Pat Regan (@poregan) on Making Dozens of Tweets About a Single Topic

pat_reganPat Regan is a standup and improv comedian in New York City. He was a performer on Lloyd Night at the UCB Theater for many years and recently left to bravely pursue other happinesses. He enjoys tweeting about pop culture and when he is in the right mood NCAA Cross Country and Track and Field. This week Regan talked to me about three of his favorite tweets, plus Tiffany Trump, Kylie Jenner Lip Kit, and having to apologize for posting his thoughts online.

Regan: This one was part of a series of tweets I did about Tiffany and Ivanka but mostly Tiffany. I like to tweet or post in long series that hit one topic from like a trillion different angles that are funny to me. I am a lil fascinated by Tiff (unlikely gay icon!) and one of the things I think is the most fun about her is that she literally came out of nowhere for this election cycle. It’s like they trapped her in an amulet for 20 years and then let her out when they needed her (or something!).

What are other examples of topics you’ve tweeted series about?

Things I’ve tweeted series about (generally including about a dozen or two tweets) are: stars without makeup, rewards points, Kylie Jenner lip kits, the dress that changed color or whatever, teens that are secretly burdened with saving the world, 19-year-old celebrity models, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry. Usually it will start with one simple tweet that I don’t necessarily plan on doing a series about. I think for the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit one I just overheard a snippet of conversation where one girl said “I love your lip stick” and her friend snapped back “It’s not lipstick, it’s Kylie Jenner Lip Kit” and that struck me as very funny so I tweeted it. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of Kylie Jenner Lip Kits but I wasn’t sure exactly what I found funny bout them so I started tweeting things like “hard to imagine Kylie Jenner in a lab inventing the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit, but that’s what happened I guess!” and “Did u kno Kylie Jenner is named after the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit and not the other way around?” Then I started having fun putting it in different contexts like “Freaky that when they first opened King Tut’s tomb they found a Kylie Jenner Lip Kit inside his fractured skull” and “Worldwide hysteria breaks out as Kylie Jenner announces she’s hidden 6 golden tickets to her factory inside 6 random Kylie Jenner Lip Kits” and “‘The Emperor isn’t wearing any Kylie Jenner Lip Kit!’ the precocious boy shouted from the crowd” and “In England they call Kylie Jenner Lip Kits ‘faggots'” etc etc etc. I kind of just have fun putting ideas into a bunch of different incongruous contexts that for some reason to me all together express what I think is funny about them.

As a gay person it is my responsibility and privilege to use twitter.com to take power BACK and so I try to do that whenever I can. This one is so funny to me because I just think gay conversion therapy is such a silly thing to believe in — like magic or something. Like who on God’s green Earth does Michael Pence think he even is? That’s what I mean by this tweet. It was also a part of a series that mostly consisted of blurbs from an infomercial for Pence’s conversion therapy program that actually gets results.

Are there things you talk about on Twitter that you don’t talk about in other writing/performance, or vice versa?

Generally I feel like you can get away with being more referential to pop culture on Twitter and Facebook than you can in live performance or longer written pieces. I think Twitter is where like almost all of my comedic ideas start. Some of them I’m inspired to do longer stuff with but some of them just work as tweets. I don’t think the stuff that I do only on Twitter is necessarily more or less funny than the stuff that I develop into other writing/performance pieces, but rather sometimes things just work more specifically in one specific medium. Some things are only funny to me written in a succinct tweet, some things only work to me if I can deliver them the way I want to in a live performance. Sometimes for certain ideas I’ll have a short version that I tweet and then a longer, more fleshed-out joke that I post on Facebook.

Do you have any favorite characters or POVs to do when you’re tweeting?

I think I’m generally pretty consistent in my own voice and tweeting as myself, or a heightened version of myself. One thing that lots of people tell me is that when they read my tweets they hear them in my voice. They say it like a compliment which is nice. One time someone who follows me on social media came up to me at a wedding reception and said they can write in my voice now and I was like: wow that’s beautiful, more beautiful than this wedding even, no offense to anyone.

One of my long-time absolute fav things to tweet about is my relaysh with my phone. I like to personify it. Honestly some of my closest friends are iPhone 4s. I’ve had about 18 and they’ve all been boys and only one of them was gay. I actually used this tweet as inspiration to write a longer humor piece about that moment when you are kind of nursing your phone back to health and a dark apartment. I often will use tweets as kernels to write standup material or longer written work that I will sometimes read at shows, insufferably.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about being on Twitter?

My favorite thing about being on Twitter is it’s such a nice outlet. I have a lot of trouble organizing my thoughts and it’s really genuinely helpful to me and my sanity to have a place I can just vomit everything out. Also when I am looking to do some longer work and need inspiration it’s super helpful to have this very nicely archived list of all my thoughts that I’ve found funny in the past day/week/month/time is a construct. Attached to that is the worst thing about being on Twitter to me: I often worry and feel almost a guilt if I tweet too much in a day, like I’m annoying everybody. Sometimes people comment on my frequency of posts and I’ll get paranoid and read too much into it and feel bad or crazy even. Sometimes I want to ask them what they do with all their thoughts. Also sometimes the things I post will get me into trouble. If I think of something and find it funny I like truly cannot help myself from posting it, but sometimes I’ve had to like apologize to people for tweets as insane as that sounds.

Are there any tweets that have backfired when used at shows (or surprised you by how well they were received)?

I think I have a pretty good nose for what is only funny as a tweet so I haven’t been surprised that often about reception of material that I take from social media to live performances. More often though I will be surprised with what tweets do well and what don’t. Sometimes I think things are so funny and the numbers just aren’t there, and then sometimes I barely even think something is funny at all and it will be a ratings bonanza. One example off the top of my head is (sometimes I will tweet from the POV of a teen, bc that’s how I identify) I tweeted just “I can’t believe how different it’s going to be next year without the seniors” and was half expecting to delete it a second later but then it was one of my most celebrated tweets. Also some things do great on Facebook and poorly on Twitter, and some do great on Twitter but not on Facebook, and there seems to be absolutely no discernible rhyme or reason to it.

Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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