In 2020, “closeted gay” filmmaker, Big Mouth writer and comedian Jordan Firstman’s stock skyrocketed, turning him from niche internet micro-celebrity into Instagram royalty. What did Firstman do? Impressions. Picking up on the little details and idiosyncrasies we’re all prone to, he develops 30-second impressions of characters that’ll have you laughing out loud. In one of his most popular videos, he imagines what a smug bastard someone like the publicist of banana bread would be like. In another clip, he’s a spokesperson for pronouns they/them.
The writer has a knack for creating full-bodied characters out of our peculiarities. His rise in popularity comes from making us feel seen when we were all at our most isolated.
Firstman’s brand of comedy exposes you, but you never feel vulnerable. His characters are (a little TOO) real but lighthearted. In a way, it makes your random eccentricities more palatable, almost normal. Completely normal. And totally human. That’s why we keep coming back for more.
Today more than ever, people are straying away from the neatly packaged, cookie-cutter approach to making TV shows and sitcoms. Firstman’s impressions point at just that. The raging popularity of the writer’s hyper-specific characters—ranging from people to objects and even ideas and abstract concepts—show that audiences are ready for more diversity, nuance and complexity, and Firstman delivers. We’re just here to lap it all up.