Mindy Kaling

Do You Guys Really Like Me? (And Other Worries)

Mindy Kaling Would you ever guess, based on the title of this blog post, that I’m currently reading Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)? I know it’s an older title but I buy most of my books from Half Price Books. Usually, I wander in, stay for a few hours and then leave with an armful of those that I intended to read a long time ago but never got around to. This is one of them. The title alone makes me wonder if Mindy Kailing and I are actually the same people as that’s certainly been a concern of mine, multiple times.

During day one of Level 4 improv, I had to do a one-man show. At first, the idea of it terrified me but as soon as I was told I was going first, I didn’t have time to be afraid anymore and knew exactly what I’d do. Something I knew well, obviously. My one-woman show would simply be me sitting at home, alone, on a Friday night. I’d be on my couch, drinking wine, being ridiculously insecure about everything, from liking things on Facebook to whether or not anyone would ever care to read my essays to whether or not my friends are all actually hanging out without me. The good news is that I don’t have to worry about that last one much anymore (I’ll get to the “why” shortly). The others, though, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Growing up, I had a hard time finding a group(s) of women who were really and truly supportive. I mean, I had friends, but I usually had one best friend and then just got along well with everyone else. I was in choir, I was drill team captain (yeah I was! I had to brag a little…), I was in multiple academic clubs but even still, it always felt like, while the other ladies involved were my friends, we were all secretly trying to get ahead of the others. Or, maybe I just couldn’t relate to any of them. Maybe some of that was by choice, however. College was a similar story as I typically hung out with the boys and had a couple of close girlfriends to talk about said boys with.

I didn’t exactly expect that to change in recent years but it most certainly has. I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve never met a more supportive group of people overall than those I’ve met at Dallas Comedy House (DCH). That goes double for the women that I’ve met at DCH.

I’ve heard it said in general, and I’ve heard it said to me personally by Kaitlin Marone, a standup I interviewed prior to the Dallas Comedy Festival this year, that female comics need to stick together, and it’s so true. Women are funny and while some who don’t know any better might disagree, we are. Just while writing this piece and Googling for other essays of the sort for inspiration, (not that I need it, you ladies inspire me enough, but I also got distracted and needed to read something to get back on track) if you type, “why female comics…” you’ll get three autofills that are similar to, “why female comics aren’t funny.” Needless to say, it’s beyond important that we support each other’s work and support each other personally.

It’s difficult to explain but to have a group of women around you, no matter how large or how small, who are there to constantly lift you up, laugh with you, laugh at you, watch trash TV with you (shout out to #RHODCH!), support you and tell you that you’re OK, and be 100 percent honest and sincere about it, it’s a big deal. It’s something that your soul needs.

BeyonceI’ve always looked up to those people who, though they genuinely inspire me and make me want to be better, they were untouchable—public figures, musicians, celebrities, etc. I still look up to those people, but now I have those fellow strong women around me and I can’t even begin to express how much I’ve learned from them, and not to mention, the genuine friends I’ve made. Friends who are there to empower you, to inspire you, that’s what I’ve found at DCH. Don’t get me wrong, Beyonce is amazing but having powerful, funny, and smart women around, in person, yeah, you, we, do run the world, in my opinion. (Sorry. I had to.)

Megan Radke is currently a Level 4 student at DCH. She is a copywriter and social media manager by day and an essayist and mediocre musician by night. She is a constant consumer of books, music, film, and all things comedy. She is also great at racking up copious amounts of credit card debt with spur-of-the-moment travel.

Comedy Centerfold: Jonda Robinson

Welcome to Comedy Centerfold, where we feature a Dallas Comedy House performer and get to know him or her a little better by using questions that Playboy centerfolds are usually asked.  Jonda RobinsonJonda Robinson knows how to use a comma, and for that I respect her. She's also a reader of books. I'm sure she's a good reader of people, as well, but we've yet to talk about that. She writes, too, and has written for, performed in, and taught several sketch shows at the Dallas Comedy House. She's smart, fancy, and funny. See her perform with Duck Duck Pants on July 8 and August 15.

Hometown? Achille, Oklahoma, population around 500. It’s a place where four-wheelers are street legal and we just got a Dollar General, which is a really big deal. If you’ve ever been to Choctaw Casino, you’ve been not-too-far from Achille.

Guilty Pleasures? Country music. Naps. Ladies’ cut polos. Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Coke Zero with vanilla from Sonic.

Ambitions? Generally, I want to be happy and helpful to others. Specifically, I want to write a two-person show with one of my fabulous, creative friends and take it to some festivals, which will open doors and eventually catapult us both into Mindy Kaling-style fame.

Best Concert? Coldplay at Austin City Limits in 2011. We got there early super early, claimed our spot right in front of the stage, and listened to a bunch of other acts until Coldplay came on. When it was over we sat in the grass eating barbecue and listening to Kanye West perform on the other side of the park.

Favorite Book? I’m really bad at picking favorites, so I refuse to do it, but some books that have stuck with me are The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor, I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down by William Gay, We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Right now I’m becoming less messy through the power of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Favorite Movie? I rarely rewatch movies and don’t have a favorite, but I have seen How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days way too many times.

Favorite TV Show? My favorite show changes based on whatever I’m currently binge watching, and right now I’m totally immersed in the world of Mad Men. Friends, Parks and Rec, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show are go-to favorites as well.

Pets? I’m a fan of pets but currently do not have any at my apartment. Growing up I always had a few dogs, cats, and the occasional rabbit.

Foods I Crave? Pizza. Cheeseburgers. Chips and queso. Ice cream.

People I Admire? I admire people who have the courage to put away their fears, ignore the naysayers, and go after what they want in life. I also have a great respect who people who are loyal and make sacrifices for others.

Dream Role? My dream role would be playing the lead in a Broadway musical written around the music of Reba McEntire.

Favorite Song to Sing? Fancy” by Reba McEntire.

Good First Date Idea? Top Golf. You can hit a few, have drinks, and you don’t have to just sit there and stare at the other person while asking typical first date questions like, “What’s your best trait that you hope to pass on to our kids?” (I’ve never actually been on a date to Top Golf, so if you take me the odds are ever in your favor.)