Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten: Gene vs. Fake Gene

Illustration by Eric Shansby

Some celebrities have gained their own personal impostors on Twitter — people who anonymously tweet as a “fake” version of the celeb, often with mirror-image personas. After I recently complained about not having a fake, one suddenly appeared.

I do not know who “Fake Gene” is, but he or she is eerily unlike me, right down to actually being funny. (My Twitter icon is a soft pile of dog poo; Fake Gene’s is a vanilla soft-serve ice cream cone. You get the idea.)

Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten’s humor column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in The Washington Post Magazine since July 2000. He also hosts a monthly humor chat. As a feature writer, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in both 2008 and 2010. Since 2010, he has co-authored the syndicated comic strip “Barney and Clyde.”



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My editor, Tom the Butcher, proposed that Gene and Fake Gene answer a series of questions. Fake Gene agreed. (Tom and I still don’t know who it is.)

What is a truth better left unstated?

Fake Gene: The skill level of the American haberdasher has declined precipitously, but I daren’t say so for fear of alienating merchants who are important to me.

Gene: At a certain age, pooping becomes fun.

What would you say is your most charming trait?

Gene: I can juggle three small raw chickens.

Fake Gene: J’utilise des phrases françaises dans une conversation informelle.

Complete this sentence: Chicks dig me because ...

Fake Gene: ... I have a breathtaking collection of designer soaps displayed on a darling etagere.

Gene: ... women know that I respect and unconditionally love them all, not just the ones with amazing butts.

Someone is having an animated cellphone conversation in the Quiet Car. What do you do?

Fake Gene: Rules of decorum in Quiet Cars are no less sacrosanct than in libraries or churches. You break the rules, I break your elbows.

Gene: I keep right on talking on the phone.

I could never love a woman who ...

Gene: ... pronounces “leisure” as “leh-zhure.” Or “mature” as “matoor.”

Fake Gene: ... doesn’t know how to remove 1978 Montrachet stains from my cashmere socks.

If you could have lunch with one person from history, who would it be?

Fake Gene: Betty Friedan, only to see how she reacts when I tell her, “Those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves, sweet cheeks.”

Gene: Either Jesus or the first guy who had the guts to eat a raw oyster.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Fake Gene: The power of selective vision to screen out women who choose to dress as common strumpets. They are an insult to public decency.

Gene: I would use it only when I saw an adult riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. It would be the ability to magically turn a bicycle into a tricycle.

Ginger or Mary Ann, and why?

Gene: Like it matters. This show operated under the moral code of 1960s TV. The only guy getting any on that island was Thurston Howell.

Fake Gene: Lovey Howell. It’s incomprehensible that she’s never an option. She preserves civility on the island and stays calm even though she’s missing at least one full social season.

I think of myself as a sportsman because ...

Fake Gene: ...When I hunt, I shoot .577 T-Rex cartridges even though the Constitution protects my right to use a bullet twice that size.

Gene: ... I can tell you the uniform number of any 1961 Yankee.

What is your greatest fear?

Gene: That the last words I will hear before going under anesthesia for life-or-death surgery will come from behind the surgeon’s mask, in a thick Southern accent.

Fake Gene: That the last words I will hear before going under anesthesia for life-or-death surgery will come from behind the surgeon’s mask, in a high-pitched nasal voice with a vaguely Semitic Bronx accent.

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