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The sideburns on Mad Men got a lot bushier last season as Don Draper and his cohorts began meandering out of the midcentury and into the disco era, but comedian John McNamee is one step ahead: He's already got the show's antihero rockin' a Miami Vice look and hawking acid-wash jeans as the Twitter persona @80sDonDraper. It's a totally tubular mash-up between dark-and-twisty Draper and stereotypes from the “decade of indulgence.”
McNamee, a 27-year-old Silver Lake resident, created the cartooning site Pie Comic. He's also done stand-up comedy and contributed to The Onion. But he nearly wasted his brilliant Draper meme on a simple hashtag. Poised to tweet “People are asking where's our childhood? Where's our America? Where's the beef? #80sDonDraper” just days before Mad Men's season-six premiere, suddenly he paused. As if by divine intervention, McNamee says, “I stopped over the 'Tweet' button and thought, 'I should probably make this its own account.' ” He dredged up an old farce Twitter handle he'd once manned, @DalaiLamasHypeMan, and decided to rebrand it. “It had about 12 followers,” he says, “and I thought, 'Well, that's a good start.' ”
Today, that number has ballooned to nearly 55,000, fans who retweet the musings of a Don Draper who's gone back to the future.
“There's cab fare on the dresser. Don't wake me up before you go-go,” quips @80sDonDraper. Faux-poignantly he writes, “One Duran is never enough.”
But the tweets McNamee focuses on are the ones in which '80s Don Draper displays his skills as an ad man. “There's this particular way that Don Draper on the show always pitches a product,” McNamee says. “He always tries to connect it to some deep, deep, psychological problem he has. Then he's, like, 'That's why people drink Coca-Cola.' I'm always trying to find that dark place … and then trying to move some Rubik's Cubes with it.” Such is the case with the heavily favorited tweet, “People wander through life just hoping to make any kind of connection. We're giving them the chance to Connect Four.”
Mocking the stuff of the '80s comes pretty easily to McNamee. “All '80s products are pretty silly already,” he says. “They're easy punch lines to use to sell some Flava Flav to people.”
Still, he never dreamed @80sDonDraper would become so popular. “I guess I might have imagined it in the way you imagine becoming a dragon or something, but no, I did not think it would become this big.”
Despite not being on Twitter, Mad Men's creator counts himself a fan, telling TheWrap in an interview that @80sDonDraper “is totally Matthew Weiner–approved.” McNamee says he's grateful for the seal of approval but can't help asking, “Hey Matt, how about the seal of a job?”
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