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Jonathan Graziano ’13 on Making His Bones Alongside Noodle the Pug

A two-night stay at a 5-star hotel complete with comfy bathrobes and a king size bed are some of the perks that Jonathan Graziano ’13 and his 13-year-old pug Noodle have enjoyed since hitting it big on social media this fall.

The duo’s diurnal “Bones or No Bones” routine has netted Graziano 4.6 million followers and 64.7 million likes on TikTok thanks to their funny rapport.

@jongraz

🚨🚨🚨 we needed THIS!! 🔮🦴🎉 ##noodletok ##newyearsamepug ##happynewyear

♬ original sound – Jonathan

If you haven’t seen them yet, Graziano lovingly lifts his elderly pal from his bed, the couch, or his own bed, and if Noodle stands up it’s a Bones Day, and if he flops back down, it’s a No Bones Day.

“If it’s a Bones Day you need to go above and beyond and be productive that day,” explained Graziano, a social media manager for GoDaddy. “It’s a time to be motivated to pursue personal ventures.”

“No Bones Days are more chill days. There’s a misconception that it’s a bad day. It’s a day to take it easy, be super kind to yourself,” said Graziano, who relayed that Noodle was snoring through his interview with Emerson Today.

Graziano’s background in performing with the Musical Theatre Society, Shakespeare Society, and more while at Emerson is evident in the posts. His Marketing Communication major that included a capstone project thesis with Doug Quintal, senior executive-in-residence, was an incredible experience that Graziano credits with teaching him the real world of marketing.

The Bones or No Bones routine is something Graziano has done with Noodle since he adopted him in January 2016. It’s a gauge for Graziano to determine if Noodle wants to start his day with things like going to the loo outside, or continue to rest.

“He’s been very clear in the mornings whether he’s ready to wake up. We had never done it as consistently in this type of format,” said Graziano, who adds witty voiceovers to his videos that are also posted on Noodle’s Instagram page. “The pandemic hit and we got into this routine. I was working remote, and around 9:30, I’d check to see if he had ‘bones.’ It’s not just laziness. You’ve got to check to see if the engine is running. I decided to film it one day, and I thought people would like to see it.”

The first Bones or No Bones video was posted in August 2021. And by no means did Graziano expect to generate millions of followers and likes thanks to their endearing ritual.

Or coverage from The Kelly Clarkson Show (with Emerson College alum Jay Leno ’73 as the host), The Today Show, NPR, The Boston Globe, People, The New York Times, and NBC News, which declared, “The internet’s mood is now determined by Noodle the pug.”

Of course there are some haters, too, like Rolling Stone, which said Noodle was “cancelled.” Graziano had a response:

@jongraz

##greenscreen I know what the words mean individually, but WHAT do they mean in a sentence like this?? ##girlboss ##millennial ##cancelled ##noodletok

♬ original sound – Jonathan

Graziano said the popularity is very, very humbling, and it’s been heartwarming to see that the majority of comments are positive, and that he and his canine pal are an inspiration.

“It’s been a community. I take it to heart. On a Bones Day, people are sharing their accomplishments. Noodle is my muse, and he is the muse of millions,” said Graziano.

Graziano said the simple little routine is cathartic.

“I don’t think a lot of people would celebrate a dog sitting up or a dog sitting down. I think a lot of people get very into it, especially if you have an older dog. It’s easy to celebrate the little things,” said Graziano. “When Noodle is ready to go for a walk it’s exciting, because he doesn’t always want to. He’s still kicking and going, and my humor really relates to that. It’s irreverent and matches the absurdity of what it’s matching on the screen.”

Graziano also said the popularity of Bones or No Bones is representative of the absurdity of life today. He said there’s no secret to blowing up on TikTok, and feels their social media spotlight is almost like a long peyote dream, and he’ll just wake up one day and realize none of it happened.

That popularity has led to deals with major brands like hotels.com, Spotify, GrubHub, PetSmart and more. Pet Supplies Plus was eager to point out that a celebrity, i.e. Noodle, was spotted at one of their stores. Graziano said he’s only doing partnerships with brands that make sense for him and Noodle, and relate to their personas. As a Marketing Communication major, Graziano knows the power and responsibility of a brand.

“You want me to sell hotels or use us in your streaming content – how do I make that video relevant whether someone in interested in the video or not?” said Graziano. “If you’re not providing value in special posts to everyone, you’re isolating everyone.”

What did fit their image was a two-night stay at the 5-star Thompson Hotel in New York City.

“They said they wanted to put Noodle in a small bathrobe, and give him room service, and that’s something everyone wants to see, and being able to share that was super fun,” said Graziano.

As for Noodle, fame hasn’t changed him much, although there is now Noodle merch.

“Noodle likes to eat. And he likes to remind me that he’s not eating when he isn’t eating,” said Graziano. “He loves to sit outside and yell at people walking by. He likes to sit on laps. He just likes to come with me wherever I go even if he’s not the center of attention. He wants to be where people are. He likes to come with and likes to be my plus-one.”

Graziano added to make a point one of the coolest things of he and Noodle’s trendsetting.

“I’m big on animal rescue [organizations]. Anyone reading this, or heard us, who wants to know what we really, really care about, is donating money to animal shelters,” said Graziano. “I got Noodle when he was 7. When I got him, he had already lived many lives before me. I don’t know why he is the way he is. It’s just up to me to take care of him and shepherd him through the duration of his life, and it’s such a pleasure to do that.”

Graziano will be a panelist on January 26 in Social Without Share, an event that is part of the Emerging Conversations: Learning for Life series hosted by the Professional Development Committee of the Emerson College Alumni Board.

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