I have a friend whose mom once said, "You should get a blog, and then you could get a book deal!"
Shit My Dad Says kind of ruined it, from when you could get a deal off Twitter. There's always more to the story than that.
How do you approach writing your jokes?
I would just go to places where there was no consequence, or the audiences didn't pay a lot of money to get in, I wasn't making money on the shows, little theaters or comedy shows around LA. I'll just write a line and then I'll go onstage and improvise from there. I'll say way too much, and of the things that got a laugh, I'll remember and write it down. Then I start from there, I'll say those things and those things only. I edit backwards.
What was your writing process for Perfect Couples like?
The process is not my process, but the process of how a TV show works. They're all kind of the same. You have the people that created it saying, "We've got 13 episodes here, and this is what we want to happen over the arc of the episodes," and you just take each episode one by one. It's a lot of sitting around in a room going, "What if this happens? What if that happens?" Once an entire episode is solidified, someone goes off and writes that episode, and then you revisit it and punch it up, which means going through and making the jokes funnier, adding more jokes. It's a lot like being at a 10-hour dinner party. It's very intense.
What is the role of appearance in comedy?
I have all different types of appearances, and I can't really tell you that I've felt like I've been funnier when I've dressed down or dressed up. I think appearance does sort of solidify your hook and who you are. If you're someone who's like, "I'm a comic-book nerd and I'm kind of weird," you better look that way or else it's kind of complicated to understand who you really are. I find people who dress down a little more effective than people who dress up. I like to dress up a little bit, just because I think it looks lame if you're my age and wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and I also don't feel like I have to look like a dude to be funny. I do wish I had more of a consistent thing though. It's always easier when you can brand yourself a certain way.
At what point would you advise someone to quit their day job and pursue comedy full time?
I don't think I would ever say that, because I don't know how you could make a living. I've been doing comedy — it'll be 14 years this July — and up until I got the job at Chelsea Lately, I had a day job. I literally don't know how anyone would pay their rent, because you don't get paid to do comedy. Anytime I do a show at Largo or Upright (Citizens Brigade), they throw you a couple bucks from the door, but you can't live on that. And you don't get paid at Upright. Most places I perform, the money goes right back into keeping the place open. Since comedy is something you do at night, unless your day job is something you do at night, you should keep your day job, always, until you get, like I did, an actual writing job. And even then, because it wasn't my show, I still think of it as a day job. Unless it's The Jen Kirkman Show, I think any job is a day job.