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Jordan Firstman instagram impressions comedian Los Angeles
Photography Cole Witter

Jordan Firstman’s Instagram impressions saved 2020

The LA-based TV writer and comedian became everybody’s wannabe boyfriend with his hilarious impressions and sexy secrets

2020… what a shitshow, right? Unless you’re J*ff B*z*s or that VP debate fly, you’ve probably just wanted to close your eyes and wake up in a COVID-free 2021. That is, unless you’re Jordan Firstman, who is one of the lucky regular folk (read: non-billionaire) who has had a great year. 

A TV writer by trade, you’ve undoubtedly seen Firstman’s hilarious impressions on Instagram, now on its 18th “season” with a few bonuses recently thrown in for the chaos around the ongoing US election or his appearance in our ‘President for a Day’ project. This is no SNL skit impersonation – though, he does an excellent Vanessa Hudgens coronavirus blunder if you ask nicely – but, rather, too real, and sometimes extremely niche impressions of banana bread’s imaginary publicist, a generic person from the UK, or a famous actress telling you to stay home during the pandemic. In short, they’re very, very funny. On his Stories, the comedian anonymously shares his followers’ deepest, darkest secrets and passing (no) judgement before pissing for their entertainment...

“The success of my impressions has nothing to do with the fact that I’m talented. I’m horrible at accents, but that’s not the point, though,” Firstman explains over Zoom, backdropped by painted cartoonish clouds in his mad LA bachelor pad – has to be seen to be believed. He’s just as you would imagine: handsome, hilarious, and a little horny (at one point he asks if we’re going to end up jerking off together, which to my own dismay, I decline). 

The impressions aren’t the only string to Firstman’s bow though, penning a hilarious song for the Independent Spirit Awards that paid homage to unrecognised gay moments in this year’s cinema – spoiler alert: they’re mostly Laura Dern – as well as making an appearance in Thom Browne’s SS21 film, and Icona Pop’s “Spa” music video

It’s a testament to his 752k-strong cohort of fans including the likes of Emma Roberts, Katy Perry, Arca, Natalie Portman, and even Vanessa Carlton. “Everyone was glued to their phones all day, that’s why my thing happened. I got the celebrities because usually they have their assistants, but this time around they were on their phones all day like the rest of the fucking world,” he continues. “Everyone was just online and we’ve never seen that moment before where we’re all on the same page.”  

While Firstman’s success throughout this hellscape of a year continues – he just collaborated with Janelle Monáe on a Halloween video – he hopes that 2021 will hold more good times for everyone, not just him. “Look at this year, we did it and we’re doing this,” he concludes. “Maybe we didn’t do it right, but at least we’re surviving!” 

Here, Firstman opens up about owning his sexuality, life after his impressions, and why straight women are so obsessed with him. 

Hey Jordan, how are you? Things look so crazy in the US right now… 

Jordan Firstman: It’s so depressing here right now but I think it’s good in that respect that we can finally lay to rest the assumption that we are the best country in the world. Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve got definitive proof that no, we are not, but we might qualify to be one of the worst. 

It does seem that way, but at least you’ve had a good 2020, or at least it seems that you have? 

Jordan Firstman: Yeah, but that’s also weird. It’s weird that I’m having this moment inside this moment, it’s a little strange. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy and grateful for everything that’s happened. I’m also just crazy busy right now, it takes months to work on stufff, but then in the last couple of weeks it just came at me so fast and hard, and I’m like: ‘OK, can we do this?’ Maybe! 

Do you have time to write or work on projects that you actually want to, or is it all impressions? 

Jordan Firstman: I like making those videos and now since work has piled up and a lot of that is writing work, I might not be able to do the videos anymore and that’s something that I really liked doing. 

I like all these people that are following me now, I feel close to them. I feel as if I owe them something, not that I actually do, but I just feel like that. They want a lot from me, and I do want to give that to them, but then I also want to do my own projects. So, it’s just about navigating how much I am really giving to others, yet I think I’m giving very little to myself. 

What would you want to give back to yourself? 

Jordan Firstman: Some chill? Sleep more and stuff like that. I just came back from a two-week moment where I was being social and I was being out in the world. I was kind of like: ‘Listen. We’ve been inside, we’ve done the thing that we’re supposed to do, I am safe as I can be, I get tested every week, I wear my mask, I just want to see my friends.’ 

I did that and then I came back and it’s been a lot since I’ve been back. I’m just entering into a really heavy work phase, which is great. I do feel this responsibility now more than I ever have to make things for other people though. I feel like the first half of my career I was making things to advance my career, and now I have all these people instead. I’d say that having followers has made me less narcissistic, if that computes?

In what way?

Jordan Firstman: In the way that I’m giving something to people and it can’t just be about me anymore. I used to be concerned with which selfie would I post that I look hot in, but now it’s like what do they want from me and what can I give them? 

“I used to be concerned with which selfie would I post that I look hot in, but now it’s like what do my followers want from me and what can I give them?” – Jordan Firstman 

What are your fans like? Is it mostly gay men?  

Jordan Firstman: Oh my god, the gays aren’t even there anymore, or if they are, they are quiet. It’s the straight women that are constantly there, they are in the DMs on their knees begging me to be straight. They know I’m not and they know it’s not going to happen, but they still want to try and I opened that door for them to try. 

What do you think that is though that makes them so obsessed with you?

Jordan Firstman: This is something I was thinking about in the very beginning when it was happening. I think that because I’m very open with my sexuality and very confident in my sexuality, they get really attracted to me, and that’s because you don’t see that a lot in the straight world. Straight men are so weird with sex, and they’re so scared of sex. Gay men in general have a very complicated relationship with sex, but also more comfortable and outward-facing. 

Personally, I’ve done a lot of work but still, I am nowhere near being fully enlightened about my sex life and about my sexuality. But I’ve worked a lot on it and I’ve experienced a lot sexually so I do have general confidence in my own sexuality that I think comes through. That’s exactly what straight women aren’t used to seeing, because they don’t follow gay men. Because why would they?

How do you think that’s changed your self-image?

Jordan Firstman: It’s weird, I’m still shocked by it a little bit. I’m like, ‘Wait, they all think I’m hot? I guess I must be, right?’ But then I don’t really see it still. Sometimes I look at the mirror and I’m like, ‘Damn girl,’ but then I think something like a bigger part of me is like, ‘it’s not true, right?’ because I was so unattractive as a teen. I was really chubby, I had braces, I have had acne for some years, I just wasn’t giving what needed to be given. 

So my whole adult life when people thought I was hot, I was like, ‘It must be my charm. It must be because I’m funny.’ And you know, I think that the reason why I am charming and funny is that I felt that I had to compensate when I was a teen, which I think is the case for a lot of comedians and funny people. It’s definitely bizarre that all these people are saying I’m hot, and I feel it to some degree. But then sometimes I’m like, ‘what’s happening?’.

Do you think becoming so popular and followed in a short space of time has changed you? 

Jordan Firstman: It might not come through in my words or my actions sometimes, but I do think I have a bigger sense of humility and also just like a sense of humour about all of it. I can’t deny that like I’m having a moment, I’m killing it, it’s going well. 

But there are also so many funny things that happen and things that have happened that make me such a fool. So, I’m the fool, but I’m a god as well. I’m the King, the jester, and the queen – I’m playing the whole court right now. 

What excites you in life at the moment? 

Jordan Firstman: I love life, I love living, and I love people. I fall in love with people so easily. I fall in love with things so easily. I get obsessed with things so easily. I’m more into everything that I’ve ever been, I’m so stimulated, and I get excited all the time.

You seem to really enjoy your ‘Secrets’, how does that differ from your impressions? 

Jordan Firstman: I love the Secrets, I feel it’s actually a completely different side of my belief system. With the impressions I get to express my creativity, my brain, and sometimes my morals – I slipped them in there as well. With the Secrets it feels like that is my entire stance on life. Even the idea that nothing you say will upset me or shock me and I’m not going to judge you for any of it. I just get to talk like myself, it’s something completely different. The impressions are characters and different ideas, whereas with the Secrets I feel like I’m getting to be myself, which is also really weird. 

Who or what entertains you on social media/the internet? 

Jordan Firstman: I don’t know, I go in waves. Sometimes I like hot guys. Sometimes I like food even. Sometimes, I like funny things, but some other times I don’t like funny videos. Sometimes I’m like: ‘Boring!’, even if it’s really funny.

My internet life is so much engagement right now that I’m always in some form of DM or looking at a DM or like talking is like getting caught in a conversation with this person, that I rarely am on my feed anymore.

Do you miss the feed? 

Jordan Firstman: Hell no. No, no. I don’t miss the feed. I can’t do it on impressions days, but on the days that I’m just normally on social media, I can sift through my DMs and see if there’s anything fun in there. If anyone wants to give me a free thing. I love free things. I really do. I mean that impression was very, very inspired by my actual feelings. Who doesn’t like free things? 

“I had a really crazy moment yesterday when I was working out. I was struck with a major, major life-changing creative breakthrough. It hit me and then a ghost came and then it entered me” – Jordan Firstman 

What are your plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond? 

Jordan Firstman: I had a really crazy moment yesterday when I was working out. I was struck with a major, major life-changing creative breakthrough. It hit me and then a ghost came and then it entered me. Basically, the ghost gave me permission to do this because it was about something specific. So I just started sobbing. The gym is outside and it’s spread out into stations, but it’s a class, and I was just bawling and the teacher was looking at me in a weird way. It was so overwhelming. I’ve had a couple of creative breakthroughs in my life, but that was a really big one.

When are we gonna see it come to fruition?

Jordan Firstman: We’re working on it. It’s the next step. I can’t really say anything about it, but I can say right now that the people who think the impressions are the height of what I can do are not ready for what’s coming. This show could be super major. It’s everything that I have worked for. I know I said that about the last show that I tried to get made, but now I know that wasn’t everything I had to say. This is truly everything and I’m excited!