New company pleasing no one—and that’s the point!
The sign over the unassuming storefront on the outskirts of Miami reads “Double Jeopardy,” in a font that looks familiar. Yes, it’s the same as Four Seasons Total Landscaping, and it’s on purpose. Bart Marcolo, the owner of the business, has an eye for satire. “I was always the funny one,” he says, chewing on an unlit cigar. “Or at least that’s what I told myself.”
Marcolo, a onetime actor and construction foreman, opened the business last year. “It was on a bet,” he says. “A buddy of mind dared me to think of the worst business idea ever, and see if I could make money from it.”
The idea? Unpleasant celebrity lookalikes. “Here’s the thing,” said Marcolo. “Most of the time when people order celebrity lookalikes, they want popular people. Elvis. Marilyn Monroe. Or, more modernly, Britney Spears or Bruno Mars. Or, less modernly, Benjamin Franklin or Gandhi.” He pauses. “Is ‘modernly’ a word?” Told it is not, he spits out the cigar. “Tierney!!!!” he screams.
Tierney, as it turns out, is his assistant. “And my husband,” Marcolo says. “He’s much younger than me.”
“Not to mention smarter,” says Tierney.
“Tierney!!!” Marcolo screams again.
BACK TO BUSINESS
“Anyway,” Marcolo says. “Our business is sending out celebrity doubles but for horrible people, real unpopular types.” He snaps a finger. A man with a black pompadour comes into the room. “This is Ugly Elvis,” he says. “Just kidding. It’s Matt Gaetz.” He snaps another finger. “This is Budget Jason Alexander,” he says. “Just kidding. It’s Brian Stelter.”
“My friend who dared me to do this business,” Marcolo says, “was, how do you say, an optimist. He believed that our nation had not yet eaten itself. I was aware that if we gave people the most corrosive and divisive personalities, they would party hardy. Matt here gets hired all the time, as do Brian.”
“As do Brian?” says Tierney.
“Put a sock in it!!” Marcolo screams. He continues. “People hate our merchandise but they love to hate it. People stand our lookalikes in the middle of the room and throw water balloons at them. And there’s even kinkier stuff. I had a lady hire out my Worn-Out Harpo Marx—I mean my Rand Paul—and she took him away for a weekend that he, upon returning, described as ‘dehydrating.’ The same thing has happened with our Rachel Maddow.”
“That really speaks poorly about our current national climate.”
“Does it, Tierney?” Marcolo screams. “Does it?”
Marcolo wheels and flings a balled-up paper town at his husband. His husband throws back a baseball cap. They laugh wildly. Were they ever really mad at each other?