What do you find the most challenging aspect of your job?
My co-hosts and I all have IFBs in our ears, so when a producer is talking to us, we have to pretend that we aren’t hearing anything and are still engaged in the conversation. If we acknowledge the producer in our ears, then we look like we are crazy people listening to the voices in our heads!
Sometimes, I have had a hard time staying engaged in the conversation while also thinking about what I want to say next. I want to stay in the moment so I can react to a joke or a bit, but I also want to be prepared to say a fact such as the exact amount of penises HBO cut out from a scene in Euphoria. They cut out 80, in case you were wondering.
Is there someone, famous or not, who you look up to and who has inspired your path?
I am truly inspired by so many people! Basically, every current late-night host inspires me, but I’m not going to list them out of fear I may forget one and then get blacklisted.
I don’t think your readers want to read about how much I love my mom because she’s not famous, though she’s a star to me!
The two most influential famous figures in my life are Madonna and Hillary Clinton, two women who have nothing to do with comedy writing or hosting, but who have inspired me to pursue my dreams. I have been a Madonna fan since I was six years old, and over the years I have looked to the Queen of Pop for inspiration when it comes to accepting and celebrating my uniqueness as well as harnessing my ambition. Secretary Clinton has been a guiding light to me, especially in recent years, and has helped me through difficult times just by being her resilient self. She has motivated me to be politically engaged and to find ways to inform and bring people together. They are two very different women, but I look to both of them as I continue down this very weird path I am calling a “career.”
I also really love Tina Fey. She’s incredible!
A recent study found that American kids would much rather be YouTubers than astronauts. What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Well, have you seen the film Gravity?! The second I saw Sandra Bullock floating around in space, I thought, “there is not enough money in the world to get me to go to space… and I’m going to make a YouTube series!”
Okay, so maybe I didn’t think the last part, but I understand the lure of YouTube. YouTubers are able to gain legions of young followers by making content that is fun and honest. The influence YouTubers have amazes me. I am pretty sure one of them can sway a presidential election! I actually am in the process of finishing a scripted web series called Best Friends Give the Worst Advice that I co-wrote and co-star in with my best friend, Elle Vertes.
What I learned from that process and from BUILD Brunch, is that being your authentic self will enable you to make work that you are proud of and that will resonate with viewers. Don’t try to fit into a mold that society thinks is more acceptable or that people may think is “cool” or hip” – or whatever kids are saying these days.
Be yourself and make content that you have always wanted to make.
We live in a time where technology has stripped down the barriers of entry and allowed people to make content from the comfort of their couches. If you want to make a video series of you eating cupcakes, do it! Actually, that sounds amazing. Don’t do it, that’s now my thing!
What’s the worst advice you have ever received? What about the best one?
I had an informational meeting with an agent at a big talent agency in Los Angeles and she told me that it was too late for me to become a writer. I was 22 and hadn’t even graduated from college yet. This agent overemphasized the importance of following one career path and working within the system to get to the “top of the pyramid.” As you can imagine, I peed a little during that meeting and left scared and deflated.
Thankfully, the next day I had another informational with an agent, but this time at CAA, who told me that there is no one path in the entertainment business and that I should be willing to take risks and follow creative urges when I have them. He was right.
Also, when I was an assistant months later, I once gave my boss the wrong type of spoon for her soup. I never made that mistake again. Point is, serve the right spoon to your boss!
Where do you look for inspiration these days?
The best part about living in the cesspool that is New York City, is that inspiration is everywhere! Kidding aside, I love New York because it immerses people fully into the environment and forces them to interact with each other.
I make an effort to walk around the city and ride the subway without my headphones on so I can overhear conversations about annoying boyfriends, or witness fights between two elderly gentlemen playing chess, or defend myself against the overly aggressive squirrels in Washington Square Park. New York City is full of inspiration!
Also, my grandmother is a mix of Carmela Soprano and Lucille Bluth. She gives me new material every day.