James Breakwell: Twitter’s Exploding Unicorn
To the list of awesome people we interviewed, Persona is happy to add one awesome funny cool dad, James Breakwell, or as known on Twitter, Exploding Unicorn (@XplodingUnicorn). Yes, it’s that funny father who made the most out of having four daughters and instead of immersing himself in misery and drama, decided to deal with it through humor and sarcasm, the way all the greats do.
Tell us more about yourself and how were you like before your kids got into the picture?
I’m 30. I live in the Indianapolis area. Subject wise, I’ll tweet about anything that makes my family look good and me look bad. As long as I come out on the losing end, everyone seems happy. Before I had kids, I had exactly the same sarcastic sense of humor I do now. I just joked about school or my wife rather than my kids.
Your wife, tell us a little about her too.
My wife Lola is also 30. She’s the mother of all my kids. Let’s be realistic here.Nobody else would ever have sex with me. Lola works full time at a regular job that has nothing to do with comedy.
My kids know what I do on Twitter, even if they don’t entirely understand why. They like what I do, mainly because it’s all about them. I already have to watch when I swear in a tweet because my 5-year-old is getting old enough to read. My tweets are a mix. Some are real, some are exaggerated, and some are made up. Most are at least inspired by my kids. Over time, I forget which are real and which aren’t. On one hand, Twitter makes me a better father because I spend more time with my kids. On the other hand, Twitter makes me a much worse father because I only do it to get more material.
How do you think your kids will feel when they read all this in the future?
If my kids read all these tweets years from now, it’s going to give them a very warped view of what their childhoods were actually like. I’m the reason they’ll end up in therapy for the rest of their lives. But on the short term, it’s working out well for me, and that’s really all that matters.
How about your wife? What does she think of all this?
My wife is grudgingly tolerant of my Twitter activities. She tells me about funny things the kids do when I need material and she keeps her heavy sighs to a minimum when I’m writing jokes. I guess that’s really all I can ask for. She comes out on the winning end of all our tweet conversations, anyway, so she doesn’t have much to complain about. Her only rules are that I can’t use her picture online and I can’t get the family murdered. So far, I’ve held up my end of the bargain.
Why do you think your wife is against your internet fame?
My wife isn’t against my Internet fame. She legitimately wants me to achieve my dreams. She just keeps me grounded. I can’t abandon my daily responsibilities to my family to pursue fame and fortune on the Internet.
Do you sometimes wish you had a boy?
I don’t wish I’d had a boy. We have all the infrastructure in place for girls. If we had a boy, it would just give my wife an excuse to buy an entire wardrobe in the opposite gender. Besides, I got my girls to like Star Wars and Xbox, so I don’t know that raising a boy would be that much different. I’m equally capable of ruining a child from either gender.
What do you enjoy about Twitter and your internet fame?
I’m mostly in it for the attention whoring. Dealing with a horrific diaper
blowout isn’t so bad if I can turn it into a tweet that makes strangers on the Internet validate my existence. Yes, I have a problem.
I also like the challenge of condensing a joke down to 140 characters. I used to think I was good at Twitter because I’m brilliantly succinct. Then I realized I just have small thoughts. I live my life at a 3rd-grade reading level.
Another thing that keeps me hooked on Twitter is the outrage that gets directed my way on a regular basis. Some of my tweets are real, some are exaggerated, and some are made up. Most are at least inspired by my kids. The majority of people are smart enough to understand that’s how comedy works, but this is the Internet. Every few weeks, some online super sleuth thinks he’s blowing the lid off a grand conspiracy by calling me out as a liar. Sorry I made up the joke where I lost an argument to a talking dog. Next time I’ll add a disclaimer.
I’m pleasantly surprised with my brief bout of minor fame. If there’s one thing I understand about the Internet, it’s that it never gives you what you wish for. I figured if I ever did go viral, it would be for something I didn’t want anyone to know about. This is the age of YouTube. I’m extremely lucky I’m getting recognition for my jokes and not for accidentally lighting myself on fire or something.
How did all this start anyway?
I started tweeting around August 2012. I joined to send links to articles on my website. I eventually figured out no one would click on those links without jokes to go with them. Eventually, I forgot about the links and just tweeted jokes. I started tweeting about being a dad because I’m incredibly uncreative. I write jokes about whatever is right in front of me, and that tends to be my kids. Seriously, they never go away. If I were an astronaut, I would tweet about astronaut stuff and my account would be a million times better. Sorry I let everyone down.
Have you considered writing a book? Like a children’s book, a parenting book or even a book about your life with your children?
I’m working on writing a book right now. I have a literary agent, and we’re bouncing some ideas around. I look forward to selling out as fast and as hard as I possibly can.
Your adventures with your kids can make a hilarious sitcom. Have you thought of that and/or would you consider it?
I’ve been writing pilots for sitcoms for a few years. I haven’t sold anything yet. If I had, I’d be known as a sitcom writer rather than a regular dad who happens to have a popular Twitter account.
I’ve never done anything professionally, but I do have a generic office job where I’m a hopeless amateur, at least according to HR. My ultimate goal is to do comedy writing full time, and Twitter is slowly nudging me in that direction. It helps me generate income through ads and freelance writing gigs, which is why my wife puts up with the thousands of hours I’ve dumped into it. If I put that much effort into my day job instead of writing pointless jokes on the Internet, I would be a CEO by now. I make sure not to point that out to my wife.
What are your hopes and dreams in life? And have you ever thought of just quitting your job and pursuing your dreams full time?
I want to write a book or sell a sitcom pilot and write for a living. My goal is to break out of the cubicle and support myself with comedy.
I can’t quit my job yet. I have to make enough money at comedy to replace it first.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I make three daily webcomics. They take up way too much of my time, but at this point I can’t stop. My wife warned me not to start them in the first place, and I can’t admit she was right. I draw stick figure comics at JamesBreakwell.com, I add horribly inappropriate descriptions to my kids’ innocent pictures at Unfridgeworthy.com, and I do the dialogue for a webcomic drawn by artist Jim Brown at WombatDojo.com. I also write for ExplodingUnicorn.com, but visit that site at your own risk. I’m a lot easier to put up with for 140-character tweets than 1,000-word articles.
My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/ExplodingUnicorn/
I’m always looking for new freelance projects that will help me neglect my day job and ignore my family. People who have found me through Twitter have asked me to write or collaborate on everything from parenting articles and potty training books to funny real estate ads and puppet show pilots. I’m willing to do almost anything for the right price, up to and including murder. If you’re a cop, I’m kidding about that last part. If you’re a potential client with lots of unmarked bills, I’m not. My integrity is always for sale to the highest bidder. Contact me at XplodingUnicorn@gmail.com if you want a great deal on a human soul.