Priest’s role as ‘butter’ in Thanksgiving Parade becomes a hit, spreads all over social media
Pastor Donny Willis of the Westchester Church is proof that there really are no small parts.
"I get to the staging area Thursday morning, and I asked the lady doing the costumes and she's like 'uh... you're butter,'" Willis recalls when he was chosen to play the sandwich spread in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
"People woke up at five o'clock in the morning to be there, so I mean if those people are going to make that kind of sacrifice, you have to give it everything you got," Willis adds.
He fully committed to the role, so much in fact, that he got the attention of "Today" weather anchor Al Roker during a live broadcast of the parade.
"As we're walking down the parade on Central Park West, we get to Columbus Circle and I'm just running along giving high-fives to people," Willis says when he heard Roker's voice call him over.
"Hey! I hate to butter you up, but you've got to move on!" The TV personality told him.
And then there was a second encounter, when he fell behind his parade group and he was hurrying to catch up.
"And so I start sprinting, and I guess right before then, Al comes from the other side of the street," Willis said.
"Woah! Butter your turkey! Butter your ham!" Willis shouted during the broadcast of the event as he ran to catch up with his group, to which Roker quipped "And that's why everybody loves clowns."
And now Pastor Willis has gone viral, thanks in part of tweets from the likes of Lin Manuel-Miranda and Al Roker himself.
"I got to be in the parade and it was a lot of fun," Willis says.
And if Macy's asks him back next year, he says he'll be prepared with all the jokes.