When John Graham moved to NYC — all starry-eyed and hopeful — he had no idea he’d be just like everybody else. There were twice as many actors looking to make it big in New York City as there were “I (heart) NYC” T-shirts for sale in Central Park, he discovered. But unlike everybody else, Graham partnered with producer Dave Snyder to create a hilarious web series called Headshots & Breakdowns to share his harrowing foray into the paradox of aspiring professional versus meaningless joe-job of the Big Apple.
Released this past September in a sold-out premiere at the Peoples Improv Theater in New York, Headshots & Breakdowns has already built a loyal international following. The three- to five-minute episodes are released every few weeks on a dedicated YouTube channel to great acclaim. And so they should be. Each vignette satirizes a real moment in John's experience, and Snyder had little to do to make each episode entertaining.
"I know it reflects poorly on me as a human being, but John’s pain and despair was hilarious to me," Snyder admits. "I thought other people would enjoy it, too."
John's gayness is also cleverly juxtaposed with the struggles of city life, especially when an audition suddenly turns "straight" and John is asked to improvise, recounting his recent sexual encounter — with a woman. To see just how earnest (and far from his personal experience) this assignment reads is simultaneously heartbreaking and side-splittingly funny. And, unlike many queer angles, it doesn't hinge on misogyny to sell the humour.
Being gay isn't the only funny part of the show, Graham explains: "My character being queer is a big part of the series but not the only part. John's queerness is incidental, part of life, not abnormal, just another facet of him. He's an actor, family man, roommate, has a life — much more than just a gay guy in New York City."
Expect delicious cameos and another season of Headshots & Breakdowns from the dynamic duo of John Graham and Dave Snyder, who themselves just celebrated their fourth year of partnership — on and off the screen.