How Wisconsin Sports Twitter Made Me a Better Comedian… And Person
By: John Egan
2020 John is a lot happier and healthier than 2019 John. I am writing new material, reading more books, working out more and being a better father, husband and friend. And it’s all because every day I get to pretend I’m a dinosaur on Twitter.
In May of 2019, I was over Twitter. 10 years into Twitter I had basically nothing to show for it. Around 550 followers. Being a comedian, performer, writer and content creator, I felt there should have been more. My tweets got nothing almost every single time. Jokes, shares, politics, rants, memes. Nothing. My feed was a flood of angry politics with sprinkles of tweets from comedians and friends. My feed was a mess, and so was I. My tweets were a lot of lashing out and angry about politics. Comedian Greg Proops blocked me without me even saying anything to him, I made a comment to a politician and he was linked and was I blocked. I still miss his tweets.
As a comedian, you need a hook or something else to stand out. I’ve been doing comedy and improv since high school and stand up for almost 10 years now. But, you usually need something else. I was in a video group for years called Table 8 Productions. We made YouTube sketches, and even had a semi-viral hit with The Avengers (on a budget). I was Hawkeye and have about 40 extra pounds on me then I do now. I would make a sweet Hawkeye now. By the way, did you know Jeremy Renner has a music album and videos? It will make your day. Back to Table 8. We all got older and didn’t do it anymore. I then did a series of YouTube food reviews that I enjoyed, but it never took off and I was just eating gross fast food for nothing. I did several podcasts, and nothing really hit. I started a Facebook health page called You Can Still Eat Pizza, and not much hit either. I became an Instagram model for a week and lost followers. I definitely wanted, nay, needed a new creative outlet.
At first, I wanted to create a new account and start fresh. My fellow comedians encouraged me to change my handle from EganJ to JohnEganComedy, because the rest of my accounts or google searches had the same name. Branding! So, my Twitter name changed. But, I still wanted to start fresh. I started seeing some Brewers parody/fan accounts pop up and I started to followed them (Drunk David Stearns, BREW_MATHs and Craig Counsell (fake) to name and recommend a few). It was fun to see, and the comedian and competitor in me was jealous. I am a huge Milwaukee Brewers and Wisconsin sports fan. They had lots of followers and engagements. It was a way to be silly without being too personal. I decided I was going to jump in, there was nothing to lose.
Honestly my first name came to me easily. Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas has a very famous nickname; “Moose”. Quick shout out to Mike, who has the greatest Instagram handle, MooseTacos8. If you don’t get it, take a breath. I checked Twitter, and @BrewersMoose was available. My name then became Mike Moustakas’s Actual Moose. My picture was a terribly photoshopped picture of a moose with a Brewers hat. It had a white background square around it, and finally my terrible photoshop skills were useful. I started by following sports-only accounts, reporters and personalities only and went after it. Some followers started coming, but then I was told one of the best pieces of advice for Twitter to get new followers. Notifications. Whenever the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Moustakas, Christian Yelich, Green Bay Packers or Milwaukee Bucks tweeted, I was notified. When you get the notification, you jump on as soon as you can and leave a funny comment, reply or GIF. There is a hilarious GIF of a moose smashing an automatic lawnmower that makes me laugh every single time, and one of my go-to Moose GIFs. Most of my first tweets were Moose-related, it’s usually better to stick to the character than be yourself. I still remember my first big response from a Milwaukee Brewers tweet. Keston Hiura was sent back to Triple A, and my comment was almost the first one with a GIF of Aidy Bryant from SNL giving a thumbs down with a big BOOOOOO across the screen. Hundreds of likes within and a bunch of new followers. It’s quite a rush. I pinned that tweeter faster than Brent Suter’s pitching style. More of him to come.
I was enjoying it, but that wasn’t the only thing I was enjoying. As followers grew, I started to see the same people make comments, like my tweets or pop up in my feed. As I started to follow some people back, I didn’t know I had officially joined the Sports Twitter world. If you aren’t aware, Twitter has giant pockets of followers who focus on one thing. They aren’t trying to get everyone to follow them, just the ones who like what they like. This also helped my followers grow, but then something else happened. I started liking these followers. We were goofing around and people really enjoyed my name and gimmick. I was sent DMs and fun comments about my tweets and jokes, something I was missing from my normal Twitter account and something I personally needed at the time. I’m very needy.
With the Moose account in full swing and as the 2019 Brewers Season progressed, I became happier. My mental health increased. I was sleeping better and laughing more. It also made the season super special to me. I was interacting with fans and friends and riding each game like a roller coaster. We all got to bond over and cry when Yelich went down and the unfortunate end of the Wild Card game. The 2018 Milwaukee Brewers season was something special, but so was the 2019 season to me.
Then, during the 2019/2020 MLB offseason, the unthinkable happened.
Mike Moustakas signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Not only not with the Brewers, but an NL Central rival team. My account could never be the same. Now what do I do? Do I become a Reds fan because of a Twitter account? Of course not. Once again, WI Sports Twitter came to the rescue. I had a new name in mind already, but still asked people for ideas, and boy did they come. Manny Pina’s Actual Pineapple, The Church of Christian Yelich, Keston Hiura’s Step Daddy, Brandon Woodruff’s Ginger Beard/Bread or Beer, Craig Counsell’s Actual Council and Robin Yount’s Actual Robin. But my first idea ended up being my favorite, especially when it came to pictures and GIFs to use for Twitter. My new Twitter name was @BrewersRaptor, and my new name is Brent Suter’s Actual Raptor. Brent’s nickname is Raptor, and yes, I am still waiting for him to notice me and follow me. Fingers crossed. My picture is now a raptor from Jurassic Park with, once again, a terribly photoshopped Brewers hat on top. Did you also know there is a GIF of a Raptor from Jurassic World screaming and under it someone put “YAAAAAAAAAS”? It’s perfect.
In less than a year, I now have almost 700 followers (as of Feb 2020) and already surpassed my original account of 11 years. Sad for the John Egan account, good for Raptor, but more importantly good for John Egan the person.
Twitter is fun again. I get to write sports jokes and new non-sports jokes every day. My humor and personality truly come out and is seen by people. It is helping me write new material. I barely have to deal or see political tweets. I have to say barely because it still creeps in, there is no escape! Also quick side note; stop telling comedians to stick to comedy or reporters to sports or people to do one thing. The point of comedy is to make people laugh, and getting that done is mostly poking fun and bringing up the ridiculous things in this world, and politics are 100% ridiculous. But John, things are ridiculous about sports too. You’re right. For Major League Baseball, it is the Astros, Manny Machado and of course 98% of Cubs fans. Much love to Ken Schultz, Joe Kilgallon and a few other Cubs fans.
Yes, you should follow me. Yes, you should book me. Yes, I will be on your podcast or show. Yes, I will go to Brewers games with you. Yes, I will buy you a beer. No, I will not sign you up for a credit card for a free T-shirt, that is how my credit card debt started in college. I will see you out there and probably follow you back. Probably. Lots of weirdos out there. Did I see a Bucks fan account that only tweets drawings of Giannis’s downstairs parts? Yes. Yes I did.
John Egan is better. My advice from this experience is that trying something fun and different to be creative is always a good idea. You never know what might hit or what you might enjoy. You will fail sometimes. Sometimes a bunch. But if you keep going you will find something you love, and that is good for yourself and everyone around you. I can tell you that I am a better person thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers for having people on their roster with animal nicknames. What a strange, fun world we live in. Life is short. Eat a cookie. And if you’re a Raptor, eat a cow.
Also, if you ever read this Brent. My dream is to do a joint comedy show with you to help raise awareness for your #StrikeOutWaste campaign. We can wear matching t-shirts and have an impression off. Will Jim Carrey be allowed? We can decide that later.