If you happened to blink while watching the Judd Apatow film The King of Staten Island over the weekend, then it’s possible you missed the big screen acting debut of Marian University graduate Bryan Lidtke. And if you haven’t caught the just-released movie starring Pete Davidson yet, then don’t blink when you do.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in May 2019 as a double major in Sport and Recreation Management and Marketing, Bryan immediately went to Staten Island, N.Y. to begin an internship with the Staten Island Yankees minor league baseball team. The Winnebago Lutheran High School graduate’s internship ran June through mid-September, during which time filming of the VOD movie took place.
Roughly 55 minutes in, with “Down on the Corner” by Creedence Clearwater Revival playing, Davidson and costar Bill Burr enter a ballpark – and on the far left, there’s Bryan unsuccessfully attempting to give the pair vouchers for free hot dogs.
While Bryan’s profile has certainly been raised since Apatow retweeted a tongue-in-cheek comment made by the current Lakeland University sports information graduate assistant, he still managed to clear his busy schedule and answer some questions for his alma mater.
How did you find out filming was going to take place and what are your memories of that night?
As a staff we knew they were going to be filming at the ballpark about a week in advance, so that’s when we began advertising it to fans, too. The filmmakers arrived early that day to set things up, and they ended up storing a lot of equipment in a garage area next to the main gate, which is where I spent a lot of my time working, so I saw the crew a lot that night.
I remember how excited we all were for it, but I was just hoping to see some of the actors, which happened even before the gates opened because Pete, Bill, and Judd were all walking around the main gate area, and Pete went into the team store next to the gate to get some gear. Sabrett, one of the team’s sponsors, was having us hand out vouchers for a free hot dog to each fan that entered, and I was doing that for about two or three hours before we heard they were going to be filming at the gate.
Right before they did someone came up to us to sign a waiver in the event that we ended up as extras. Shortly after, I saw the cameras get into place and then a crew member told us to act natural. Pete and Bill were going to be walking to their seats, which were straight ahead of the gate. It took a total of six takes, but after Pete and Bill didn’t grab vouchers from me on the first three, I switched to the left side. After not taking one from me on the fourth, Bill asked what I was doing and I explained the free hot dog promotion. He said he wasn’t going to take one, which was fine by me because I’ll be able to talk about that exchange for the rest of my life.
They filmed there throughout the night, but those six takes were it for me. The interaction I had with the cast and crew was great, but I tried not to bother them because I realized they were there doing a job, and I wouldn’t want people pestering me for a picture or autograph while I was working.
When you initially watched it, were you expecting to see yourself?
I didn’t really know for sure, but I figured there was a good chance the scene would be included since it was an entrance sequence. I watched it alone at first, right when it came out on Friday, and some of my coworkers had already seen it and told me they saw themselves. When I saw it I had the same feeling I get when I hear my voice back on a recording – kind of cringey, but cool at the same time. I recognize I’m lucky to be able to say I saw Pete and Bill and Judd, and that I ended up in the film.
When you saw Apatow had responded to your tweet, what was your reaction?
I couldn’t believe it. I was doing homework Sunday afternoon and all of a sudden I looked at my phone notifications and I saw a notification from Judd Apatow and I wasn’t sure it was really him until I saw it was his verified account. I thought it was hilarious, though, and it was pretty surreal. He has some amazing TV shows and movies on his resume – I still wish Freaks and Geeks had gone more than one season – so to have a funny interaction like this with him still blows my mind.
How did you end up with an internship with the Yankees?
As a senior at Marian I knew I needed to look for a full-time job in minor league baseball because there weren’t any openings locally that would have fit my timeline, so I went to the 2018 baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas. Each year they have a career fair where all the major and minor league baseball teams post their job openings and you can apply to them. You go to this huge hotel ballroom, and in one corner there’s hundreds of jobs posted on dozens of bulletin boards, and on the corner of each job posting is a number, and if you’re interested in the job, you write that number on the top of your printed resume and put it in a team’s box with everyone else who wants that job. Teams pick up the resumes and call you from there to set up an interview. I had applied for six positions, and the Yankees were the first team to contact me about an interview, which I had at 10 a.m. and four hours later was offered the job.
What were your responsibilities with the Yankees, and how did your Marian education prepare you for them?
As the corporate sponsorship intern most of my office time was spent making sure we were fulfilling our contracts with sponsors, contacting local business to see if they’d be interested in becoming a sponsor, and working on our staff pregame meal program since we got the food from sponsors. Academically, Jim Gray’s Sport and Recreation Management classes prepared me well for the job, especially his Legal Issues in Sport and Recreation Management and Business Law courses. The first thing I was instructed to do at work was to look over each contract we had with our sponsors to get familiar with those terms. I texted Dr. Gray after that week and told him that if anyone ever says we don’t need to learn so much about the law in the SRM program, he should tell them they’re wrong, because that was the vast majority of my job at first.
During games, I made sure the sponsors in the concourse making sales had what they needed and took pictures to provide proof of sponsorship fulfillment. The job was a lot of fun, and I had great coworkers and supervisors. It was hard being away from home, but most of my coworkers were from places around the country too, so we all knew how that felt and became closer because of it – I gained a few lifelong friends. I really enjoyed living in New York, the stadium was right next to the free Staten Island Ferry that takes you to Manhattan, so it was great being about 20 minutes away from the city.
It was absolutely gorgeous out there, too – I loved exploring Staten Island and the other boroughs and have some great photos from the area. The downside to living in New York City is how expensive everything is, I rented a room for $1,200 a month that included utilities and a parking spot, and that was a deal compared to some places I heard about. Space was limited too, of course, so there weren’t many times or places you could get away from people if you wanted to relax.
What led you to Marian, and was working in sports always the plan?
As a sophomore in high school I tried to figure out what I wanted in a college, and I knew I wanted to do something in sports. At the time Marian was one of only a few schools to offer Sports and Recreation Management as a major, and being close to home was optimal.
I knew I was going with Marian by the end of my junior year, as I had developed a great friendship with Senior Assistant Director of Financial Aid Ben Soman, who had been visiting my high school. Ben is still one of my favorite people from my time at Marian, and he was a big factor in why I chose Marian, and it ended up working out to where he came out to Staten Island to take in a game during my internship.
My goal going into college was to end up being a minor league baseball general manager, but I always planned on working in sports in some capacity. As a senior in high school Marian let me serve as its public address announcer, so I was happy to be able to continue that in my time there, too. I learned that I really enjoyed working in the Sports Information Department and I kept that in the back of my mind as I pursed a career in minor league baseball. Either way, I always planned to work in sports in some capacity.
How did your Marian education prepare you for your current role?
My Marian education has been immensely helpful with not only working as a Sports Information Graduate Assistant at Lakeland University, but also as I pursue a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Sports Leadership. I’ve seen a lot of similarities in what I learned from my professors at Marian and what is expected of me at Lakeland. There have been a lot of times where I’ve read an assigned chapter and thought to myself “I remember talking about this at Marian!”
Now that you’ve had your big break, what does your future hold, both for your acting and sports careers?
I’m fairly confident that my acting career won’t go much further – though one person joked that I’m now in the running for a supporting actor nomination, so you never know. Judd mentioned in an interview with Jimmy Fallon that he gave Pete his first movie role because he was one of the first to know Pete was funny, so I like to joke now that my cameo will be the same thing for my career. As for sports, the goal is to become a full-time sports information director once I graduate in May 2021. I really can’t imagine any other career I’d rather pursue. I’ve done music and announcing for a few local college and minor league teams, so wherever I land a full-time job with, I plan on finding a way to continue that work, too.