Nate Varrone is a comedian and writer living in Chicago. He performs in large theatres and small synagogues across the United States with The Second City National Touring Company. When he’s in Chicago, you can catch him every Friday at midnight in The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour at The Annoyance Theatre. You can check out his videos at natevarrone.biz. This week, Varrone talked to me about three of his favorite tweets, plus middle school, Tomi Lahren, and Albert Einstein’s spoons.
America is like a white boy in middle school who uses his stretchy book cover as a do-rag on the last day of school.— Nate Varrone (@natevarrone) April 11, 2017
Varrone: I wasn’t sure if this was something people would get or if it was specific to Diley Middle School white boys in Pickerington, Ohio. But I had a hunch that white boys all across America were putting stretchy book covers on their heads and wearing them as do-rags…and boy oh boy was I right. Sometimes on Twitter you just have to risk it all and pray to God it connects with your followers.
How would you describe your Twitter to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
I don’t like to limit myself to one voice or style on Twitter. I love accounts, though, that are one character’s POV or one running bit. I just try to write stuff that I think is really funny. It’s a mix of jokes, characters, and hilarious, unfiltered, unabashed, no holds barred, in your face commentary on current events/pop culture.
Is there anything you’ve tweeted about that you were especially surprised people responded and/or related to?
I DM’d this dude a video I did on Tomi Lahren. He is kind of a conservative personality that apparently knows Tomi pretty well. He doesn’t have as big of an audience as Tomi so I thought I’d throw a Hail Mary and send it to him. He ended up responding, to my surprise, and loved it and sent it to Tomi. I made him send me a screenshot because I didn’t believe him. He did and I think she watched it. It was also the day before Christmas Eve so I imagine Tomi was watching it in South Dakota next to the fireplace surrounded by hundreds of her beautiful white cousins, all eating Hickory Farms cheese and sausage.
“A lot of the times when I pee, I’ll think I’m done and I put my underwear on and then I look down and I see a little extra pee leaked out.” pic.twitter.com/UwI0YfyjCo — Nate Varrone (@natevarrone) March 9, 2017
I’ve always been a fan of imagining people in power or larger than life personalities having the most mundane conversations. I take great solace knowing no matter how powerful or famous you are, you still gotta poo and pee. It’s like that book: Everyone Poops. I haven’t read it but I strongly agree with the title.
Do you use Twitter to develop bigger projects?
Not really. My dad always says “Creativity breeds creativity.” So when I’m writing occasionally I’ll go back and just look at other stuff I’ve written in the past to see if that sparks anything new on other projects.
How do you approach tweeting differently from other writing?
For me, Twitter is kind of a like a comedy writing blade sharpener. When I’m writing something that will be filmed or put up on stage, I go through many, many drafts and try to make it really polished. Twitter is the exact opposite, I just write them very quickly and don’t really re-write anything more than absolutely needed. I think of Twitter like a spring training baseball game. There’s still a lot of people interested in viewing those games and it helps the players get warmed up for the season.
I also use an app that I like a lot called Buffer that will schedule out your tweets. I think it’s exhausting to try and think of funny shit all day –some people are amazing at it but I enjoy turning off my comedy brain and try to enjoy life without feeling the pressure to come up with funny jokes all the time. So, I’ll usually just rattle off a bunch right before I go to bed. I heard from somewhere Einstein used to lay in bed and fall asleep holding spoons and then when he would fall asleep the spoons would drop and wake him up and he’d start coming up with equations or some shit because that’s when he had his best ideas. I also refuse to look this up to confirm whether it’s true or not. I just want to believe that it is. Anyways, I enjoy coming up with ideas when you’re kind of in dipping into a restful alertness/lucid state of mind.
Trump Supporter Trading Cards #2 - Ashley Smith pic.twitter.com/RwvgazAX9d— Nate Varrone (@natevarrone) January 31, 2017
This was part of a series of Trump supporter trading cards I created. I love imagining a person in extreme detail given one defining attribute. When I write character-based stuff I either try to make them either way too real or grotesquely heightened.
What are your fave kinds of characters to tweet as? Are they the same as your fave kind to write longer stuff for and perform?
I think all of the characters I write have one thing in common: They’re all stupid as hell. Zero self-awareness and zero emotional intelligence is my favorite character cocktail. When you perform a character you need some sort of context but on Twitter you can just write “If u ain’t first, ur last” and not have to create a whole narrative centered around Ricky Bobby, you know? I definitely like that aspect a lot.
Are there any other series of tweets you’ve enjoyed updating, and if so, are they things you would return to or are they finished?
I really enjoyed doing the trading cards series but I can’t think of any other series I’ve done besides that. I didn’t set out to do a specific number of the trading cards. I usually just do things until I get bored with them. I’ve been playing around with creating short videos of text that are essentially something I’d tweet but with some extra visual pizzazz. I do love how Megan Amram has been posting the same #tbt picture for years now. I would like to do something in that vein. I’m a sucker for those kind of long con bits.
Jenny Nelson lives, writes, and performs in Brooklyn.