Need to Know: Pop Culture Addict Ryan Casey
By Jerry Portwood
Illustration by Ryan Casey from 'But You Like Really Dated?!'
Like many gay guys, Ryan Casey had a thing for Mean Girls—both the movie and the real thing. But unlike many others, the young artist figured out a way to make backhanded compliments and an obsession with celebrities into an aggressively fun pop culture almanac that documents how we've elevated trash to a noble passion.
What began as a hobby to feature on his tumblr BUT YOU’RE LIKE REALLY PRETTY has now transformed into a book, But You Like Really Dated?! (available now) that recalls all the Hollyweird trivia you've tucked away in our 24-hour webcycle. Subtitled, The Celebropedia of Hollywood Hookups, the book includes infographics and charts that cover the bizarre mating habits of the rich and famous (or wannabe famous), like the fact that Leo DiCaprio and Mariah Carey once dated (and so did Cher and Tom Cruise). Despite all the jabs, it remains an upbeat volume that is more celebration than schadenfreude.
That's because Ryan Casey may like Mean Girls, but after he originally asked himself, Do I want to be mean? he decided, "I just want to be funny. I don't want to trash celebrities. I look at them for what they are: They're entertainment."
It started back in 2009 when he had just graduated from an art school outside of Philly and was trying to find his way. He started posting his illustrations and commentary on his tumblr BUT YOU’RE LIKE REALLY PRETTY, and then he saw an early episode of Bravo exec Andy Cohen's fledgling talk show, Watch What Happens Live.
"It was like a gay Wayne's World," Casey explains. "It was so goofy and out there." He decided to draw Cohen and, Twitter also being in its fledgling stages, tweet the image at the host. To Casey's amazement, Cohen saw the image and replied, asking if they could use it on the show. Now his illustrations of Cohen are used in the opening credits and appear on sweatshirts and other merchandise.
In a chapter of the book titled, "But You Should Like Really Date," he imagines perfect couplings, including the one illustrated above: BFFs Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. "That's really for the straight women," Casey says. "And Kelly Ripa could tag along."
Last night he returned to bartend on Andy Cohen's Bravo show Watch What Happens Live, which included guests Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg. On the show, Cohen discussed Casey's book, pointing out the cutest pic of the bunch: he and Anderson Cooper holding hands.
"Would you ever get with him," Jenny McCarthy asked, which sent Cohen spluttering.
"Umm, no, we're really good friends, we don't..."
"You don't have the heat?" she urged.
"We don't have the heat," Cohen said, recovering. Thanks, Jen! But he added, "I like how Ryan made our arms really big."
Donnie went on to say that a combo of Andy and Anderson together would make a lot of ladies really happy. And yes, we have to agree.
Casey, who recently illustrated all the nominees for the AMAs ("I had to do a lot of photo research for all the country singers I wasn't familiar with," he admits), still has aspirations of illustrating a TV show's opening credits or partnering with a brand to develop more illustrations.
"I have this dream of interviewing celebrities and doing an illustrated interview. I would love to meet Tina Fey for coffee: We would laugh and I would ask her about her five favorite things," he says, getting excited. "And Kristen Wiig: the funny ladies! Oh, and Lady Gaga would be amazing to draw."
Ryan Casey seems to never tire, and his enthusiasm is contagious as he continues to create seductively sweet caricatures of the world's celebrity players. And if you're looking for a new craft project: check out the Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball Earrings he recently created for the world to: download, print, cut, and enjoy.
Below: A photo of Ryan (in plaid!) behind Andy Cohen's bar: