the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Real or Imitator?

As all writers online know from experience, it is always our most ridiculous posts that get the most attention. In between pouring my heart out in these reverb posts and breaking my back promoting next week’s big Holiday concert, I took a little break two days ago to re-tell a funny conversation I had with my mother. She had just seen a show in Florida where four guys sang the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Being a snoot, I made fun of the show, calling it a copy of a copy (an imitation of Jersey Boys which is itself an imitation of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons).

So naturally, this post got linked to some sort of “Jersey Boys” forum, where I learned about the controversy over the Jersey Boys imitators.

My NYC musical theater friend, Noel Katz, explained it to me in the comments:

This may add to confusion, Kramer-family-wide, but the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys (you know, the show about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, featuring their hit songs) does a concert tour in which they sing the songs made famous by (you guessed it) Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The producers of Jersey Boys aren’t happy about this, and had their lawyers delay the tour for some time. I know one of the performers, who points out that he and the others are making a lot more money than they were on Broadway. It sounds likely your mother saw them.

After learning about this controversy, I owe my mother an apology. It is quite possible that my mother saw the performers of the original Jersey Boys, who are now touring as Frankie Valli and the Four Season imitators. They would still be imitators of the original Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, but the ORIGINAL Jersey Boys from the original production, so my mother probably saw a more authentic “Jersey Boys” than the audiences seeing the show on Broadway!


Perhaps this will be one of my blogging themes for 2011. What is real? What is imitation? And how do we know the difference?

In my Jersey Boys post, the final punchline was set-up by a response to my mother saying that an imitation Tom Jones is as good as the real Tom Jones:

“So, why don’t you hire someone who looks and sounds JUST like me to be your imitation son. That would be the same thing, right?”

“Maybe my imitation son would actually send me a Hanukkah card, hmm?”

By coincidence, I received an email from a complete stranger this morning. I was wary of opening it, thinking it might be spam, but something drew me into clicking on the link:

It was from a woman named Angela.

Hi Neil:

I stumbled upon your blog a few months back (don’t remember how), and have been immensely enjoying it. I generally don’t reach out to bloggers out of the blue, but I saw your blog posting and I had to email you to let you know that my hubby is your doppelganger. See a picture of him, next to your photo. Crazy, no? He dressed up as you for Halloween.

And, the similarity does not stop here. He used to live in NYC (the last place of residence was in Queens), and he was a copywriter.

Anyway, hope you’re not freaked out by my email; it’s not every day that you find someone that looks like you. Keep up your writing, and happy holidays.


At first, I wasn’t even sure if this was from a real person. Or whether I should be freaked out. But it was a real person. And she seemed normal enough. So, I responded back to my new friend.

Dear Angela,

Thank you for you lovely note. No one has ever dressed up as me for Halloween, so please thank your husband. This is a great honor. And I must admit, that your husband is a very attractive fellow.

Oh, and I have left a message with my mother that your husband will be sending her a Hanukkah card.




  1. Loukia

    I love how you tie your posts together sometimes! I can’t believe someone dressed up as you for Halloween!

  2. Deb Rox

    I dressed up as once to go to an S & M Dungeon/bridal shower. Does that count?

  3. Karen

    That dude looks NOTHING like you. He looks more like the dude in Citizen X.

  4. Redneck Mommy

    Just what the world needs, two Neils.


    I want someone to dress up as me for Halloween. I think you should do it. Think of the blog post!

    • Heather

      I think you’ve come up with an awesome idea! Neil can sign people up to dress like each other! Like his holiday concert, only for Halloween Costumes!

      DO IT NEIL!

  5. Misty

    That’s fantastic. The original post and this follow up. He really does look like you. I hope your mom gets a chuckle.

  6. tiff

    while there are similarities, I’d say he isn’t really your doppelganger. However, you do both have very nice heads of hair, so there’s that. And, there are a lot of people who look a lot less like you than him, so it’s close. There should be a ‘who looks the most like Neil’ contest to kick off the new years, don’t you think?

  7. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    Let the record show that *I* suggested you send your mother a Hannukah card and you said, “She’d only throw it out.” ; )

    I wonder if I should invite Neil II for Thanksgiving next year?

  8. Megan

    “She seemed normal enough.”

    Just the fact that her husband dressed up as you for Halloween (Where did they go? Did anyone there even know who you are? Was it a sex thing?) is enough to make my creep-o-meter go to 11.

  9. Danny

    Wow, I think he looks a LOT like you! Just a little older, I’m guessing, and the wrong color eyes. You should definitely meet and pose for pix together.

  10. wench

    at least now you know that if you gain 10 or 15 pounds you’ll still be a charmer 😉

  11. La Belette Rouge

    Neil! I hear you. I will spend 8 hours on a post and get little response. I put up a picture of my puppy and I get comments like I was giving away cash.
    Thanks for your very nice comment on my blog. I was delighted to see that YOU( and not the fake you) reads my blog. I added you to my links. I will not add any you-imitations. I also refuse to eat fake crab.;-)

  12. jk

    Hi Neil! It’s me, Kurt, the real Kurt, aka your doppelganger in the photo above. Thanks for posting the pic and my lovely wife’s note. I’ve got to say, Neil, you’ve got quite a tough crowd posting here on your blog. In the space of just a few comments, I’ve been called fat, old and a dead-ringer for some creepy Russian serial killer. Nice. Anyway, I won’t hold your commentators’ comments against you, and will still mail the Hanukkah card to your mom. All the best, your new follower, Kurt

  13. Casey

    Where can I get one of those look-like-me’s? (Hey, that sounds positively Harry Potter, doesn’t it?) Anyway, you think they work holidays? The idea that I could sleep through the rest of the “season” makes me giddy.

    Truly uncanny likeness.



  14. Amanda

    Ditto what Tanis said. Just imagine how you’d look with a nose ring and talking about hawt bewbs!

  15. Karen MEG

    Wow, and I thought “Inception” was confusing. You’ve hit the big time, Neil, when someone dresses up as you for Halloween 😉

  16. Nancy Davis Kho

    Is he dressed up like you, or are you dressed up like him? Did you take the red pill or the blue? Either way, your mother is probably disappointed. Is it so hard you should send her a card?

  17. Life in Eden {amy}

    smile, giggle, smile
    you and your commenters crack me up. 🙂

  18. subWOW

    The ending to your email to Angela (and to this post) is pure gold. Pure gold!

    It is one of the greatest compliments for someone to dress up as you for Halloween. Unless, of course, if you are a political figure… You’ve arrived, Neil!

  19. subWOW

    And yes, the theme of what constitutes as real, what constitutes as fake, esp. in the era of the Internet and POST-Avatar and let’s not forget TRON!, would be very intriguing.

  20. Fragrant Liar

    If there was a doppelganger of me anywhere, I’d be scared, cuz doppelganger is a scary word and the idea that there were two of me would cause my friends and family to go into hiding. One of me is all they can take. Besides, if somebody was me for Halloween, I’d feel more irrelevant than I do now, so there’s that.

  21. Haley-O (Cheaty)

    Ahahaha!!! I totally thought that was you, and I was going to say NICE HAIRCUT. Neil, you are hilarious. OY!

  22. Haley-O (Cheaty)

    By the way…, now that I know it’s NOT you, I realize he really doesn’t look like you at all! But you’re both very handsome!

  23. magpie

    did you mother like the card? 😉

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