Meet the Comedian Behind the Hilarious @NextToKimDavis Twitter Account
Another day, another irritating headline about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who got famous by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, ended up in jail for five days and became Mike Huckabee’s favorite “religious freedom” talking point. The latest news is that she switched to the Republican party to be with her far-right fans; and now people are getting into arguments about whether Pope Francis agrees with her.
And through it all, comedian Dave Colan’s @nexttokimdavis account is here to remind us how silly she is in the grand scheme of things.
“Pardon the language, but I think she’s just kind of a dick,” Colan tells What’s Trending. “Everybody wants this to be part of the culture wars, and to some degree it is. The presidential candidates that are really pandering to the far right are willing to use this to win a couple points. But the truth of the matter is – if she wasn’t elected, if her mom didn’t have the job before her, if she could be fired, all these different things – I don’t think people would pay much attention to her.”
I got a much needed laugh out of his parody Twitter account about the blonde, Diet Mountain Dew-drinking woman sitting next to Davis at the county clerk’s office, so when I found out Colan and I have a mutual friend, I jumped at the chance to ask him how he came up with the idea.
As the Kim Davis story was first going viral, Colan was joking around on a fellow comedian’s Facebook wall when he noticed deputy clerk Melissa Thompson sitting next to Davis in several of the pictures, looking very uncomfortable.
“You know who looks most unhappy about this? The people that sit next to her all day at work. They were the ones who looked like they were getting the worst out of this.”
He started riffing on Thompson and the other employees who probably just wanted to go about their business without being surrounded by cable news reporters. But when his Facebook jokes about her didn’t really take off, it occurred to him that this was more the kind of thing that might go viral on Twitter. He created the parody account, posted the first two tweets, and tried to figure out how to catch the public’s attention.
A glance at the #KimDavis hashtag showed that LGBT advocate Dan Savage had the top tweet on the subject. @nexttokimdavis replied to Savage, and within ten minutes of the account going live, Savage tweeted back.
A few minutes later the new account had hundreds of followers – and it snowballed from there. Soon the story had been picked up by TIME Magazine, The New York Times, and liberal blogs like Salon and Talking Points Memo, and it was promoted by George Takei from “Star Trek.”
These days Kim Davis is doing her best to stay in the news, so Colan and @nexttokimdavis are keeping tabs on her. But for the most part, it looks like her 15 minutes of fame are running out.
“I think the judge is doing an amazing job right now treating her like a child that’s having a temper tantrum,” Colan said. “He won’t escalate anything with her; he just keeps going, ‘Nope, that’s denied. Nope, that’s denied.’ The ACLU did a lawsuit because she changed all the forms, and I think the judge is basically like, ‘No, they’re still going to be legal and I’m not going to give her any more attention.’”
He felt so bad for Davis’ employees through all of this that he literally set up an Indiegogo campaign to throw them a pizza party. The campaign blitzed past the $150 goal and raised a total of $1,645. The extra funds were donated to The Fairness Campaign, a Kentucky LGBT rights organization.
He was hoping to deliver the pizzas and Diet Mountain Dews to the office while Davis was in jail, but it took a bit of time to find someone local that the employees trusted enough to let inside. Fortunately he had a friend in the area who hooked him up, and the pizza party took place last Monday.
When he’s not impersonating deputy clerks on Twitter, Colan performs in LA with The Second City comedy troupe and is working on a new musical, “1770FOX,” an account of the writing of the Constitution as told by Fox News. The musical will premiere in November.
He’s glad that people enjoyed his satirical take on the situation, but the most important thing for him was to acknowledge and appreciate the employees who are still caught up in Davis’ media circus.
“The thing I really want to point out is to remember that the other six people in that office were willing to do their job – even though I’m sure some of those people don’t actually agree with gay marriage. Most people are generally pretty good, and they’re just trying to do the best they can.”