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Zoo Jokes, Auditions, and Soccer vs. Baseball

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
/By / Jun 15, 2016

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor (and recent Dora Award–nomineeTony 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 wonder, if Hillary Clinton gets elected president, whether she’ll make the USA a fair and equal place for women to live—you know, like how Obama did that for African Americans.

2. My eleven-year-old, Ella, told me this joke:

I went to a zoo this week.

There was only one animal there.

It was a dog.

It was a Shih Tzu.

3. My George Costanza “jerk store” moment: I was at a dinner party with Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Scott Griffin, and their spouses. Noah Richler and his wife Sarah were hosting. I didn’t realize it was a dinner party at all and showed up after a rehearsal in my jeans and a sweatshirt. There was some polite conversation about where I’d come from; I said I was rehearsing a play where I was playing a Romanian baby broker. Scott Griffin, who, incidentally, was dressed exactly as Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island, leaned over and whispered to Atwood’s partner, Graeme, “Is that what they’re wearing these days?”

I pretended not to hear him (everyone did) and said nothing. But what I thought of later and wish I had said was still nothing, but as I was saying nothing, I wish I broke his fucking jaw.

4. A funny thing about us Liberals is that we are adamant about not telling people who they can marry or not marry or who they sleep with or not sleep with or what they can do with their bodies or how they can self-identify in terms of sexuality, but we won’t hesitate for one millisecond about telling you what you should think and who you should vote for. Even if we don’t live in your fucking country.

5. I can’t believe the size of balls on the raccoons in my neighbourhood. Last night when I came home they were sitting around watching Scandal on Netflix and making martinis.

6. I worked on a film with Dennis Hopper years ago. He, being a living legend, had a guy who worked for him who just sat by the monitors to watch every take. Every once in a long while, this guy would walk over to Dennis, without saying a word, pinch his nose, and then return to his chair. Dennis would explode with a loud and long, kind of slow motion, machine-gun nasal laughter, and then he would say, “He said that one stinks—we’re going again!!” We were all kind of amazed and impressed that an actor of such distinction knew, and still cared, that it would be a rare director who was ever gonna dare tell him when his work just wasn’t up to par. And we were amazed at how much fun he was having in the process.

On the last day of that shoot, I went over to shake his hand and tell him what an honour it had been to work with him. He asked if he could walk me to my room and we had a maybe ten-minute chat about what was coming up for me and for him, and his friendship with James Dean, and about acting, in general. At the end of the conversation, he looked me dead in the eye and said (which, when I reflect on the moment, I realize he may have said to many young actors he worked with along the way, though it in no way took away from the gesture of support and encouragement): “You’re a good actor, man. Enjoy the ride.”

Excellent fucking advice.

dennis hopper

7. If “brevity is the soul of wit,” where are all of Shakespeare’s snappy one acts?

8. I always tell new or younger actors not to think of an audition as a means to getting a job but as THE JOB ITSELF. If you actually book the job, that’s a bonus. Giving good auditions is the way to build a foundation with casting directors to secure your spot in the room and, ultimately, is the key to longevity in a career.

9. Up north, I was explaining to Ella that the stars in the night sky that we were looking at weren’t actually there anymore—because it took so long for their light to travel to us, we were looking at where they had been many, many, many, many, many years ago… Kind of like the way people look at Martin Scorsese.

10. I can see how soccer looks boring to a lot of people. What I don’t understand is how baseball doesn’t.

11. How come when grocery bags were free you could carry a fucking car engine around in one, and, now that they cost five cents, they can’t hold shit?


Dora round table

Just finished an Intermission round table discussion with these fellow Dora Best Actor nominees and it was incredibly fulfilling—a pretty wide range of ethnicities and generations between the six of us (from L to R: Danny Ghantous, RH Thomson, me, Greg Gale, and Matthew Gouveia (Sina Gilani had to take off before the photo was taken)). It was like a Facebook thread, except people were actually listening to each other and interested in what each other had to say, and were responding intelligently and respectfully versus just spitting words into the ether from a completely removed vacuum.

I remember someone suggesting this when Derrick Chua posted a note on Canadian Stage’s lack of diversity in key creative positions in their next season. Why don’t we sit down and listen to and talk TO each other more often? Not talk AT each other. You know, the way good theatre does. The only thing stopping us is us.

Tony Nappo

Tony Nappo

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.



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