This morning as I sat contemplating my day, a Facebook video from a page called Enemies of Dorothy popped up with a title that commanded my attention: Social Justice Strangers.
I haven’t been so happy to have watched a Facebook video in a long time and I was immediately on the hunt to track down the men behind the satire.
Their names are Christopher Smith Bryant and Ryan Leslie Fisher, a real life couple with a flare, if I do say so myself, for poking just the right amount of fun at the world around them. Not surprisingly, they had a story to tell and a real reason behind their video projects.
“After Trump [was elected] and all the political changes we were seeing,” Christopher says. “both of us felt like we had a lot to say, and we both deal with our emotions through humor and comedy which is why we started Enemies of Dorothy.”
For those who don’t know, Enemies of Dorothy is a play on “Friends of Dorothy” a mid-twentieth century code phrase for being gay that simultaneously paying tribute to gay icon, Judy Garland and her iconic role in The Wizard of Oz. It was a time when being gay was still punishable with jail time and worse, and “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” was just one of the many ways gay men could identify themselves without drawing unwanted attention.
One of the most hilarious and bumbling stories from our nation’s military history involved this very phrase. The leaders of the U.S. Navy were trying to crack down on the “gay problem” they were having, and upon hearing the phrase “friend of Dorothy” repeatedly, they assumed that a woman named Dorothy was at the center of a “massive homosexual conspiracy” in the Navy.
They spent months trying to track her down! But, I digress.
Christopher, a stand-up comedian in the Los Angeles area who has been listed on Pride.com as one of the top 10 LGBT comedians you need to know, and Ryan, an actor with credits on “The Mentalist” as well as his original series “Openly Jake,” dropped their first horror parody some time ago with a video in which Pennywise the Clown and the Babadook announced their engagement.
Since then, there have been a host of new videos including Gay Hell and Gay Beast Friends, each with its own satirically funny flare with a dose of social commentary thrown in for good measure.
But where and how did Social Justice Strangers come to be?
“Our friend Zack Ogle came over for one of our monthly “Werewolf” (the board game) nights, and immediately spat out this idea,” Ryan says. “It just clicked. We sat down and wrote it together. Then we got Michael Varrati on board to direct and it was a recipe for success!”
In their version, the three terrifying killers from the popular film The Strangers show up to murder the two men only to be flummoxed when its discovered that the men are gay, and hilarious worry sets in that they might be committing a hate crime.
One thing is certain: we have not heard the last of these two.
The Enemies of Dorothy, or as I like to call them “The Ambitiously Gay Duo”, have a lot more tricks up their sleeves, and I for one can’t wait to see them come to fruition.