Jackie Kashian and Friends!

Posted Posted in comedy, feminism, los angeles, Uncategorized, women

“BLANK with FRIENDS” is a common name for comedy shows, but it’s nice because she’s really my friend. I had a great show at Dynasty Typewriter with heavy hitters like Kira Soltanovich, Janelle James, Wynter Spears, Zach Galifianakis and of course- Jackie Kashian and her new Ms. Marvel jacket, of which she is very fond. Jamie Flam got a nice greenroom picture of us that I thought I’d share here, to keep.

Postscript: Jackie and Laurie talked about my set a lot on the Jackie and Laurie show afterwards, and Kashian mentioned that we butt up against many of the same topics (gender issues, feminism) but that we each have our own spin on it. Apparently, my talk about butt stuff (against) led to a lively discussion in the green room between Zach and Laurie that neither of them appreciated. SORRY ABOUT THE BUTT STUFF.

My Star Hits Interview

Posted Posted in comedy, Gothic, music
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Growing up in Texas but *with* MTV, I quickly identified myself as a New Waver and found the lifeline for all aspirational cool kids at the time, Star Hits magazine.  It was heavily influenced by its UK parent, Smash Hits, and was chock full of awesome photographs of the most important people in my life, including Duran Duran and the Cure.  They called Morrissey Mozz and Madonna Madge and they had advertisements for punk clothes and rare records and everything I dreamed of.

I always wanted to be interviewed by Star Hits, and realized that if I was going to be interviewed in that style, I would need to do it myself.  So, here it is.

I meet Virginia Jones in a coffeeshop near her Silverlake abode.  The coffeeshop also sells perfumes that are named for alternative rock hits but cost one gazillion dollars.  She is sitting on the patio, dressed head to toe in black, and drinking a Dirty Ginger, a soy milk latte with spicy ginger syrup in it.  She smiles slyly and says it’s her fourth. I greet her, take off my suit jacket, brush the shaggy blond hair out of my eyes, and set up to record our chat. She says she’s sorry but she only has half an hour before she has to go do comedy in the basement of a wine shop.

Who was your first crush?

Ohhh, this is weird but it was definitely Boy George.

Oh wow!

Yeah, I just thought he was spectacular.  I still do. When I was a twelve year old, I had a poster of Culture Club on my wall that I would kiss every night before bed.  When I took it down, George’s lips were clear with greasy little-kid Chapstick kisses.

What was the first record you ever bought?

The first single was Celebration by Kool and the Gang.  This was about ten years after it came out, but I heard it in one of my mom’s Jazzercise classes and I had to have it.

And the first LP?

Chipmunk Punk, obviously.

Obvi.

Which had no punk songs, but some new wave songs and some Billy Joel.  The weirdest inclusion was My Sharona, which was written about a 15 year old girl and has some semi-explicit reference to thighs, but the chipmunks DGAF.

What is your most treasured possession?

When I was living in Portland, I did a show on Christmas Day at the same karaoke bar where I did my first open mic.  This is probably ten years ago. It went, as I remember, horribly, but my friend Bri Pruett, who was KJing there at the time, gave me a card that permitted me to go next to sing karaoke.  That potential, the idea that I could be next, even in a bar that will one day close in a town in which I do not live, makes it one of my most prized possessions. Also, that Bri gave it to me.  I’ll never cash it in. I’m perpetually next!

Do you get presents from your fans?

Yes, isn’t it weird that people give you images of yourself?  But I have some awesome fan art, including a Barbie doll of me, an embroidery of my album cover, and a pen and ink rendition of me and my many interests. They are displayed proudly in my home. When I was in Portland, I used to be given a lot of weed, which I saved in a tin and forgot in my apartment when I moved.

How often do you wash your hair?

I like to wait at LEAST three days between washes.  If I can stretch to four, even better. My hair is long, so every time I wash it it gets tangled and dry and is basically a hot mess.  If you ever see me wearing a hat, you know it’s day four! Sorry.

If you were an animal, what would you be?  

I mean, I love the idea of a three toed sloth, but that’s not really my lifestyle.  I’m more like a squirrel, out there hustlin’, always starting projects and forgetting about them, and of course, looking adorable.

Oh, certainly.

Thank YOU.  

Ok, the last question, and this is a deep one:  Where do all the lost pens in the world go?

You know, I’m glad you asked me that, because it’s something I have thought a lot about.  The size and shape of pens mean that they take up space on the horizontal, but also they can slip through any hole or crevice, and we live on this earth full of holes, and which is always rotating, so if you think of the world as a big Pachinko game, and pens as the ball bearings, pens wind up:

(Flabbergasted) In the center of the earth?

Yes, precisely.  And that’s what magma is made of.  Melted pens. That’s what makes it so dangerous.

I effused my thanks to her as she killed her last inch of coffee and took off, yelling thanks and that she looked forward to the interview.  I had to take a second to catch my breath, and, folding up her paper coffee cup into my pocket to take with me, (don’t judge me!) went home to write.

How To Make Comedy Equal (AND BETTER AND MORE INTERESTING)

Posted Posted in comedy, feminism, women

How To Represent For Women In Comedy

(This is not an edict. This is a list of ideas that are up for consideration.)

Easy: Don’t judge friends and peers for their clothing, appearance, weight, or age. Don’t think they don’t deserve relationships, opportunities, or success because of how they look. If you hear other people criticizing your women friends for their appearance, defend them.

Harder: Don’t judge women you DISLIKE for their clothing, appearance, weight, or age. Don’t do it to strangers. Don’t do it to celebrities. If you hear other people criticizing women for their appearance, remind them that this is a tool of the patriarchy. Remember that the joke behind calling someone a Cougar or a MILF is the sheer absurdity that anyone over thirty could be sexually attractive to anyone when they’re all worn out and shit, and by extension that our looks are what we are worth.

Hardest: Don’t judge yourself for your appearance, weight, or age. Don’t think that you don’t deserve anything because of how you look. Don’t allow yourself to be treated badly. When you truly reach this level, you’ll see how we’ve all been getting less than we deserve.

Vote for Women

Easy: When you’re out at comedy shows, write down the names of women you find funny. Tell them that they are. Tell other people.

Harder: Book those women on your shows. (Still pretty easy!)

Hardest: Support shows with women, queer, trans, or other minority comics on the bill. Let the bookers know you appreciate the way they book their shows. If diverse shows put butts in seats, they will continue.

If woman-headlined shows put butts in seats, they will continue.

You don’t even need whole people at the show. Just butts.

Talk About Booking Women

Easy: When you’re booked on a comedy show and you see that you’re the only woman booked, ask the booker why. Offer to share with them your list of amazing women you’ve started writing down the names of from the last tip.

Harder: When you’re on a comedy festival with fewer than 20% women, ask why? Do they need your help promoting to women to submit next year?

Hardest: When you get booked on a TV show, and you’re on set and you see less than 20% women on the crew or staff, ask why? When you’re hired to write on a TV show and you notice you’re the only woman writer, ask why?

Don’t let men talk shit on other women. Especially if you’re new, you’ll hear men talk about women fucking their way onto shows, fucking their way into festivals. Reject this. Don’t let men tell you how other women are crazy. Don’t let them tell you that you’re the only chill one. They’re trying to pit us against each other so we continue to be divided and weak. Thanks doods!

So you can see that feminism is more than just really, really liking Beyoncé, but it’s not impossible. We can all represent for each other every day. And also Beyoncé.

My Favorite Female-Driven 80’s Movies Set in Los Angeles With Girls in the Title

Posted Posted in comedy, fashion, los angeles, women

Modern Girls

  1. With Daphne Zuniga, Virginia Madsen, Depeche Mode and Jesus and Mary Chain on the soundtrack, a great opening scene at Bullock’s on Wilshire, great shots of Melrose when it was skeevy AF, a dramatic scene at the Mulholland fountain on Riverside, a great goth bar scene, and a great role for my friend Rick Overton.

Earth Girls Are Easy

With Geena Davis and HOT JEFF GOLDBLUM HOLY SHIT, the very funny Julie Brown, ANGELYNE!, Michael Mckean, and Jesus and Mary Chain and Depeche Mode on the soundtrack. NILE ROGERS soundtrack! There’s a Dennis Quaid song on the soundtrack! Small role for Rick Overton. Deeply stupid, but not as bad as you’d think (hot Jeff Goldblum)

Valley Girls

With hot ass Nick Cage, the Plimsouls, a scene shot in what is now the Viper Room, and songs by the Sparks and Josie Cotton. A movie about punks who listen exclusively to New Wave! Sued by Frank Zappa! Two ladies who were later in Real Genius!

Comedy Through The Seasons

Posted Posted in comedy, los angeles

The Holidays

Well, it’s the holidays, and it’s a hard time of the year to do comedy. It’s the time when all the best-of and who’s-next lists come out, and you might not be on those lists. It’s also when shows go on hiatus or just die off, as the hosts say, well, don’t we have something better to do on a Tuesday? and you say, well,I went to that show ten times last year in hopes of being booked on it, and now that won’t happen. It’s also the time of year when you have to go home and justify to your parents what you’re doing in LA.

Springtime

And then it’ll be Spring, when all the festivals you sent thirty dollars to drop a note saying you didn’t qualify to fly yourself to a small city and do unpaid shows, but it’s only because they had SO many comics apply and there are SO few spots. And who decided you didn’t make the cut? A guy who lives on his friend’s couch and considers himself to be an expert in burritos. Some festivals you’ve been applying to for so long that other people have started comedy, gone to that festival, and quit comedy to become real people, and all the while you’re still sending in your thirty bucks. You realize that one festival has taken three hundred dollars from you, and you could have just flown yourself to New York to do unpaid sets. You do a show with a nice enough guy whose whole set is about how he likes smoking pot and how dating is hard, and he’s done every comedy festival you haven’t done. It’s a hard time of year to be a comic then.

Summertime

After that is Summer, when you might hit the road and do some gigs, really remind yourself what it is to do comedy for real people, not those sycophants and ass kissers back home, except for every show you get to, everyone’s at the tractor pull or the air show or they’re just wandering the streets on a clear, warm summer night, holding hands and sharing a bag of kettle corn, like regular people, instead of spending the night trapped inside a sweaty comedy club listening to some LA asshole who can’t even get into festivals. And that’s a hard time of the year to do comedy.

Fall

After that it’s Fall, when your friends who started writing for television are up for Important Awards, and they look so great in their red carpet outfits on Instagram, and the new shows start and you’re not on any of ’em, I mean sure, you take some comfort in the fact that the pilot you didn’t get cast for didn’t get picked up, but it’s time to get out to the new shows to kiss up to the new bookers, who two years ago were open mikers you wouldn’t deign to speak to but now you’re their Facebook friends, until they stop booking those shows and you quietly unfriend them. It’s a hard time of year to be comic, then.

I watched Iliza’s Special: Reposted from the Interrobang!

Posted Posted in comedy, feminism, Uncategorized

I Watched Iliza’s Special!

Virginia Jones is an intellectual, philosophical, comedian whose comedy swings from smart to absurd, and “has a lot of animals in it”. She came up in Portland where she returns to do the Bridgetown and All Jane Festivals, and as a favorite feature at Helium comedy club-with great talents like Arj Barker, Sebastian Maniscalco, and David Koechner. This year, she has also toured with great comics like Myq Kaplan and Auggie Smith. Virginia was a semi-finalist in the 2013 San Francisco comedy competition, a rare achievement for a comp that last saw a woman win in 1979. Her monthly show, Glendalia was covered in the LA weekly, and her first album, Gothic American, appeared on several best-of lists for 2016. Last week,  made headlines for her comments about women comedians- particularly women who perform at the Improv. As one such comedian, Virginia Jones responds.

I WATCHED ILIZA’S SPECIAL AND I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT I SAW

Before this week, if anyone ever asked me what I thought about a woman comic whose jokes I don’t personally care for, I would always say, she’s making her space in this business and I respect her for that. This is a hard gig. Then Iliza Schlesinger let us know in an interview for Deadline that lots of us are bad for talking about sex or sexuality, and that we should be SMART like her.

“I could walk into The Improv, close my eyes, and I can’t tell one girl’s act apart from another,” she said. “That’s not saying that 30-something white guys don’t all sound the same sometimes, but I’m banging my head against the wall because women want to be treated as equals, and we want feminism to be a thing, but it’s really difficult when every woman makes the same point about her vagina, over and over. I think I’m the only woman out there that has a joke about World War II in my set.”

Since I’m a woman comic who plays the Improv, this annoyed me.

So I did a selfless thing.

I watched Iliza’s newest special, Confirmed Kills.
I wanted to see how a truly original comedy mind works.

SPOILER ALERT-it’s not even a WWII joke, it’s about a baby boomer coming home from the war to fuck and be racist. THANKS, STEPHEN HAWKING.

Here are my notes.

1. Dog walks across stage in a long ballgown. This is the best.
2. Establish that this is Chicago.
3. There is a Party Goblin in the back of your head and it is your Id. This is a more animated rehash of Larry Miller’s Ten Stages of Drinking from the 80’s. Five-six minutes. She uses this D&D voice and then a sorority girl voice. Those are the two. There is a lot of kicking, I guess so she can fit another workout into her day.
4. Instagram joke
5. People like to talk when they’re drunk.
6. She’s the alpha in her group of friends. OBVIOUSLY.
7. Racist joke about being in Chinatown.
8. Tag from Calgon commercial from before she was born
9. Dudes need to pick girls up on time or else we’ll put on body glitter
10. Not trashy, just doing trashy things
11. One of the difficult things about being a woman is everything
12. There’s four minutes a night where a woman feels comfortable in her own skin
13. Talks about lip-liner, refers to self as a Chola
14. Joke about balls
15. Needed to find lip-liner in a big bag
16. Joke about method of finding lip-liner in bag
17. This is essentially women be shoppin’
18. Oh lord this is about the shit in the bottom of your purse
19. I think Erma Bombeck covered this in 1968
20. If you use an open tampon, you’ll die on the Oregon Trail

21. Dumps out bag on dance floor, makes Helen Keller joke
22. Door guy has to be described as good-looking because she said he’s black, so she doesn’t get in trouble with the PC police
23. Door guy leaves her alone because she’s “white girl crazy”
24. She felt vulnerable bent over on the floor in public
25. Gets an applause break by saying “nay” in fake D&D nerd voice
26. Women feel vulnerable because they are not as physically strong as men, if we were strong, we would never have waited for the right to vote, weakness is why women have to be scared of rape
27. Does an extended and very appreciated series of poses to show off her extremely toned body
28. CrossFit is a cult
29. CrossFit exercises are weird.
30. Women are strong in childbirth
31. Act out of delivery, when your child is in danger you can draw on mother’s strength
32. Second reference to single women being afraid of rape
33. That’s why sexual harassment is a big deal: you can wear whatever you want, it doesn’t give the right for someone to harass you- and it’s about the underlying notion that he could rape you if he wanted
34. Hard to be a woman: when men sexually harass you and you find them unattractive. This is a great message. If he’s hot, it’s just flirting. Super funny and brave and smart. It’s OK for men to comment on your body if they’re hot
35. Women and men shop differently
36. Does a bit mocking women who are trying to be creative or find themselves
37. Personal body goals: never thin enough, wants to look like the starved child on the Les Miz flyer, and other weird ana-positive stuff.
38. Women have to be thin to be vulnerable so men will love us
39. Strong women are told to tone it down- wear high heels so you can’t run from your attacker, smoky eyes look like you’ve been choking on a dick
40. Men aren’t allowed to be vulnerable but too bad (Agree)

41. Some women die trying to be thin
42. You have to be the thinnest in your group of friends, pose-off between women. You want to be the kind of thin where your friends are worried for you. “I wear a youth large” Makes a weird joke about R. Crumb comics but thinner, has never seen a woman in an R. Crumb comic
43. It’s only the last 40 years that women of color have made it OK to have an adult body
44. It’s OK to bully and fat shame white women on Facebook (?) Is it?
45. WASP jokes
46. Black women have good self esteem (three women in the audience of a thousand respond)
47. She said “a black”, OK.
48. Iliza’s “Lean In” moment: you have to take respect, not wait for it
49. Iliza shares that whatever your body is like is OK, while she has spent the whole set demonstrating that it’s not, over and fucking over again. But be proud of your body! Even if it’s not as good as hers!
50. Commanding respect through the way that you speak
51. It’s not OK to talk about sex or sexual stuff and it’s not where your power comes from. If we talk about sex, it lets people know it’s OK to sexualize us (see 34)
52. Mermaid shaming
53. Fourth rape joke at 42 minutes in
54. Fifth rape joke and a joke about how the Japanese would eat mermaids
55. Little mermaid was a liar and a hoarder
56. Five minutes talking about how mermaids would have dreadlocks
57. More mermaid shaming #nomermaids
58. Mermaid anal prostitution
59. Jesus Christ, are we still talking about mermaids? This has been ten minutes
60. WW2 joke: what made America great was military men returning home and growing up, making families, not trying to find themselves

61. Pandering pro military statement gets lots of applause
62. Back to talking about white grandparents, baby boomers, rock and roll, Millennials showed up and invented Instagram
63. People are mean to women when they like themselves on Instagram, only fat girls can be on Instagram
64. Talks about how dumb her ex-boyfriend was
65. Men can date dumber and women can’t. Men will date a Popsicle stick in a wig
66. Makes fun of ugly girlfriend who rescues animals and has a great personality
67. “You want to be a feminist, but we have to get attention”
68. I’ve dated ugly guys who were funny and smart. YOU’RE A HERO ILIZA!
69. Women are chastised for talking a lot, this comes from caveman hunter and gatherer times and sharing of information
70. She will be a feminist and clarify: it means you want to be treated fairly and a lot of women don’t like to say that they’re feminists because it’s not attractive
71. Portrait of an unattractive woman feminist
72. Wage gap: gotta close it-but let’s start with porn, where a woman kicks in a door and demands oral sex. Sure
73. (She says that’s so gross, OMG that’s awful, that’s so off brand)
74. Have you ever been having sex with your boyfriend and gotten excited because it’s almost done and you can go to the farmer’s market?
75. Don’t talk to your boyfriend after sex
76. Goblin impression callback
77. What women think about during sex (lavender, food, your mom)
78. If you’re not happy, don’t stay in a relationship out of fear of being alone
79. We like to label single women negatively and we have to be kinder to women
80. #fuckbitchesgetmoney (I don’t know what this means)
81. Women spend so much time hating themselves and trying to meet someone and men can relax because they don’t have eggs
82. Shark Tank: I want a live episode of Shark Tank. (Giant act out closer)

OK, all in all- I respect her ability to churn twenty minutes of animated stand up out of a premise I have used as a tag.

She refers to herself as a feminist many times while mocking unattractive women, fat women, and letting women know it’s not OK to be sexual. (She keeps saying this word, feminism. I don’t think it means what she thinks it means.)

However, in this special, it’s true that she only mentions a vagina a couple of times.

If Jame Gumb Had A Personal Assistant

Posted Posted in artsy fartsy, comedy, gay, Gothic

buffalo-bill

MONDAY: It picks up the silk kimonos from the cleaners.  It checks the ticket very, verrry  carefully before it gets back into its Geo Metro, to avoid bringing home the wrong kimonos.  We do not want to punish It like last time.   It’s harder on Us than on It.

TUESDAY: It sorts tax receipts.  It puts mileage receipts in the blue envelope, it puts business purchases in the pink envelope, and it puts tattoo-and-piercing related expenses in a manila envelope.  IT DOES NOT SPEND ALL DAY FUCKING AROUND ON FACEBOOK!  Nobody cares what It ate for lunch, except that the food makes It look and smell disgusting.

WEDNESDAY:  It brings a fruit plate for Jenny’s baby shower.  It chooses a fruit plate with a lot of strawberry and pineapple and not as much melon or kiwi.

THURSDAY:  We apologize for saying that it smells disgusting.  It sometimes does not smell very bad.  We still need It to dust the house, and also to collect all loose teeth into a Mason jar.

FRIDAY: It gets paaaaid.  Yayyyy.  It can buy all the tacky blue mascara and Lee Press-on Nails it wants.  It cashes Its check right away, so that it does not appear outstanding on our bank balance.  It is on call all weekend, so It does not turn Its phone off!  Its phone is never off!