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Office Life, Crying, and Ghostbusters

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 / Aug 3, 2016

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. If my name was Les and I worked in an office, I would bring a s’more to work and put it in the fridge and label it simply Les’s. Then I would sit near the fridge and wait as people opened it to see who thought it was funny.

That’s the kind of secret office life I fantasize about having sometimes.

2. The internet is one of the best things that ever happened to actors who aren’t at all famous. Fifteen, twenty years ago, if my vocation came up while talking to a stranger, there would, generally, be three stages to the conversation. First was the absolute certainty that I was lying or that I was a delusional background performer trying to upgrade myself in the eyes of the masses. Followed by the second stage where I listed off every film, play, television show, or commercial (back when I still did commercials, all six or seven of the five or ten thousand I auditioned for) that I had ever been in—complete with acting out bits of scenes sometimes—until it registered that I was actually telling the truth. The third stage would, almost without fail, consist of that person then calling over every other person they knew in the bar or wherever we were to introduce me as their new celebrity best friend. “Dude, do know who this is??? It’s the fucking janitor from Murder at 1600!!!”

All that can be circumvented now at stage one with three simple words: “Google me, motherfucker.”

3. The time Anusree Roy had the impossible task of judging the Biggest Forehead in Toronto Theatre finals.

biggest forehead

4. I was watching Good Will Hunting with my eleven-year-old daughter, Ella, and the playwright John Mighton came on the screen. I said, “Hey, look. That’s John Mighton. He’s the guy who invented JUMP math.”

Ella said, “You mean the guy who ruined my life.”

5. Twice in my life I have cried like a baby for about half an hour after finishing a book. Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees and Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters.

I thought of this because I just finished the Netflix series Stranger Things. It’s different when I finish a book I love than when I finish a series or film I really love because, I think, as RH Thompson said about theatre vs. film, you participate in a book: in your mind, you create the landscapes and characters’ voices and the ambiance in each scene… No two people can have the same exact experience reading a book because the individual reader brings so much of themself to the experience and it all takes place inside of them. A book becomes part of you because you are so invested in it. When I read one that strikes some kind of human chord—where the story and characters all line up to fill some hole in me that I hadn’t realized was there until I began to read it—when I reach the end of it, it’s like I lost a friend. Of course, I can read it again but it is never the same without not knowing what the next page might hold, the discovery and surprises and disappointments of the relationship.

I am gonna watch Stranger Things again and I am gonna watch the next season. I didn’t cry when it ended. I cried as the story resolved. But that was about the story and not the experience. I didn’t cry BECAUSE it was over and I would miss being with it. I have yet to mourn a TV show upon its conclusion, not The Wire, not Breaking Bad, not The Sopranos. I felt a bit stunned when they were over but satisfied. I had gone on a journey with them as an observer but not a participant. Stranger Things may be the closest I have come to having a friend on film but I think that’s maybe because it presented itself to me like an old friend from the outset.

6. This is the only misogyny joke I ever wrote. It only works out loud.

I don’t get it! She was dropping hints all night about me being a misogynist and, then, when I finally drove her home at the end of the night, she didn’t even WANT a massage!

7. George F. Walker, who I have had the honour of working with both on stage and on television, once told me that he took a meeting with Disney and at the end of the meeting, the Disney rep grabbed the cheque and announced, “It’s on the Mouse.” He had heard they always used that line and the only reason he took the meeting was to see if it was true.


8. An interesting detail for people who don’t do film or television is that exactly six hours after you start filming, there is a catered meal served called lunch. If you start at 6 a.m., lunch is at 12 p.m. If you start at midnight, lunch is at 6 a.m. No matter when you eat this meal, it will be called lunch. If you go into overtime and get served another meal, it is just called second meal—not dinner, not breakfast, not brunch—just second meal.

90 percent of the time second meal can also be called “pizza.”

9. Fucking Matt Damon. First he offends an entire continent with his new movie The Great Wall and then he calls me up and tells me he “really isn’t into” going camping this weekend. What a jerk.

10. I saw Ghostbusters and am thrilled to report that all of the haters turned out to be WRONG!!!! Those four women made just as shitty a movie as the original four men did.

11. When we were doing God of Carnage, there was one performance where, near the top of the play, Linda Kash accidentally jumped two pages right before she made an exit. But in those two pages there were a few really important threads started, and we could not possibly do the rest of the play and it make any sense at all without them. I hadn’t really noticed the jump but I felt like she had left sooner than usual. I think Sarah Orenstein and John Bourgeois knew sooner than I did because they were making those “Oh, shit” faces that actors make to each other on stage to signal something is wrong.

Once Linda had realized what she had done and just kind of casually wandered back onto the stage (I was thinking, what’s she doing here already?) and said, completely composed, “Did I forget to mention…” And then she dropped a few key points that we needed to cover and exited, the very picture of grace. The three of us all kind of took turns spitting out the bits we needed to get out and the audience had no idea that we had ever deviated from the script at all.

Sometimes it really pays to have a master improviser like Linda on your team when the ship goes off course. Even if she had gotten us off course to begin with, I admired the shit out of the way she handled it without ever breaking a sweat.

god of carnage

12. It’s so hot this week in Toronto that procrasturbation is up 95 percent.

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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