, which in the universe of #GRATEFUL, is called Irritating Performer Pal.

There is a fairly simple exchange your character has with your manager, that I pulled from when John Hammond (Sir Richard Attenborough) bemoans to Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight): “I’m sorry about your financial problems, Dennis, I really am, but they are your problems.”

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It’s kind of a throw-away, but my goal was to get as many in as possible.

7.) Creativity Finds A Way

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If you follow the career transition track in #GRATEFUL, then you reach a point where your character is trying to suppress the creative instincts inside–which goes completely against the nature of an actor, and that isn’t always a good thing. Similarly, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) has a speech near the beginning of the film where he tries to break down how attempting to control nature will always end negatively:

“The kind of control you’re attempting simply is… it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh… well, there it is.” – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

I adapted that passage for the narrator to recite to the reader at the moment they are trying to battle against their own instincts:

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8.) Discipline. Discipline. Discipline.

There was a moment in the very beginning of Annoying Actor Friend (around fall, 2012) when I wasn’t sure how to make the next step. I considered an Instagram account that posted screen caps of “social media offenders” with their names blurred out. I eventually decided against that because it wasn’t providing new content. It just felt like trolling and unnecessary shaming. However, there is a part in the semi-autobiographical section of #GRATEFUL where you can choose that option, and when it backfires, I borrow from the following words so eloquently spoken by the great Jeff Goldblum:

“If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it.” – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

From #GRATEFUL (2015):

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NOTE: There was one final nod to Jurassic Park in #GRATEFUL where I noted that the Times Square Chicago Flyer Girls “do move in herds,” but it was cut because it was the only reference that lived outside of the section that is semi-autobiographical.

9.) The Reveal

When John Hammond and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) are left alone to eat melting ice cream after the power outage, Ellie urges that the animals will defend themselves, “violently if necessary.”

When it came time to write “@AndrewBriedis”, the essay that would reveal my identity, I knew that Jurassic Park would play a small part in it. I made sure to explain how the film inspired me to write Steven Spielberg and ask him to be in the sequel, which ultimately led to me starting youth theatre. I was certain to make a joke about the meme of Sutton Foster with a raptor. And I made sure to include at least one phrase of dialogue in the final sentence. Whether it made sense or not, it was for me, and exactly how I wanted to end that chapter of Annoying Actor Friend…

“Above all, it taught me that you can have an epic passion for something and then one day you might wake up and it’s gone—and that’s OK. Because if you really love it…if it is absolutely a world you’re supposed to be involved with in some way, it will drag you—violently if necessary—back into its arms.”


CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for reading all of that masturbatory crap! Or for at least scrolling to the bottom! These were just the nine times I referenced Jurassic Park that I could rememberWho knows how many were lost after a happy hour.

TUNE IN on Annoying Actor Friend’s 5th birthday, when I list and annotate all of the times I shoehorned in references to Animaniacs.

Why the Tony Awards Need to #PutSimardOn

By Andrew Briedis

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Yo, guys. I’m speaking out of character, as me, Andrew Briedis. I’ve only done this one other time. There will be no forced jokes or ironic hashtags in this piece, because that’s how serious I am about Jennifer Simard. Sorry, TONY EFFING NOMINATED JENNIFER SIMARD.

Do I know Jennifer Simard in real life? Yes. Do we share a mutual obsessive love of Jurassic Park? YES. Did I come up with a campaign to get her to revive her showstopping performance of “Never Can Say Goodbye” from Disaster! on the Tony Awards because of either of these reasons? HELL NO. I did it because I believe that Jennifer Simard’s presence in this season represents a win for anyone in the world who has ever posted that “When so-and-so was thirty, they were working at a blank-ety-blank job,” meme. It’s also TOO DAMN GOOD not to be immortalized on YouTube or at Musical Mondays in every gay bar across America for years to come.

Look, I don’t need to try and explain why the Tony Awards need to #PutSimardOn. Everyone using the hashtag is doing just fine. Furthermore, I am completely aware that when it comes to performing on the Tony Awards, it is not the power of a hashtag, but the financial responsibility of each show’s producer. Unfortunately, Disaster! had to close early, which makes it unlikely that an expensive commercial payment is on the table. But how cool would it be if CBS just put it on anyway? Stranger things have happened. The Big Bang Theory is the most successful television comedy of all time. I think someone (I don’t know who, I don’t care) should just do it for us. Do it because there will be nothing else on the telecast like it. Do it because Lisa Howard brought the house down last year. Do it because she licks the handle of a slot machine while in the middle of screlting vocal pyrotechnics.

This season is slammed with so many brilliant performances by women, Audra McDonald didn’t receive a Tony nomination. There wasn’t a guarantee that Jennifer Simard would get recognized. She was the unknown actor in a show packed with stars, playing a nun with a gambling addiction in the limited run of a small disco musical comedy. Despite her brilliance, the cards weren’t necessarily stacked in her favor–but people noticed.

#PutSimardOn was one of the easiest hashtags I’ve gotten to catch fire, thanks to Matt (Disaster! press agent) Polk’s genius idea to live stream the closing performance on Playbill’s Facebook, so those who didn’t get the chance to make it to the Nederlander could see exactly why she earned her Tony nomination. Moreover, it’s something that members of the Broadway community can engage in, if not because there’s actually a belief she’ll get a free slot on the telecast, but because they can publicly come together to celebrate the work of a peer, and that’s been really cool to watch.

There have been several times when I’ve dubbed Annoying Actor Friend the ringleader of social media campaigns, or made various attempts at activism, and I’m occasionally accused of doing so for “attention” or “personal gain.” I have nothing to gain from anything I do here. I only make money as “Annoying Actor Friend” if someone buys my books, and I personally don’t believe that trying to get a hashtag to trend is going to land me on the New York Times best seller list or get me some killer writing job somewhere. I do these things because I care about them, it entertains me, and there’s only so many Hamilton jokes I can come up with.

Even if we don’t get the privilege of an encore performance by Jennifer Simard on the Tony Awards, we did get the brief, perfect moment of Jennifer Simard in Disaster!, and is there anything more thrilling than watching “it” happen for someone? When Disaster! opened, she was the person on the poster that people might not have known, and when it closed, she was the one that nobody could forget.

The Truth Behind the CATS Protest

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You may have seen this flyer circulating Broadway Internet over the past few days. It went viral when New Yorker, Jose Simbulan posted it on his Facebook page after seeing it tweeted by Ryan J. Davis who credited it to where it originated: an Instagram post by Adam J. Thompson, who found the flyer in Brooklyn (I love the Internet). Whether you are a fan of Cats or not, this stunt is effing hilarious. It’s the kind of joke that makes you mad that you didn’t think of it first. Every detail is perfect. The wording. The font choices… The decision to post it on a random bulletin board in Brooklyn… THE E-MAIL ADDRESS.

I was such a fan of it all, I decided to send an email to pleaselordstopcats@gmail.com to congratulate its creator. I was shocked to find out that there was one small detail they forgot to cover: REGISTRATION OF SAID E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Not to be outdone by someone else snatching my wig, I did the only thing a self-proclaimed sole-satirizer-of-the-Broadway-industry could do….

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I STOLE IT.

That’s right. I registered and stole pleaselordstopcats@gmail.com because this is my turf, bitches, and I will Claire Underwood myself into any situation I please. It’s not my fault they didn’t think to take ownership of 100% of their idea. If you wanna make fun of Broadway, you best be covering all of your bases, because I am always watching.

OK, I don’t actually want to take credit for this great joke because I was not raised by The Fat Jew (and I’m still holding out for them to cast me in Cats). I did, however, want to see what kind of emails would be sent by people who thought that the flyer was real. Another reason I am thrilled to own pleaselordstopcats@gmail.com for the next two hours that it is still topical, is because I get to share some of those emails with you!

HERE GOES…

A lot of people showed support!

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Many people wanted to get involved because previous productions of Cats took a toll on their soul…

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 1.11.11 PMI don’t know about this one…

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 1.12.58 PMOne person came up with a fun battle cry to chant during the march!

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Some people felt that the protest was heavenly divine…

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And some did not!

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There was even one Cats enthusiast who didn’t have anything to say, so he just sent me this…

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All in all, I’d say it was a pretty fun 24 hours for Broadway Internet and it no doubt made us pretty stoked for our comp tickets to Cats this summer!


A previous publication of this article cited Jose Simbulan for posting the original flyer. It later came to knowledge that he found it on Adam J. Thompson’s Instagram via Ryan J. Davis’ Twitter.

 

@AndrewBriedis

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by Andrew Briedis

While I remember writing short plays as far back as childhood, it took some time for me to really find my way to becoming a writer. There weren’t any afterschool programs for hopeful nine-year-old playwrights in San Diego, and acting was my first love (an aspiration born out of an unnecessary envy of Joseph Mazzello in Jurassic Park, and child stars in general), so I started performing in youth theatre. When I was twenty-one, I got my Equity card on the national tour of The Boy Friend, directed by Julie Andrews. A mentor of mine said to me, “Julie Andrews gave you your Equity card, and that is something nobody will ever be able to take away from you.” There was caution in his voice, and I couldn’t quite figure it out. Was he warning me that my acting career might not take off after that? I booked the job with a year still left at the Hartt School. I was going to be fine! Skipping out on my senior year, I moved to New York City the day after the tour ended, and never signed another Equity contract again.

Call it a good case of bad luck? I can make up any number of excuses as to why I was an unsuccessful actor, but they’d be just that… Excuses. By the time I hit my mid-twenties, I was coming to terms with having fallen out of love with the business. It’s fair to say we had broken up years earlier. When it came to acting, I never really had the unique skills that drive actors to get up in the morning—and those qualities have always fascinated me. Maybe that’s why two years into flirting with the idea of becoming a writer I was compelled to create a parody Twitter account about the people I had been surrounded by for the greater part of my life. I’ve never been on Broadway. I no longer pursue acting. I’m a personal trainer at Equinox. Annoying Actor Friend could be viewed as an elaborate ruse, but I wouldn’t say that I “pulled one over” on the Broadway community. I just loved writing about them.

My name is Andrew Briedis, and I am Annoying Actor Friend. It’s understandable that it might be strange to discover that I am not an actor anymore (I do still pay my Equity dues so I can vote in elections), but I believe that for any of this to work, I needed to have a lack of emotional connection to the subject matter to be able to objectively analyze it. This experiment has, and will always, be about impartial social commentary on a very specific kind of culture.

Truthfully, Annoying Actor Friend was my third attempt at a parody Twitter account, but the only one that stuck. The first two were geared toward spoofing personal trainers and jaded New Yorkers. They bombed. How’s that for irony? There I was trying to make a clean break from “the business,” and ended up being drawn back in and finding myself falling in love with the industry all over again—but in a much different way.

I admit the entire thing began because I was really annoyed by some of my friends. Social media behavior is tricky, and I’ve sucked at it, too. I was one of the first one million Facebook users, and I guarantee most of my friends hid my profile during some pretty dark days between 2008 and 2011. I mean…I did a Kickstarter for a stolen laptop in 2009, before there were Kickstarters. Now, I guess the only people I piss off on social media must not dig my decidedly heightened obsession with Jurassic Park, or this thing I’m doing where I pretend I replaced the Olsen Twins in Fuller House.

Hate is consuming shit. For me to continue this charade as long as I did, it had to be out of love of the industry. It was a subject matter I was close to, and I think I was able to find some success satirizing it because I can relate to actors without the need to be one. I had found something that worked for me. It might not have been blue meth, but I honestly kept doing it because I liked it. Writing brought back a passion and fearlessness that a long time ago I used to have in the audition room.

When I did youth theatre, my mom would coach my auditions from her chair in our living room. I’d sing “We’re Off to See the Wizard” or “Seize the Day,” and she would encourage me to make bold, if sometimes unnecessary, choices.  One time, for a holiday show, I sang “The Restroom Door Said Gentleman” to the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” There was a lyric that alluded to me being caught in the women’s restroom by mistake, and leaving with a high-heel up my behind. Naturally, I squeezed one of my mom’s mid-nineties patent leather pumps in between my legs and held it for the length of the number, until just the right moment, when I let it drop to the floor as if it were literally falling out of my ass. I was eleven.

My mom passed away when I was in high school, and a little bit of that fearlessness went with her. I pursued musical theatre in a conservatory setting, which led to me thinking way too hard. I started questioning every single note, beat, and step. I have the most painfully contrived back-story for Rolf Gruber known to man. That’s not the faculty’s fault; it’s what I signed up for, and it didn’t work for me. Do we really know what’s best for us when we’re eighteen? Somewhere in college I forgot how to hold my mom’s shoe between my legs and not give a shit. Seriously, there was never a more butt-tight, nervous interpretation of Claude in Hair than me eleven years ago.

I’ve spent my life surrounded by people who are more talented, intelligent, and successful than me. That’s not a bad thing. At first, it taught me how to learn from others and to take the work seriously, but not myself.  Sometime after I moved to New York, I lost that—and it wasn’t until I started writing that I got it back. The new direction reminded me of what it was like to try things, and not be afraid if nobody gets it. It was like being with my mom again. The fearlessness returned. It’s a pretty big cop-out to make this about my mom, but I have to think that my inability to deliver on a dream that led to me pursuing an education costing thousands of dollars comes from some place more than, “I just didn’t like it anymore.” I need to believe that I was supposed to find a different way. A way back to what I had learned from her.

When I first walked into my eighth grade English class, my teacher handed each student a unique key with a card attached that read: You possess the key to your success. I turned to her and eagerly asked, “Miss Mooney! What does this key open?” Without missing a beat, she smiled at me—in that friendly fashion only those rare teachers whom you never forget know how to master—and replied, “You could spend a good part of your life trying to figure that out.”

Of course at thirteen, I took her literally. I wondered how many locked safes, trunks, or doors I would have to try, to find out where my key belonged. Looking back, my naïveté may not have been far off; for me, I spent so long trying to unlock the wrong door with the wrong key, instead of finding out where my key went. I carry the actual key on my key chain to this day.

When it comes to finding success, I think I was just waiting for technology to catch up to my laziness. It’s like I needed immediate validation to kick-start the determination and discipline I had lost. Annoying Actor Friend helped me find it again. If people hadn’t followed me back the first night I created the account, or hadn’t retweeted me, or had neglected to suggest I write a blog and then come up with something to do after Smash ended, none of this would have happened. It makes me wonder if, had I gotten just one callback at the right time, maybe I’d still be pursuing an acting career. I’m so thankful I didn’t get that callback.

Looking back on it all, I’ve learned that the need to be liked doesn’t consume me anymore. Sure, I love attention, because I was an actor, I am a Millennial, and also, I’m a human being—but it doesn’t drive my activity. Our own personal progress shouldn’t be dictated by whether or not people like what we do. We should be doing it because we like it. I’ve had plenty of Annoying Actor Friend experiments completely bomb, and I’d revel in a hundred more failures if they led to just one #Dim4Joan. I am #grateful and #blessed, and all of the things I make fun of, that I didn’t succeed as an actor, because it led me to writing—and being able to accept things when they’re bad, because I know they can be good again.

You might be wondering, “Why reveal your identity now?” While it’s no mistake that this was all carefully planned months ago with such close proximity to the release date of my second book, (there’s actually a mostly honest 20,000 word semi-autobiography that defines my identity hidden in its ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ format) the real reason I felt it was time to end the anonymous aspect of Annoying Actor Friend is because I believe that has run its course. Everything I have ever done as this character has been founded upon calculated social media experimentation—and when the timing is right, those experiments take flight. I could feel a cultural shift within social media during the past year not unlike the one that drove me to create the account in the first place, and it led me to believe that for me, this is the right time. Annoying Actor Friend takes a surprising amount of focus to run, and I’d like to redirect my attention to elevating other things I have written (and the many more things I want to write) but I look forward to finding a way to reinvent it. While some people might be upset because they strongly think that the reason my activism works is due to the power in my anonymity, to that I say, “If this community needs an ‘anonymous crusader’ to ignite and drive conversation, then there is a much bigger problem.”

Ultimately, it was always imperative to me that everyone eventually knew who I am (and more importantly who I am not) so I can show that you don’t need to be what people expect (or want) you to be, to get something done for yourself. There has never been a more accessible time in history to make your own thing than right now, and you can do it without anyone telling you, “no.” Most importantly: You don’t need to live your childhood dream, if you’re led to another one.

I realize that this is all pretty heavy stuff for a guy who had an Anne Hathaway profile picture for almost a year, has photo-shopped a velociraptor onto a picture of Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and flirts openly with the Smash Twitter account, but for every unserious quality about this silly parody Internet personality, there was just a tiny bit of seriousness behind it. I loved it. I’ll miss it as it was. It changed who I am. Above all, it taught me that you can have an epic passion for something and then one day you might wake up and it’s gone—and that’s OK. Because if you really love it…if it is absolutely a world you’re supposed to be involved with in some way, it will drag you—violently if necessary—back into its arms.

I DON’T KNOW HAMILTON: 9 Things I Know About Hamilton Based Off of Twitter

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I have not seen Hamilton. I have not listened to Hamilton. I have not read one article, nor watched any interviews, press footage, or GIFs. Anything I know about the show, I’ve learned from scrolling through Twitter.

It’s not that I am not interested in Hamilton, it’s just that I know it’s going to take me six years to see it, and I don’t want to know anything going in.

THIS IS WHAT I DO KNOW…

1.) The Show is About Alexander Hamilton: This is self-explanatory, but not to me a year ago…

OK, that was sarcasm, but the subject matter is pretty much the extent of what I know to this day.

2.) There Are Three Sisters: The sisters’ last name is “Schuyler,” but I am not sure if it’s pronounced SHOE-LER (as in Shuler Hensley) or SKYLER (as in Zachary Quinto’s character from Heroes.)

3.) One Sister is Ugly: I think? Her name is Peggy — and I guess she’s undesirable, or plain, or just not who you want to get on that BuzzFeed quiz. Twitter basically says she sucks.

4.) There is a Room, and Something Happens There: Originally, I thought the “room where it happened” was just a really douchey way of bragging about being inside the Richard Rodgers Theatre on opening night, but I guess it’s a line in the show? Maybe even an entire scene takes place there? Whatever the case, there’s a room, and something happens there, that’s for certain.

5.) King George (the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd): By the time of the Tony Awards, no less than three actors will have played the part of King George, so I’m guessing it’s a taxing role?

6.) Satisfied: I have gathered that this is a power ballad.

7.) My Shot: I called this song,”one shot” for weeks, until my friend corrected me.

8.) Aaron Burr: He is in this musical and is played by Leslie Odom Jr., who was on Smash, and is also the only Hamilton cast member who I have noticed ‘favorite’ any of my Hamilton tweets — so based off that fact alone, Aaron Burr is the best character in Hamilton.

9.) Tickets Are Hot: Since papering for this show never happened, I dropped the ball when it came to buying tickets, and it’s going to be 2017 before I get one. It took me over a year to see The Book of Mormon, two years for Matilda, and a decade to get to Wicked. I like a show to settle… It’s why I’ve never seen any production of Cats.


 

THANK YOU FOR READING AND NO SPOILERS PLEASE.

Why #Dim4Kyle is Important

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The following text was written earlier today under the assumption The Broadway League would announce that they would dim the lights for Kyle Jean-Baptiste on Tuesday, September 1st. They instead chose not to make a statement at all.


 

People will argue against dimming the lights of Broadway for Kyle Jean-Baptiste. “He was only twenty-one.” “It’s an honor saved for those with long, illustrious careers.” “Are we going to dim the lights for everyone now?” To those who are opposed, I have to tell you: It’s bigger than all that.

The tragic loss of Kyle Jean-Baptiste has been felt far beyond the Broadway community — it has affected the hearts of young aspiring theatre people and theatre lovers around the world. His story struck a chord that moved thousands to cry out for this tribute. Bestowing him with this honor is a message to the future generation of theatrical performers and innovators that their voices can be heard. That they can evoke change. That not only was Kyle’s contribution to the community acknowledged, it reconstructed what is expected of Broadway beyond his historical debut in Les Miserables. The League’s decision to dim highlights what can be achieved when chances are taken on risky, unknown, or unconventional choices. It starts a larger dialogue.

I hope this single act can be replicated annually. I would like the Broadway League to take September 1st, Kyle Jean-Baptiste’s anniversary, and dim the lights in honor of every person lost within the community that year, no matter the extent of the career. A minute for the Joshua Parks and Victoria Mallorys, the stagehands and the press agents, the chorus members, production assistants, writers, associate choreographers, keyboard players, casting directors, producers, and anyone who has contributed to this art form that entertains, inspires, and most importantly: evolves.

At some point in the life of a person who has worked in the theatre, they have changed the life of someone else for the better. Not only did Kyle Jean-Baptiste make history, but he is a symbol for how great the future of Broadway can be.

Guide to the Golden Globes

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I’m really excited to watch the Tina Fey and Amy Poehler show tonight. ONE PROBLEM. I haven’t paid my SAG dues and didn’t receive any screeners. So, I’m really worried I won’t get any of the jokes.

If you’re in the same boat as me, don’t fret! I’m really good at deciphering plot-lines based solely on their titles.

LET’S SEE HOW CLOSE I AM!

The Imitation Game – That thing where your director gets up during rehearsal and says, “Let me be you.”

The Theory of Everything – One man’s journey to discover what makes something go from being liked, to being everything.

Nightcrawler – Alan Cumming’s highly anticipated X-Men spinoff.

Cake – A brave documentary following a group of dancers after Broadway Bares.

Still Alice – The movie adaptation of all those A… My Name is Alice song cycles. I think. I’m sure of this. Remember those?

Boyhood – The story of Andy Mientus’ Twitter account.

Wild – A documentary on spacial unawareness.

Pride – The first movie to ever be adapted from a Facebook status.

Gone Girl – The inspiring true story of a girl who quits her Broadway show because she’s bored, and heads out in search of something better.

Big Eyes – One time I was told this was a #ReasonsIDidntBookIt.

Birdman – Like Smash, but with explosions and flying — so more realistic.

Into the Woods – No clue.

An Open Letter to the People with the Dollars

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Dear Broadway Investors, Theatre Owners, Producers, and Money People,

Man, it is one cold ass January, ain’t it? Happy 2015. Hold on to your butts. Shows be disappearing faster than Twitter followers after a Negative-Idina-Menzel-Performance-at-the-Ball-Drop tweet. Stay strong. Don’t let this deter you. Spring will come again.

Nobody has ever mastered the art of making a hit. If we had, everything would be a hit. Jordan Roth and Jujamcyn have come close, but haven’t fully succeeded because the St. James*.

My 2015 New Year’s Resolution for you is this: follow your heart when considering your next project.

I’m not saying you haven’t in the past, I’m just concerned you won’t in the future. Keep moving the art of theatre forward. Invest in what makes YOU laugh, or cry, or want to dance. Ask yourself, “Would I buy a premium priced orchestra seat ticket to this?” “Would I want to see this without the celebrity names attached?” “Does this remind me why I love theatre?”

Listen to yourself. 

I realize this is all pretty easy for me to say because I’m not the one with the dollars. However, as an actor, I understand what it’s like to waste a lot of time and heartbreak trying to be what I think I’m supposed to be, instead of not giving a shit and trusting that I can be the next big thing.

This brings me back to producing with your heart. Bring shows to Broadway that you want to see. Don’t bring them because you think the New York Times will like it. Don’t bring them just because the New York Times liked it. Hell, I’m pretty sure Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood have an annual luncheon at Cafe Edison (or I guess, Buffalo Wild Wings now?) where they list all the shows playing out of town and say shit like, “So, what do you want to see on Broadway next year?” They know a rave will almost certainly bring a show in, and a pan will kill it. We’ve allowed the New York Times to dictate our seasons. This is where their power is now. You should take that power back.

Thank you for your time and please hire me.

Theatrically Yours,

A.F.

*Something Rotten could change this, which I guess means Jordan Roth went to Hogwarts.

 

Think Lovely Thoughts — Or You Will Be Shamed

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I love a good holiday tradition! Sleigh-rides, eggnog and bourbon, a confident Mariah Carey performing on the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. These are all things I look forward to each December. Thanks to NBC, we can add live televised musical theatre to that list — as well as the proud preachiness that comes from friends and colleagues if you so much as consider typing one word that hints at snark.

NBC has provided us with something truly special. I mean it. Given all the elements that had to go into creating something as complex as a live presentation of Peter Pan, one cannot help but marvel at the sheer guts. I applaud everyone involved. It’s incredible that in 2014, musical theatre can be at the forefront of a conversation that inspires such divided opinions. More importantly, that it inspires discussion at all.

Millions of families tuned into Peter Pan Live and were captivated by its magic. I think that’s freaking awesome. That’s who it was made for. I’d like to take a moment for a different part of the audience. The Sarcastics, the Jadeds, and the “Non-Supporters.” (Not to be confused with bullies or trolls. Those guys are dicks.)

Last year, The Sound of Music Live was a trending topic on Twitter for a full forty-eight hours following the broadcast. A lot of the discussion was negative, but people were talking. That was something that could not be ignored. In the days of DVR, ratings mean a hell of a lot more when commercials can’t be fast forwarded. I recall that The Sound of Music Live’s ratings actually improved throughout the performance and social media contributed greatly to that — both the good posts and the bad.

We live in a world of non-existent attention spans. Our tweets are 140 characters. Our vines are 6 seconds. We send pictures to each other that disappear once they’ve been viewed. Retaining an audience through three consecutive hours is almost as impossible as converting a hate-watcher. For a large portion of the people who watched Peter Pan Live, the entertainment was not in the product, but in the discussion of said product. The virtual water-cooler puts the audience on stage with the actors, and we tuned in because we found a way to make it about us.

Everything these days is a race to see who can be the most funny or profound. The Oscars. The Super Bowl. The Death of a Beloved Celebrity. We want the Likes, the Retweets, the Favorites. Peter Pan Live provided a pretty large platform for people to feel popular.

I can say with certainty that NBC endorsed and encouraged us to publicly share our opinions, no matter what they were. Take another look at the photo at the top. THEY LITERALLY ASKED US TO DO THIS. Publicity is publicity. The very presence of “non-supporters” on social media makes them supporters.

Shaming someone for how they contribute to the conversation is actually dangerous for the ratings. It’s not like that person is going to suddenly change their mind and post something positive. You risk them not posting at all. That’s one less person using a hashtag that could drive another person to changing the channel to what their friend is watching.

Furthermore, art is subjective —

art (n.) : something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.

Art is meant to spark discussion, conversation, emotions, and yes, critiques. Nowhere in the definition does it say what those feelings and conversations are supposed to be. For a community that boasts musical theatre as one of the only true American art forms, discouraging half of the conversation that challenges the artist in question is actually discrediting the very thing they are trying to defend.