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Why Kip from ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ decided to create a new Instagram account during social distancing

A new Instagram account is offering tips to keep yourself sane during the coronavirus pandemic

Aaron Ruell as Kip on set during filming for “Napoleon Dynamite.”
Aaron Ruell as Kip on set during filming for “Napoleon Dynamite.”
Napoleon Pictures Limited

Aaron Ruell — the actor who played Kip in the 2004 classic “Napoleon Dynamite” — saw a headline that piqued his interest. It read, “Who is the expert on self-isolation that we can all turn to?” It didn’t take him long to find an answer.

“Kip immediately came to mind,” he told the Deseret News in an email. “Who better to speak to social distancing (and) self-isolation than a guy who has been doing it his entire life?”

Ruell went to work and created his new Instagram account called KipsTipss, which includes videos from Ruell reprising his role as Kip Dynamite from the indie film “Napoleon Dynamite.”

“The end goal was just to give people something to smile about,” he said.

On the account, Kip describes himself as a social isolation professional, inspiration giver, technology expert, grandma’s favorite and a CEO, though it’s unclear which company he is the CEO for. His account has about 1,600 followers.

The account only has three videos — an introduction video, one on building homemade masks and a third on a recommended recipe. So there’s not a lot. The videos last more than a minute and can be viewed on IGTV, Instagram’s streaming platform.

The first video is called “Hi” and it features the character introducing himself, saying he isn’t allowed to give out his last name because grandma wouldn’t like it. He explains that he’s been social distancing his whole life and he is willing to give tips to people on how to use their time.

In the second video, Kip instructs people how to use a safety mask. He encourages people to use items from around the house as a safety mask. The third video shows Kip sharing one of his favorite recipes — literally a bowl of tortilla chips.

Ruell said he might continue the Instagram posts in the future, too.

“I might keep it going as long as it continues to make enough people happy,” he said.

When asked if it’ll continue once social distancing is over, he said, “Who knows?”

In some ways, this seems to be a reboot or revival of the “Napoleon Dynamite” world. It’s not a true reboot since it’s only Kip making videos.

Other people from the “Napoleon Dynamite” could appear on the account, Ruell said, if they reach out to Kip first.

“I’m looking at this as Kip’s account, not mine,” Ruell said. “I know that sounds weird, but I’ve always thought of Kip in the third person. He just takes over and does his thing.”

He added: “I love the world of (‘Napoleon Dynamite’) but that is the (Jared) Hess’ baby and they steer that ship.”