People the world over have aspirations of moving to New York City and taking it by storm to become a star, but perhaps no star shines brighter, at least for a few weeks every year, than the tree at Rockefeller Center.
For more than 80 years, the tree has been a major holiday symbol across the globe, and with millions slated to watch the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting in person and at home Wednesday, Metro wanted to go behind the scenes a bit.
We spoke to Matt Haze, the comedian and entertainer who has been the alter ego of @30RockTree on Twitter for the past seven years.
“I can’t believe it’s been that long at this point,” Haze said of the account he started in 2010, just as parody Twitter accounts started popping up.
He got the idea to write as arguably the world’s most famous Christmas tree after seeing a photo of it arriving on a flatbed truck.
“I just started writing from that point of view,” he explained. “What thoughts would a tree from absolutely nowhere being put into the spotlight to be the star of New York City for 45 days every year, what would that type of persona be? Like everyone else who has that mentality, it has no clue that its 15 minutes of fame will end, they’ll take the tree down, cut it up, and that will be it.”
Today, they’re placing a huge crystal star on top of me that’s worth more than your home and weighs more than your emotional baggage.
— ?30RockTree? (@30RockTree) November 16, 2017
Haze-as-tree’s voice has evolved over the years, but one constant remains: Rockefeller Center has never really acknowledged @30RockTree.
“I never had any grief from Rockefeller Center, which is owned by Tishman Speyer, so I’ve never tried to cross any levels or boundaries,” he said. “They let me play, but they’ve never said anything.”
While Rockefeller Center did not respond to Metro’s request for comment about @30RockTree, the 75-foot-tall Norway spruce from State College, Pennsylvania, did agree to give us his first-ever interview, probably because “I’m just standing here doing nothing,” he said.
Metro: What was your reaction when you were State College’s chosen tree?
30 Rock Tree: I realized I was going to be able to get out of there and actually be able to have a life and not stare at the same cars driving by me every single day. It was great!
TRAVEL DAY. Making the two day commute into the city to start my new gig. Hopefully my UberXXXXL driver doesn’t talk the entire time. No one cares about that one thing you did at that one place a long time ago when you were young and free.
— ?30RockTree? (@30RockTree) November 9, 2017
What do you miss about back home?
I miss the peace and quiet, but I love the attention.
So you’re loving the crowds so far?
I get annoyed because how many selfies do you need to take in one sitting?? Take one and move on! There’s only so much I can give. I need my me time.
Inquiring minds want to know what you do after hours.
I’m people watching still, constantly totally keeping an eye on who’s going by and keeping those stories for my tell-all book someday.
What’s been your favorite celebrity encounter over the years?
Mariah Carey, I think she has a thing for me. She always shows up to sing that one song over and over again. I assume it’s me and not because she’s getting paid to use it.
Be honest: Is there competition between you and the Times Square ball?
I think he’s like an annoying little brother that thinks he’s the star of the season, but he’s a star for about one minute at the end of the year. I have no problems with him, but on New Year’s Eve, I’m exhausted and want to sleep and all his fans are screaming, and they’re annoying.
You kindly donate yourself to Habitat for Humanity after the holidays, but what is your dream retirement?
I want my trunk on a beach with part of it laying in the water so I can feel the waves crashing on me.
Matt Haze, the voice behind @30RockTree, will be traveling the world next year hosting and producing a new web video series. Visit matthaze.com for more info.