Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author.

by Greg Schwem

I recently contracted a social media manager, which is a business-y phrase for “paying somebody to make me more popular.”
Jeremy’s duties were clear: Figure out how to increase exposure for my streaming television show, “A Comedian Crashes Your Pad,” by getting me more YouTube views, more Instagram followers and “likes.”
As he repeatedly explained, the way to achieve higher numbers is by posting content as often as possible and engaging with viewers regardless of their opinions. In other words, if they comment, “This show sucks and should be removed from YouTube,” I should reply, “Thank you for stopping by. Have you checked out my Instagram page?”
The plan worked, as my numbers quickly increased. But maybe I should have used the “Audrey Nicole Francisquini” strategy instead.
Francisquini, 28, of Miami, was recently arrested for allegedly entering American Senior High School in Hialeah, Florida, and posing as a student solely to hand out pamphlets promoting her Instagram page. A Miami-Dade police report said Francisquini carried a skateboard and a painting as she roamed the halls, arousing suspicion after she continued doing so while classes were in session.
Francisquini was charged with multiple offenses after being identified, ironically, through her Instagram account. She is smiling in her mug shot and, yes, at first glance, she does resemble a high school student.
At 58 years old, I’d turn to my friend Kevin Haney for help in pulling off the high school look. Haney, who won an Oscar for his makeup expertise in “Driving Miss Daisy,” once transformed me into Bill Gates for a series of comedy shows. Yes, the process took four hours and required me to wear multiple layers of latex that made me scratch and sneeze, but the results were uncanny.
I’d choose my alma mater, Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Illinois, for my ruse. Might as well pick a school where I’m familiar with the terrain, right? As long as the principal’s office is in the same location, I’ll know which area to avoid.
I don’t own a skateboard, nor do I paint, but I’m sure one of my high school tennis rackets is somewhere in my basement. I’ll carry that in one hand while holding my iPhone in the other. I’ll stick AirPods in my ears. Oh, and I’ll dress in baggy shorts, the preferred attire of high school males, even if the temperature is minus 20. Don’t believe me? You haven’t picked up a kid from school in January.
Now I just have to convince the Prospect student body to follow me on Instagram before I start sweating through my latex. Jeremy said one popular strategy is to conduct a giveaway; provide a prize to one lucky follower. But what do high school students want? A Chipotle gift card? A new pair of shorts? Bitcoin? I’ll worry about that later.
First, I need to find students. Should I crash soccer practice? Nah, can’t keep up. What about the marching band? Lots of potential followers there. I could slap my pamphlets on tuba cases and music stands while band members went through their paces.
From there I’ll mosey over to the drama club and tell all the members that, in exchange for a “like,” I’ll consider them for roles in an upcoming episode. Note that I’ll say, “consider.” Might as well teach these kids at an early age that, in show business, nothing is guaranteed.
If I continue to avoid school security, I’ll find the computer club. Perhaps one of those kids can write an algorithm guaranteed to get me even MORE followers. I’m not sure what I’d offer in return. My guess is that every member of a high school computer club is already a Bitcoin billionaire.
As I write this column, Francisquini’s Instagram account, although now private, has 3,526 followers, considerably more than mine. No word on how many she had when she began her alleged ruse, but a message on her profile says, “Video Explanation coming. Stay tuned.” I followed her just for that.
I’m sure her explanation will include an announcement of a Kickstarter campaign. For legal fees.
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Visit Greg on the web at
You’ve enjoyed reading, and laughing at, Greg Schwem’s monthly humor columns in Senior Living News. But did you know Greg is also a nationally touring stand-up comedian? And he loves to make audiences laugh about the joys, and frustrations, of growing older. Watch the clip and, if you’d like Greg to perform at your senior center or senior event, contact him through his website at