Who's the Comedian?
Thursday, August 11, 2005
One morning 2 1/2 years ago, Andy Milonakis woke up with nothing to do. He'd bailed on a friend's Super Bowl party, and when he rolled out of bed and decided to write a song, he quickly had a concept. A very low concept.
"The Super Bowl is gay," he sang into his Sony video recorder, flailing away on a cheap and undersize guitar. "The Super Bowl is gay. Super Bowl, Super Bowl, the Super Bowl is gay."
Milonakis looked like a Ritalin-starved 14-year-old in need of a timeout and a hobby. He wore a rumpled shirt and had a bad case of bed-head. The longer he howled, the more you expected his mom to walk in, scold him and tell him to clean up his room.
"Water, gay. Cologne is gay. DVD players are gay. DVDs are gay. Stray cats are gay. The sky is gay."
"Gay" here was being used in the sixth-grade sense of the word, which translates roughly into "lame." Apparently everything that morning seemed lame to Milonakis -- orange juice, shirts, cottage cheese, cologne, vacuum cleaners, coins, McDonald's, his dad, himself. "We're all gay!" he shouted at the end in a frenzied falsetto.
Maybe you saw this performance. More than a million people did, not long after Milonakis posted it on a Web site called AngryNakedPat.com. "The Super Bowl Is Gay" quickly achieved the sort of viral, pass-it-along acclaim that is possible only on the Internet. Within a month Milonakis had been tracked down at his home in Queens by a dozen or so radio talk shows.
The story should end right there, with Milonakis one of those oh, that guy moments on the inevitable VH1 special, "Remember the '00s!" Instead, he is sitting in a diner near Times Square one recent afternoon, talking up "The Andy Milonakis Show," a deeply twisted half-hour of television that airs on MTV. Yes, through a chain of semi-absurd events, possible only in the age of broadband, the lad got his own show. Well, first he landed a bunch of on-screen cameos with "The Jimmy Kimmel Show," the late-night talker on ABC, and then he got his own show.
And nobody is more amused than the star.
"I've enjoyed it so much, I think, because of the way I got it," he says between bites of a turkey burger. "At one point I was staying in a hotel in Florida, for free, looking off this balcony, on my first assignment for 'The Jimmy Kimmel Show,' all because of the stupidest thing I'd ever done in my life. All because of something so dumb."
He pauses. "That was really gratifying."
He has arrived for this lunch wearing a red tartan-patterned shirt, untucked, standard issue for suburban 10th-graders. He speaks in a slightly stoner monotone, which he peppers with self-mocking stabs at hip-hop lingo. He's polite and a bit chubby.