You may remember Jon Daly's headline-grabbing, Google-image-search-confusing, stunt from 2012 where he flooded the internet with photos of himself dressed as golfer John Daly in a bid to permanently confuse search algorithms. But now the comedian is making a name for himself of his own accord thanks to starring roles in Amazon's Betas, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and a new season of The Kroll Show (which he writes for in addition to co-starring on).
I caught up with the rapidly rising star to find out how his career in comedy began, where his war with John Daly stands today and why this is the most exciting time for comics in a long while.
ETonline: How did you get into comedy?
Jon Daly: I got kicked out of acting school and moved to NYC, where I immediately started doing improv at [Upright Citizens Brigade]. Before that I'd done sketch shows in college and some improv in Pittsburgh, where I'm from, but mainly it was moving to New York, where I immediately started UCB classes and putting on my own shows.
ETonline: Was comedy always the goal, or were you a dramatic actor in school?
Daly: Oh, I went to New York with the intention of doing Shakespeare and serious drama, and I did on a very sh*tty level for a while [laughs]. But I realized drama was, not a dead end, but that comedy was more my speed. I'd always felt like I could do comedy, and I did improv in high school, with varying degrees of success, but as soon as you realize you can make people laugh, it just becomes that challenge to do it over and over. You can measure your success in laughs.
ETonline: Well, you landed quite a lot of laughs with your Jon Daly is John Daly initiative. Did you ever hear from him about that?
Daly: I didn't think you were going to bring this up, but John Daly just started following me on Twitter! I'm serious! I did that John Daly thing for almost two years and then, of course, when I don't need or want it to happen, there he is, following me for some inexplicable reason. I have no idea if he knows about the website or if he's aware of just how much time I've spent thinking about him, which is obviously a ridiculous amount. I just hope he knows it all comes from a place of love, and a place of me wanting to introduce him to a whole new audience. I want him to be one of my imaginary friends.
ETonline: Do you get more pride from sharing a name with John Daly the golfer or John Daly the alcoholic beverage?
Daly: I would say that I get more online play from sharing a name with his alcoholic beverage. People around the world love sending me photos of their bar specials. [laughs] "Hey, it's you! Look! It's you we're making fun of!" I want to introduce a drink called the Jon Daly -- spelled my way -- which is Iced Tea, Lemonade and Vodka, with a twist -- the twist is ... that it's missing an "H," so there are less calories. I'm working with The Skinny Girl people to put it out there in the right way [laughs].
ETonline: With Betas currently streaming, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opening December 25 and a new season of The Kroll Show coming to Comedy Central on January 14, what does it feel like to be Jon Daly right now?
Daly: It's really amazing. The internet has truly given a platform to some of the weirder ideas out there and I think it's creating a real moment for comedy. I feel so fortunate because, basically, those are all things I've spent the last three years working on and they’re all coming out at the same time. It's kind of overwhelming. My parents are very proud of me -- for the first time [laughs]