Who is 'Broccoli Guy?'
SEATTLE – Jim Stewart Allen is acquiring a lot of nicknames these days.
He started as the potato guy. Then he became the broccoli guy. And, for the fashion-forward crowd, he’s the guy who wears a paper-cup inspired track suit.
Before the 30-year-old substitute teacher and comedian started going viral for his delicious dance moves at football games -- confused, don’t worry, we’ll explain -- he was just a guy who enjoyed making the yearly trek to Boise, Idaho, for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Since he was going every year, he decided he should try and find a clever way to get recognized during the game.
“I tried to get on TV by doing signs for a few years,” he said.
That wasn’t working.
The right dance moves, though -- now that would be something people would notice.
“I realized about two years ago that, if I was going to get on TV, probably the best chance to get on ESPN was with dance moves,” he said.
He started practicing. A lot.
When he refined his moves to point where he was ready to unleash them on the world, he decided to debut his skills during his yearly trip to the bowl game.
Then something fortuitous happened. On his way to the game, he stopped at the store to buy an energy drink. While he was there, he noticed the potatoes. He was going to a game named after the spuds he was looking at, so what better way to capture the attention of those in the stands than to incorporate potatoes into his routine.
“What if I danced with raw potatoes?” he thought to himself. “That might be kind of funny at the Famous Potato Bowl.”
Armed with the pair of potatoes, he made it on the Jumbotron the first year. And then, earlier this year, he did it again and found himself on the ESPN broadcast.
“There was a commercial break and, when they came back, I was dancing with the potatoes,” Allen said.
Not only was he dancing with the potatoes, he was eating them raw.
That flash of fame is part of the reason he is now a Dragons season-ticket holder.
“I decided that I wanted to get season tickets to the Dragons, because it seemed like a cool opportunity to do more dancing,” he said.
Of course, with a new league, fresh dance props were needed.
“A friend brought up the idea that, since I brought raw potatoes and danced with those, I should do different vegetables,” he said. “From there, I started thinking about the different vegetables and broccoli came up, because it’s my favorite vegetable, or one of my favorites.”
With that, potato guy became broccoli guy.
“I actually do eat them (vegetables) raw in real life,” he said. “It’s not just a thing. That’s how I eat my vegetables.”
The tastiness of his favorite vegetable wasn’t the only reason he chose broccoli, though.
“It’s also green and kind of goes really well with the (orange) towels,” he said. “When everyone is waving those orange towels around, I can wave my broccoli around and it kind of feels like I’m adding to the team color experience.”
Allen said someone on Twitter said the broccoli looks like “natural pom poms,” so the broccoli was a good choice, though he did add a carrot to his Week 2 vegetable repertoire.
While the vegetables and the dance moves are certainly worthy of attention, Allen is getting noticed for his outfit as well, because his track suit is straight out of the Dixie Cup collection.
Like his dancing and his vegetables, there’s a story behind the outfit as well.
“My friend ordered a Dixie Cup hoodie,” Allen said. “It ended up being too small for him, so he gave it to me and I wore it and was like, immediately, ‘this is my vibe.’ I’ve had the hoodie for about two or three years now. The pants I ordered off of Amazon about a week before the home opener.”
Allen has become a one-man ensemble act with the dance moves, the vegetables and track suit working in concert to entertain the masses. When he landed on ESPN the first time, his brother called and said, “Jim, you got on TV because you had the dance moves, you had the raw potatoes and you had the Dixie Cup outfit. Those three things all worked together to get you noticed.”
Allen believes it takes the complete package to really put on a show.
“It just kind of all works out like that,” he said. “I feel myself still when I’m wearing the stuff.”
For anyone wondering, this is just Allen being Allen. It’s not a gimmick. This is just who he is.
“I can’t do anything where I don’t feel like I’m being myself,” he said. “This is something I do that’s ridiculous, but I bought into it and I really enjoy doing it. It’s really cool for me to do it. If any percentage of you is going, ‘what the heck am I doing?” it’s not going to work. You have to completely be like, ‘Yes, this is awesome and this is going to be really fun.’”
When he’s not dancing, he is a substitute teacher in the Puyallup School District. He's also a stand-up comic who focuses on historical comedy but has recently been writing jokes about personal experiences.
“I really, really, really love teaching,” he said. “I love it. I act as well. I’ve been in some Oregon Lottery commercials before. And then I dance with vegetables. It’s a pretty cool life.”
With three home games left on the Dragons’ schedule, Allen plans to enjoy each opportunity to put on the track suit and rock his veggie moves at CenturyLink Field. He’s having too much fun to stop now.
“I just really like this fan base a lot,” he said. “I’ve just been flabbergasted on the response from this and I think it just shows how fun our fan base is and I really appreciate being able to represent that fan base in a cool and fun way.”