Jimmy Tatro is just beginning to become a more recognizable character on the movie screen. Don't let his short filmography on IMDB fool you.
Born and raised in California with a background in video writing, producing, and editing, he has worked hard to generate a strong following on his YouTube page, “Life According to Jimmy,” (LATJ) which is filled with comedy satire that once related more to fraternity life but now focuses on aspects regarding life in the real world. In his "free time," Tatro performs stand up and recently performed at the Tempe Improv and at Cobbs Comedy Club in San Francisco.
I spoke with Jimmy, learning he is more than just a former fraternity brother and party boy. He is a hard-working, funny, and ambitious young man who is proving he has what it takes, and not just in front of the camera. I asked about his day, which, unfortunately, was a Monday. Assuming he would discuss a relaxed day, Tatro confessed that Monday’s stress him out because Monday’s are the days when he spends all day editing and finally, uploading this week’s LATJ YouTube video, which, to date, has 2,187, 811 YouTube subscribers.
Me: Hello, Jimmy. Thank you for speaking with me. I’m excited about this interview.
Jimmy: Thank you.
Me: You were recently in “22 Jump Street.” Great job, by the way. I learned a lot about you this past week and it has been an interesting journey.
Jimmy: (laughing) If you blinked, you might have missed me.
M: To start off, what is the one question you hate getting asked?
J: (pause) The question I’ve been getting every interview lately is ‘What was it like to work with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum?’
M: That isn’t a question I plan on asking. I figure working with them was like working with other people who have been in movies. Maybe people should ask them what it was like working with you.
J: (chuckle) They were great to work with. There are only so many ways I can say it.
M: On LATJs YouTube page…to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I watched the “Breaking Up with Overly Attached Girlfriend” video and the “Partying Sober vs. Drunk” videos (accurate and funny). Why did you start LATJ?
J: Because I love creating. I like writing, I like acting, I like making videos, and I thought it would be a good way to create a fan base, get a following, and get into film and television.
M: Well, you definitely have a fan base. Did you expect to get discovered, or was it something you were planning?
J: I was hoping for it. It was definitely something I wanted to happen. I put in a lot of hard work and waited for a couple of videos to go viral. I put in a lot of hours, a lot of writing…
M: Did you do most of the editing?
J: I do all of the editing, minus the special effects, which I send to my guy. Other than that, I do all the editing. That’s why Mondays are stressful because I edit all day.
M: So, did you start with your friend, Christian? Where is he?
J: I started by making a few videos and once I had, when I wanted to do more, I needed help and brought Christian on board. He’s been my writing partner for over two years now.
M: I’ve noticed that you’ve branched out a bit. Your first video was called “New Friend.” Would you do anything differently with that video now?
J: Yeah, there were a couple of things I would do differently. I wouldn’t have them lying on the bed. The bed thing was a little awkward. I would have had a couch. I would have had a cameraman. It was just me, Eric, and Kyle. We actually filmed that ourselves with a flip camera sitting on a chair. Now, we would have a cameraman, edited it together better. I just would have made it better.
M: I read in one interview that the “Lemme Holla” video was one of your favorites. Is that still your favorite, or do you have a new favorite now?
J: My favorite video is called “The Worst Idea Ever.” It’s about how to buy alcohol for a party. It’s a pretty funny one and it’s one of the rare occurrences that the initial vision of the video is exactly what the final product looks like. Whenever that happens, it’s very exciting to have it exactly the way you want it to look. My next favorite may be coming out today (uploaded July 6, 2014). It is the June Bug Council sitting down to discuss, July is Coming, discussing what they’re going to do about July is Coming for June Bugs.
M: Ahh, Game of Thrones. I’m sure it will be very funny. Now, I didn’t find anything out about your family.
J: I grew up in a two bedroom apartment in Venice, California with my mom, dad, brother, and sister. I lived there for 14 years and moved to West Chester then lived there until I moved to my own place. My mom is an audiologist and my dad works at the airport.
M: Do you have a pretty tight knit family?
J: Yeah, we’re close. We don’t have a family night every Wednesday. But, we’re all cool. We lived in very close quarters for a long time. It wasn’t fun sharing a bedroom with my brother and sister when I was living in Venice. But, it was cool, I guess.
M: How old were you when you moved out?
J: I went to college and that was the first time I moved out. Once I dropped out of school, I got a spot in an apartment in west Hollywood.
M: Jimmy, who is your favorite person in the world?
J: It used to be…I don’t want to say Kobe Bryant (KB). KB probably is my favorite person. KB is the coolest person in the whole world and I’m obviously biased because I grew up in L.A. He’s like Batman, minus the flying and plus the basketball skills.
M: Did you ever get the chance to meet him?
J: I have not. This is like the only guy I’ve ever actually been a fan of. The only person who would ever stars struck me would be KB. I had floor seats at a game once and he walked by me and I was like, “Oh my gawd.”
M: So you are going to do some [standup] shows in the west. Are you coming to Indiana to do any anytime soon?
J: Indiana? I’m down if the…*Indianians want me out there. …is it Indianians?
M: It’s Hoosiers We’re Hoosiers.
J: You guys aren’t cool with being called Indianians?
M: I don’t think…I’ve ever been called that before. It’s Hoosiers. We’ve got the IU Hoosiers and we’ve got the Boilermakers. But, we have a lot of comedy shows and so you should think about coming out sometime.
J: I’ve never been. But, if I have an excuse to come out there, I’d be down to capitalize.
M: I’ll ask one more question so you can get back to your brain frying editing. Aside from videos and movies that you’ve done so far, what is your biggest accomplishment to date?
J: When I was in eighth grade, I made it all the way to state for free throws. I won in my school, in the district, and then California. I was on free throw 25 and then I choked and airballed all of them. Flash forward one year to my freshman year of high school. My buddy, Eric, who knows the story very well, found a newspaper clipping and it says, “Los Angeles Clippers Free Throw Contest, Win $1,000.” He said I should give this contest a shot. I grabbed the clipping. I go and win the contest. I don’t know if it’s my best accomplishment. But, it’s my favorite.
In closing, let me say that I firmly believe Jimmy Tatro is more than a fraternity boy on the big screen. He works hard and has only gotten to where he is now because of that hard work. At the same time, I do not recommend interviewing him on Mondays. He tried his hardest to give his best for the interview and I am grateful for it. I believe it would have served us well to do an interview on a separate day. No one is to blame for that.
*In our conversation, I corrected Jimmy on calling us Indianians. Just as I was ready to provide a disclaimer stating that I wouldn't know what to call him, either (a Californian?), I looked it up. He was right. Jimmy Tatro schooled me on what we, from Indiana, are called. Kudos, Jimmy.
1. (Placename) a native or inhabitant of Indiana
2. (Placename) of or relating to Indiana or its inhabitants
Jimmy Tatro Pages:
Indianian. (n.d.) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved July 13 2014 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Indianian.
As always, many thanks to Forefront Media.