By day, Torontonian Dan Zinman is a mild-mannered project manager at a downtown advertising agency, where his desk is littered with Soviet propaganda posters and action figures (including Hannibal Lecter and a miniature puffy shirt from the Seinfeld box set, though, oddly enough, the twain have never met in an orgy of toy fashion awesomeness). By night, he’s a prolific critic of many themes and memes on a moment of zin, where no subject is safe from his charming malaprops (“let’s get down to the brass tax“—how droll!). Citing such eclectic musical choices as Metallica and 30 Seconds to Mars (well, they both wear eyeliner) on his Blogger profile, Zinman is not only a man of deep and intriguing complexity, but he’s also gearing up to become the Internet’s newest media
So he’s an avid blogger and Jared Leto fan with a BA in Communications, you might scoff. Who isn’t? Why should he get a half-minute interview on Calgary’s all-news radio, 660 News? And why is he being featured in an exclusive interview for Torontoist? Well, you would be, too, if you had thought of bringing together two great tastes that taste great together: satirical late-night pundits and oil-producing Canadian provinces. Wait, what?
Welcome, dear readers, to Colberta: a place where Ed Stelmach is replaced by the author of New York Times bestseller I Am America (And So Can You!), Medicine Hat is sold to a fictional pharmaceutical company, and Nickelback is banished to the bowels of Saskatchewan. Let’s take an in-depth look at the man behind the push to bring Stephen Colbert to western Canada and find out what makes this emo-rock-loving political visionary—who has, incidentally, never been to Alberta—tick, shall we?
Photo by Mathieu Morin.
Torontoist: How did you come up with the idea? Seriously…were you high?
Dan Zinman: High with the love of the Lord, of course! I kid, of course…I was drunk.
What has been the response so far from Albertans? Are they warming to the idea?
Absolutely! I’ve been getting emails and tweets asking for people to volunteer, make donations; one guy even asked if he could turn his Conservative Party of Alberta card over to me. It’s been unreal. They’ve had enough of the western conservatism…so I offer up a nice alternative: western pundit totalitarianism.
Dish it, baby. We want quotes from the haters.
Best so far, by far, has been: “WHAT THE?!?! REALLY? TORONTO RIGHT…….NEVER BEEN TO ALBERTA EH? I LOVE THE COLBERT REPORT BUT THIS IS WHACKED….AS AN ALBERTAN THIS IS INSULTING, ESPECIALLY COMING FROM AN IGNORANT DICK FROM TORONTO.” Warms my heart.
How has fame changed you? (Has your girlfriend left you because you’ve gone all Hollywood and stuff?)
Well, now I’m recognized by…nobody, really. But buzz is starting to grow, and hopefully by Halloween I’ll be deputy minister out in Edmonton. As for my girlfriend, I’m fairly certain that she, like everyone else, thought I was full of shit about this taking off until I proved the article was, in fact, not Photoshopped.
Have you heard from the man himself yet? Go on, admit it—are you playing hard to get?
Haven’t heard from Sir Dr. Colbert just yet, but the show has been on hiatus for the past three weeks, so between Ted Kennedy and Obamacare, I’m sure they’ll have their hands full for the first few days back on Monday. But I sent through the Canwest story last night, and fingers are crossed for something to materialize…
If Stephen were to contact you directly, what would you say to him?
“How amazing must it be to wake up every morning knowing that you are you?”…followed quickly by, “Are you guys hiring?!?”
What does the future hold for the Man of Zin? What’s next for this twenty-three-year-old online superstar du jour and “IGNORANT DICK FROM TORONTO”?
Let’s see where this goes first. And then to find another Comedy Central figure to take over for Mayor Miller. Maybe Kenny and Spenny are interested?
Have you seen the video for “Capricorn”? It’s so kismet—you’re a Capricorn! Don’t you think Jared Leto should play you in the inevitable biopic of your meteoric rise to fame? He’s so totally dreamy.
How deep exactly are you digging, woman?!?