Good morning! I took a bit of a sabbatical for personal reasons, but I’m back and writing and maybe I’ll even share some of that at some point. So, I guess, here’s the past month of things!
I am a Succession stan, so Cousin Greg’s new video is the only thing I have the capacity to care about right now. Congrats to Nicholas Braun on his Emmy nomination!
I started Bunheads, finally. There’s really no excuse for the fact that I hadn’t seen it, Amy Sherman-Palladino being my problematic fave and all. It’s basically like, “What if Stars Hollow but…California? And dancing!” but it’s enjoyable as everything else she puts out. I’m clocking the recycled references. And Sutton Foster holds it down as our Lorelai proxy—not an easy feat!
So…did you know that they have original press photos from movies and TV shows on eBay? I may or may not be lurking on every single one feat. Niles Crane.
I’m watching every version of A Star Is Born in chronological order right now and it is an absolute journey. They’re all available on HBO Max.
John Legend’s WTF is a must-listen podcast episode. I can’t wait to check out his new album, Bigger Love, which has been out for a while, but since I listen to nothing but podcasts, I’m usually a few weeks behind the curve.
On that note, Jim Carrey was recently on WTF as well. He’s a modern sage and humanity doesn’t deserve him. I’m looking forward to reading his book, Memoirs and Misinformation.
As someone who has been on quite the quarantine drinking roller coaster, I’m interested in finding alternate ways to treat myself that still feel decadent. I’ve heard really good things about Seedlip, a brand of non-alcoholic distilled spirits. It’s a UK company, but apparently tons of bars in NYC stock it. I may or may not have bought the bundle…will report back.
This might sound insane, but I’ve recently rediscovered my deep and abiding love for Taco Bell. As someone with Food Issues™️, I haven’t really eaten fast food in about a decade, but I have opened my heart back up to my childhood fave. If you know what to order, it can actually be one of the healthiest fast-food chains, and it’s definitely got the best and most varied vegetarian options. The best part? You could pay for a full meal with the loose change you find in your couch. Get thee a bean burrito and a spicy potato taco.
We lost a real one last month. Rest in Power, Rep. John Lewis. This man devoted his life to service and the Civil Rights Movement, and I’m humbled to have shared the planet with him for 28 years. I do worry that including this news item in this sort of post is inappropriate, but it truly is something that has affected me recently, and I want to leave the tributes to those more eloquent and informed than I am.
I’ve made no secret of my obsession with stand-up comedy. Both of my favorite stand-up podcasts have ended their runs (Put Your Hands Together and 2 Dope Queens), so I’ve been bingeing specials just to feel whole again. And what better time to immerse yourself than during a quarantine? I live in a state that is sort of opening up, and has a decent-ish handle on COVID, but I’m not taking any chances. Imagine if I died to go out to, like, Bertucci’s. Or worse, imagine if I went out, got asymptomic COVID, and infected someone else! The level of selfishness of my fellow man never ceases to amaze. All of which is to say, wear a fucking mask, take what precautions you can, and find things to do at home. Might I suggest…watching these? For your pleasure, a list of the specials I’ve watched since stay-at-home orders went into effect. There will be more.
*these are all on Netflix unless otherwise listed
Taylor Tomlinson, Quarter Life Crisis
Fortune Feimster, Sweet & Salty
Pete Davidson, Alive From New York
Alice Wetterlund, My Mama is a Human and So Am I (Amazon)
Michelle Wolf, Joke Show
Gary Gulman, The Great Depresh [x2] (HBO)
Hannah Gadsby, Douglas
Seth Meyers, Lobby Baby
Marc Maron, End Times Fun [x2]
Joe Mande, Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Show
Jenny Slate, Stage Fright
Trevor Noah, Son of Patricia
Patton Oswalt, I Love Everything
W. Kamau Bell, Private School Negro
Eric Andre, Legalize Everything
Whitmer Thomas, The Golden One (HBO)
Ronny Chieng, Asian Comedy Destroys America!
Simon Amstell, Set Free
Donald Glover, Weirdo
Judah Friedlander, America is the Greatest Country in the United States
RIP to the campaign of the greatest of all time. Bernie has shown up for this country time and time again, and I know he’ll keep showing up for its ungrateful ass until he draws his last breath. I’m so proud I got to vote for this man—so many people were denied that opportunity by our truly psychotic and unjust “democratic” primary system.
On a less soul-crushingly depressing note, chag Pesach sameach to all those who are observing! It’s so tough being isolated during a holiday season (although I only begrudgingly celebrate Easter because my mother-in-law is a great cook and she pops off for the holidays). And before you yell at me, we have a very small circle (just me, my husband, and his parents) that still sees each other. We are taking precautions to keep each other safe. I’m literally cut off from my entire family and all my friends so do not come for me.
That got kind of serious but, I think it’s just a sign of the times. As Bowen Yang eloquently put it on Las Culturistas, we’re living in a coronavirus monoculture. Everything we do and say is affected by its presence, even this frivolous weekly round-up post.
Where are we getting our grocery deliveries from? I’ve actually still been going to the store, as infrequently as possible, but it seems prudent to take more precaution. I know Instacart was striking, so I don’t want to be a scab, but also my grocery store is partnered with Instacart specifically. Unfortunately, I live *just* far enough away from Boston (literally 23 miles from Fenway Park), so Imperfect Foods doesn’t deliver to my zip, and other options are pretty limited.
I’m pretty decent at doing at-home nails, but since we may never be able to get manicures again, should I get this? I’m very intrigued…
I cannot stress enough how much you need to be playing the Spelling Bee game. It is my lodestar in these dark times. A true pleasure! Do I only play educational/education-adjacent games? Yes! Should you pity my future children? Definitely!
Amazon Classics (if you’re a piece-of-shit, neolib, corporate shill like me who still uses Amazon) has a bunch of Kindle books for free right now. All of the classics! 1984, Jane Eyre, Little Women, you name it! Some of them are available just to borrow, but some can be purchased for $0.00, so they’re all yours! I went nuts…I guess this means I have to buck up and start reading proper literature instead of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks.
This tweet is very specific to my interests, but it filled me with joy in a pandemic, so I had to share it.
May Designs is making the cutest face masks! I’m so glad to see so many companies stepping up and using their resources to encourage people to wear masks. Masks protect other people from you!
John Prine passed away this week from COVID. I wasn’t personally very familiar with his oeuvre, but he inspired so many of the artists I love. His impact was immeasurable and he will be missed. Marc Maron reposted his 2016 interview, if you, like me, want to get to know him better. I asked my husband to recommend a John Prine song I’d like…I had no idea he wrote this. It’s a perfect song.
Well, the entire world is on fire, and not for the usual reasons. Things are hideously bleak at present and, apart from sewing some masks and making some donations, there’s literally nothing we can do about it except stay at home and not touch our faces. We’re kind of living in Station Eleven, and yes, that is the justification I will eventually use for performing Shakespearean monologues on Instagram stories.
My family and I are doing really well, and as yet, no one we know has been affected by COVID-19. I’m so fortunate to still be able to work remotely (I love my job and wish I could gush about it but I would like to keep it private so that I can, y’know, keep it). My husband is also able to work from home, which we didn’t initially know would be an option, so we’re really thankful.
I’ve been making an effort to shower and get dressed every day, to preserve a sense of normalcy, even if the shower doesn’t come until 3pm. Everyone keeps posting about snacking all day long, but I’ve actually been having the opposite problem: I keep completely forgetting food exists. We’re not panic-buyers, but our fridge and freezer are STOCKED with healthy stuff (we also have an adequate amount of toilet paper—Trader Joe’s has it!) I’m hoping that my reduced calorie intake counteracts my absolute lack of any physical activity whatsoever. I actually danced last night for over an hour (if you’re a millennial, I highly recommend throwing this song on and going absolutely buckwild). I’m trying to use this time to improve my home (I ROYGBIV’d my bookcase) and myself (I’m crushing DuoLingo French checkpoints like a frat boy crushes p—I’m sorry, this is a family blog). As of yet, I have not done anything fucked up to my hair, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
Before I get into my usual frivolity, I just want to say that, if you’re like me and you’re still earning an income, do whatever you can to support your community. I made a donation to my local food bank, and I’m looking for other ways to lend a hand during this crisis. One positive outcome of this might be the increasing radicalization of society, proof that nothing ethical can exist under capitalism. Comrades Fran & Britney certainly seem to agree! But in the meantime, schedule Zoom happy hours, get into that book you’ve been meaning to read, organize your bathroom cabinets, take your meds, and remember to eat your fruits and veggies. I think we’re going to be in here for a long, long time.
I love and miss you all. If the worst happens, please play this at my funeral, and make sure David Hyde Pierce is on the keys.
Of Montreal, Tame Impala, Best Coast, Mandy Moore, Justin Bieber and probably lots of other people have just put out albums so go listen to them!
I made an Apple Music playlist of the trashiest pop from when I was a kid (late ’90s/early ’00s) and it is giving me life.
This is my most-listened song of quarantine. I guess you could call it optimism. We do not deserve Ariana Grande.
Can’t wait to go absolutely HYPEBEAST for Self Made, starring ACADEMY AWARD WINNER OCTAVIA SPENCER.
I read the book years ago, but I finally watched Room and oh my GOD. Brie Larson WERKED for that Oscar, honey. Also, Jacob Tremblay is a star the likes of which this world rarely sees and I simply have to stan.
I bought the audiobook of Cameron Esposito’s Save Yourself. Cameron is one of my favorite comedians and I daily mourn the loss of Put Your Hands Together.
I’m trying to read Silas Marner along with my tutoring student and wow, only 18 months out from earning a literal Master’s degree in Literature and my brain has atrophied to Jello. I’m going to try to make a concerted effort to get through some classics in quarantine. I’m thinking Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, and Brideshead Revisited, since I already own them.
So, Everlane is canceled. They vindictively laid off their newly-formed union of remote workers and uh, wow, fuck you, guys.
If I find out this company SUCKS too, I’ll return them, but I am trying out these pants because it appears that no company (including Everlane) makes dress-pants for what I’m generously calling my hourglass shape. Also, of course they went on sale after I bought them. Will report back on fit for my thicc chicks ❤
Also, I have bought myself another handbag, and I need to stop, but just so you know, I keep them forever and display them when not in use because they are my precious babies. Also, handbags have way better resale value than most stuff online, just sayin’. Here’s another recent purchase that’s a particular fave, and the best computer bag ever.
I found an Etsy shop I love! I got these belly rings (1, 2) and these conch studs (1, 2). Unfortunately, I’m an idiot and forgot that my belly piercing is 14g, so I might try to exchange but these things are seriously gorgeous.
I’m reorganizing my house, call it early Spring Cleaning, and this shelf is going above my kitchen counter. It’s so cute and perfect for me that I can’t believe I didn’t personally design it.
I’m a huge, huge fan of Method‘s cleaning products, but their Heavy Duty Degreaser is an absolute lifesaver. I am not about to use conventional cleaning chemicals on my stovetop, a surface that a. is exposed to fire and b. is where I prepare our food, so finding this more natural alternative that really works was a gamechanger. I buy mine at Target or Grove.
Chelseas can have a little home improvement, as a treat. Since Governor Baker basically shut down Massachusetts (I’m not complaining!) I have purchased this chair and this rug. Soon my entire house will be monochrome pink and I’m not mad about it.
If you’re not following nostro re, persona di colore dell’esperienza italiana, Giabuchi, you are not truly living in these times. Considering what’s going on with coronavirus worldwide, especially in Italy right now, Jaboukie’s mild Italian shitposting is tremendously healing. Catch him before he gets suspended again for heroism.
I loved this post about creating a reusable on-the-go car kit. When we’re finally out of quarantine, I really want to make a more concerted effort to be no-waste. Not being able to use reusable bags at the grocery store right now is killing me. P.S. The cutlery set Laura mentions? It comes in pink.
Discovered this shop last night and I’m intrigued to say the least.
**This is last week’s post that I managed to never publish. Travel back in time to November 10th as you read this.**
Hello, hello (hola!) I’m pretty sure I just outed myself as extremely old by making a 15-year-old U2 reference, but there’s no shame in my Dad-joke game. We’ll get right to it this week, then!
I recently started a tutoring job at a local community college and I just have to say how inspired and hopeful it makes me about the future. I went to a predominantly white university in suburban Massachusetts, so my college experience was wildly different than the population I’m working with. The students who come to the tutoring center are so kind and motivated to succeed—getting to know them and be a tiny part of their stories makes me better and is the highlight of my week.
Elizabeth Warren released a Medicare for All plan and we simply must stan. Without getting too personal, I recently had a huge bomb dropped on me re: my employer-provided health insurance, so this issue both ideologically and personally affects me. The healthcare system in this country is so broken (my therapist certainly agrees!), so two of the Democratic frontrunners running on unequivocal M4A platforms is hugely important.
On that note, I can’t stop laughing at this tweet.
I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but I’ve been revisiting a ton of ’90s alternative rock, and I will absolutely give myself vocal nodes singing along to Celebrity Skin. Truly one of the best and most iconic albums of all time. I stan the legend Courtney Love!
I got the new iPhone in the mint-green color and honestly, it’s ruining my life. I was so suspicious of FaceID but I have to admit…it’s really convenient?? Also, the screen is bigger than on my last phone, so it makes doing the NYTimes Crossword easier and that is truly my only priority in life.
I’m going to New Orleans next month! I’ve been once, in 2016 right after my wedding, but this time I want to do it right! What should I do while I’m there?
*very local reference* The Red Lentil in Watertown is incredible. Bostonians, flock!
And most importantly, tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and while I am personally vehemently anti-war and military spending, one thing we absolutely should and must spend government money on is taking care of veterans and their families. And, tbh, all vulnerable populations. Not doing so is, frankly, un-American!
Last week was rushed and short so this will be a mega-post! Or should I say a “Mega Thee Stallion” post? A lot of cool shit is going on this week, or in some cases, has been going on for ages and my dumb ass is just discovering it! Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Also, Brittany Freaking Howard put out a solo album!
I’m going to a quinceañera today and I’m wearing this dress.
100% making this bag. I already have the supplies in my Amazon cart.
I started listening to the Reply Guys podcast and Julia & Kate are a joy! Everyone needs more feminist, leftist talk in their lives. I also finally started listening to Las Culturistas (I run a Bowen Yang Stan Household) and it has quickly become my favorite podcast. Also, CONGRATS to Bowen on joining the cast of SNL!
It’s Bi Visibility Day/Week/Month (depending on your source) and it’s really, really important. Here’s some reading material to get you prepped! (Also, I’ve been wearing this necklace a little bit extra lately…)
These are a list of books I have every intention of reading in 2019. I’m only including books that I already own, since I’m not allowed to buy media this year (that’s why libraries exist, y’all). Here’s what on the docket!
Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’m listening to this one, because I want Michelle’s amazing voice to soothe all of my ills.
My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper. I’m listening to this on Audible right now and loving it. Ellie is so sweet and super funny.
All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. I started this about a month ago but had to put it off until school was over so I could truly enjoy it.
Not That Bad: Dispatches from RapeCulture, edited by Roxane Gay. I read most of this book in the spring but never got around to finishing it. Some of the essays can be extremely challenging to get through. The writers bare their souls.
Shrill by Lindy West. Discovered Lindy way late, on Dear Prudence, and have been obsessed with her ever since.
WonderfulTonight by Pattie Boyd. Pattie has the up-close-and-personal deets about Harrison and Clapton
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Been meaning to read this one for ages.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I started this earlier this year but it got sacrificed to the grad school gods. As soon as I’m finished I’m watching the film.
Live from New York.The SNL book! Been dying to read this ever since it came out.
Waiting for the Punch by Marc Maron. This is a collection of all the wisdom he gained doing his interview podcast WTF with Marc Maron. He basically invented podcasts, and he’s had some of the most incredible guests—Barack Obama say whaaaat?
Bitch Doctrine by Laurie Penny. I discovered Laurie on Dear Prudence and immediately started following her on Twitter. She’s a savage, and I love her.
Unladylike by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin. The former ladies of Stuff Mom Never Told You wrote a book!
Hard Choices and What Happened by Hillary Clinton. Because of course I am.
In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington. Remember the thin privilege Twitter thread this summer? That was by Cora, who is a lingerie writer at The Lingerie Addict. I know literally nothing about lingerie, but I’m a grown-ass woman and it’s about time I did.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Started this one years ago and never finished. I am such a distracted reader!
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. I am a Handmaid’s Tale stan (both the book and the show), so I can’t wait to read more Atwood!
Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes. JB is one of my favorite short story writers, so I’m pumped to read his novel.
How to Rent a Negro by Damali Ayo. This was on the syllabus for my American Racial Satire class, but I fell behind and never got a chance to read it.
Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I KNOW. It’s insane I haven’t read this already. Don’t come for me. Not every avid reader can read every damn classic.
Erasure by Percival Everett.I Am Not Sidney Poitier is one of my favorite books of all time and apparently this one is even wilder.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Another classic I should have already read.
Every Day by David Levithan, because who doesn’t need a YA break every once in a while?
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. For obvious reasons.
The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg. For obvious reasons.
The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier. Love a good biography, and I find SP so inspiring.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I’ve read at least 60% of this book like three times, but always end up not finishing it for some reason! Here’s to a better 2019.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Same as Housekeeping.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith. Bought this while I was in England. Zadie is bae.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Heard such good things about this one!
All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey. To be fair, I’m a good chunk of the way through this one on Audible, but I do plan to finish it soon.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This is another one I read most of in high school, but I bought it on Audible narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal, so I plan to listen to it on my work commute.
Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman. I am obsessed with Jaya, and who doesn’t want to read a book about summoning success, banishing drama, and raising hell?
MAUS I & II by Art Spiegelman. Because I was supposed to read them for class (oops!), and because I want to challenge myself to actually read a graphic novel.
So Close to Being the Shit, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta. Audible, and Retta is my favorite.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Audible. When Michelle McNamara died, Julie Klausner re-aired an interview with her and she was such a brilliant mind.
This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps. Audible. Busy is the best, from Kim Kelly to Busy Tonight.
Always Look on the Bright Side of Lifeby Eric Idle. Monty Python is my favorite ever.
I hope to read more than this in 2019, but clearly, I have a great year of reading ahead of me!
I started this post months ago. I’m not 100% sure what my overall argument is, just that I’m a mad, mad girl. In the time elapsed, the incomparable Take My Wife has been released on iTunes and via Starz. Busy Phillips got a late-night talk show. Things are happening. But we’re still stuck. Perhaps one day I’ll finish this piece. But until then, enjoy some wine-fueled ramblings from last winter.
I want to preface this by saying RIP to The Mighty Quinn, the show that Jen Kirkman sold to ABC that unfortunately didn’t go to pilot. Also, RIP to NBC’s Whitney, which lasted 2 great seasons, Comedy Central’s Sarah Silverman Program, which lasted a mere 32 episodes, Hulu’s Difficult People, which was cancelled after 3 seasons despite being one of the most well-written shows of its era, and potentially, NBC’s Great News. If you’re a comedy neophyte, you may not know what these series have in common. Thematically? Nothing. Because “woman” isn’t a genre.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past 50 years, you know that women have been changing the comedy game since the day they were first allowed on stage. From Moms Mabley, to Phyllis Diller, to Joan Rivers, to Carol Burnett to contemporary performers like Silverman, Kirkman, Alice Wetterlund, Phoebe Robinson, Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher, Naomi Ekperigin, Sam Jay (Chelsea, stop listing people you’re obsessed with, it’s thirsty af), women are and have always been a vital part of the standup scene. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel isn’t falling on deaf ears. (P.S. Bravo to Brosnahan for such incredible delivery.)
Male-led shows about comedy (I’m dying up here notwithstanding since I haven’t seen it) tend to be funny by virtue of the fact that they star male comedians. Watch an episode of Louie (in secret, lest anyone find out you’re supporting the Infamous Masturbator), and note the jokes. Outside of the scenes where Louis is performing standup, are there any? C.K.’s series makes a concerted effort to be #deep regarding body image and race, but it’s not funny, per se. Maron‘s final season is fucking depressing—he goes to rehab, fathers a child with whom he’s not allowed a relationship, and absconds to rural California in ruin. Crashing starts with a man-child cuckold without the slightest ability to care for himself. Women-led comedy series, however, don’t have the luxury of leaning on the fame (or notoriety) of their stars. They just have to be fucking funny. So funny, in fact, that they’re often too funny for a general audience used to pratfalls and “Bazinga!”s.
Say what you will about Fey & Carlock’s 30 Rock [insert objection to Alec Baldwin’s existence], it is one of the best pieces of television in the medium’s history. It is expertly written, by a fairly diverse staff of writers (Tracey Wigfield and Donald Glover are notable alums). The main plot of 30 Rock, at least at its inception: Liz Lemon and Jenna Maroney spearhead The Girlie Show, a women-led comedy sketch series, at NBC. Due to low ratings, a GE executive (at the time, GE owned NBC—now Comcast does) Jack Donaghy decides to add Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) to the cast, due to his popularity with the 18-24 year old male demographic. Hilarity ensues.
30 Rock, despite consistently low ratings, survived seven seasons, a milestone that many woman-run series never achieve (holla @ Gilmore Girls). 30 Rock, for a long time, filled an essential gap at the time—it portrayed a flawed woman in all of her glory, a flawed woman whom the audience is supposed to root for. It’s not perfect (Twitter hates Tina Fey because she made a couple of shitty off-hand comments about stripping over the years), but it’s of its time and essential to a contemporary audience attempting to understand the history of women in television. Bush was still President when this show was airing! God, remember him? We hated him so much, the war criminal, but we had no clue how bad it could get. Bring back Bush/Cheney if it means North Korea won’t take out my California family.
Digression aside, apart from Queen Regent Shonda Rimes, there truly are not that many female showrunners (or for that fucking matter, trans or gender-fluid TV showrunners) in the biz at the present moment, so we millennials have to give respect where it’s due.
There is plenty of good stuff about Louie, Maron, and Crashing. I don’t mean to pick on them, but two of them are goddamn named after their respective creators. Louie is one of the few shows I’ve ever seen to employ obvious race-blind casting. Maron does a good job of painting its central character as the unsympathetic “problem,” and Crashing portrays Pete’s cheating wife with a touching level of sympathy. But each of these show is bolstered by its women, who are subsequently given no recognition for their roles In Crashing, specifically, Jamie Lee has revitalized Crashing in a way I didn’t think possible. Lauren Lapkus was the undeniable highlight of season one, and Jamie Lee is stealing the show in the sophomore season. I love Pete Holmes, so I hesitate to criticize him, but his story as a layabout man-child aspiring comic is far less compelling than the journey of his woman costars.
If we’re going to see gender parity and inclusivity in comedy, we’ve got to give woman-led series a chance to breathe. A chance to grow. It’s time.