Manuel Rodriguez is your typical Montclair State student. He wakes up, gets dressed, searches the cabinets of his house for something edible and instead chooses to go to Sparta Bagel for a quick bite before getting on the road for his commute to class. The only difference between him and other students at Montclair State is that there is a slight chance a stranger in the store may recognize his face. For many of us, having someone walk up to you mid-bite of your morning meal would be a bizarre occurrence. Well, the same goes for Rodriguez who finds it extremely “WEIRD,” as he explained via email.
Nonetheless, one has to expect something like this to happen, especially when this person has over 85,000 followers on Vine as the user @Moviemanny. Most people, however, won’t come forward. Instead, fans will tweet to him later on, mentioning that he or she spotted him at the gas station or in the mall. “I literally could have been picking my nose and have [had] no idea someone was looking,” commented the popular Vine user, but when asked what he thought of his fame he replied, “I don’t consider myself famous at all. The day I’m having brunch with Jamie Lee Curtis or something…then maybe.”
Rodriguez, 22, grew up in Sparta, New Jersey and he is a Communication and Media Arts student. His plan after completing his education is to work in entertainment— “hopefully comedy,” he said. “My dream is to one day host my own late-night talk show.”
Rodriguez views Robin Williams as his main inspiration, along with others such as Danny DeVito, Dave Chappelle, Jim Carrey and Roseanne Barr.
Rodriguez talks about how he used humor growing up to gain confidence: “As I got older, I began to suffer with horrible anxiety and so comedy really helps me get through each day.” He is open about his anxiety on social media and even does a series called “Anxiety Factor” to make light of certain situations.
“Every once in a while, I’ll get a message from someone telling me that my videos helped them deal with their problems that day. Even if it’s just for a little while, humor heals,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez described Vine as an “amazing” company, as well as a close community. He said that he has met many friends through the app, some that he’s even planning on visiting in California. He credits the app for presenting him with many opportunities, especially the chance to talk and work with Oscar-winning director Ron Howard. “It was surreal,” he recalled when thinking about the experience.
His number of followers began to rise when he began posting more videos. One of his posts eventually landed on the “comedy” page on the front screen of the app, so naturally his profile gained more traffic. Rodriguez discloses that even though 87,000 followers is not considered “a lot” when it comes to Vine, “it’s still cool to know that many people enjoy what I do and support me.”
Rodriguez’s number of vines posted depends on the day. Sometimes he’ll make a video on the spot, but other times, his videos need props. His prime posting time is 8 to 11 p.m., an insider secret for anyone out there who gets bored during those hours.
The last thing to notice about Rodriguez is his explosive and extremely contagious laugh. When explaining how he feels to know that people watch him from all over the world, he said, “Rosie O’Donnell knows who I am now, so I can pretty much die happy,” followed by a laugh that you would have to hear to believe. (I couldn’t help myself from cracking up.) He explains that now he can, “share laughs with thousands of people” and that’s what makes posting on Vine worthwhile.