An exclusive interview with Daniel Kibblesmith of the hilarious @GOPTeens
The only obvious giveaway that @GOPTeens is a parody Twitter account is the fact that Republicans could never intentionally come up with such clever one-liners. I’ve been addicted since I discovered it a few weeks ago and still can’t decide on my favorite tweet. It’s either this one #Teens: What are you #Watching tonight instead of #Cosmos? or this one "My #lungs are for #shouting at #abortion clinics—not for #coughing!" #CoolWaysToSayNoToPot. Or maybe it’s #Teens: Should #Gay people be allowed to have #dogs? or this #Teens: How #pumped are you for #PurityBall season?
I recently caught up with writer, cartoonist, and comedian Daniel Kibblesmith, who aside from being the brainchild behind @GOPTeens is also a contributor to The Onion News Network, a former in-house comedian at Groupon, and co-author of the book How to Win at Everything: Even Things You Can’t or Shouldn’t Try to Win At.
When and why did you start GOP Teens?
I’d already impulsively purchased GOPTeens.com at some point and made it my About.me page where all the info is just about my career and that I have no affiliation with the Republican Party. The Twitter account came way later; I think it was just a really obvious joke about how consistently clunky the GOP is about youth outreach.
At first glance, it’s (sadly but hilariously) hard to differentiate between GOP Teens and legitimate GOP Twitter pages. Do most of your followers seem to understand that it’s parody?
It’s gone through waves, but right now the responses I get are mostly from actual left-leaning teens who seem to understand that it’s a joke but are also ready to believe (with some justification) that powerful adults are capable of literally any level of atrocity.
I love that some seemingly oblivious Republican politicians have been submitting selfies. How many have you received so far? Any favorites?
I’ve actually only gotten like two. I don’t actively troll elected officials but when one of them follows me of their own volition my standard operating procedure is to ask them for a #selfie, because the hope is that they’ll be so excited to engage with young people who use slang that they’ll do something funny against their better judgment.
Have you pissed anyone off? How often do you receive angry messages?
Liberals who don’t know it’s a joke at first sometimes become extremely angry, and you can kind of follow their train of thought as they figure out it’s a joke, and a wave of relief washes over them. It’s like a little movie.
A GOP Teens book seems inevitable. Have you gotten any offers yet?
My understanding is that Twitter books are tricky if you’re not a famous comedian and/or it is no longer 2009, but it’s not inconceivable. Right now, my How to Win at Everything co-author and I are pretty booked preparing our next joint-effort book proposals, so while I’d love to have conversations about doing more with @GOPTeens, right now it’s just a coping mechanism.
Do you have any Christian nightmares?
No, most of the Christians I’ve ever met have been totally chill, normal people. As for the ones who actually are hateful and crazy, I think that if your values are easy enough to parody that people can’t tell your beliefs from jokes, you’re probably not a long-term threat.
So can the same be said about hateful and crazy Republicans?
No, they’re an immediate threat.