Justin Halpern on Bleep My Dad Says
By Fred Topel | Image property of CBS
Bleep My Dad Says
Justin Halpern started the website and Twitter account for Sh*t My Dad Says. It ended up a best selling book and now it’s a new TV series starring William Shatner as Dad. Now Mr. Halpern has an industry to maintain. He better keep saying sh*t.
Justin Halpern on Bleep My Dad Says
“It's funny because he doesn't have the Internet on his computer,” Halpern said. “He doesn't like it. Actually, ever since he saw the Sandra Bullock movie The Net, it scarred him for a different reason that it scarred everyone else. He doesn't have the Internet, and so the only way to get to him is if it came in the newspaper and it came out on local newspaper. So these things aren't being flashed in front of him all the time, and so he's not that aware of it. The only thing that I've seen that's changed is sometimes he'll say something, and then, after he says it, he goes, ‘Don't put that on your page.’ So that's really the only thing that has happened. And that rarely, rarely happens, but he can't really turn it off. I mean, he's been this way since he was young, and I think, after 74 years, you can't just turn it right off.”
The old man could do worse than having Captain Kirk play him on TV. “It was tough to get my father to the taping of the pilot. I was like, ‘It would be great if you could come. It's sort of a big deal in my life.’ He was like, ‘Can I just stand in the back and come later?’ I was like, ‘Well, it's not a dance recital. You've got to come.’ So he came. At the end, everyone wanted him to meet Mr. Shatner. They have that same kind of warmness but unpredictability that's really delightful, and so I didn't really know what was going to happen. Everybody else seemed to be really happy, but I was terrified. They come down to meet each other, and Mr. Shatner says hello to my father, and my father says hello to Mr. Shatner. Then they take a picture, and then they walk off. It was, like, the perfect meeting.”
Halpern’s Twitter has about a million and a half followers. That’s pretty good for Twitter but they’ll need a lot more viewers to make the show go. “I think the first thing that I thought as well is, like, ‘I hope they are not purchasing this, hoping 1.5 million people are going to look at it because that's not the case.’ I think, like with the book, that's a good example. I try to only put things that my father says and not try to sell anybody anything and have them call and, like, ‘Can you promote the book at least once?’And I said, ‘Well, if my dad says something relevant, that I can work it in, I'll do it.’ So when I signed up to Tweet for the book, I think the day that I sent it out, there was, like, maybe 3,000 people bought the book out of, like, 1.5 million, right? I sort of knew that, but I was hoping, if the book is good and people enjoy it, that that 3,000 will just sort of kick it off. That's what ultimately ended up happening and really helped sell the book. We have to do a good job. We have to make something that's entertaining. Otherwise, who cares? Nobody is going to watch it anyway.”
It also won’t be a show where the son sits by the computer tweeting all day. “We had that conversation really early, and I desperately would not like to become the next Carrie Bradshaw.”
Bleep My Dad Says premieres September 23rd.
Sources: Image property of CBS
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