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Wool sweaters, divorcées, bonsai trees

Alexis Gay (Non-Technical)

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Non-Technical host Alexis Gay
Full transcript ⬇️

Alexis Gay is one of those rare cases you hear about: For seven years, she was a tech worker who wanted to do comedy; then, she posted a video on Twitter in April 2020 that took her from under 1,000 followers to more than 15,000. Several viral hits later, she's now pursuing comedy full-time and hosting the podcast Non-Technical, where she interviews people from the tech world about everything that's not on their résumes.

Today on Follow Friday, Alexis shares the love and talks about four of the coolest people she follows online:

And on our Patreon page, you can pledge any amount of money to get access to Follow Friday XL — our members-only podcast feed with exclusive bonus follows. That feed has an extended-length version of this interview in which Alexis talks about someone super-talented who is still under the radar, the musician and comedian Sarah Dooley.


Theme song written by Eric Johnson, and performed by Yona Marie. Show art by Dodi Hermawan.

Thank you to our amazing patrons: Jon, Justin, Amy, Yoichi, Elizabeth, Sylnai, and Matthias

Full transcript of this episode
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ERIC JOHNSON: What are we doing here? I know this is a stressful week for many of you. Just to date myself, I'm recording this on Thursday afternoon in California and last night, we got the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine. Online and off, everything feels really weird and tense right now.

If you are not up for a fun podcast about internet culture at the moment, honestly, I get it. I'm going to try to keep on making entertaining stuff, and the podcast will be here for you whenever you're in the right headspace.

But if you are looking for an escape, this is a good one, I promise: It's comedian Alexis Gay, the host of the podcast Non-Technical. Even if you don't know Alexis by name, you might've seen one of her hilarious videos that have gone viral on Twitter and other places. I loved talking to her and I think you're going to love hearing her follow recommendations.

You're listening to the public feed of Follow Friday, which means you're going to get four of those recommendations today. But you can hear all five of Alexis' picks by going to and backing the show at any level, starting at $1 a month. That's where you'll also get dozens of other bonus follows, including extended episodes with Brooke Hammerling, Tom Scott, and Shima Oliaee.

Thank you to all of our patrons, and thanks as well to this week's sponsor.

Today's show is brought to you by Kelsus, which pairs startups with expertly assembled software development teams. They work with funded startups across multiple industries to help them get to market fast. Learn more and get in touch at

[theme song]

ERIC: I'm Eric Johnson. Welcome to Follow Friday, the podcast about who you should follow online. Every week, I talk to creative people about who they follow, and why.

This is a guided tour to the best people on the internet, led by your favorite writers, podcasters, comedians, and more. Today on the show is comedian Alexis Gay, the host of the podcast Non-Technical with Alexis Gay.

That's where she interviews influential leaders from tech, business, media, and more about everything that's not on their résumes. You can find Alexis on Twitter @yayalexisgay and Non-Technical wherever you listen to podcasts. Alexis, welcome to Follow Friday!

ALEXIS GAY: Oh my gosh. Eric, thank you for having me!

ERIC: So happy to have you here. Thanks for doing this. I know for a fact when I started following you, which is when you posted a video on Twitter called "Every single party in San Francisco".

ALEXIS: Oh, wow! A long time ago.

ERIC: Yeah, I think it was right early in COVID lockdown. I think I got the timing right there. This is like your signature style of video. You take a premise like that, and you're doing these quick cuts. All these funny, different things people are saying at the party.

Here's a clip from "every single party in San Francisco."

[clip from video, Alexis playing multiple parts]

ALEXIS: I love hiking! / Meditation / matcha latte / intermittent fasting / stock options / oat milk! ... duh / oh, it's fine! they're poly. / ugh! I can't! I'm gonna be in Tahoe / I'm gonna be camping in Yosemite / I'm gonna be traveling for a work thing / my one-bedroom's only 3100, so ... it's a pretty good deal / hiking! / hiking! / I'm obsessed with hiking / oh, is that vegan? / do you have any IPAs?

ERIC: Was that the first time you had a really huge viral video hit? Or did you already have a following by that point, and I was just late to the party?

ALEXIS: No. That was the first video that — I don't want to say that anybody cared about, but I would say that, on that scale, people cared about for the very first time. It blows every other video out of the water in terms of views up until that point.

ERIC: Going from relatively anonymous to then having this huge hit video, how did that change either what you were doing or how you were thinking about being a comedian or anything like that?

ALEXIS: Well, the good news is I had been making videos online for a while, before that point. So this was not, by any stretch of the imagination, my first video. It was just the first one that people seemed to notice existed.

The benefit to that is that when it got all that attention, which is the most flattering, humbling thing in the world that people see something you make and then they say, "Oh, I want to follow you. I want more of this." All I really felt like I had to do was keep going.

I had already been doing comedy for a few years. At that point, I was still working full-time for Patreon. So this was being done nights, weekends, and sometimes very early mornings.

That video in the first week got like 3 million views. To date, I think the most views on Twitter a video of mine had gotten was about a thousand. So when I talk about the scale, it was hard to even perceive of that many people viewing something I made.

3 million people, it's hard to picture. A thousand at the time was like, "Oh, cool! A thousand people." And I've never been somebody that has felt dissatisfied by the number of people that are watching what I make. Never.

It was just like, "How cool is this that even more people are showing up?" But I will say, there was this moment where the video is totally ripping through the internet. I'm getting all kinds of texts, all kinds of notifications. My following went from, on Twitter, 950 people to 15,000 by the end of that week.

ERIC: Oh my god.

ALEXIS: That's a major shift. Because I had also, pre-pandemic, been doing standup comedy, before that improv comedy, it felt like I had been performing for an intimate group of friends. Then suddenly the doors opened, and thousands and thousands of people poured in, and I'm still holding the microphone.

I remember having this moment of, "Oh, they expect me to say something now!" And so I forced myself that night, the day that it went viral, to tweet out a couple of jokes. Because I thought, "You know what? If I post something and everybody leaves, they're going to leave anyway. So I might as well just get it over with, rip the Band-Aid off and do it now."

I think that mentality has stayed with me. "At any point, everyone could leave." That is totally okay. But as long as you're here, I'm going to do what I can to entertain you.

ERIC: "Hello, new friends. Here is a taste of what you will be getting. Here's the Alexis Gay experience." Yeah.

ALEXIS: Exactly. I was like, "Well, they were going to find out," so ...

ERIC: Well, and then also talk about your podcast Non-Technical. I love the premise of the show, but why did you want to make a show around what's not on people's resumes?

ALEXIS: Well, my career up until being a full-time self-employed comedian podcaster was in the tech world. And so by nature of that experience, seven years or so, I listened to a lot of interviews with tech and business leaders.

Actually, I think I've mentioned this to you before, but I would listen to Recode [Decode] to prepare for job interviews. When I was interviewing with the company, I would go and seek out an interview with the CEO to try to understand what they were thinking at the highest level.

I came across tons and tons of interviews with tech and business leaders. The most interesting parts were always the moments where they stopped talking about work for a second, often by accident.

Often, it was just an offhand remark, something about perhaps their hobbies, their kids, their childhood. Those moments were always the most compelling to me in the interviews.

Fast forward, I decide I want to start a podcast. I went through so many iterations on the concept. It is not like I woke up one morning and I was like, "[gasp] What if I had a show where I interviewed people about everything except their resume?" and then everything just spilled out of me perfectly.

I thought, "I know I want to start a podcast." Honestly, one of the reasons I wanted to start a podcast is that I was making these videos and I was like, "I really want to make something where I don't have to stare at my own face. Just for a little bit, just as a treat."

I thought, "Well, if I do an audio-based show, I will get a reprieve from just staring directly into my own face for hours and hours and hours a day." Of course, at the time I was also doing what felt like 12 hours of Zooms per day. So it was really just, "How can I escape this?"

Listening to my own voice was the welcome alternative, but I went through a lot of iterations and settled on Non-Technical, ultimately, because I think I knew I wanted to interview people. I knew I wanted to get to know them. But I also wanted to find something specific enough to help myself have guard rails to deliver on.

ERIC: And just recently you came full circle. You had Kara Swisher on Non-Technical.

ALEXIS: Oh my god, talk about a full-circle moment.

ERIC: Friend of the show, Kara Swisher. Friend of both our shows.

ALEXIS: Yes. She interviewed Kathy Griffin at South by Southwest in 2018, which I was in the audience for. I was in the audience. And I remember at the time just thinking this is probably the best interview I've ever seen, watching someone just draw out personal stories and perspectives that hadn't been heard before and putting the guest Kathy Griffin at ease.

I was just blown away by that. And so, that interview has always stuck out to me as the gold standard of helping someone tell their own really compelling, interesting story.

ERIC: Totally. All right. Well, let's get to know the people who Alexis Gay follows online. You can follow along with us today. Every person she recommends will be linked in the show notes and in the transcript at

Alexis, before the show, I gave you a list of categories. I asked you to tell me four people you follow who fit in those categories. Your first pick is in the category "someone you're jealous of." You said Evan Ross Katz who is on Instagram and Twitter @evanrosskatz.

Evan is a fashion columnist at Paper magazine and a podcaster, as well. He has a book coming out that I'm dying to read, but let's start with his Instagram. Talk about the sort of stuff he posts there. What makes you jealous?

ALEXIS: Wow. Evan seems to have an ability to identify the most gorgeous, fashionable, compelling aesthetics, but also interlace so much humor between them.

He has this sense of humor to the things that he posts that makes it feel like you're reading something that your friend might text you. But then it's interspersed between these gorgeous model photos of celebrities you might know, or other cultural figures.

ERIC: What are some examples of folks who you remember that he has documented their fashion? I'm looking at his Instagram now. It seems like a mixture of TV screencaps then just individual fashion-style photos of famous actors...

ALEXIS: I think what's really been catching my eye recently is how he's following the Sex and the City reboot, "And Just Like That," on HBO Max, because that's a cultural phenomenon.

This is a moment that we're in right now, especially if you were a viewer of the original Sex and the City franchise. Now with this, however many years later, people have opinions. People are talking about it.

I would say the general response is that it's getting a little panned. It's getting some critical reception, but I've been personally really enjoying it. And so I love watching him capture some of the fashion from the premieres, fashion from the show interspersed with these moments that I'm thrilled to relive again and again because I thought they were so funny.

ERIC: Do you think of yourself as a fashionable person? [Alexis laughs] Is fashion something really important in your day-to-day life?

ALEXIS: This is why I'm jealous of him because I look at this and I'm like, "God, he's so funny. And he knows how fashion works. I thought you're only allowed to have one." It's like everybody's supposed to get one, and he gets both.

I would say that I care about fashion to the extent that it serves a purpose in my life. I think that at certain events or certain dinners, you should show up in a way that's appropriate to the event or dinner and also still represent who you are.

For me, that often means I like to look polished. I like to show up ready for whatever's happening. But I like things that are fun, and I like things that look good.

I just don't have that thing that it seems like he and other people have where they're like, "Oh, this mesh tank top, this is fashion now." I'm like, "Where did they say that? Well, I did not get the memo. I'm not on the Listserv where people are announcing these fashion updates."

ERIC: I'm a big movie guy, and so my main intersection of the fashion world is when either there's a red carpet awards show, where people are talking about what they're wearing or who they're wearing.

Or, I think Amazon is the one who does this now where you can be watching one of their shows that they produce, or their movies, that you can pause and they'll be like, "Hey, do you want to buy this exact shirt that this person, this character is wearing?" I'm glad that I don't buy very many clothes because that would be dangerous, I think.

ALEXIS: Yes, that's so dystopian. You're so right. Over the last two years, especially, but even maybe a little bit prior to that ... once I find something I like, I will buy several of them, which is a very tech thing to do.

I had someone once who told me this helped them reduce their cognitive load. And I was like, "Please never speak to me again." If the shirt fits, I'll buy a couple. I don't know. It's also different now too that we're leaving the house a little bit less.

ERIC: You're exactly like Mark Zuckerberg. You just wear the same thing every day.

ALEXIS: I love a nice sweater. I will say the one area where I'm like, "yeah" is I love a nice sweater. I used to really love a nice blazer. This is in terms of my personal fashion. Something that I was known for when I worked at Patreon was my blazer collection.

I love a sharp blazer, not like a frumpy suit blazer; I mean tailored, gorgeous, color, something fun. A nice regent collar, perhaps. But now those days are behind me, and it's instead a robust wool sweater collection.

ERIC: You've moved onto those wool sweaters. I mentioned that Evan has a book coming out in March called Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born. It's a new oral history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that I'm currently rewatching right now. Were you ever a big Buffy fan? Were you ever in this fandom?

ALEXIS: I was never in the Buffy fandom, but one of my best friends is a massive Buffy fan and just sent me some Buffy stickers. So I'm the new owner of some Buffy the Vampire Slayer stickers.

ERIC: I'm hoping Evan's, the tone that you mentioned, the way that he writes on Instagram and I'm sure on Paper magazine and other places I hope that carries over into this book because this is a show that I'm extremely passionate about. And so I really want to hear that voice there.

Anything else about Evan Ross Katz that we should mention before we move on?

ALEXIS: I suppose fashion is certainly an art form, and I think that there's something really special about being able to appreciate art and also contribute to it.

I think what really stands out to me about him is that as much as he's saying, "Oh, look at this art." and curating a really nice collection, it seems like he's also participating in it and participating in the creation of pop culture as well as documenting it.

ERIC: That's great. That was Evan Ross Katz, who is on Instagram and Twitter @evanrosskatz. Alexis, I asked you to tell me about someone who makes you think. You said Mike Isaac who is on Twitter @MikeIsaac and on Facebook @mikejisaac.

I used to work with Mike at AllThingsD and Recode, so I'm biased here. I think he's great. But he's now at the New York Times. He's written an amazing book about Uber called Super Pumped. Do you remember how you started following him?

ALEXIS: That's a great question. I think just generally being on Twitter and being around tech, I found Mike because his profile photo is one of the Charmin toilet paper bears, I think, with a Santa hat on.

I thought, "This man works for the New York Times. OK, this is interesting. I'm bought in."

ERIC: There must have been a discussion because that was his Twitter profile picture for many years back, before he joined the Times. I'm sure there must have been a discussion with some editor about, "Can you maybe… No? Okay."

ALEXIS: I just loved it, and I guess I'm sensing a theme with the people that I am bringing up to talk about, but I really love that Mike is a rock-solid tech reporter from whom I often learn the news about what's going on in tech and business about companies that you and I might use every day but who brings not only humor but also his own personality into his work as well.

That is what makes it so compelling to me and why I'm so happy to read the things that he writes because I'm like, "Oh yeah, he's bringing something more than just, 'Here's the news.'"

ERIC: Yeah. I think if I just followed him on Twitter, I would still have a bit of that parasocial sense from following him of feeling like, "Oh, I know this guy." I'd see his byline in the Times, and it's like, "Oh yeah. Hey. It's Mike, the guy I sort of know." From the way he uses social media, I think he's mastered the Twitter art form, maybe better than — certainly before most journalists have.

ALEXIS: I think that is absolutely right. I think it's also worth noting that his name on Twitter is "rat king," which is something that also caught my attention. I guess I've never looked into why that is, but I just thought it was so funny. I just thought this guy is so funny. Then I read his book. Loved his book. Really excited about the show coming out soon on Showtime.

ERIC: Oh, right. Yeah. They're adapting Super Pumped ... His book about Uber is going to be a show where, I think, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to play Travis Kalanick. Congratulations to Travis on that glow-up.

ALEXIS: I know. Not bad. It could be a lot worse for sure.

[clip from Super Pumped trailer]

ERIC: You said that Mike makes you think. Is there something you've learned from following him? Or has following him and his work made you think about tech, about that industry differently, or about any companies differently?

ALEXIS: Following him online is what encouraged me to read his book about Uber, and it's a really great book for those who haven't read it. It particularly resonated with me because I joined the tech world in 2013, which really felt like premium Uber takeoff time.

Uber wasn't as ubiquitous even then. It was really something that was, "Oh, you're using Uber? What is that?" We were still given promo codes to sign up for Uber. Imagine getting a promo code right now to sign up for Uber. It'd be useless, right?

His book really resonated with me, and it was so cool to understand the inner workings of a company that I had only experienced on the outside as a user, and then also as somebody working in the tech world.

We were one of those startups, where I was working at the time, that was always like, "Oh yeah, we're the Uber for X." That was everything anyone said in 2013 through '15, "We're the Uber for X. We're the Airbnb for Y." And also, something that I think in particular stood out to me was the way that he was able to take individual players at the company and behind the scenes and really bring them vividly to life.

ERIC: It's almost like a Shakespearean drama at times. It's very skillful. Yeah.

ALEXIS: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Because it takes a lot to be able to see the narrative in reality. What is the narrative? What is somebody's arc when it's not a novel? And you can't just make it up.

How can you put together a story and a compelling plot to drive things forward using what happened? Because at the end of the day, he's a journalist. And so the facts matter a lot.

ERIC: Yes. On top of all of that, in addition to his skill as a writer and a journalist and all that, he also has an extremely cute dog named Bruna. So, if for no other reason-

ALEXIS: Oh, that dog is so cute. Yeah, that's amazing. That's a great Instagram follow reason for Mike Isaac. It's this huge dog who seems really sweet.

ERIC: Absolutely. On this podcast, we stan Bruna.

ALEXIS: As we all should.

ERIC: Well, that was Mike Isaac who is on Twitter @MikeIsaac and on Facebook @mikejisaac. We're going to take a quick break right now, but we'll be back in a minute with Alexis Gay.

ERIC: Today's show is brought to you by Kelsus, a fully-invested technical partner for your business. Kelsus works with funded startups across a variety of industries, providing them with an expert team of software developers to help them get to market fast. They have experience working with dozens of companies, helping them build products that can compete, thrive, and exit. Visit to learn more, and give them a call to meet your new technical cofounder.

ERIC: Welcome back to Follow Friday. Alexis, let's move on to your next follow. I asked you for someone who makes you laugh. You said Kylie Brakeman, who is on Twitter and TikTok @deadeyebrakeman.

I don't know if you two know each other in real life, but Kylie in some ways feels like a parallel universe version of you. And I mean that as a compliment. You both do these similar, quick-cutting comedy videos.

I want to play a clip here from a video she did called "the comments section for a tweet that says, 'I like lettuce'"

[clip from video, Kylie playing multiple parts]

KYLIE BRAKEMAN: oh you like lettuce, huh? well, your science on carrots is deafening / you like lettuce? so true queen, lettuce is literally vibes / um, i noticed you did not put a period after your sentence "i like lettuce," now if you'll excuse me I have to go back to my hobby of not having sex / oh you like lettuce, well lettuce see them tits! / what exactly do you like about it? that it's picked by seasonal workers for poverty wages? f**k you, and your family!

ERIC: As fellow comedian video makers, do you know Kylie? Have you spoken to her about this stuff?

ALEXIS: She and I have never sat down and had a conversation, but we are connected online. My favorite overlap that we had recently was, on the same day, I published a video called "when someone asks how work is going."

It's filled with a character who clearly works in, let's say, maybe a startup that has some organizational strife and is complaining about, "This person said this, and that isn't even one of our KPIs." Stuff like that.

On the very same day, Kylie posted a video that was "pretending I understand my friend's job" or something like that. It was like the two videos were mirror images of each other because it's her going, "Yes. I totally understand why that is a problem," and stuff like that.

If you would just mash up the videos, it looks like we're talking to each other. We posted about that because it was just so funny, and it speaks to your point about it's like we're parallels of each other in a way which I find really fun. Her stuff is so creative and so funny. And so I'm a big admirer of her work.

ERIC: But you didn't plan that at all? It was pure coincidence that both of you on the same day ...

ALEXIS: Pure coincidence.

ERIC: Oh my gosh.

ALEXIS: I know. Something out there in the universe...

ERIC: Yeah, was speaking to you. What about her work really clicks for you? Why does she make you laugh?

ALEXIS: Something that I really like about her stuff is that she identifies something unspoken and then brings it to life in a really vivid, funny way. One example of that that sticks out to me is she has a video about, I think, a six-year-old divorcée or something like that.

She's basically acting like a divorcée, an archetypal, post-divorce, whatever wife, but if she was six. It's about giving the ring pop back ...

[clip from video]

KYLIE: Lemme tell you something, I am done with men. Who marries a girl for two full weeks and then gives the ring pop back, huh? I'll tell you who, Ryan F., 'cause he's a piece of s**t. You know, he wants full custody of the Hot Wheels car we found outside the playground? It's unbelievable! I almost laughed out-f**king-loud. This S.O.B. doesn't even like Hot Wheels! He offered to buy me a new Hot Wheel with his allowance. I said, Ryan, why don't you use your allowance to buy a f**king clue? My God!

My brain would never connect those two things. So I loved seeing where she finds that overlap that it feels like, "Oh my god, I would have never thought of that."

Even though our styles are similar, I think why I'm so drawn to her is because we may have similar styles. But the topics themselves, I'm always like, "Oh, that's so funny." That's awesome.

ERIC: Yeah. I guess most of your videos seem to be a culled from something that maybe you've experienced in real life, where you have one about the stress of moving jobs, moving cities. You did another one of that about people who say they work in tech. I can see probably the likely linkage to your real life.

But when someone comes up with a video like that, a six-year-old divorcée, I have to wonder, "Where did that come from, exactly? How did you get ... there?" I mean, it's brilliant.

ALEXIS: You might imagine where "every single party in San Francisco comes" from. But I think that too is why I'm so excited by the stuff that she does, and it's really funny.

ERIC: Totally. She has a podcast that she does with several other comedians called Artists on Artists on Artists on Artists. Do you know this one?

ALEXIS: No, but what a great name.

ERIC: It's supposed to be a Hollywood roundtable, I think. I haven't listened to her yet, but I'm going to. In every episode, she and these other comedians are playing different caricatures of people in entertainment.

They're all former Disney Channel TV stars or high school theater teachers.

ALEXIS: Oh my God, yes.

ERIC: So I highly recommend looking at it. I've watched some clips of that on her Twitter.

ALEXIS: That's awesome. That's really funny.

ERIC: That was Kylie Brakeman, who is on Twitter and TikTok @deadeyebrakeman. We have time for one more follow today.

Alexis, I asked you for someone who's an expert in a very specific niche that you love. You said Tobin Mitnick who is on TikTok and Instagram @jewslovetrees. I got to love a username that tells you basically everything you need to know about a person. But for the folks who have not checked out Jews Love Trees yet, what does Tobin do?

ALEXIS: Wow. Tobin is an actor and in many ways, a comedic actor. His niche/specialty videos are tree content. He walks around LA, and he finds different trees. Then he makes videos about them.

I know that what I just described does not sound all that entertaining, but that is because you have not looked at Jews Love Trees. He is so funny. It's so clever. It's so creative, and he legitimately knows stuff about trees!

I have full-on learned facts about trees from these videos. And so every time he posts, I get so excited. I'm like, "Ooh, more trees."

ERIC: There's one video I saw of his where he's showing off his entire bookshelf of tree-related books. This is clearly a deep passion for him.

ALEXIS: Yes, the tree library.

[clip from video]

TOBIN MITNICK: This is my tree library. Bookended it here with a nice piece of petrified — [it falls] ah! My largest book of trees, the Architecture of Trees, does not fit upright in the bookcase. I keep the Lord of the Rings series down here. Sibley, essential, everybody knows this. Great White Shark ... that goes up here. I would say it's probably 2:1 tree books to bonsai books. Finding the Mother Tree, I got two copies. Megalodon tooth, does not belong down here. I'm just going to pick a random sentence ... [flips through pages] "It ranges from a bushy or stocky, windswept tree to a slender, straight-trunked one." Cool.

ALEXIS: I love that, and I love the one where he takes his new-ish baby or maybe she's a little bit older, and takes his baby around to look at the trees and then incorporates how she's reacting. The editing is so good, and it's so funny.

ERIC: Yeah, I remember that one. He is looking at a discarded Christmas tree, waiting to be picked up by the garbage. The baby makes a noise, and he goes, "No, don't laugh at our fallen friend."

ALEXIS: Right, at the fallen soldier. "Don't laugh." It's so good.

ERIC: Yeah. Then on top of that, maybe you know better from having followed him, it seems like he also has a bonsai tree garden. In addition to the trees he sees out in the world, he's also cultivating trees, maybe specifically bonsai trees at his house. Clearly, everywhere he goes in the world, there are trees.

ALEXIS: Oh, yeah. He fully knows stuff about trees and about wood and things like that. He made a video recently where he made a new walking stick, a new walking staff.

When it started, I thought, "Oh, this is probably funny." Of course, it was funny. But it was also him legitimately making a walking stick. I was just like, "What? That's awesome." Again, the theme. People who can do two things!

ERIC: So impressive.

ALEXIS: Yes, exactly. And it's funny Tobin is actually another situation where we reconnected online after knowing each other in New York randomly. When I was, I think, 19 or 20, maybe barely 21, I was a part of a new show, a new play that was being developed called King Christina, which was about Christina of Sweden, who became king when her father died.

This is a long time ago, obviously. Tobin was cast to play my love interest, or the person to whom I was supposed to be married, as King Christina. And so he and I worked together.

It was just a staged reading, so we were seated and we probably rehearsed twice and did two performances. Whatever. Not a big deal. But that was full-on like 11 years ago.

Then I see him on Instagram and I'm like, "Wow, these tree ... This is so funny." I was like, "There's no way that's that guy." But I was like, "How many Tobin Mitnicks could there possibly be?"

I did some stalking, and I was like, "Oh my god!" So we became internet friends. Now every time I see a video, it means so much because I'm just like, "Wow. I've known this person for more than 10 years. Now they have a baby, and they're making me laugh about trees. What a world!"

ERIC: Did he remember you when you reached out? Did he remember that you were ...?

ALEXIS: Yeah, of course. Yeah, I think he may have reached out first. I can't remember. I remember the Instagram DM. We were like, "Oh, man. Look at us."

ERIC: All right. So now I want to hear your hottest take about trees. Are you also a tree fan, like Tobin?

ALEXIS: Well, now I know so much more about trees. I would say that at my level, I don't have a lot of tree knowledge. I have deep tree appreciation. I'm definitely someone who will be like, "Wow, look at that tree. That's a great tree."

But I can't tell you why, and that's how I am about art as well. I can look at art. I enjoy going to museums, and I really enjoy looking at art. I probably can't tell you a lot about the art, but I'll be like, "Oh, I love that. That's beautiful. That's great." So that's how I feel about trees as well.

ERIC: Exact same. I'm glad that there are people like Tobin out here who are fighting the good fight, educating the rest of us ignoramuses.

ALEXIS: Completely.

ERIC: Well, that was Tobin Mitnick who is on TikTok and Instagram @jewslovetrees.

Alexis, thank you so much for sharing all these follows with us today. Before we go, let's make sure our listeners know how to find you online. Where do you want them to follow you?

ALEXIS: Oh, man! What an honor it would be to receive a follow on my Twitter or my Instagram, both of which are @yayalexisgay. Otherwise, I would say come check out my podcast. You're already a podcast listener. Maybe Non-Technical is going to do it for you. You can find that wherever you get your pods and on Twitter @NonTechnicalPod.

ERIC: Perfect. Follow me on Twitter at @HeyHeyESJ and don't forget to follow or subscribe to Follow Friday in your podcast app. If you like this episode, then check out the past Follow Friday interviews with Alasdair Beckett-King, Zack Bornstein, and Alexandra Petri, among many others.

Follow Friday's theme music was written by me and performed by Yona Marie. Our show art was illustrated by Dodi Hermawan. Special thanks to our Big Fri Patreon backers, Jon and Justin. Visit for bonus follows, behind the scenes updates, and more.

That's all for this week. This is Eric Johnson, reminding you to talk about people behind their backs … and when you do, say something nice. See you next Friday.

[music fades out]

One more thing before we go: Thank you to Jon and Justin from for backing Follow Friday on Patreon. Transistor is an independent podcast hosting company with a simple, modern interface for uploading audio, distributing your podcast, and viewing analytics. You can also make as many podcasts on Transistor as you want for no extra cost, and you can invite additional users to access the show settings, upload episodes, view analytics, and more. Check them out at

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