MEDICINE HAT — A seven-year-old Medicine Hat, Alta. boy is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame after catching the attention of Mad Magazine due to his marked resemblance to Alfred E. Neuman.
With his red hair, freckles and missing front tooth Thomas J Desjarlais was a deadringer for the iconic face of the satiric magazine when his mom Carly posted a picture of him in April.
That led to an editor from Mad requesting an official photo of the boy, who goes by TJ. The image is featured in the June, 2016 edition that went on sale April 20.
The letters and tomatoes page features the gaptoothed photo of TJ with the caption: “Alfred Lookalike”
“Carley Desjarlais of Medicine Hat, Alberta sent in this picture of her son TJ who recently lost his front tooth. We’re willing to bet that whatever the Tooth Fairy brought him, it wasn’t enough to make up for this kind of humiliation.”
“My mom is the one that told him I lost my front tooth and then the guy put me in here because I lost that front tooth,” the boy said proudly pointing at his picture in the magazine.
Rather than humiliation the Mad Magazine doppelganger seems to be enjoying the attention but was squirming during his interview especially when his mother tried to get him to use the Alfred E. Neuman catchphrase “What–Me Worry?”
“Noooooo,” he said adding his mom is the only person that tries to get him to say the phrase.
TJ also said he “kind of” enjoys the attention, “kind of” likes looking like Alfred E. Neuman and when asked whether he was famous at school replied “maybe”.
He is concerned that losing a second front tooth makes him look less like his new found hero.
Carly says don’t buy her son’s modest act. He’s loving every minute of it.
“We purchased a bunch of copies and now my child thinks he’s a celebrity,” she said with a laugh.
“Everyone says you’re going to be famous and he says I already am famous. He thinks he’s a bit of a big deal. He’s going to ride this out for as long as he can.”
The proud mom said her son deserves the attention and asked for cash for his birthday last month and gave most of the money to the SPCA.
“He’s got such a sweet and attractive personality and kids are kind of drawn to him. He’s very kind and a good friend.”
TJ’s celebrity status likely isn’t over. A video of him taking his first bike ride without training wheels when he was six ended with him running into the back of an SUV.
It’s been accepted by America’s Funniest Home Videos but it’s not clear when it will air.
“That was so not intentional though. Poor kid,” said Carly.
“People were so judging me,” she said with a laugh. “If he had gotten a broken jaw crashing into the vehicle I probably wouldn’t have submitted it…….right away.”