I remember watching an interview with Dr. Drew in which he explained it’s not celebrity itself that makes people go off the rails, but the perceived pressure to maintain celebrity once they’ve achieved it. I am in no way famous and yet, for the first time in my life, I am experienced said “perceived pressure”.
Yesterday, HelloGiggles published an essay I wrote called “Dear Ryan Gosling”. Because of it, I have gained about a 100 new followers here (Helloooooo!!!!!), have been called “crazy” by a commenter on Reddit and I had a lovely conversation over twitter with One Tree Hill's Sophia Bush. I know that no one is expecting the same amount of extremely modest viral success out of me ever again. I mean, the reblogging power that is Ryan Gosling can only be invoked but once in a girl's life. Still, I already feel pressure within myself to live up to what I perceive are other people's expectations.
I’ve been brainstorming all morning possible follow ups and here’s all I’ve got:
“When the women joked that it would be interesting to see how their male co-workers would function if the gender count was swapped, they collectively looked to [Larry] Wilmore who deadpanned, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening to anything you were saying.” I personally was not sure if he was just trying to be funny or if he was revealing something deeper by suggesting that the idea that men wouldn’t listen to women speak is funny.”—
Okay, so I’ve been quiet about the whole Troy Davis thing for a couple of reasons. 1) I honestly didn’t know all the facts about the case. 2) I have conflicting thoughts and feelings about the death penalty and I’m not in the mood to get into arguments with people I love over my still developing beliefs. 3) I like laughter over discord.
However, I will say this. I’ve been on the jury for a murder trial. A black man was charged. There was significant proof, but reasonable doubt. There were people changing statements on the stand and you couldn’t tell if it was because they were finally being honest or if they were being threatened. There were gang politics involved. There were people in my jury who were convinced in their gut that he was guilty. No one was convinced he was innocent, but no one could prove that he was guilty. So, I helped argue a not guilty verdict on the basis of reasonable doubt. I helped a man walk free. Since that day, I’ve felt sick in my stomach because I might have been wrong. I might have helped to unleash more violence in the community. You got the sense in the courtroom that “street justice”, for lack of a better word, was going to be served.
My sense—from what little I do know of the case—is that Troy Davis was innocent. I have no way of knowing what sense the jury who convicted him had at the time. I don’t know how they feel now. Maybe they thought they were doing the right thing. I thought I was and maybe I did. I’m just saying the justice system is even more fucked up than, “the death penalty is wrong.” And yet, I don’t have any good suggestions for how to change it without putting power into the hands of fewer people—which is also wrong. I think the system might actually be as good as it can be in a democratic society. I think the people in the society are the ones who need to be improved—so that crime isn’t committed in the first place and so that when it is committed, we can ensure that we act with fairness, understanding and in good conscience.
I’m home tonight recovering from my crazy flight from LA ordeal (Details aren’t important. Just know that my body has no idea where on Earth it is right now.). So I watched 2 Broke Girls.
It’s a pilot. It’s close to impossible to judge shows on pilots (unless that show is Arrested Development). There was a lot I didn’t really like about the pilot. However, by the end of the episode there were a couple of things I strongly liked about the show.
1) Kat Dennings. Putting aside that she has a gorgeous non-stick figure (it makes her relatable to women, so it is worth mentioning), she also has an INSANE amount of natural charm. I noticed it in Thor. She stole the show from Natalie Portman there and I think TV is a fantastic platform for her natural charisma. She sold the character of Max in a way that most comedic actresses would kill to be able to do. I was impressed.
2) Beth Behr. Like Dennings, she brings an ease to what she’s doing. I could be wrong, but this could be her first real big role? Anyway, if Dennings has the ability to marry sharp coldness with warmth, she has the ability to marry ditziness with wisdom. I liked her.
3) It’s a show about two girls who like and look out for each other. The only other current sitcom that I can think of that stresses this is Parks and Recreation, and that’s more of an ensemble show. This is a sitcom about women taking care of each other. We need more shows like that.
I have a ton of quibbles with the show that have to do with style, writing and production, but most of that is a matter of personal taste. I am actually really psyched this is on the air because we need more shows that are about girls being strong on their own and being stronger when they band together. So, yeah…I’ll say I liked it.
Let him sit on you. He’s not that 1,000 lb. guy who tried you out in the living room section of the Stoughton, Massachusetts IKEA and had to be cranelifted off of you. He’s someone different. He’s a recent college graudate. Maybe he will gain 950 lbs. Maybe he won’t. But give him a chance to sit on you because you’re his new sofa. His dad and stepmom didn’t buy you for him to sit on the floor. That’s only going to make his butt hurt. Think about his butt.
Don’t steal his loose change. Sure, if you shift your cushions right you might be richer by about six nickels, two dimes and twenty-three pennies by the end of the year. Be generous with him and at least let him keep his quarters. Otherwise he’s not going to be able to get his laundry done. Then his clothes will smell, and then you’ll smell. Let him keep his quarters. Otherwise his butt will smell. Think about his butt.
Give him a break with the upkeep. He’s just a kid who graduated with a Marketing degree from UMass Amhearst. He doesn’t understand about Febreze yet. Let him eat dinner while sitting on you. He might drip Domino’s pizza sauce on you. If he does, it doesn’t mean he loves you any less. He’s just trying to berate a thirteen year old kid over Xbox Live. Sometimes you need two hands for that. He might be making you dirty, but that just proves how much time he spends relying on you. Wear those stains as a badge of love and honor. Trust that when his mom visits, she’ll try to use a Tide pen on you to get the stains out. Just relax until she does/doesn’t. It just means he loves you more than his fiberboard kitchen table.
Let him gussy you up from time to time. He might want to toss a throw pillow on you or drape a becoming fleece blanket over your cushions. Don’t be an indignant independent sofa about it. I bet Beyonce’s chaise lounge lets Jay-Z toss a leopard patterned afghan on it every now and again because a man reserves the right to do things for the sofa he loves without her being a snarky bench about it. And on the flip side, a sofa is allowed to enjoy being spoiled every so often. Also, even if you don’t like what he’s putting on you, be grateful anyway. Chances are his grandmother put a lot of thought into giving him that throw cushion. It is embroidered with cats and it says in gold stitching, “This is for my cat nap.” Maybe it clashes with your bold, Swedish design. He didn’t toss it on you to insult the Nordic geniuses who breathed life into you. He’s doing it because he has a big, silly, adorable, slightly senile, grandmother.
Don’t get grossed out when he brings multiple girls over to sit on you. There might be some fluids involved. Don’t worry. IKEA sofas can’t contract sexually transmitted diseases. Likewise, you’re not going to get pregnant and give birth to an ottoman. That’s not where ottomans come from, dummy. Maybe you look at the girls he brings over and feel sorry for them. They don’t know how many other “Jennifers” or “Katies” have sat on you before. Maybe you’re mad at the boy for treating his guests like this and have some misplaced sense of feminism. Why would you even have a sense of feminism? You’re an IKEA sofa. Clearly, you are the inanimate object in this relationship. You exist to serve the boy. Don’t be such a heinous bench about it.
In the event that you just HAVE to be a heinous bench, don’t. You’re better than that. You aren’t some kind of cheap park bench that gives people splinters. Nor are you a single slab of marble that makes people’s butts hurt after only two minutes of sitting on it. You are an IKEA sofa. Live up to your full potential and he might take you with him to his next sublet. Be just another lazy bench and he’ll leave you on the side of the road for raccoons to nest in.
You can’t be together all of the time. That would be bad for the boy; he would eventually get bed sores. Those are gross. It would be bad for you, too. Your springs would sag. That’s also really not cute. Let him go out. He may or may not be sitting on someone else’s couch. He probably is, but remember, your his IKEA sofa. He’s going to return to you hungover and ready to collapse. Be understaning. You get to stay at home and watch the other pieces of furniture. Maybe you and the TV stand can partake in a staring contest. Be ready for the boy to come home at any hour ready to fall on top of your arms and pass out face planted into your cushions. The more comfortable you are, the more likely he will be to return to you and not his twin bed for a good night’s sleep.
Give him all the things he expects from you—back support, lumbar support, soft cushions, a place for his freeloading friend to sleep—but don’t expect any of that in return. You don’t deserve it. But if you are kind and generous, he might love you enough to one day turn over your cushions or shampoo your slip cover. And don’t forget that you belong to him. You are an IKEA sofa there to support your man. Don’t be a heinous bench. Be an IKEA sofa. And seriously, you don’t need to steal his quarters. Sofas don’t need to buy things, dummy.
How does one become a featured author on HelloGiggles? I would lovelovelove to write stuff for them but as more than just a 'from our readers' contribution.
All I can tell you is how I got the gig. I submitted a couple of things in their open submission box. One they said looked good, but nothing happened with it (it was very snarky, which I didn’t yet grasp was not at all their style). The other was the “Kindergarten Dating Tips” article (that I would link to now, but all I have is my iPhone). After that was published “From the Readers”, I got a tweet saying they wanted me to be a regular contributor. Then, it took me about six weeks of persistent emails to actually get a contributor page.
Basically my only advice is to write, edit, submit, edit, write and resubmit as much and as often as you can. There are very few things I’ve gotten in the past year on invite alone. I’ve had to be really diligent and really persistent and that’s all I can really tell you. I have no idea how they pick and choose contributors, only that I got a tweet and I didn’t stop following up until I got in. And I only got that tweet by submitting and resubmitting. Hope that helps!
-Eat at In-N-Out
-See more LA tourist stuff
-Get more cute LA guys to hit on me
-Maybe see a movie (Drive?)
-Eat more food
-See the Groundlings
-Eat more food
-Drink something with alcohol in it
-Hang with comedy people
-Eat ALL of the food
Now that I’ve had a good breakfast, I better get started on my to-do list.
Gaarrrryyy….are you rooting for Anya this season? What do you think of Bert? Isn’t Olivier a little lamb? I once saw Joshua McKinley sitting on the stoop the homeless guy poops on outside my subway station in Queens. Isn’t that fun?
“Naipaul says he can tell
right away if a writer’s a woman
or a man—the difference
being her narrowness of scope
and excess sentimentality; his
universality and grandness of theme,
his liberty and largesse.
But I’m not at all impressed
by these men I’ve been reading—
with their endless, melancholy verses
about sex with a prostitute
and their appointment of women
as symbols—the woman, a woman,
a woman’s hair, a woman’s voice, a woman’s hand—
oh, it goes on and on. The Platonic Form
of Woman like a magic, literary wand
waved over the page. A woman in bed,
a woman standing on a street corner,
and going from rooms, talking
(about great men, of course).
All it takes is the mere mention of woman.
And the whole burden
of the man’s psyche—
the whole world-weary, age-old, masterly, genius
of the male psyche—
rises off the page like vapor from a mystic’s bowl […]
These tedious “universals”
that make particular only the man
and his struggles (poor man! how he struggles!)
with sexual satisfaction,
professional success, power, and recognition. And recognition
of his power and sexual success.
Even in its absence,
the suggestion lingers:
This man is a lover, this man is a man—
perhaps not yet,
but someday to be reckoned with.
“The woman” has seduced him,
or teased him, cheated him, or worse of all sins
Wait! Worse yet, failed to praise him,
to coo, whet, and lick
his potential. […]
I’ve sent my verses about fucking
men to the editors again and again.
And those guys keep rejecting me,
my poem, my gender.
(Or is it the sex?) Now, thanks to Naipaul,
the truth is out: They can tell in a second
my sex by my topic, by my subject.
But I’ve grown to suspect that rather
it’s my perspective
on the very same subject
to which they object.
So here’s the easy rejoinder:
I’m just being reactionary.
This is simpleminded ressentiment.
(Yeah, leave it to Nietzsche
to make all reaction effete,
all women sheep.)
But don’t fail to notice
that saying that is reaction, too,
such an easy ploy: to silence
by making it seem that any response
is whining. (Go ahead, call me shrill.)
This time, guys, I made it easy.
Just read the title,
and you’ll know, like Naipaul,
it’s the second sex
you’re up against.
(Call it literary frottage.)
Then you can forget it.
(Tell me to calm down, while you’re at it.)”—from ‘Poem Composed While Waiting for the Gynecologist To Come In’, by Brook Sadler, in response to writer V.S. Naipaul’s comments about women being inferior writers to men. (via trenchantashell)
Hi! I really love your blog! But I also have a question. I am trying out for my college's standup club tonight (tonight!) and I've prepared a little material but I am really nervous about how to deliver it when my heart is pounding and people are trying to determine whether I am actually funny or not. So, do you have any pointers on how to actually get the words out and also how to write them? Thank you so much.
Hey there! Thanks so much for the kind words. Let me see if I can help.
Here’s the thing: The hardest part of comedy is the courage to do it. It took me years to get the courage to say, “I want to do stand-up,” and then it took me months to actually get up and do it. When I did finally get onstage for my first mic, I blanked on my material. Going up with notes helped me when I first started. A lot of comics bring notebooks up with them during mics and even more have scraps of paper with trigger words to help them through their set if they lose track of the order of things. I try not to bring my notebook up now (unless EVERYTHING I’m doing is new), but I still write my set lists for shows on scraps and stow them in my pocket.
Another thing that’s helped me gain confidence is to remember that it’s important that it’s fun first. A bunch of older comics have given me gifts by saying stuff like, “This should be the best part of your day” or “Just get up there and goof.” It’s so tough to get your head around this sometimes, because once you realize that the key is to be relaxed, confident and to have fun, you stress yourself out obsessing over getting there. I mean it’s honestly my biggest struggle. But seriously! It’s fun! Think of this not as some scary opportunity, but as your break from reality. You get to show them what you think is fun and funny. Also, remember the audience doesn’t want you to fail. They don’t want to sit through anyone who is unfunny. They want to have fun. They are on your side when you start. Have fun and you’ll keep them there.
If you start to panic, take a deep breath and remember that no one’s (literally) dying. What’s there to be afraid of? Embarrassing yourself? What happens when you embarrass yourself? People laugh.* So, like embrace it.
Finally, if you really love comedy, this isn’t the only time you’ll get up. It’s just one set among thousands. No matter what, you’ll learn from it.
p.s. If you have any other questions, let me know!
p.s.s. Don’t think I’ve conquered any of this yet. I have a big audition coming up that I am similarly terrified of. Just remember we ALL go through it and that just makes it sillier.
p.s.s.s. Break a leg!
*This last gem is from Susan Messing. I feel like she needs to be properly quoted.