Ryan O’Connell opens up to audiences at Goldstein Auditorium

Ryan O'Connell opens up to audiences at Goldstein Auditorium

The Emmy Award-winning director shared his experiences with an intimate discussion on authenticity.
Published: October 27, 2019
Ryan O'Connell at Syracuse University
Ryan O’Connell’s series is currently available for streaming on Netflix now, and fans are eager for a Season 2 renewal in the near future.

Syracuse’s University Union, in addition to the Disability Cultural Center and the LGBT Resource Center, presented Emmy award-winning writer, actor, and director, Ryan O’Connell on October 22, at the Goldstein Auditorium.

The event took place in honor of Remembrance Week on campus, which commemorates the 35 students who lost their lives when Pan Am flight 103 was bombed in 1988.

O’Connell, who is the creator of the hit Netflix series Special, had the packed Goldstein crowd hysterically laughing as he spoke in trendy abbreviations, letting the audience into his experience with developing his identity and opening up about his sexuality and disability.

O’Connell said his parents always supported him, even though he mentioned some specific people outside of his family that helped him throughout his journey.

One, in particular, was a teacher from first grade who was obsessed with wearing berets. He said that she helped him discover his own sense of style and also encouraged him to write creatively because she thought his humor was unique.

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During the discussion, O'Connell stressed the importance of authenticity and its role in finding happiness.

O’Connell identifies as a gay man and also has a mild case of cerebral palsy, a disability that limits mobility and muscle coordination.

He unfolded his life story and shed light on the moments and people who aided him in his journey to “being the most authentic version of himself” even in a world that was built without people like himself.

O’Connell also talked about his journey to the creation of his autobiographical series titled Special which has become a smash hit in 2019.

He mentioned how he always wanted to be a writer because of how his disability and sexuality hindered him from excelling in the workforce, as well as how he grew up with a niche style of quirky comedy that he believed could be influential and entertaining.

When discussing his journey to the creation of his show, O’Connell mentioned how he had experience in writer’s rooms where he “didn’t care about the s— I was writing.” This led him to realize that he wanted to birth something original that could tell a meaningful story, through a comical and satirical way.

Towards the end of the discussion, O’Connell pushed for the audience to remember to always be authentic and to strive to learn that as early as possible.

Recognizing early that you shouldn’t hide from who you are is essential to the journey to happiness and that you should always believe in yourself. In the words of O’Connell himself, “a little bit of delusion goes a long way.”

Ryan O’Connell’s series is currently available for streaming on Netflix now, and fans are eager for a Season 2 renewal in the near future.

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is a contributor to The NewsHouse, Syracuse University junior focusing on film and digital media., plus avid sports fan.