BadBanana’s book: Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras

I was a @badbanana fan back when we was still ripe. What? Wait. No. That didn’t come out right.

That wasn’t so funny.

But Tim Siedell, known to more than 400,000 Twitter followers as “Bad Banana,” genuinely and consistently is. Tim won me over in 2008 with his witticisms including (my favorite), “India, your food is delicious. Congratulations.” I’m genuinely honored Tim’s giving us the scoop on his new book “Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras,” due out this November. Pre-order “Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras” today!

Joe Hage: Hey, Tim, I’ve got to say, I’m really excited about this interview. I remember when I found you back in 2008 and (as I recall) you were just crossing the 5,000 follower mark. Now, look at you: 400,000 followers and counting! You’re a Welebrity! What’s it like having so many people count on you for a daily chuckle? Do you feel a “pressure to be funny”?

Tim Siedell: Any Twitter anxiety is pretty much indistinguishable from my normal, everyday anxiety. On my Big List of Worries (updated daily), Twitter currently comes in at 748, right behind flying squirrels.

Joe Hage: See? Funny! Are you always funny? Were you the class clown at school?

Tim Siedell: Well, I grew up in a family that valued good comedy. Smart comedy. I used to sneak over to my uncle’s house and listen to his Steve Martin records, which were a little too blue for my parents. My dad had Bob and Ray records. Old radio shows on tape. Bob Newhart records. Classic early television shows like Ernie Kovacs (which seemed ancient when I was a kid). Abbott and Costello. The Marx Brothers. Monty Python. Johnny Carson. This is what I grew up with. I learned early on that good comedy could be powerful. So, of course, I tried to harness that power to score chicks in school.

Joe Hage: So did you, in fact, “score” lots of chicks? Did you compete in speech and debate or join theater in high school or college? Have you ever tried stand-up or improv?

Tim Siedell: No. No, no, no, no. No and no. By the way, the first one should be a resounding no.

Joe Hage: Perhaps we should change subjects, then. So, as an advertising aficionado, I recognize your avatar is famed pitchman David Ogilvy. How did you come to select David to represent your online brand?

Tim Siedell: I signed up for Twitter just to check it out. I sure as heck wasn’t going to use my real picture or a real name. So I quickly chose @badbanana and a photo I already had on my desktop (Ogilvy is one of my professional heroes). I figured I’d sign in, look around, and delete my account. That was almost four years ago. There certainly wasn’t a master plan. I do think my quips are a little funnier coming out of that face. And whenever I play around with a different avatar, I get a lot of complaints.

Joe Hage: I agree, there is something funnier about your quips coming out of a “handsome billionaire’s” face. What about the Bad Banana handle? Any story there?

Tim Siedell: Nothing profound. I had doodled a frowning banana during a meeting and wrote “Bad Banana” under it. I kinda liked the drawing, so it sat on my desk a while. Then it was the first thing I thought of when I went for a name. Like I said, no master plan. If I’d known that I would be introduced to people in real life as Bad Banana, I probably would have chosen something else.

Click to preview an inside page

Joe Hage: That’s funny. I remember emailing you about a year ago, saying, “You really should write a book.” You weren’t sure back then. How did “Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras” come about?

Tim Siedell: I didn’t want to write a traditional book. And I didn’t just want a rehash of old tweets. A lot of the people who approached me about a book didn’t know anything about my type of humor. Brian Andreas, the illustrator of the book, was different. He’d been following my tweets for quite some time before he reached out to me. We have a very similar sense of humor and I liked the books he had done on his own. We started talking and we had a very similar vision for how this book could look and feel. I’m in love with his quirky drawing style. I think it will appeal to my fans who may have seen some of these quips before. And I think it will appeal to someone who has never even heard of Twitter.

Joe Hage: Tell us a bit about Brian.

Tim Siedell: Brian’s one of the most creative people I have ever met. Used to live in the Midwest. Now lives in California. A painter, a writer, a sculptor, a doodler. He believes in the power of telling stories through words and art. Gotta love a guy like that. Plus, he loves wine and chocolate.

Joe Hage: I got my hands on the back cover of the book. It says MSNBC, Mashable, Maxim, and others name you as one of the top ten funniest people on Twitter. I said “Wow!” aloud when I saw Rob Reiner on your back cover: “Tim Siedell clearly has no life, but he’s extremely funny while not having one.” What is it like for you, personally, to be a Web celebrity?

Tim Siedell: Maybe I shouldn’t divulge this secret, but if you show your Web Celebrity card at any participating Dairy Queen, you get 5 percent off the price of a Blizzard (large size only, one per month). I’ve seen Gary Vaynerchuk in there.

I’m just happy more people get to see my little thoughts. I built an audience one tweet at a time and it took a lot of effort before anyone took notice. I had 5,000 followers after 10,000 tweets. There’s probably a lesson in there about patience, but I’m not willing to spend the time to figure it out.

Joe Hage: You’ve made me laugh a number of times in this interview. It comes so naturally to you. When will “Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras” be available for shipment?

Tim Siedell: The official release date is November 22, although you can pre-order “Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras, Half-Empty Thoughts, Volume 1” right now on Amazon or at storypeople.com. Just in time for all of your holiday shopping.

Joe Hage: OK, you heard him, readers! Waste no time, pre-order “Marching Bands are Just Homeless Orchestras” today. Tim, this was one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever conducted. Lots of luck with the book and I’ll check in with you in six months to see how it’s going!

Tim Siedell: Thanks, Joe. I enjoyed it, too. It was a nice change of pace to be asked questions from someone who isn’t a police officer.

Comments

  1. BadBanana is the Dave Barry of the Internet!

  2. Great interview Joe. No question, Twitter wouldn’t be the same without the badbanana. When can we expect the badbanana plush toy? Just pull the string and out comes a witty tweet.

  3. Thanks, Bryan and Karen. Yes, I’m a “tough audience” and Tim consistently makes me laugh.

  4. I must be one of the only people on the planet who is not following Tim. Okay, one of a few. I’m going to fix that right now.

    And there really IS nothing like growing up in a family that values good comedy. And, yes, Joe you are a tough nut to crack. Anyone who can consistently make you laugh is right up there with John Cleese in my book.

    What a fun interview. Made my day.

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