This is a “comedic essay” that I just wrote. Enjoy.
When I was a child I loved reading. I seriously loved reading. If books were food, I would’ve been obese. I’m not saying that I wasn’t obese, I definitely weighed more than I should have. I just loved reading more than anything. I didn’t need a human best friend because my best friend was Harry Potter. He was always there, on every page…and all over my walls (I was a little obsessed with Harry, or Daniel Radcliffe. That guy could really light a fire under my cauldron, if you know what I mean). Reading was the greatest thing in the world to me, because it took me everywhere I wanted to go. Growing up I lived in a city in NJ that wasn’t…what’s the word…oh yeah; safe. My parents preferred that I stayed inside instead of going out and playing games or jumping rope (which I LOVED doing and still love doing). So books were always a gateway to the outside world, or the wizardry world. Reading and I don’t have a very good relationship anymore.
I still enjoy reading, but not as much. No where near as much as I used to. I prefer writing now, and I’m not very good at that so bear with me. I love owning books. When a comedian or comedy writer that I love comes out with a book, I pre-order it and await it’s arrival for months. When I finally get it, I usually just read a few chapters, laugh a ton, put it down, and never touch it again. I have only finished one book that a comedy writer wrote, and it was Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I finished it the same day I got it in the mail. I own a lot of other books by comedians and comedy writers that I haven’t finished or actually started. They are books that I would absolutely love to read, I just haven’t ever read them. It took me entirely too long to finish the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and that’s only because I was too lazy to pick up the books and read them. When I finally finished them I was proud of myself. They were excellent and I was happy that I knew how they actually ended (WAY different than the movie, but check that shit out because it is awesome. Edgar Wright did a fantastic job).
In high school, I realized that reading and I were on the rocks.My senior year of high school I took AP English Literature. I regret it to this day, even though I loved that class. There was so much reading involved, and that’s when I realized I didn’t like reading that much anymore. I had to read books like Great Expectations, Catcher In The Rye, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Invisible Man, and I didn’t read any of them. I mean, I read a couple of chapters from Great Expectations and Invisible Man while in class, but I never finished them. Catcher In The Rye and A Streetcar Named Desire were summer reading that we were supposed to know before class. I didn’t even touch them, and to this day, I still haven’t. I used Sparknotes for most of the books, and that worked for the most part. Since it was my first year taking any kind of honors English class, I got away with not reading because my teacher thought I didn’t understand themes and stuff like that, which I didn’t. I didn’t understand poetry either. I like poetry, and I enjoy writing it, but I can never rhyme it. Half of the time I can’t even spell rhyme right (hopefully I didn’t fuck up here). Sometimes in class we would have poetry days and get new poems and have to read them out loud, one line after the other in order of where we sat. I never wanted to read out loud for two reasons; 1. I couldn’t pronounce some of the old words in the poems/didn’t know what they were and 2. I didn’t know how to read the poems the way they were written. Almost everyone in the class had experience with poems and knew how they were supposed to sound from the way that they were written, and I didn’t. When we went in order from seats I always counted how many people had to read before me, find my line, and read it over and over again in my head trying to make sure I knew how it went and how to pronounce the words. I was so scared because I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of all of the smart kids in class. Some of them were my friends, my really good friends that wouldn’t make fun of me or think badly of me, but others weren’t. Others hardly knew me and they would only know me by the way I pronounced things.
One of our projects in AP English was to find a poet, research him/her, and teach the class about them by reading their poems and giving the students a test about the poets writing style/the meanings behind some of the things in their poems. My friends and I were in a group together and we picked the poet William Carlos Williams, because when we saw They Might Be Giants together for the first time they poked fun at him and one of his poems, which we chose to read. My friend Anna had a book of poems at her house and one of them was written by someone poking fun at Williams’ writing style. He wrote a poem based on Williams’ poem “This Is Just To Say”. I don’t remember who this poet was or exactly how the poem he wrote went, but I do remember that I wanted to read it out loud to the class. It was insanely funny and I wanted the class to know that I was funny and not stupid, like they had previously thought. I practiced the poem with my group and even found a copy online and studied it at home. I read it several times a day every day, just so I wouldn’t fuck up in front of everyone. When it came time to read it out loud I got up in front of everyone, opened the book to the page with the poem, looked down for a second, looked up again and just started reading with so much conviction. Every word that was coming out of my mouth was funny and everyone in the class, even the teacher, was laughing, but I was keeping a straight face while reading this poem so enthusiastically. My group was laughing behind me as I read this poem and when I finished I felt so much better about doing it. It was so hard to go up there and read this, but I really wanted to entertain everyone, and I did. After we passed out our test my teacher said to me “Marlee, that was great! Why don’t you ever volunteer to read out loud?” I can’t remember if I had told her this out loud or if it was just in my head, but my answer was and still is “Because I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Sorry that this got sappy. There are just so many talented and cool people out there that don’t do what they love and they should. I honestly feel like this world needs more creative people. I mean, I want to be a comedian and I try super hard to be super funny and usually do a shit job at it, but I still do it. I always try to be as funny as possible because I love it. I know a lot of people that feel the same way and want to do comedy as well, and I encourage it. I mean, it’ll be super hard for me to get anywhere in comedy with all of the amazing people already in it/the amazing people that want to be in it, but let’s face it, comedy is the fucking best. Don’t you just love laughing, and laughing so hard that you cry and then your face hurts from all of the smiling and you get hiccups? I love that. I want to make someone feel that way. If you love art you should be an artist, even if you are’t the best. Who knows? Someday in a school far into the future they could be reviewing your painting in a class and discussing it and saying how great it is. And if you love movies, make a fucking movie. I took two classes in high school all about studying movies and making movies. Someday your film could be studied and admired and loved by millions of people. Writers put themselves out there every day. Once their book is published, it’s out there. That’s why they wrote it. I don’t read every book that comes out, or any books for that matter, but I appreciate the people that put themselves out there, because they’re doing what they love. I think you get the gist of it. Do whatever it is that you love and that makes you happy, because chances are it’s gonna be fun and wonderful and awesome. And if what you want to do is write sappy Hallmark cards or children’s books, call me because as you can see, I’m the king of sappy shit. So yeah, read.
So I have decided that I am going to start posting my “comedic” essays online and I’m going to be tagging them all as “TITAITS” which looks funny but it stands for “Things I Think About In The Shower”, because eventually all of these will go together and possibly turn into a well written book instead of how I originally typed them. So this is the first one:
The Day That I Met My Hero
I have three heroes in this world: actor Ed Helms, actor/comedy writer Mindy Kaling, and actor/comedy writer/comedian Will Forte. I love and look up to these three different people for different reasons (see below):
- I listen to the Nerdist podcast quite frequently, hosted by genius and fellow nerd Chris Hardwick. One day I listened to an episode of this podcast featuring Ed Helms. I already enjoyed his work on The Office and loved the episode that he hosted of Saturday Night Live and decided that I’d listen to Chris interview him. Listening to him talk about how he got started in comedy and the things he’s always loved about comedy made me think of myself. Everything I had ever wanted to do, he did. I wanted to be just like him.
- All I really knew about Mindy Kaling was that she was on The Office. I knew that I enjoyed her character but I didn’t know anything about her. I started reading her blog “Things I Bought That I Love” and her newer blog “Concerns of Mindy Kaling” and she seemed to be perfect in every way. She was funny and she had great taste and I could just sit and read her blog for hours (which I did frequently). When her book Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? (And Other Concerns) came out,I had already pre-ordered it and was awaiting it’s arrival. I read it in a few hours and loved everything about it. I loved everything she did to get to where she is now and I wanted to be just like her.
- I always joke around with my friends and tell them that Will Forte is the love of my life and that one day we’ll get married and live a fun and comedic life together. This is pretty much all bullshit. A star cannot go out with a super fan. It’s a bit weird and creepy. If I were married to Will, I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly. Will’s work on Saturday Night Live playing sex offenders, that one creepy blonde guy who seemed to bag every hot female celebrity in Hollywood only to lose them and win them back with a really weird song, and Darryl Hall of Hall and Oates only made my love for him stronger. What sealed the deal was his movie The Brothers Solomon. He wrote it and starred in it with Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, and several other hilarious people. I’m not going to tell you what it’s about because then you wouldn’t watch it, but it’s my all time favorite movie. My mom saw it and told me I should watch it so I did and by the end of the movie I was in love with it. I also love Will’s work on several animated television shows, Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job, his guest appearance on a hilarious episode of Parks and Recreation, and basically everything he’s ever done. I wanted and still want to be just like him.
This story is about the day that I met Will Forte or THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE (which is what I should have called this, but there’s no going back now!). While reading this, you might be thinking “What a lucky bitch! This could not have happened! I cannot believe this really happened to her!”. I still think those things about that day. I swear to you everything that happened that day did in fact happen. So here it is, the greatest day of my life. Enjoy.
It was Thursday, November 3rd 2011. I was 19 years old. Conan O’Brien was doing a week of shows in New York City. To gets tickets for these shows, you’d have to enter a lottery online and pick a day that you wanted to go to the show. You could also write a short letter to Conan telling him why you should be chosen. I don’t really remember my letter (because I entered for fun and didn’t think I would ever win), but I wrote something like “It would be an honor to be able to see your show. You are a legend and someone that I look up to and it would just make my life better if I were to win”. A few of my friends entered this lottery for several different days of his shows. A couple of them entered for Halloween and didn’t win. Another friend of mine entered several different times with different email accounts and did win for November 2nd, but chose not to go and go on a date instead. I entered for November 3rd, and won. Two tickets to see Conan O’Brien at the Beacon Theatre in New York City were mine.
I took my friend Sam to the show with me because she had entered for Halloween and didn’t win. Now, I’m not going to give you every detail of that day like what I got at Starbucks (a caramel frappucino) or what I ate at the diner for breakfast (a toasted bagel with lox and cream cheese). I’m just going to tell you the important things. Sam and I took the train and then the subway and eventually made it onto a huge line at the Beacon to pick up tickets. When we finally got inside, we were presented with orchestra seats, which are my favorite seats. I had gone to see Mike Birbiglia at Town Hall in 2009 (with Sam, surprisingly) and had orchestra seats, so I had a pretty good idea of what the show was going to look like from my seat. Sam and I had time to waste so we wandered around until we felt it was the right time to head back to the theater.
When we got inside, we saw how beautiful the theater was. If you’ve never been to the Beacon before, you should go at least once. Anyway, we got in our seats and waited for the show to start and that’s when everything became amazing. Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band started playing the show’s theme song and Andy Richter started saying who was going to be there/what they were doing that night which included an interview with comedian Louis C.K., a segment with Triumph the insult comic dog, and Conan was going to marry a same sex couple on the show. You’d think all of this was enough for it to be amazing but it got even more amazing as the show progressed. During the monologue, Conan spotted Jon Stewart in the audience with a fake ticket. I know what you’re thinking, “JON FUCKING STEWART!?”. Yes, Jon Fucking Stewart. But wait, there’s more. Jon and his fake ticket left and Conan requested a seat filler from outside and that seat filler was Stephen Colbert. Again, I know what you’re thinking, “STEPHEN FUCKING COLBERT!?”. Yes, Stephen FUCKING Colbert. It was sort of like everything in my head was happening around me instead of just happening in my head and it was amazing.
So now you’re probably thinking “But what about Will Forte?”. I’m getting to that. Earlier that day, Sam and I were trying to figure out who would be at Conan’s show that day. We knew about Louis C.K. but that was it. As Sam and I were wandering to Central Park (or maybe we were already there), I said “It would be amazing if Will Forte was there”. I knew that Will Forte made guest appearances on Conan as Ted Turner and I hoped he would show up but I figured that was a shot in the dark. Turns out I was wrong about that. Will Forte, or should I say Ted Turner, made an appearance at the show. What happened was actually pretty funny but you can always just go online and look up the episode. So after the wedding (which was beautiful, seriously go online and find it), the show ended. People started leaving, including Sam and I. But then we stopped because we saw someone who wasn’t leaving and instead taking photographs with people. IT WAS TED TURNED! I mean, IT WAS WILL FORTE! Sam grabbed me and we headed to the other side of the theater hoping to meet him. This is where I become a complete fuck face and you’ll laugh and say, “I KNEW IT! ALL OF THIS GREAT STUFF HAPPENED BUT SHE MADE A COMPLETE FOOL OF HERSELF!”.
So there he was, the “love of my life”, standing on stage right in front of my face. I had never been more freaked out in my life (which is true. I do freak out when I meet “celebrities”. I put it in quotes because people I usually find famous and idolize aren’t idolized among most people.). Will was taking funny pictures with everyone. They would smile next to him while he was on all fours either making a funny face or smiling. It was finally our turn to meet him and I thought I was going to throw up. I felt my stomach doing flips and I was so freaked out. Throwing up on my hero was something I didn’t want to do. I’m not sure what I said to him when I went up to him, but I think it was “I love you”. He shook my hand and my heart melted. I couldn’t get over the fact that he was right there and I was right there and then I couldn’t really breathe. I apologized to him for being so weird. After Sam took our picture and he said “It’s OK. I appreciate it. I have a lot of weird friends so this isn’t that weird. Well actually, you seem a little weird” and then he laughed and so did everyone else. I took Sam’s picture with him, apologized again for being a freak, and tripped on my way out (which made everyone laugh except for me). Once we got into the lobby I started to breathe again. I also choked a little bit and was shaking all over the place. It made Sam laugh. I joked that I wouldn’t wash my hand ever again because he had touched it and for two days, I actually didn’t wash it.
Oh, and sorry about all of the name dropping back there.
So I think I’m going to write a book someday called Things I Think About In The Shower. I come up with the best ideas while showering. This is one of them (concerning a situation I was having with “boy troubles”):
I can’t hang out with him again. It obviously didn’t work out the first time so why would I think it would work out a second time? I’m not even interested in dating him, just fooling around with him, and that’s not the kind of relationship I want. In fact, that’s not the kind of relationship I have ever wanted. I want to be with a guy that is funny and gets my jokes. That’s really it. I want someone to be the Jim Halpert to my Pam Beesly, the Will Arnett to my Amy Poehler, the Leslie Knope to my Ben Wyatt (yes, I do think of myself as more of a Ben). I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone that I have to “grow to like” or someone that I can’t be comfortable with. I want to be able to laugh with someone and get them to laugh and actually converse with them over things that I enjoy instead of trying to like something that they like that I know I will never like or fully understand. I’m young. I don’t need to settle for someone right now. In fact, I don’t need to settle for someone at all. It won’t be me “settling” if I actually like you and want to be with you. It should be an easy decision. So I’m not going to hang out with him this weekend. Even if I don’t find a guy that I want to be with right now, I don’t need to. I’ve been doing fine on my own for a while and I don’t need a man to make me happy. I just need my wit and sense of humor. Oh, and Chinese food. Yeah, Chinese food.