Daniel Franzese performs comedy, talks about Mean Girls career

Megan Trotter | staff writer. Sophomore Alaina Baker interviews Franzese on the Union Ballroom stage.

by Megan Trotter | staff writer

April 7, 2022

A monochromatic array of pink could be seen inside the Union Ballroom on March 31 as actor, activist and comedian Daniel Franzese put on his comedy routine, proudly titled, “Yass Things Are Amazing.” 

In addition to his performance, the event also featured refreshments, a merchandise table, a raffle, a Q&A and a personal meet and greet with Franzese himself. 

Organized by Duquesne Program Council (DPC), roughly 125 students attended the late-night event, and masks were provided to students who chose to participate in the meet and greet. 

In setting up the event, incoming Arts and Entertainment Director Alaina Baker said that DPC offered Franzese refreshments as he waited on the sixth floor in preparation for his Q&A. 

Students who were quick to buy tickets received a free pink t-shirt with the movie slogan, “On Wednesdays, we wear pink.” 

Best known for his role as Damian in “Mean Girls,” Franzese spoke a lot about the cultural shift his character had across the world. When asked if he feels his role as Damian overshadows his other works, Franzese said that he’ll “never tire of it.” 

“I’ll always lean into it. It’s such a gift that keeps on giving,” Franzese said.

He said that since his character never openly announced he was gay in the movie, it was able to get past several censors and even hit No. 1 on the charts in India.

Franzese said he often receives letters from members of the LGBTQ+ community, thanking him for being the first on-screen gay representation they had ever seen. 

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Franzese said “the best thing you can do is be an example of love.”

Going on his third year of tours, his relaxed appearance extended beyond just his casual beach-themed outfit: neon yellow shoes, a white palm tree shirt and a jean jacket vest with a van on the back. Obviously, he was comfortable in the spotlight, as he danced around the stage, frequently knocking over the microphone stand for comedic effect. Franzese joked about stressing out the tech guys with all his commotion. 

Stirring up some gossip in his routine Franzese mentioned popular ex-co-star, Lindsey Lohan, joking that she was off kidnapping kids in Syria. When asked who his least favorite cast member had been from the set of “Mean Girls,” Franzese said while he did not want to say it was Lohan, since she was also only 16 years old at the time of filming. He said that he “loves the current modern-day version of her.” 

The comedy set covered jokes about everything: from Franzese’s fear of Pompeii; to him acting out the plot of Paranormal Activity; to several impressions of his mother and what it’s like growing up in an Italian household. 

During his time on stage, he pointed out his mom, Denise Franzese, in the audience and shared it was her birthday. The entire room erupted in cheers. 

Encouraging the celebration, Franzese surprised his mom with candles and two slices of a birthday cake. Everyone in attendance joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” so she could blow out her candles.

“Being a part of DPC and meeting Daniel Franzese was amazing. He was very open to answering our questions and seemed genuinely excited to meet everyone,” DPC board member Isabella Niccolai said.

The fun continued with a raffle for a $100 Amazon gift card. Raffle winner Alexandra Wiseman said she was inspired to come to the event because of “Mean Girls.”

“I love that movie,” Wiseman said. According to Wiseman, she hopes to put the gift card toward a new iPad for herself. 

During the Q&A, Franzese revealed he is happy to be at the point in his career where he can afford to be particular about his work and what he wants to act in. According to Franzese, he said he is lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of so many different projects. 

“I am very grateful we were able to host Daniel [Franzese], and we couldn’t have had more fun,” Niccolai said.