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Theatre Audiences, Springtime, and Ron White

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 / Apr 10, 2018

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. Turns out that viral Les Mis family video was just an attempt to increase brown leather Lay-Z-Boy chairs sales!!!! Shame!!!!!

2. People who claim that we need to find a way to attract younger audiences because the older audiences are dying off are kind of the Toronto theatre equivalent of flat-earthers.

It’s not the same group of old people who have been coming to the theatre in Toronto since the 1970s.

Every subsequent generation is bigger than the one before it. Just as sure as each generation dies out, the next one ages and takes its place.

If anything, our potential audience is growing bigger every single day.

3. In equally relevant news, Terry Jacks calls the perm the “greatest hairstyle of this or any other century.”

4. I saw a robin the other morning and asked him why he wasn’t singing, since it was spring.

He said, “Fuck you, Buddy, I’m freezing. You can download some kind of app for that shit now.”

Talk about an Angry Bird.

5. Truest Response of the Week

6. I don’t think the humour in this column is either highbrow or lowbrow. I think it’s unibrow.


8. Painting with some younger folks with my playlists going and one of the guys said, “Hey this is pretty good shit for Dad Rock.” My mind raced for a good comeback. I mean Prince, Bowie, Beastie Boys, AC/DC, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Elvis, Queen, the Hip. But the only thing that popped into my head was, “Dad Rock? More like Dead Rock!”

So I just kept my mouth shut rather than burn myself worse than he did.

9. It’s always good to know which cupcake is mine.

10. Kate, my girlfriend, recently got a dog named Tucker.

Kate- It’s springtime!! Time to throw a “Clean up Tuck’s poo in the yard” party.

Me- Am I the only one invited?

11. Took me a year to find it, but it is still the Guest Post of the Week

12. I was not close to Ron White for the last fifteen years or so. But there was an intense time before that, which lasted quite a few years, where I saw him pretty regularly. I honestly don’t think there is any other actor who taught me more about auditioning, about confidence, about taking complete ownership of a performance, and about how to command a stage. I didn’t watch him on stage, I studied him. I copied him. I knew I could one day play the alpha male parts he played when I was old enough. I knew I would follow in his footsteps more closely than almost any other actor because I saw in him a quality I had never seen in an actor before. He wasn’t afraid of not being liked on stage. And that’s not to say he was not likeable. Quite the opposite. He was a complete charmer. He was a guy who would listen to you and give you his time happily. He was a guy who enjoyed a beer with the boys more than anyone I have ever known. But on stage, he gave absolutely zero fucks about anything except his objective, and if you were between him and that objective he would fucking destroy you. He was fiercely unapologetic about owning the space around him.

I had the good fortune to see Ron and say goodbye about two weeks before he passed. When I walked into his hospital room, I honestly didn’t recognize him—so thin and weak and vulnerable. We talked about his health and his family and about the good times we had had in the past. I thanked him for all of the time he had given me all those years ago, for his generosity, and for all that he taught me. I told him he had shaped me more than any other actor I have ever personally known. He was gracious and in good spirits that night and seemed legitimately surprised to hear me say those words. He said I should start coming over to the house more regularly again when he got out of the hospital, to spend time like we used to. I said I would really like that, and I meant it, but I knew when I walked out the door that I would never see him again. I went home that night and drank a magnum of wine and vaped a bit of oil and toasted the man who was once the most direct and dangerous guy I had ever seen on a stage. And I toasted the frail fighter I had just left alone in that hospital room, who had no plan to go anywhere anytime soon.

And then I just wept.

Thank you again, Ron. And bless you.

And thank you to Lisa Robertson for sending me this photo of Ron and his son, Jesse. Above all his accomplishments, in the end, there was nothing he was prouder of in the world than his son.

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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