If you’re a sports fan on Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, you’ve likely come across Barstool content creator Joey Mulinaro.
His funny skits and spot-on impressions have gained him over 650,000 followers across his different accounts. A large following is not all that Mulinaro has gained from doing this, however, as the unlikely Indianapolis native has grown close to the LSU football program.
I recently sat down with Mulinaro, ahead of his first time in Tiger Stadium at this weekend’s game against Central Michigan, to talk about how he got started and why he’s become a die hard LSU fan.
“Making videos for a while, man. It all started really with me, my buddy Ben Polizzi,” Mulinaro said before we shared a laugh about Polizzi’s videos. “[I just want] to have fun and do something cool, make people laugh, and hopefully make ourselves stand out a little bit from the crowd. Because as I'm sure you're finding out the media world is competitive, it's all the things that your professors say.”
His niche that set him apart was something that he had actually been doing his whole life, impressions.
“I didn't start doing them publicly until about three years ago," he said. "But through school, when me and my buddies would be in the basement, I would always have an impersonation of one of their parents or a teacher or a coach you know. So I've been doing them for a long time, but again, when I got to be in college and more in the media world, I was like, alright, maybe this is a way that I can make myself stand out a little bit. So maybe I should start trying to do impressions of people who everybody knows rather than just my group of six buddies.”
That, of course, brought him to one of the most recognizable voices in the country. Our own, Coach Ed Orgeron.
“The magical year for the Tigers," Mulinaro said. "Once LSU started to really, you know, pop off and the whole country just kind of fell in love with Coach O, everybody besides the people from Alabama, I guess. That's where I was like, alright, there could be something here. So then I started doing some sketches with me impersonating him and putting him in different scenarios, and they just kind of caught fire, man, and people seem to enjoy him.”
Mulinaro’s growth as a content creator wasn’t the only thing that came out of the situation, as Mulinaro fell in love with the LSU program and it’s fans, due to the outpouring of support he’s received from Baton Rouge.
“I'd say I'm all in. You know, people want to give me a hard time about hopping on the bandwagon and what not," he said. "And I'll fully admit that. Yeah, I mean, I didn't really follow him that much besides just being a really big college football fan until 2019. But at the same time, I'm like, I have way more of a connection than a lot of people have to them whether we, you know, with my ties with Coach O, I formed the relationship with Joe Burrow. T-Bob Hebert, Jordy Culotta, Jacob Hester you know all those folks down there at ESPN Baton Rouge. LSU fans and students, from the time that I went to the national championship game when they beat Clemson from that time, it really was a rise there and then throughout now LSU fans have been so gracious with me, they've been so supportive of my work. They've welcomed me with open arms and so you combine all those together, I just really fell in love. [Around him] is the Big 10. Besides Ohio State, it's a pretty big basketball area but there's nothing like SEC football. So you combine all those together and. I'm ready to go, man. It’s Geaux Tigers forever.”
He pointed out to me that he has two LSU helmets sitting prominently on a shelf in his office.
Mulinaro and I joked that he’s still here during last year, and the rough start to this year, so he really must mean it.
The national championship was his first time seeing an SEC team live at all, which is not a bad way to open yourself up to the conference. Saturday against Central Michigan will be his first time actually visiting Death Valley.
“So my guys Jordy and T-Bob initially had me hooked up for the Alabama game last year before. You know, the shutdown happened. Then obviously with the shutdown and COVID that got axed. So, yes, Saturday night will be my first Saturday night in Death Valley and I am ecstatic. I cannot wait. I’ve got T-Bob and MeganMakinMoney, my coworker at barstool who is a Louisiana gal herself, to show me and my wife the ropes. You know we’re doing it up big so I'm glad that I'm not gonna have to search, I'm just gonna have people tell me where the best places to go and I'm gonna be following their lead, and it's gonna be great.”
Before I let Mulinaro go, I had to ask him what it was like working for Barstool, since the site has been growing exponentially in the last few years.
“You know, [there’s] not a better place in the world for a creator to work, because they give you such freedom. They give you the ability to go after whatever you want. And you know somebody like me who just wants to create, whether it'll be through writing or video or podcast or whatever, no better place to do it. It's been a dream.”
One of Mulinaro’s biggest goals of the weekend, is of course, to participate in a “Neck” chant. Come to Death Valley on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., as the Tigers face Central Michigan, to see if that dream comes true.