Hollywood sets eyes on Twitter joker Mark Leggett

Mark Leggett, of Dunedin.
Hamish McNeilly

Mark Leggett, of Dunedin.

Mark Leggett is so hot right now he just got followed by The Fonz.

Henry Winkler, of Happy Days fame, is just one the latest of Leggett's more than 68,000 Twitter followers.

The Dunedin freelance-illustrator joined the social media site seven years ago, and has since tweeted some 26,000 jokes.

And people are not only laughing, they are also starting to take notice.

One of those is Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who paid for him to go to Los Angeles in February to discuss a possible writing opportunity for his hit television show.

Born and raised in Dunedin, the 37-year-old had never travelled overseas until meeting with MacFarlane and the trip was a "massive eye-opener".

"I couldn't even watch TV over there because everyone yells out you."

The meeting went well, and was "a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do something".

"He told me he was looking for a place for me."

MacFarlane, who is also a film director and even hosted the Oscars, had even rung him a couple of times "which is obviously very weird".

Leggett said he sound like Brian from his TV show, and "it was incredibly casual".

The result of that conversation was that he wrote MacFarlane a couple of jokes to use at an award show, which "went down well".

A self-confessed fan of Family Guy, Leggett said he would love to write dialogue involving Stewie and Brian.

"This is obviously my 15 minutes of fame  . . . I have been happily flying under the radar until now."

Most of his followers were based in the United States, and every time he gets a retweet from someone famous he picks up another thousand or so followers.

His bio reads "You can tell a lot about a person by reading their bio", and he feels no pressure to keep the one-liners flowing.

He tweets only when he feels like it, and has no favourite: "I just don't remember it".

He tests the tweets with his girlfriend, who moved to New Zealand from Utah after they befriended each other via Twitter, before he makes the final decision on the joke.

Some jokes were borderline, and "some you think, this is incredibly funny but I'm going to have hate mail".

His biggest reaction was posting a picture from Sarajevo showing people ducking sniper file, with the words "here is a fun fact, the sky in Sarajevo is five feet off the ground".

That got retweeted by Seth MacFarlane and he spent the next week getting hate mail  . . . incredibly angry death threats."

People had congratulated him on his meeting but it was yet to lead to something concrete, but "signs are looking good".

Not bad for a guy that doesn't even own a television.

He has also had people stop following his Twitter account once they realised he was a human and not a cat as per his Twitter profile picture.

Leggett had never done stand-up comedy, and baulked at the idea of reading his tweets on camera.

People have emailed him asking how they can replicate what he does, but the funny formula was a hard one to explain.

"You just have to tell thousands of jokes, and even then nothing will probably happen."

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 - Stuff.co.nz

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