Nobody likes Howard Schultz, the Starbucks founder who has threatened to run for president on a platform of “be nice to rich people” and “better things aren’t possible”; the mere hints of him sallying up for a 2020 campaign have been met with a lower approval rating than ISIS. Nobody, except this man:
Dear cofffe guy pic.twitter.com/vrWiAvTlYa— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) January 29, 2019
Meet Conner O’Malley, a gleefully anarchic comedian best known for screaming at cars, sending up Cubs fans, and even unnerving Alex Jones. He’s also married to Saturday Night Live and Shrill star Aidy Bryant.
O’Malley contorts himself into the persona of a deeply unpleasant person like few other comedians, and for the past two months, he’s engaged in an ongoing performance art portrayal of a deranged, diehard Schultz fan. What began as O’Malley screaming shirtless in a construction yard has grown to incorporate a Deadpool-branded hat, a Halo mask, several mysterious and bloody injuries, an affinity for the similarly anodyne Beto O’Rourke and, most recently and most terrifying, some kind of eye jaundice and pill addiction. The scenery (various construction yards of unknown locations) has changed, as has his health, but not his unabating Schultz fandom.
DONT STOP THINKING COFFEE MAN pic.twitter.com/kZbqtdn06l— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) February 15, 2019
WHEN COFFEEE MAN RUN!?!? pic.twitter.com/kkxq66kwA3— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) February 26, 2019
HOWAR WHEN U RUNNNNN!?!? pic.twitter.com/o9BnxbIYB7— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) March 11, 2019
PLEASE!!!!! HOWARD IM WAITING pic.twitter.com/Qqh7wwQD83— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) March 18, 2019
HOWAR IM NEEDING YOU pic.twitter.com/opXI76GfoW— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) March 25, 2019
HOWAR FIND ME pic.twitter.com/2PJpfmrIvd— Conner O'Malley (@conner_omalley) April 1, 2019
The Schultz superfan is only one of O’Malley’s recurring bits, so a new video comes about once every two weeks (though the two most recent installments were released within one week, perhaps a testament to its increased popularity). They’re as short as 21 seconds or as long as just over two minutes, though at that length one’s instinct is to pause at several points instead of consuming it all in one go.
Explaining what makes a joke funny often ruins it, and since this is not a New Yorker profile of O’Malley, I’ll spare you the several paragraphs of measured, dissecting prose. Still: the bugged eyes; the corrugated, raspy voice; the bleeding head; all of it coalesces into someone into a person you cannot take your eyes away from. That this psychopath is evangelizing for the necessity of a Schultz presidency, instead of some Tracy Jordan-esque conspiracy, is a surprising twist, and his progressively worsening health commands our attention and interest in just how bad it’ll get.
Is it upsetting, possibly even to the detriment of the joke? Obviously yes; Outline editor Brandy Jensen described it as “nails on a chalkboard.” But like Bryan Cranston as Walter White, O’Malley’s performance as a man slowly descending past reason and into mania has become appointment viewing for me, every time a new video hits the timeline.
In one video, he roars for Schultz to ejaculate inside him, a line reading that’s stuck with me for weeks. Horrible stuff.
Schultz’s feint at running for office will likely lead to nothing, or possibly the re-election of Donald Trump; it’s hard to say. If nothing else, it gave us this.