Modern Males, Motherfuckers, and Weyni Mengesha

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. To anyone who is saying shit like “Respect his family and friends” or “Don’t speak ill of the dead”: fuck off from me. Silence is the soil that rape culture grows in. If you’re saying nothing, you’re actually contributing to making that soil more fertile.

2.

I’m not entirely sure WHY Richard Feren did this. I am just so so happy that he did.

3. It’s funny how, if you spell FUCKING wrong, autocorrect pretends not to know what word you’re trying to spell. But if you spell the word right, it accepts it is a word that is spelled correctly. Conclusion: SPELLCHECK IS A DUCKING ADS HOLD!!!!!

4. Celebrity Sighting of the Week

5. On that TV commercial for SoClean.com, William Shatner says he has been using a CPAP machine for TEN YEARS but NOBODY EVER TOLD HIM HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS TO KEEP IT CLEAN. He then goes on to say that a dirty CPAP can make you sick. Right after saying he didn’t know he had to clean it for ten years. If not cleaning his CPAP machine for ten years didn’t make William Shatner sick, I’m gonna guess I can probably go fifteen, twenty years at least, without having to worry about it.

Thanks, Captain Kirk!

6.

Because nothing says Self Confident Modern Male like hiding your truth beneath a t-shirt girdle made out of a Glad Kitchen Catcher.

7. Listen, I’m as Pro-The Irishman as most of the next guys but some of the other Oscar-nominated films (Parasite, JoJo Rabbit, 1917, Joker, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood) make it look like a fucking Happy Days reunion.

8. Guest Post of the Week:

9. Classic David Fox:

10.

This is the sign in our backstage washroom at Soulpepper. I think it’s a great initiative, but I sometimes get mixed up on exactly what I am supposed to shake 12 times and—how do I say this delicately?—I fear that I am spending a lot more time in the bathroom backstage than I normally would.

11. Not that anyone asked but my pronoun of preference is motherfucker. Eg. “Motherfucker’s late again.”

12. I always say that a good director can make me better but a bad one can’t hurt me – for the simple reason that I won’t do what a bad director tells me to do. I don’t give a fuck. Fire me. I’m not gonna go out and do shit that doesn’t make sense to me to do. But I’m smart enough and experienced enough now not to fight with them. I just nod my head and agree with them and do whatever I want anyway.

The first time I worked with Weyni Mengesha, on Butcher, we fought so often and so intensely that we were barely even speaking to each other on opening night. But she made me turn in a performance I never would have given without her and earn the Best Actor Dora nomination. We discovered that’s just how we work best together. With our gloves off.

Working on Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, we haven’t had any real conflict at all. So much so that she asked me on one of the first tech days, “How come you’re so easy to work with this time?” I flippantly answered, “You’ve improved a lot.” But through the first couple of previews, I knew she wasn’t entirely happy with what I was doing. I wasn’t quite sure what it was but she kept saying it was lacking a certain danger. She pointed out a line later in the play that Daren Herbert delivers (no spoilers) and told me that if that line doesn’t get a laugh, I had not done my job that night. It hadn’t gotten a laugh in either of the first two previews.

She brought me into work the fuck out of me on the afternoon of the third preview and she was really pushing me – to the point where I was really starting to get pissed off and I started to fight her like the old days. And she kept pushing and I kept pushing back, and then she’d make me keep doing the scene and keep asking for more and new shit – there was too much Tony on the stage and not enough “Valdez.” She suggested a very specific back story, which is something I generally don’t think a whole lot about, but I took on the assignment as asked. It helped.

Before the first two previews, I was hanging out in the lobby right up to the fifteen- or five-minute call like I always do (as I’ve mentioned in this column before) because it relaxes me. It eliminates any fear that I have of the audience and takes my mind off of my fear of forgetting my lines. She asked me not to do that for the rest of the run. “Be scared,” she said. “I want you to go out there scared every night.” Instead, she wanted me to prep in a very specific way, to bring a very specific energy to the character right off the top, and to never let go of it.

I followed her instructions – because I completely and totally believe in her vision, and because I had seen what she had been doing for each of the other actors in terms of shaping and sculpting their performances to serve the play in a way that all of the elements would combine for maximum impact (and these are all fucking thoroughbreds I’m sharing that stage with).

Cut to the third preview performance – that laugh line that Daren says late in the play? The audience responds with a laugh, for the first time ever. A huge, huge fucking laugh. “I guess she was right,” I think to myself. And then immediately, “But she’s still gonna give me shit for that late fucking entrance, I bet.”


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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.