Understanding the Unknown
Bringing insight not only to comedy
but to my personal life as well.
Chelsea Peretti sits in the corner and texts her dog, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson dance on top of the bar and continue to ruin the beautifully written duet, “I Got You Babe”, as they belch out the lyrics to each other, and I try to use my sleezy, I-hate-myself charm to get a 2 for 1 deal on shots so maybe I can get drunk enough to be my own kind of “cool.” To paint the picture clearly, it’s a mess of social insecurity, almost lesbian lovers, mistaken identities, and a whole lot of feminism.
Before the semester began I scoffed at the idea of anything dealing with comedy. I looked down upon the comedic world and I hated it. But I found that hating comedy was better than feeling an indifference to the subject. I may not have loved it, but at least I still felt strongly about the subject.
When the first assignment came around, I was at a loss. I had no idea what I was going to write about until one day in class when I was introduced to the show Broad City. It’s like I have two phases in my life: my life before Broad City and my life after Broad City. Yes, it had that much of an effect on me. The comedic Gods had come through; I was actually laughing at a comedy tv show. No longer was comedy an immature waste of my time. I found through watching Ilana Wexler and Abbi Jacobson dominate the tv screen that comedy is actually a world filled with taboo, critical topics. This isn’t CNN anymore; these shows are actually discussing and facing pressing topics of our past, present, and future generations.
In the episode that I wrote about, “Moochalata Chills,” issues of diversity in the workplace, unpaid interns, and sexual harassment were all brought up. While topics vary from episode to episode, Ilana and Abbi have created a reoccurring theme of new age feminism. Ilana and Abbi show their viewers that to be a feminist, a woman does not have to be an overly driven, successful working mother, or a relentless careerist, but instead, they have shown feminism as the ability for a lady to choose her own lifestyle without the influence of a man. So, instead of letting her on and off again boyfriend, Lincoln Rice (played by Hannibal Buress), influence her life, Ilana lives life based on her relationship with her best friend, Abbi. The two seem to bringing back the lost art of the Girl Code.
While Ilana and Abbi continue to guide me out of my shell (I binge watched…. big time), I find that I can’t always relate to their lives (I am the overdriven, relentless careerist). And so that’s when my girl Chelsea comes in.
I said that I hated comedy earlier, but when it came to stand up comedy I absolutely despised the subject, and by despised I mean, the idea sent shivers down my body, made me grind my teeth, and just instantly put me in a bad mood. The idea just baffled me. Who would anyone waste their time watching someone walk around stage talking about their life? But then again, it hit me like a train. I had found a stand up comedian that I actually laughed at. And yes, you guessed it, that comedian was Chelsea Peretti. Even if I could not relate to Chelsea on everything she talked about (I would obviously text my cat, not my dog), it is in the basic foundation of who she is as a person and comedian that drew me to take an interest in her work. The root of her existence has been based on her individuality and feminism. Again, my feministic views were rocked, when I watched Chelsea perform. She used her feminism to climb to the top of comedy with the all-powerful male comics. She showed the world that feminism was and is not about “hating men” and instead of expounding on the differences between men and women, she earned her spot in the spotlight because she was funny and not an over worked female trying to juggle her feminity with her comedy. And it was in the moment that Chelsea talked about her distant relationship with her father and rocky relationship with her stepmother that I truly connected. Finally, someone understood. I was liberated.
I have enjoyed starting this new relationship with comedy, but I have also enjoyed revisiting an old relationship that I thought was completely out of my life: journalistic writing. Of course, I was not writing on a breaking news story, but this course required that I gathered information, analyzed it, and condensed it for readers. I was using my research skill and my creative writing skills.
In high school, I was dead-set on becoming a writer for National Geographic. Well that dream soon died as my sisters told me to follow job security and money, aka, business. While I enjoy the analytics of business, the culture of it has taken me completely away from my creative thought process. Now, instead of finding happiness in a good quote, I find my happiness in spreadsheets, networking, and the future. Don’t worry; it’s not as depressing as it sounds.
I’ve put myself into these molds, where I can only be one thing and one type of person. It started when I was only five years old when I started to mold myself into a perfect gymnast and continued through early high school when I thought I had to change myself to hate all men so I could be a true feminist. Comedy has changed that though. I am no longer trying to fit a perfect mold. It seems to me that watching Ilana Wexler stuff weed up her vagina was the best thing that ever could have happened to me.
By this point in the story, Ilana and Abbi are now slow dancing together, Chelsea is passed out asleep, and I am one too many shots in. My slew of mistaken identities seems to be less daunting now. Of course, I still have no idea what I want to be, who I want to be, or what I want to do, but I feel a sense of comfort in the unknown now. So, yes, I have switched over to the dark side. The dark side that sucks up my time, that is relatable, but most importantly, the dark side that gives me light and makes me laugh until I cry. I tried to promise myself that I would not be sappy and emotional in a paper about comedy, but one thing I know for sure about myself is that there is not a single funny bone in my body, so I think I’ll just leave that part up to the professionals. In the meantime, I’ll continue to sit, laugh, write, and crunch those God awful accounting numbers.