Let Jimmy Tatro On The American Ninja Warrior Course
Nylon/Courtesy of Jimmy Tatro

NYLON Nineteen

Let Jimmy Tatro On The American Ninja Warrior Course

The Theater Camp star takes on the NYLON 19.

Originally Published: 

Editors’ note: SAG-AFTRA members are currently on strike; as part of the strike, union actors are not promoting their film and TV projects. This interview was conducted prior to the strike.

Don’t ask Jimmy Tatro what he does for a living. Sure, it’s a boring question, but Tatro’s answer is going to include YouTube.com.

“I'm sure not good at answering that question,” Tatro tells NYLON. “It should be way more simple, but I end up telling a two-minute-long story of how I started out on YouTube and killing the conversation.”

Tatro, to be clear, is an actor, who is well known for his roles on American Vandal and The Real Bros of Simi Valley, the television satire he created. He is also one of the stars of Theater Camp, the cheeky summer mockumentary about the campers and staff at an ailing performance art camp, which was co-written and co-directed by NYLON It Girl Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman.

But YouTube played a significant role in Tatro’s come up as a comedian: He got his start as the creator and star of the YouTube channel LifeAccordingToJimmy, a pillar of the platform’s early humor, which he started in 2011 as a freshman at the University of Arizona. He tapped his improv comedy skills for Theater Camp, which started filming with only a slim script, with the rest of the dialogue planned to be improvised.

“Molly [Gordon] would always say that her favorite part of shooting a movie was those takes after you got it where they'd let you have fun with it and she would always say, ‘What if the whole movie was that?’” Tatro says. “So the majority of the dialogue was improv, and that is so much fun, especially when you trust the directors and the people who are in charge of making it, that they're not going to let the tangents take over the plot line of the movie.”

Tatro is a scene stealer as Troy, the bro-y influencer son of the camp’s owner, who helps run the business side of the theater camp, but doesn’t know the difference between a “straight play” and a musical. He based the character on what Tatro calls “podcast guys,” who like to give advice, but are wholly unqualified to do so.

“There's just so many podcast guys right now that have no reason to be giving as much advice as they are, but something about being on camera in front of a microphone has given so many people this unwavering confidence to give life advice, and I have always thought that that was a really funny character,” Tatro says. “I thought Troy is totally the kind of guy that would watch a Gary V or a Ty Lopez video and think to himself, ‘That's what I want to do.’ Not the business part, but the giving people business advice part.”

NYLON caught up with Tatro ahead of the release of Theater Camp as he took on the NYLON 19, telling us about his first concert, his favorite internet rabbit holes, and his Crunchwrap Supreme obsession.

1. What’s your astrological sign (and do you believe in it)?

I'm an Aquarius and the older I've gotten, the more I've realized a lot of the Aquarius things I've read actually do apply to me. I was in denial for quite some time, but I've become more open to it.

2. Do you believe in ghosts, (and have you ever seen one)?

I do. I haven't seen one in person, but I have felt one. I just stayed at a place in Atlanta for two months and there was definitely something going on in there. I can't explain what it was, but there was something.

3. What’s your go-to drink order? (And if it's boozy, what’s your go-to hangover cure?)

Dirty martini with Tito’s vodka. And coconut water. It's the only thing that works.

4. Who would be the three headliners at the music festival of your dreams?

Right now it would be Anderson .Paak, Burna Boy, and Rüfüs Du Sol.

5. What is the weirdest snack that you make?

I've lately been taking an avocado and dousing it in lemon squeeze, which probably doesn't sound that weird for people who eat healthy. But if I were to tell one of my old college friends that that's a snack that I eat frequently, they'd be extremely confused.

6. What's a bad habit of yours that you've been meaning to fix?

My thumb automatically opening Instagram without my consent. I'm moving the app around on my phone to try to make it more difficult, and I think I'm going to have to just delete it.

7. What was the last internet rabbit hole you went down?

I've recently discovered the absolute bottom of the barrel, worst part of Instagram, which is these wannabe, inspirational gym bros, who just give relationship advice. I started sharing it with my friends, ironically, to be like, “Look how ridiculous this is.” And now the only thing my Instagram algorithm feeds me is the absolute worst stuff on the internet.

8. Describe your worst date in three words.

We're going to have to hyphenate the last term. It's “concert with quiet-talker.”

9. What was the last DM you received?

It's my friend who I share these terrible Instagram videos with sharing a terrible Instagram video.

10. If you could be in any music video, what would it be?

I would love to be in an early ‘00s rap video because I've always wanted to ride in a car with hydraulics.

11. What was your first concert and what are your memories of it?

I ran a 10K race in high school with my uncle, and the finish line turned into a Kanye West concert where he performed 808s & Heartbreak before the album came out.

12. What was your favorite movie as a kid?

Nacho Libre. Easy. I knew every single word, and I think I still do.

13. What was your teenage AIM screen name?

Oh, no. It was JT2duhNizzle3600.

14. What is your favorite meme / internet joke and why?

There was recently a video of this Metallica concert in Moscow in 1991 where they played a show for 1.6 million people. And the number one comment was, “This was so much fun. Just got back to my car.” And I laughed so hard. I also have been laughing really hard at all of the insane videos where someone's doing a back flip on a jet ski and the caption is: “That one unemployed friend on a Tuesday afternoon.”

15. What is your favorite red carpet look of all time worn by someone else?

Probably that Lil Nas X C-3PO looking thing he wore.

16. What is one thing everyone should buy that is under $10?

I get so sold on Instagram ads and I recently got this thing that's a little miniature hand that you stick onto your bedside table and it holds your phone charger cord so it doesn't fall down and you have to pick it up when you want to charge your phone before bed.

17. What reality show would you most like to appear on?

American Ninja Warrior. I just want to do that course.

18. What is one question you never want to be asked again?

It's “what do you do for a living?” I'm sure not good at answering that question. And it should be way more simple, and I end up telling a two-minute-long story of how I started out on YouTube and killing the conversation.

19. What is your favorite fast food place?

I'm biased. I grew up in LA so I'm going to say In-N-Out. It's In-N-Out, Shake Shack, and then Taco Bell. A Crunchwrap Supreme is one of the best things that a human being has created.

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