Dave Chappelle, Masks Off Camera, and Non-Beef with Stratford

A graphic of Tony Nappo edited to appear as multiple people sitting in a circle as a spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous. At the top and bottom of the image is text that reads "Nappoholics Anonymous"

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. I’m keeping this ridiculously simple. I think it’s entirely possible — in fact, not that difficult at all — to disagree with Dave Chappelle that gender is fact, and still find him to be a brilliant and hilarious human being.

2. Fuck Yeah of the Week

3. When I hear people criticize Ted Lasso‘s second season, I don’t get it. The first season was perfection. And part of the reason so many people responded to it was how different it was in every regard from almost every other show on television. I am not sure why anyone is disappointed that the second season isn’t just more of the same as what the first season was. And, more importantly, I don’t understand why anyone would want it to be?

4. Tribute of the Week

5. Recently, on a set not to be named, I was forced to wear a mask during a take when I was off camera, to which I very strongly objected. This, after six days of not wearing one off camera, because a new COVID sheriff had come to town. After literally calling bullshit, I complied, just to get on with the day. I’ve been on four movies and about twenty episodes of TV during COVID, and this has never been part of the protocol. 

Why? 

Firstly, it makes no fucking sense. We are double-vaxxed and tested three times a week and breathing all over each other while we are doing the scenes. Putting a mask on and taking it off during a scene protects you and your scene partners about as much as putting a condom on and off during sex. The reason we are all tested and cleared is to ensure as much as humanly possible that we are safe to begin with. Once we start acting a scene, and the masks come off, we are at the mercy of whatever happens.

I follow every protocol on set and in life, but while you’re filming a scene, you simply can’t be forced to wear a mask. If you’re off camera, you’re still in the scene. You’re doing a great disservice to the actors who are on camera — and to the scene itself, and the project — by giving the on camera actors nothing to react to. How does anyone know what anyone else is doing in a scene if we can’t see them? It’s not a fucking radio drama.

It was my last day so I didn’t really think too much of it at all until I got a note from that same show the next day saying that, going forward, you didn’t need to wear a mask if you were off camera. No shit, Sherlocks.

6. Broadway Fuck Yeah of the Week

7. Coming Out Story of the Week

8. It finally came to me, after hearing it stated for the thousandth time, that white males can’t say anything anymore. The response I’m gonna use going forward is that, first of all, yes, you can say anything you want, you just have to be responsible about what you say and where you say it. And secondly, you don’t really HAVE to say anything, because a lot of pretty fucking powerful people have been looking out for you for a little while now.

9. That documentary film entitled All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, with this present Leaf season as its subject, really could have just been called Nothing: Never Mind.

10. Perspective Shift of the Week

11. I have never really given a fuck about what happens at Stratford, and, generally speaking, I’m pretty sure they’ve never given a fuck about what happens with me. I think I’ve seen two shows there ever. I have no dreams of working there, and Stratford has shown zero desire for me to do so, so I would say it’s all working out, relationship-wise, for both of us. I say all this to make clear that I’m not trying to kiss any ass here. And I actually don’t know who the members of the cast are, and didn’t look them up, because I am not saying anything to anyone specific. Just making an objective comment on the story I read that Kelly, with whom I also have no personal beef at all — in fact, I quite like him — wrote in the Globe. I find it surprising that anyone is surprised that they are having to re-audition for a musical they were cast in two years ago. I mean, yeah, it’s a shit deal but that isn’t on the folks re-auditioning them. That’s on the pandemic itself. It’s not a political issue from where I’m sitting. It’s a practical one. Can you still do the job? I mean, anyone who plays on any professional sports team has to prove that they can still do the job year after year and earn their spot at training camp (this seems like the most appropriate comparison in terms of the physical demands of musical theatre). Why does it seem odd that, after sitting around for two years (or doing whatever else for two years), the folks who are going to pay your salary want to make sure you can still do the job they hired you to do? It’s just a logical step for any employer to take, in my mind. And, of course, if one doesn’t want to re-audition, they don’t have to. I say this over and over, but saying no is the only power you have as an actor. At least if you lose the job, you can lose it on your own terms, and not theirs. And I’m not speaking in theory here, I’m speaking from experience. I’ve been asked twice to re-audition for projects over the years. I said no both times. One time they kept me. One time they didn’t. Life went on just fine both times.

12. Share of the Week


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Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.