I’m performing at the PIT tonight at 9:30pm in a super cool show called “True to Form” that’s all about improv forms and I’m going to get a chance to try to find out from the bartenders exactly how many shots of Jameson they gave me last night. The mystery will be solved!
“Well, it was my birthday. I feel like if there’s going to be a time when a girl gets drunk on Jameson and then falls down and breaks her toilet paper dispenser, it’s her birthday, right? People are okay with that, right? If you can’t do it on your birthday, when can you do it?”—Me to my roommate five minutes ago explaining how I broke the toilet paper dispenser last night. Then I buried my face in a corner and muttered, “I’m so ashamed!”
Today, because it is my day of days and that makes me happy no matter what, I’m going to give Hillstone’s another chance. The last time I went there for lunch, I was treated like a second class citizen. However, I am hungry and want to treat myself to a nice meal. Let’s give the assholes another chance, shall we?
What are the differences between the comedy you're writing and the comedy you wish you were writing?
Sorry I didn’t answer this in full on Monday night!
This is a tricky question. I write pretty much what I want to write. The idea of wishing you could write something and then not even attempting it is rather foreign to me. If it’s in my imagination, I start jotting it down. I don’t always finish, and some projects are too ambitious for me at the moment given time constraints (full length novels or screenplays or long sustained stand up bits), but I am still outlining them.
That said, I always want my comedy to be better. Tighter. Smarter. More emotional. More innovative. All of those things. Mostly, I really want to produce more “professional” work. I want to write things for wider audiences and work with more demanding people (I’d like a mentor. Seriously. Someone who can actually explain to me what I’m doing wrong and right.). I want to continue to grow and to find my own voice—and yet be experienced enough to know how to convert my voice into a more popular mold. Some people say that you need to eschew cleverness to hit a wider (ahem, dumber) demographic, but I think it’s the opposite. You have to be beyond clever to write something that works on a simple, guttural level that also, after closer inspection, provokes thought from your audience. So, eventually, I’d like to write more like that.
That’s why I think “Ponies" is my favorite piece that I’ve written this year, because you can read it and think, "Oh, cute. It’s ponies. This is totally pandering to that stereotypical girly audience. Cool." Or, you can see (hopefully) that it’s meant to be a satire of the pixie manic dream girl culture. And then, beyond that, it’s an allegory/argument for reproductive rights (or at least, I tried to make it be). Maybe all those layers aren’t there, but that’s a template for the kind of stuff I want to do. Crowd pleasing on the surface, and clever upon closer inspection.
Also, as much as I love writing for lady sites, I’m a little bit drained. I…look…no one has benefited from the lady site boom of 2011 more than I have. That said, there’s been this disturbing side effect to all these new platforms for female voices. I’ve talked about it before, but none of these sites speak for ALL women, and whenever readers, commenters or editors assume otherwise, the dialogue dissolves into bitter feuding over what is and isn’t appropriate for a woman to say. Which is kind of like one step forward, two steps backwards in general. The fact that so much internet traffic is centered around what’s feminist and what’s not feminist is cool because it means people care, but it sucks because it assumes that individual women still have to conform to one ideal of what a woman should be. Now instead of being the perfect wife or daughter, we have to be the perfect feminist. I have totally found myself embroiled in these discussions and I am guilty of profiting off of popular interest in women in comedy and such. However, I’m at a point where through my experiences I don’t feel wiser on any of these topics, just exhausted by them. I don’t feel inspired, but drained by all the “women in comedy” and “women shouldn’t marry” or “what kind of clothes can a woman wear” discourse. I simply want to write what I want to write, and I simply want to prove women can be funny not with essays, but by producing funny shit.
I can’t complain about Hello Giggles or The Hairpin. I love writing for both sites. I just wish I could write on the regular for a place that wasn’t a subject of feminist scrutiny so my work could be independent of that debate. Not that people actually look at my work specifically, but my writing is associated with those sites and those sites are cited (ha!) in certain discussions.
Basically, I like what I’m writing, but I would like it to be better, and I’d like to step away eventually from the “lady writer” zone. I love being able to write about female topics for a female audience, but I would like to expand my audience to include…um…men.
And once again, I rambled to the point of incoherence and probably said something to offend someone. Happy Birthday to me!
This is a story about how it's your birthday in England already. It's not a very good story because one of your country's airports held me hostage for like 10 hours yesterday but regardless of that fact, here I am, telling you happy birthday in a 'proper' British accent, which will probably sound Australian when I do it. Have a great day! :)
My plane was delayed three hours, we almost crashed during take off and landing, then I was stuck in a cab for over an hour and a half. I come home and tell my roommate that I had a shitty travel day and she decides it’s the best time to enter my room unannounced as I’m going through my luggage and tell me about her frustrating (and boring) series of phone calls with Bank of America.
ooh so, now can you share some of those “weird ideas” ?? :D
Oh, I mean, I’ve started doing that in full on this blog and in performance. I’m going to start doing more character based stuff. Just writing and producing “Atheist Carolers” took courage because by it’s very nature it’s meant to arouse discomfort. Some of the stuff on Hello Giggles is a bit out there and weird. I’m playing with the idea of producing and staring in a variety show next year called, “Dorothy Parker’s Salon of Spirits”, which would be a variety show where I’d enlist comedy pals of mine to impersonate dead celebrities and performers. I want to rewrite and restage “Julie Bell on Julie Bell”. Just the usual crazy stuff…except now I’m far more confident about putting it out there. I was shaking for a few hours before doing Julie Bell the first, um…well, all of the times I performed it.
I think when 2011 began, I was pushing myself to do things that made me terrified. There were things that I wanted to do creatively, but I was scared to do them. I forced myself to do them and it was uncomfortable. Now, I’m not as afraid anymore. I feel a lot more confident and brave. So that particular life experience of getting braver is probably the thing I love most about 2011. I realize that’s narcissistic and vague, but basically, a year ago I was terrified and embarrassed to share my weird ideas with people, and now, I mean, I’m still scared and embarrassed, but it’s infinitely easier to find the courage I need to follow through with stuff.
Oh, you’re the guy who sent me weird Game of Thrones fan fiction about Jon Snow and then kept following me after I made fun of you on My Mom Watches Game of Thrones, aren’t you? That, sir, is my favorite thing about you.
Me: So there’s no mass?
Colleen: No. I told you this is a Presbyterian church. We don’t do mass.
Me: You mean there’s no free food and no free booze? What are we supposed to get in return for our faith?
And then my mom slapped me with her services program
“Basically, I’m going to put on a beautiful dress and get drunk and I’d like you to watch this happen. If you want to partake in the merriment, by all means, do. If not, I’m still going to put on a beautiful dress and get drunk. Because that’s what young adult women do.”—From the ‘My Birthday (Birthday Edition)’ event I just created on Facebook. Let’s find out who my real friends are.
“The show finally ended at 4:47 pm when Lorelei threw Chester’s favorite shoes from her apartment window into the street.
“No,” Chester moaned in clear voice so that the audience in the deli could hear. “Not the brown ones! I love those shoes. They got the tassels on them!”—
Okay, WordPad is open. I’m going to freewrite the first page of this bitch.
(It’s a freewrite. Everything I just quoted will probably disappear should I ever finish the story.)