This weekend, a crowd of supporters in the US gathered around a 31-year-old restaurant server as he ate his 40th rotisserie chicken in as many days. Alexander Tominsky, the Philadelphia Chicken Man, became an internet sensation as he documented his bizarre, poultry pilgrimage online.
However, while the crowd cheered their unlikely champion, Adam Driver could be heard, somewhere, scoffing. You see, eating an obscene amount of rotisserie chicken is probably what Driver would refer to as “the good old days”.
In a 2018 GQ profile, the Star Wars actor revealed that he used to eat a daily chicken while he was training at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School for the performing arts. It was not a challenge, nor some stunt designed to go viral on social media — it was lunch. What’s more, Driver would also put away six eggs in the morning before running from his apartment in Queens to the school’s campus in Manhattan.
“He would walk around school with an entire chicken in one hand and a jug of water in the other,” Driver’s Juilliard classmate Scott Aiello recalled once. It speaks volumes to Driver’s reputation as one of the industry’s most intense men that one can immediately conjure images of him, crowned in a white headband, sprinting across the Brooklyn Bridge on his way to class, a greasy supermarket chicken swinging recklessly in hand.
In a post-victory interview with The New York Times, Tominsky detailed the effect eating so many salty birds had had on his body. The waiter lost 16 pounds (7kg) over the 40-day marathon and the amount of sodium he was consuming had him believing he could “feel the pulse of my heart in my stomach”. But Driver is built different. As Hunter Harris once pointed out for Vulture, Driver is Hollywood’s biggest boy. He was once described by an editor at Vogue as “a cross between Raging Bull-era De Niro and Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck”. His 6ft 2in frame is amplified by his enormous shoulders and thighs that one fan said were, “as wide as my entire body”.
We must let Tominsky have his day. His accomplishment has brought joy to a city that just lost the baseball World Series and the Major League Soccer Cup final in one day. But in doing so we must remember: Adam Driver walked so Chicken Man could run.