LOS ANGELES >> Annie Korzen is a judicious dropper of the F-bomb on her TikTok channel, which in mere months has claimed much more than 223,000 followers and two.two million likes.
The 82-year-old skilled storyteller and tv actress favors colorful language as substantially as colorful clothes, accessories, artwork, furnishings and pals. Her private flair and contrarian bent assist clarify her recognition on a social media platform that champions dancing babies and style tutorials, but her secret weapon, she says, is her 30-year-old bestie, Mackenzie Morrison, who serves as the producer, editor and music supervisor for her pithy videos.
Their friendship is a TikTok version of the HBO comedy “Hacks,” exactly where a young writer assists an aging comedian freshen up her act although discovering her genuine self in the peak-meta era.
“We were watching it while we were on the phone together. We were obsessed,” Morrison says although Korzen laughs beside her.
The pair sit side-by-side on Korzen’s back porch in the sprawling Park La Brea complicated along Miracle Mile, discussing their TikTok technique: what functions, what does not operate and why.
The “why” aspect remains the most baffling for Korzen. Her videos are not meant to be comic, but they usually have comic undertones. They are primarily little stories fortified with a subtle message that typically inspires or uplifts. Korzen’s fans take unique delight in her knack for dragging. She can take a topic — Macy’s, for instance, or royal household style — and knock it down to size with ruthless efficiency.
Korzen does not recognize why a video about her postpartum depression, which she believed would resonate with folks, did not get traction. TikTok, she says, is a mystery to her. Which tends to make sense, she adds, since she can barely take a selfie or send a text.
When she was seeking for a way to expand her audience, she believed perhaps she ought to attempt Instagram, but Morrison straight away place a cease to the notion.
“Instagram to me doesn’t exist anymore,” says Morrison, who is a writer and sells vintage style on line. “When I see people looking at Instagram, it shocks me. I don’t know how that app is still running. It feels archaic and it’s depressing.”
TikTok, Morrison told Korzen, is a substantially much more optimistic space — with significantly less negativity and fewer trolls. Korzen’s 1st reaction: No way.
“I said, ‘You’re crazy.’ I knew enough about TikTok because my 7-year-old grandson is on it,” Korzen says. “I knew it was sexy young girls doing dance moves or showing you how to wear makeup. Why would anyone want to see me?”
The motives, it turns out, are numerous and varied. Scan the comments on Korzen’s videos and you will see loads of praise. A sampling:
“I just fell madly in love with you!”
“Everyone needs you in their life.”
“Look, I am almost 40 years old, but if you are looking to adopt, I’m available.”
“She’s the Fran Lebowitz replacement we all need.”
“You are my spirit animal.”
Lots of commentators get in touch with Korzen stunning, and she says it tends to make her want to cry.
“This is not a message I have gotten in my life. Ever,” Korzen says. “If a casting call went out today and they want an ‘attractive older woman,’ I guarantee you, because I know the business, I would not be seen for it.”
“But Annie, you’re so beautiful,” Morrison says as Korzen waves a dismissive hand.
“I am not Hollywood’s idea of attractive, but that’s something I have been living with my whole professional life,” she continues. “And the idea that people are seeing beauty in me is amazing to me. It gives me hope that maybe young people today — maybe their perception is getting a little more open and accepting.”
TikTok’s international nature has drastically changed Korzen’s audience. As an actress she has appeared on “Seinfeld,” “Why Women Kill” and “PEN15.” She performed a 1-lady show for a 5-month run at the Jewish storytelling organization in Santa Monica, Calif., the Braid. She considers complaining an Olympic sport and is a chipper champion of unpopular opinions. She hates Disneyland and reserves unique antipathy for Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Just before TikTok, Korzen believed she knew her fan base: “middle-aged or older college-educated people, mostly women, mostly Jews.” On TikTok her followers represent all ages and a assortment of races and ethnicities. At the Braid she was content if she sold out the theater’s 80 seats, but on TikTok she feels undesirable if a video racks up fewer than ten,000 views.
Mainly because so numerous folks are watching, and the age of social media is fraught with on line misunderstandings, Morrison often steers Korzen away from delicate subjects.
“I’m just trying to make sure we don’t get canceled because people are really sensitive now,” she says.
Korzen is not shy about speaking her thoughts, and while she does not have a malicious bone in her physique, she traffics in humor, which gets its oxygen from poking enjoyable at 1 issue or a different. Morrison does her finest to make confident the jokes in query do not unintentionally lead to offense.
A single of Korzen’s videos shows her wearing Zulu jewelry, which she compares to wearing art. “Art is not Louis Vuitton, art is not a $100,000 stupid Birkin bag. That’s not art. Burberry. Is anything uglier than Burberry? Brown-and-beige plaid from England.”
“She dragged England’s entire culture in less than five seconds, lmaoooooo, PREACH,” cheered 1 commenter.
Some, although, chided Korzen for cultural appropriation. Korzen was heartened by a quantity of supportive comments from folks who identified as Zulu and thanked her for appreciating their culture.
Korzen requires on difficulties of race and perception in a video about her grandson, who is Black. She says that when they stroll down the street with each other, some folks appear at them like they do not belong with each other. On the contrary, she says, they have anything in popular, from music to humor. They are, she says with tears in her eyes, a match produced in heaven.
Sex, having said that, is a no-go on TikTok. Korzen found this following a video featuring a story about her and her husband’s sex life had the sound taken down. (Korzen’s husband, Benni Korzen, co-made the 1987 Danish film “Babette’s Feast,” which won the Oscar for finest foreign-language film.)
“It was very sweet. The video is up but the sound is off,” says Morrison. “I think sex is a weird thing on TikTok. That’s why people use ‘seggs’ when they talk about sex, or they mouth it. You can’t really say, ‘Sex.’”
“We did put the one up about the vagina, right?” asks Korzen.
“We did. I think you can say ‘vagina,’” Morrison says. “Sometimes things get flagged, sometimes not.”
Korzen learns as she goes. She has no want to be a social media star or influencer, but she hopes the enjoyable she and Morrison have on TikTok leads to other possibilities.
“My real fantasy?” she asks.
“I’d like to do what Andy Rooney did on ‘60 Minutes.’ I want to be on a TV show once a week for five minutes to just complain — or inspire. Hopefully, inspire.”