The Politician Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix, and one of the characters to return from the first season is Andrew, played by newcomer Ryan J. Haddad.
Haddad has cerebral palsy, and says his character in The Politician is an accurate reflection of his reality.
He's also a frequent stage actor, writing and performing in his own one-man shows.
The Politician is back for Season 2, and expanded roles for acting legends Judith Light and Bette Midler (alongside much of the returning cast) are the main attraction. But the show also increases the r0le for relative newcomer Ryan J. Haddad, who finds considerably more to do in the show's second season—and does a great job with that added screen time.
Andrew was a high school student in the first season who returns in season 2 with a jaded attitude and a slightly larger role.
It's fun watching Haddad—who plays hotshot Math major Andrew—take on a more cunning role in a show filled with scheming and manipulative characters, and compelling (if not a bit random) to learn that his character is now completely obsessed with Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch). But one of the best parts about Haddad's role is that the actor—who has cerebral palsy—gets to play someone who isn't singularly defined by his disability.
Haddad is really just starting his career out, with his biggest role yet coming in The Politician season 2, but there's more to know about this charismatic young star.
He has cerebral palsy.
So, yes, we covered this already in the intro. But Haddad was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects movement and posture. "My everyday life as a 27 year old living in New York, there’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t know I’m disabled," he said in an interview with Queerty. "I recognize that my interactions with strangers specifically are always shaded or colored by being disabled."
At the same time, though, he says he finds it relieving that The Politician didn't feel the need to highlight his disability. "I think as a disabled person, for me, [the show] was a reflection of my reality," he said. "Yeah, I have cerebral palsy but I don’t feel like I struggle with it, I don’t feel like its a cloud over me. This is just who I am, it is all I have known, as I am sure it is the same for you."
He's incorporated several aspects of his life into numerous one-man plays, and his most famous show yet explores life as a young, gay man also living with a disability.
While The Politician is Haddad's biggest on-screen breakthrough yet, he's been performing autobiographical plays on stage for years, including a show called Hi, Are You Single? which made it to the Public Theater in New York City.
In Hi, Are You Single?, which has been touring since 2016, he explores aspects of his life including the intersection of his sexuality and disability. According to an interview with The Daily Beast, he wrote the show in his early 20s, when he had just begun to hit New York City's gay bar scene.
The promotional materials for his show, according to that same piece, are fairly straight forward. They read: “Do you have a high sex drive? Ryan does. He also has cerebral palsy. No, those things are not mutually exclusive.” There are also instructions for those who plan to attend: “Please bring an attractive male friend with you.”
In COVID-19 times, he virtually performed in a production of Diana Oh's My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theater.
I love Diana Oh (@ohyeadiana). A genius, exuberant, mandatory voice for our time. We will be doing MY H8 LETTER TO THE GR8 AMERICAN THEATRE live Tuesday and Wednesday at 8PM ET, with rebroadcasts on Thursday. Click click click for info on how to sign up and join us. Link in bio and story.
A post shared by Ryan J. Haddad (@ryanjhaddad) on Jun 14, 2020 at 4:22pm PDT
He was in other TV shows before his time on The Politician
Before his time on The Politician, he had small roles in the CBS dramas Bull and Madam Secretary, and also a small role in Netflix's comedy hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Thank you all for your messages and posts of support about BULL tonight. I watched in my bedroom which is not glamorous, but I felt like you were all with me!
— Ryan J. Haddad (@RyanJHaddad) January 10, 2018
While on set of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I saw the back of Jon Hamm's head as he walked past the green room. Thank you. #GoldenGlobes
— Ryan J. Haddad (@RyanJHaddad) January 11, 2016
He's active on social media.
Given that he's a millennial in his late 20s, it probably should come as no shock that Haddad is very active on social media. On his Twitter account @RyanJHaddad he frequently shouts out the show and his castmates.
The Politician season 2 is out now on Netflix. I love the people who made it. The cast. The directors. The crew. Shelby and Jessica who took care of me every day and are two of the dearest friends I’ve ever made. (Shelby cataloged these pics tbh.) 1/? pic.twitter.com/RZDADaGGIo
— Ryan J. Haddad (@RyanJHaddad) June 20, 2020
— Ryan J. Haddad (@RyanJHaddad) May 18, 2020
He also interacts with fans and people watching the show in real time.
Love to rep disabled fam AND be bitchy https://t.co/8k2l9YmSjW
— Ryan J. Haddad (@RyanJHaddad) June 20, 2020
He also frequently speaks out for causes that he believes in, such as transgender rights and #BlackLivesMatter protests.
Thank you thank you thank you, Supreme Court, now please protect Trans people’s healthcare from the monster administration. Image text: Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules The court said the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
A post shared by Ryan J. Haddad (@ryanjhaddad) on Jun 15, 2020 at 8:10am PDT
Honor George Floyd. Honor Breonna Taylor. Honor Ahmaud Arbery. And the many, many, many, many more. Donate to @mnfreedomfund. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.
A post shared by Ryan J. Haddad (@ryanjhaddad) on May 29, 2020 at 8:17am PDT
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