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Audition Breakdowns, Bad Luck, and a Trump Presidency

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 / Nov 9, 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. I haven’t felt anything quite as surreal and terrifying since that second plane hit on the morning of 9/11. And I’m dreading the moment when those buildings begin to fall again.

2. It’s only an extra hour sleep if you don’t have kids. Otherwise, it’s an extra hour you have to be awake for.

3. Never pay any attention to the physical description in an audition breakdown. In my late twenties, I got called in for an audition for F/X: The Series to read for an African-Canadian security guard in his sixties. I told my agent I didn’t want to go in but he convinced me to and I booked the job. It then turned into a recurring role as a cop and eventually became a semi-regular role as a detective right before the series got cancelled. Something like twelve episodes of television all from that one audition I didn’t want to go in for. ALWAYS GO IN!!! They usually don’t know exactly what they are looking for, really. They have an idea of what they want but you can always make them rethink that idea. And if you are a wild card—meaning everyone ELSE being seen for the role is female or male or older or younger or a specific ethnicity or taller or shorter or heavier or whatever—you’re being seen as a possible alternative, and that can work just as well in your favour as it can against you.

You just never fucking know.

4. Ella and I ran into Steve Cumyn on the weekend, and he told Ella that he had met her when she was quite young. He asked how she was doing and what she was up to. I answered, “She’s all about boys these days, Steve. That’s all she thinks about now.” Steve replied, “Me too!!!! That stage is never gonna end, Ella. Believe me, I’m fifty-five years old and that’s still all I think about.”

5. Bad luck much?


6. Making a kid go to school the day after a Halloween candy bender is like making an alcoholic go to work on New Year’s Day. There’s just no fucking point, really.

7. Picked up one of those self-colonoscopy kits at Shoppers. Not really sure what I’m looking for but, like the man said, “It’s got to be the going, not the getting there, that’s good.”

8. Got this cutesy email from Trudeau’s office admonishing me for not filling out their “How we doing?” survey.

“Make sure it’s not an F”? Maybe you should be worried about the same fucking thing, JT.


9. Who the fuck ever thought that Queen Elizabeth would be the new Tony Soprano?

10. Filming on Fab Filippo’s webseries Save Me last Wednesday night and we both post almost the exact same photo on Facebook. That night happened to be the same night of the historic World Series Game Seven Final going into extra innings.

At one point Fab asks me- You check the score lately?

Me- Yeah. It’s over. Cubs won.

Fab- No. I mean who’s got more likes on Facebook.

And he meant it.


11. One follow-up to last week’s “try everything” note. You should TRY everything but that doesn’t mean you should DO everything. You only do a thing, in the end, if it works. If it helps you. In rehearsals—in the search and discovery part of the process—try it all. But definitely throw the shit that doesn’t work away. If I ever get asked to teach acting anywhere, I think a thing that I would really try to impress upon students is how to know within themselves when something is and isn’t working. I feel like I have seen so many actors over the years who don’t actually know. It’s as if they have transferred the teacher/student relationship to the director/actor relationship, where it becomes about pleasing the director and being validated rather then doing what feels right and true to them. As if there is some ideal performance—a test they are trying to pass—that they are chasing from the outside when it’s ridiculous and impossible. All we can do from the inside is know what we want and what we are doing and then be listening, present, and honest.

At some point, you just have to KNOW what you’re doing on your own. That’s the craft.

12. I was once at the opera with Brad Fraser and, as people were returning to their seats from intermission, he observed, “It’s hard to get old AND have a nice ass.”


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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