@DewaynePerkins on Gayness, Blackness, Strangers, and Strangers
Dewayne Perkins a Chicago-based comedian and writer. He’s an alumni of the Second City, where he just finished writing and performing Black Side of the Moon at Woolly Mammoth in D.C. He also hosts a web series called “I Guess I’ll Watch It,” where he reviews movies his white friends always talk about but he’s never seen, which you can find on his website. This week, Perkins told me the stories of three of his favorite tweets, plus we talked about heaven, scarves, and cultural appropriation.
When I'm not wearing outfits made entirely of scarves women assume I'm straight and hit on me and I let them cuz I'm gay but my ego is fluid
— Dewayne Perkins (@DewaynePerkins) December 8, 2016
Perkins: Because my soul was forged in the seas of Mt. Petty and my ego is made of diamond and is very fragile I sometimes pretend to be straight to get compliments from women. I use the skills I learned from being in the closet in high school and years of improv training to really turn on the straight which literally means nothing. That’s why this tweet made me laugh because I’m never not gay, so when a woman comes up clearly flirting I go on the journey, it just usually ends with us sharing secrets and hugging with our faces touching so we can see who’s skin is softer. Also this has 69 likes, yasssss!!!
How does your process writing for Twitter compare to your process when doing other writing?
I wrote a lot of sketches while working at Second City, which were very situationally comedic with jokes scattered throughout. I approached that as if I was writing a TV show. But I recently started doing standup and that process is very similar to my Twitter process, which is just me asking myself three questions: “What’s the joke? Is there a visual component that can make this joke better? If I died and went to heaven and asked Jesus on a date would he feel obligated to say yes because we are in heaven and he’s Jesus?”
Do you think Twitter has affected your writing elsewhere, for better or worse?
Oh for sure it has. Twitter has made my joke writing so much better. More punchy and to the point. My text messages slay the fucking house down now. But Twitter has also heightened my unhealthy thirst for validation from strangers. On a day where I’m feeling very turtleneck with a vest, ya know gross, a random girl with nice eyebrows giving me a “yasssss bitch” to one of my tweets can literally change my whole day around.
Why whites get more time? pic.twitter.com/xT2lc2nvcm
— Dewayne Perkins (@DewaynePerkins) January 16, 2016
One day I was feeling extra systemically oppressed which awoken my latent power of “Racifying Everything.” I was doing laundry, because I’m a grown up adult person, and saw this and just knew this was the man oppressing my clothes. Of course the colors and whites have the same job, but who got more time? I always wondered why the white clothes were always in the front of the hamper and my colored clothes kept getting stopped by cops.
What are your favorite subjects to tweet about?
Gayness, Blackness, and Jesus Christ/Food (They are the same in my eyes).
What are your favorite and least favorite things about being on Twitter?
Strangers and strangers. I love when you can make a dope connection with a complete stranger over a shared interest. It’s heartwarming and makes me believe in humanity. But that is immediately shitted on by a stranger with three followers and a profile picture of an American eagle with a gun for a head calling you a monkey and telling you to go back to Africa as if you ain’t riddled with thousands of dollars of student loan debt They just don’t know, if they paid for it, I would. You win some, you lose some, but NEVER engage with eggs.
I've tried to convince a white person that these were all days of Kwanzaa
— Dewayne Perkins (@DewaynePerkins) December 26, 2016
Cultural appropriation happens, and sometimes I like to throw in my own bits of culture to see if it’s appropriated. And nothing is more fun than slipping little pieces of false information into the minds of the American majority. I don’t know if this diabolical plan has legs but it sure does make me laugh in the middle of the night when I imagine a white person like, “Yea, today is the day I take this black friendship to the next level.” They give themselves an internal high five and with a smirk say, “How are you guys enjoying the second day of Kwanzaa, Ashanti?” THAT is what dreams are made of.
If you could give the world one piece of advice re: enjoying your time online, what would it be?
Just know that at any point you can always turn it off and go live life, which will only make the Internet more fun later because you can then stunt on everybody and brag about all the real life stuff you did.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn.