“I love saving souls, apple pie and Jesus,” reads Fake Brother Jed’s Twitter bio. Well, that about sums him up.
Notorious around the University of Missouri campus for his hilariously inappropriate commentary about everything from religion and politics to sorority girls and football games, @FakeBrotherJed is making quite a name for himself in the Twitterverse.
As it turns out, the student behind the account is a former student of the Missouri School of Journalism.
Twenty-year-old sophomore Dan Sheehan is a communications major from the Chicago suburbs. He created the account last spring and has been operating it ever since.
“I created the account because I’ve always liked Twitter as a platform for concise and funny statements,” Sheehan said. “I saw that Brother Jed was a figure that the people around here universally know and have an opinion of. I figured I’d try to capitalize on the fact that he’s such a polarizing figure on our campus.”
Content for @FakeBrotherJed tweets often come from Sheehan’s own experiences. Sheehan said he tweets things he sees or hears around campus and tries to convey it from Brother Jed’s point of view.
Of course, we doubt the real Brother Jed has quite the sense of humor that Sheehan does. It doesn’t hurt that Sheehan has a background in comedy, performing weekly with Comedy Wars, Mizzou’s student improv group. He has also competed in (and won) the stand-up competition at Deja Vu Comedy Club.
“A lot of the jokes are based on people, like one tweet about a girl walking through Greek Town holding her bra, are actually based on real things I see,” he said.
Before becoming the man behind @FakeBrotherJed, Sheehan said he spent a lot of time just listening to Brother Jed in Speaker’s Circle.
“And [there was] that one time he awkwardly stared at me while I took the profile photo for the Twitter on my phone,” he said.
Sheehan says he’s extremely curious to see how Brother Jed would react to the fake account. To his knowledge, Brother Jed is not aware of its existence. And despite the sometimes controversial Tweets, Sheehan says he’s received extremely positive reactions from @FakeBrotherJed’s followers.
“I like doing it; it’s a lot of fun to see people respond. The Fake Brother Jed Twitter has a ton more followers than my actual Twitter, which I find funny,” he said.
Sheehan plans to maintain the account as long as it remains relevant and popular among Mizzou students. He is also open to the idea of bringing another writer onboard. As the site has gained popularity, more people have contacted him about writing tweets or contributing content. Sheehan said he is working toward figuring out a way to credit contributors, but that plan is still in the works.
“I feel like at this point I’m just waiting for someone who I’m confident can write for the account and be consistently funny,” Sheehan said.
Originally when we had planned to run this piece, Sheehan said he wanted to maintain his anonymity. He was concerned that it would ruin the positive feedback @FakeBrotherJed has always received.
But recently, he decided to go public. His reason? Spreading awareness for Mizzou’s comedy scene. With nearly 850 followers on Twitter who undoubtedly find his tweets entertaining, Sheehan thought that it would be a good way to create interest in other comedy outlets both on campus and off.
“There’s so many funny people in this town. And in the other college towns I’ve visited, it’s not the same. We’re really lucky to have a comedy scene this active,” he said.
And of course, Sheehan wanted to make sure no one else was taking credit for his work.
“I overheard a kid in one of my lectures telling some girl that he was Fake Brother Jed,” he said. “That wasn’t cool.”
Sheehan said there is also added pressure to keep the Twitter funny and engaging. If he doesn’t tweet for a couple of days, people will know whom to point fingers at. But he doesn’t plan on injecting his identity into the account.
“I don’t want it to be about me in any way,” he said. “People have always understood that the tweets are ‘in character’ so to speak, and don’t reflect my personal opinions. It’s just a satire.”