@FakeThemePark is closing his popular Twitter account, and Attractions Magazine’s Seth Kubersky had one final interview with him before the last Tweet is posted.
Why did you decide that now was the time to end “Fake Theme Park”?
I’ve been posting on Twitter every day since July 12, 2010 — yes, I mean literally every single day, multiple times a day. And Facebook almost as long. I’ve said just about all I want to say about Disney, Universal, Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, etc.
There are more jokes to be made, for sure, but I won’t be the one making them. In fact, I haven’t worn a theme park uniform since April 2008, so I’m not sure I’m still the most qualified person to be making those jokes. So I want to end it while it’s still fun, and people still care. Judging by fans’ reactions, and interviews like yours, it seems people still do.
Did you have any idea that Fake Theme Park would run this long when you started it 12 years ago?
My “plan” was to get attention and turn it into other comedy writing jobs. The holy grail back then was “Shit My Dad Says,” which was a Twitter feed, then a book, and then a sitcom with William Shatner. Once it was clear that wasn’t happening, it simply became a fun writing exercise, and a way to get daily positive feedback from people around the country.
Between Twitter and Facebook, my work has the potential to be seen by 20,000 followers, and far more with shares and retweets. Compare that to improv shows I’ve done, where there were six people in the audience.
What are some of the jokes or projects from Fake Theme Park that you’re most proud of?
My degree is in theater, and I love Broadway, so getting to co-write two comedy songs and turn one of them into a music video was an absolute joy. I’m also glad to have compiled some of the best content into two books, so there’s a physical manifestation of the account, in case Twitter were to ever shut down.
Do you have any regrets about posts or gags that went particularly wrong?
It’s hard even for me to believe, but posts never went wrong. The jokes were never mean or rude — I hardly ever used profanity, and only then for comic effect. I didn’t set out to savage the theme park industry. All the humor came from a place of love.
To this day I have Universal posters in my house. I met my wife at Universal, and she herself is working on a book about the Studio Tour. I recently wrote an article for The Daily Dead about the Universal monsters. I just can’t escape that place, and I think the comedy reflected that. Maybe I wasn’t “edgy” enough, but the result was an account where everyone could enjoy the joke.
What memorable responses or interactions have you had with Fake Theme Park followers over the years?
It’s not surprising that announcing the end of the account is what compelled people to thank me for bringing them a little joy every day for the past decade. Before that, I was always pleased to see people tagging each other in my Facebook comments, and sharing their own little inside jokes based on their time working at a park. Without even knowing it, I had touched on some part of their lives and helped them reminisce and laugh about it. It’s a great feeling.
Will you miss “speaking” as park CEO Murph Gantly? How much of your personality is in his persona?
Boy, he sure was fun. I owe all the podcast hosts who let me appear in character and just insult them for an hour. There was a certain pressure to improvising for that long, but it was very therapeutic to play a cranky, greedy, cynical old coot who hated Disney and hated guests and just hated everything.
Universal Studios Hollywood has always been, and may always be, a little brother in the shadow of the great, iconic Disneyland. Working there, I felt that. So if there’s any part of me in Murph, it’s that combination of anger and envy at the Disney empire.
Are there any real-life upcoming theme park projects that you’re sorry you won’t be parodying?
I got the chance to satirize the Galactic Starcruiser hotel before it opened, just based on the announcement and the press releases. I’m very curious about Epic Universe, particularly the classic monsters element, but there’s no way I can hang on until 2025, if it even opens on time.
Since Fake Theme Park will continue to exist (in fiction) what do you imagine is in the future for Murph and the Princesses?
As a matter of fact, the final day of tweets will allow fans to peer into the future to see what happens to their favorite attractions and characters.
You’ve just ended Fake Theme Park! What are you going to do next? (Guessing it’s not going to Disneyland)
Ha! I’ve been able to write other things over the last 10 years — my first produced screenplay is now streaming — but it will be nice to have some time back every day to focus on other projects.
The one I’m most excited about is a web series that’s a workplace comedy…but doesn’t take place in a theme park!