1.) To interfere with someone who is getting acquainted with, conversing with, or hooking up with a member of the opposite sex
I got a call one day from an old highschool friend, named Ross Kohn. I was closer to his sister, Jenna (hands down one of the most beautiful girls to grace the Byram Hills hallways), since we were in the same grade . Ross had moved to LA not long after graduation to become an actor. He had been working in television (Supernatural, Veronika Mars, etc…) and various films (Autopsy, Re-cut) at the time this phone call took place. He also had a strong interest in producing and being a producer myself, we had a lot to talk about. I would give him advice and steer him away from destructive paths I had grown accustomed to over my years of experiencing false starts and empty promises (very common experience). We did a lot of commiseration. He would always ask me why I hadn’t moved to LA yet, since this “was where all the action was.” I would always tell him, “I’d eventually wind up there. It was inevitable. Just didn’t know when.”
About the time of the phone call, youtube had exploded, changing the way users created content for their own viewing pleasure, free from many of the restrictions and barriers to entry that plagued content creators for decades. Thanks to youtube, several other niche sites popped up, allowing a host of content creators to display their imaginative works and interact with other like-minded users. One of these sites was FUNNYORDIE.COM, a site founded by the biggest comedic moviestar around at the time, Will Ferrel. His partners, Adam Mckay, Chris Henchy, had made a high concept no budget video, entitled the Landlord, about a little girl named “Pearl” who demanded her tenant, played by Will Ferrel, to cough up his rent money or vacate the premises. To date, the video has approx 73 million views on funnyordie.com alone. This was viral marketing at its best, where pre-existing social networks produce increases in brand awareness through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological or computer viruses. It was the first time I heard about this powerful organic form of messaging that truly maximizes your viewing audience.
Back to the phone call. Ross was telling me that his good friend, Ed Stein, an actor friend of his, had just formed a production company called The Backeast Brothers, because the two founders came from (you guessed it) Backeast. Anyway, they were big fans and supporters of my first two videos, which were steadily climbing on youtube and other video hosting sites. Ross suggested we collaborate on a web-series. At that time, I was just doing this for shits and giggles, a fun way to pass the time while focusing on my producing pursuits. I never imagined that I would soon embark on a creative partnership with Ross and Ed that would yield a trilogy of Tom-Foolery (no pun intended). These guys conceived of an hilarious concept, after scrapping the funny albeit not too original “To Catch a Predator” parody where Tom Cruise plays the predator. Their concept, which became an instant success and spawned two additional vids, was called Tom Cruise is a Cock Block, asking a simple question, “what do you do when the biggest movie star in the world won’t leave your party?” It rocketed to over a hundred thousand views in no time at all, granting us Immortal Status on Funnyordie.com, a big achievement at the time for a viral comedic video that lacked stars such as Will Ferrel or the host of other celebs taking a stab at the digital world.
This is the video that really started it all. I attribute much of my success today to the creative minds of Ross, Ed, and the series director, Richie Keen. We all thought it would be funny if Tom Cruise only said his own famous movie quotes. Everything out of his mouth was essentially unoriginal. Our audience seemed to really like this concept and the series took off. At this time, I still hadn’t picked up the wig that clearly defines my impersonation today. It suddenly appears in the 3rd episode and makes all the difference in my opinion. I can’t post from funnyordie since this site only allows youtube or google URL’s but here’s the link so you can see the “Immortal Status” and the “over 400k views” we’ve amassed over the years. Very proud of this video. In this video, after overstaying his welcome at a party, Tom Cruise has the nerve to hit on Ross’s girlfriend. He also refuses to leave the party when asked.
Here’s number two, also directed by Richie Keen. This time, I’m cock-blocking Ed from his best friend Ross, who has fallen deeply in love with Tom Cruise. I liken this one to the 2nd Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom film. It’s a guilty pleasure!
And finally, here’s the 3rd and final chapter of the series, in which Tom Cruise brainwashes Ross into staying with him as his roommate. Ed wants his friend back so he takes a trip to Tom’s mansion to win his friend back. Richie couldn’t direct this one. So, Ross and Ed took charge and gave it a go.It was a very ambitious sketch, with multiple locations, song and dance numbers, and many different costume changes. Although, I was in my underwear most of the times. We released this one exclusively through Comedy.com. Enjoy!