Why Hashbrown? Why use an alias but not as a stage-name? Why dad jokes?
Well, let's get to the bottom of it. Hashbrown fell into my lap right around puberty. It was a time when I was (as I imagine we all were) a super awkward kid that didn't really know who he was. It was grade seven. I was standing in line with my classmates, awaiting entrance to the gymnasium for an assembly. It was a six/seven split, and one of the younglings, a portly and humourous chap by the name of Randy, blurted out: "Hey. You're last name rhymes with Hashbrown. I'm going to call you that from now on." I thought about it, chuckled and said, "Yeah, it does. I like it." Then, trying to be as clever as he was, I said, "and your name rhymes with candy. I'm going to call you Candyman from now on." He laughed. I laughed. We entered the gym.
One name stuck. The other, did not.
Over the following year, the title gained traction. When there are three Michaels in a grade of forty kids, we needed to differentiate. More and more I heard less and less of Michael. It was Hashy this and Hashy that. My father was delighted I was faring better then he ever did. "No one is going with Trashdown? Or, Asstown?" he inquired. Thirteen year olds can be so cruel.
Then, high school. I had a decision to make. Do I continue on as quiet, mild-mannered Michael? Not super athletic, terrified of public speaking, friend to no female? Or, do I don the cape and mask*, be the word clown these people deserved? The choice seemed pretty clear. I emerged from my shell and started taking part in activities and councils and plays and things and stuff.
Though, I'm surprised it took this long to try comedy. The weird stories and poems, sure, that's what growing up in a house with a writer will do. But standing up on stage telling some of those weird stories and poems? The seeds were always there: talking to myself, hyper-active imagination, need for attention, an uncle who taught me to burp the alphabet at two years old, the deep and unrelenting fear of the unknown and eventual heat-death of the universe... all the signs have always pointed to comedy, I just never planted those seeds to reap the sweet fruits and vegetables from the giggle garden. (I fear that my love for alliteration has failed me here...)
However, Michael, while dormant, remains inside and has grown jealous of the accolades and compliments and has decided to take credit for everything that Hashbrown has ever done. (Now I know how Mr. Hyde felt.) Also, most publishers and student publications were wary of submissions from a silly mononym like "Hashbrown." And to be honest, it would be hard to write an Oscar-winning screenplay and not be scoffed at with such a wildly delightful moniker. They just take themselves too seriously over there.
And here we stand today, a silly imaginary being living within a silly real-life man - silly being the operative word, because silliness is what we both strive for. It's not just the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that take themselves too seriously, it's all of us. So to cure this infirmity, I prescribe a steady diet of puns, and groan-worthy dad jokes, and general weirdness. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
* - finally shave the horrible moustache and unibrow that plagued my boyish visage. In retrospect, this is when I started to notice my receding hairline. So I guess my hair got mad at me? Sure, seems somewhat scientific...