Your new book, “Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity” explains the complicated inner-monologue it takes to be a female on this planet. What’s your definition of girl logic?
Women are expected to be so many things to so many different people. In one fell swoop you’re supposed to be sexy but demure, whatever the fuck that means. A ball-buster but also not too loud. Showy but not too confident because that makes people upset. It’s so easy to say, “Whatever, just be yourself,” but when you’re a woman, other people’s perceptions of you can have detrimental effects on your safety, on your career, on how you’re perceived. Girl logic is that inner voice that helps us navigate all of the external stimuli coming in telling us good and bad information. I wrote the book because women are always called crazy. I got so tired of hearing that. When you ask me what I want for dinner, I can’t [always] be like, “Pizza.” It doesn’t make me crazy. I’m having to factor in [and think], “Did I eat pizza yesterday? Am I wearing a bathing suit later? Am I wearing a tight dress now? Do I already feel bloated? Do I feel gross?” The answer is yes, we always feel gross. [Girl logic] is trying to navigate our way through that because we are expected to look a certain way, feel a certain way and act a certain way and also reconciling how we want to feel. So, it’s this endless [thought on] how we’re perceived, how we want to be perceived and what’s actually happening.
Would you say girl logic is an asset?
We’re lucky we have it. It’s a highly evolved skill set because we happen to be a sex that has so many expectations. This way of thinking helps us suss out what we actually want. The issue is that we have to go through all of these iterations, “Do I want to wear this? If I wear this are my feet going to hurt? If my feet hurt, I’m not going to be able to walk. Is he going to think I’m annoying? Am I going to be tired tomorrow? Do I want to work out tomorrow?” You’re factoring in past, present and future in a microsecond and we’re able to process all of this. But when you verbalize it, it’s like, “Oh my God. What a psycho.” But we’re not. This is what we have to do to compete.
Congrats on your engagement! Are you excited to create new material about this next chapter in life?
I’ll be 100 percent honest with you, when I got engaged part of my heart broke because I felt like I was abandoning women, which is so dumb because women are like, “We don’t give a fuck.” My career is this building of a love letter to women and understanding our plight and the way that we are. So much of my act had been about male, female relations and what you think as a woman and not so much about being single. When I got engaged I thought, “Oh no, if I talk about being single am I the girl that’s like, ‘Hey girls, remember me? I still want to party,’ and you’re like, ‘Go away.’” But everyone’s got their chapters in life and you have to embrace it. I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of the butterflies that come with [being engaged]. I have a Netflix special and a tour, so I can’t throw myself into the wedding, but I’m very much interested to see what the next five years bring. Hopefully I can write something else about it. I firmly believe — and I’m saying this when I’m young, so who knows how I’ll feel at 50 — but embracing each year of your life for what it is. That sounds like such a young girl thing to say like, “Let’s just love this time and place.” I’m not 25 anymore. I’m not going to a club, but I look at younger girls and my heart gets so full because I know exactly what it’s like to be there. I try to talk from a non-preachy but more of a fun aunt that’s been there way. Not your mom.
At what point did you know your fiancée was the one?
I feel like part of it is being Jewish. You meet someone and you’re like, “This works!” I think a big part of dating is [how] you see who you want to be in different guys. You meet a guy that you know is wrong for you — not the same values, not the same culture — but you’re like, “Maybe I could be the girl that rides on a motorcycle.” No. You’re not that girl. You get to experience different parts of yourself and when you like someone it’s amazing what you’ll put on hold or put up with … I met [my fiancée] and there was no reach. There was no, “Oh, maybe I could be vegan for him.” It was just easy … I do this thing where I won’t sleep with someone on a first date, but I will invite them in and they can meet my dog. I can’t believe I’m admitting this… we fell asleep in my bed, it was like 4 a.m., we were shitcanned and we fell asleep holding each other. Right before we fell asleep, he said, “Where have you been?” I was like, “I’ve been dating the weirdest guys.” The next morning, he said, “Do you wanna hang out tonight?” That could be clingy but he took that chance and I said, “Totally.”
Did anyone give you advice along the way for surviving in comedy?
No. I have a very different path into stand-up than a lot of people. It’s not relatable because I was doing stand-up for three years… just bar shows, I had a day job. I quit the day job to do stand-up full-time, but then I won a show called “Last Comic Standing.” When you win something like that you don’t become a celebrity overnight, but you get the chance to be a headliner which means I never had to go on the road with a man. I never had to hope that somebody would give me a break. I wasn’t making a ton of money and these weren’t amazing venues, but I was the queen of my own domain. My teeny, tiny, not-paid-much domain. So, I missed those years in the trenches of gritting it out with people. It’s like I skipped college and went from high school to the real world. I didn’t have a lot of that time that a lot of other comics had. I didn’t know any other women— any [women] I knew were famous so they didn’t know me. I had to piece together whoever would be cool to me or whoever was around me at the comedy show and just sort of piece together what I thought a career should look like. When I talk to other women who do it, it’s not a sense of competition — I mean, underlying, of course, you want to outsell everyone and be the best — but 10 percent of women get what I do in show business. They understand the travel and how scary it can be. If you can set aside ego, which is very hard to do, you can share a heart with someone. I think as women we’re taught not to do that because everything is so cutthroat.
You have three Netflix specials under your belt, a book and ten years of experience. Do you feel content in your career or are you still reaching for something?
That’s a big question. I think part of being an artist is that you’re never quite content and I think part of being someone who is driven is that you’re always driven. I don’t know if anybody else feels this way but very seldom do things feel good for me. The book came out and I didn’t get the New York Times best-seller list and I was like, “Why bother doing anything?” And that’s so stupid because we sold so many and so many women liked it and you sound like such a spoiled brat when you are angry that you didn’t get the two things you wanted out of something. So, yeah, the honest truth is that I find almost every aspect of this career excruciating minus the actual creation of the art. The second I walk on stage and the second I walk off is my favorite. I’ve found such love and comfort in the fans I’ve been given because I don’t think anybody has better fans than I do. I’ve got this young group of women. It used to be mostly men that consumed stand-up for a very long time. All through the ‘80s and ‘90s you brought your girlfriend to a club and then women started consuming stand-up on their own. I like to think I was part of ushering that in with Netflix bringing women in. I almost felt like I had to speak up on behalf [of women] and that’s where my heart lies and it’s still very much where it lives.
What goals do you still want to accomplish?
The question is what’s after this special and the next special which I’ve already starting thinking about. What more are you saying? You don’t want to be repetitive and you don’t want to be the girl that’s like, “Another thing about feminism…” You want to have layers to it so it’s constantly questioning where I fit in, what I’m saying and is it fun to do this? I’m lucky that in the last year I’ve been able to say no to things that seem like they’re going to hurt, whether it’s a bad interview, a gig you don’t want or if I do this they’ll do a favor later. No one ever repays a favor in show business. You should know that. If something doesn’t feed me creatively then I don’t want it. And that’s a lovely place to be, where you don’t have to do something.
Has being in the public eye been any different than how you thought it would be?
See, I don’t think of myself as famous. And this isn’t like a humble thing, I wish I was a lot more famous. It’s not like you’re talking to Lady Gaga and she says, “I don’t think of myself as famous.” There’s no security with me here today. You get stalkers, you get creepy people, but I think the biggest adjustment — and this has been with our generation within the last couple years — is how evil social media has become. You’re using it as this tool to promote yourself and there are days when I wake up and I check Twitter — don’t do that by the way, give it a beat — and you check it and someone just says something horrible to you which they would never say to your face, like ever. That happened to me the other day. Some woman said something really shitty to me on Twitter and she was outside of a comedy club the other night and I don’t think she knows that I know who she is. I walked up next to her and I just stared at her and every fiber of my being wanted to say, “You got something to say to me? Say it now. Say it to my face.” But I’m not that way. I’m not that tough, that’s in my head. I’m like a squirrel with a sword. She said nothing and she made a comment about the weather because in real life people are gutless and not as bold. I think that Twitter is a poisonous thing but it’s a necessary evil and I think it’s like drugs. You keep going there to feel better, but it’s actually slowly killing you yet you’re like, “I need my news.” I think the volatility of social media wasn’t something a lot of regular people saw coming.
You’re on the road all of the time. Since we’re at Virgin Hotels Chicago, why is being nice to hotel check-in one of your travel tips?
I’ve made an art out of [traveling]. You get off a plane, you’re exhausted, you get there and they can’t check you in. You’re thinking, “Give me my room… I’ve got to take a shit, I’ve got to feed my dog, I’ve got two hours to take a nap!” I think hotel check-in is kind of like flight attendants. They deal with people that are angry all day long. If you can muster just the tiniest smile from the Uber to the door and say something like, “I love your hair,” or just something that you see [to acknowledge they’re] a person. And that’s what life is… just faking it to get someone to be nice to you.
What’s your biggest anxiety when traveling?
Traveling to LAX from my home. Without a doubt. I could go on forever. I believe that airport is based off of a blind child’s drawing contest. We have our international terminal in the middle so no matter what terminal you’re going to you have to pass it. If I’m going to Sacramento, why do I have to pass Aer Lingus? There’s just no reason for that and it creates this vortex of shitty traffic and there’s one way to cut across and it’s like a bread line. It’s just awful … You have O’Hare. Woof. I was walking through O’Hare when we landed today and it was like I was in a Museum of Horrors. I can’t imagine what it was like Thanksgiving weekend: Nuts on Clark everywhere, popcorn, just a mess… That tunnel with the lights.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
That’s hard because I’m supposed to give an answer like Jesus. Now my girl logic is kicking in and I’m thinking, “You want to say something intelligent like Ernest Hemingway. But also, Marilyn Monroe.” I’m answering this like it’s going to come true. I feel like every white girl says Beyoncé. This is not going to feed my soul and I don’t think we would have a fun conversation, but I would share a Gatorade — she looks like she’s had a lot of it from playing sports — with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I’d be like, “What the fuck is going on? Are you for real? Are you trolling? There’s no way you believe this.” She just reminds me of the girls that you play sports with that are like, “No problem, coach. I’ll run those extra miles,” and you’re like, “Fuck that.” I would get her drunk and put vodka in the Gatorade just to get it out of her. She’d say, “Sometimes I don’t even read off a prompter. Sometimes I just talk and the GOP’s like, ‘It’s gold, it’s fine.’” I’d want to know.
Photography by Kirsten Miccoli in Two Zero Three at Virgin Hotels Chicago.
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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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