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.

Troupe Talk: LYLAS

LYLAS OMG. RTM. I mean, RTFM. Or just read Troupe Talk. This week. SITD??? SOL -- STBY! JK. LOL. RBTL, what I’m saying is LYLAS is up in Troupe Talk. You must be NUB, or something. NMP. DILLIGAS?? LMAO.

This week’s Troupe Talk is LYLAS. These GURLZ have a KAPOV that will make you ROTFLMAO. Enjoy, because IMHO, they're GR8!


OK LYLAS! For this interview, we are having a good old fashioned slumber party! What did you bring with you to my party and what classic sleepover trick are you going to play on the first girl who falls asleep? Lindsay:I brought the Ouija Board my parents won't let me use at home. I'll do that old classic trick where I summon an evil spirit with the Ouija Board and they murder someone in their sleep. So fun! lolrofl! Sarah A.:I brought chips and salsa - and probably Oreos and Twizzlers, because I need an excuse to eat them. And I don't play tricks, I TURN THEM. JKJKJKJKJKJK. Maggie:I brought sour gummy worms. I'm going to put whip cream on her hands and then tickle her nose so she slaps herself in the face lolz. Lauren: I brought Boone's Farm, and I'm gonna murder her. Tab: I brought Jurassic Park for everyone to watch. And I will freeze your bra. FREEZE IT. Lacey: I would have brought toilet paper -- so that we could sneak out of your house and toilet paper someone else's house, duh! As for the first girl who fell asleep? Probably prank-called her parents or boyfriend or something. I was an EXCELLENT prank caller. Averie: A roll of cookie dough. Trick: I'm going to eat the whole roll of cookie dough while watching everyone sleep.

Speaking of slumber parties, let’s go back in time. What is something that you would tell your sweet 16-year-old self? Lindsay: Sober up, bitch. No one's impressed. Sarah A.: Someday, it will all make since. Maggie: Posing for all photos with your tongue out is not flattering. Lauren: It gets better! Tab: That headgear is going to mess up your jaw forever, it's not worth it. Also be nicer to the boys you date, just because you know that it's unlikely you will be with the person you date in high school for the rest of your life doesn't mean they do. Lacey: Roll the windows down while you're hooking up with your high school boyfriend behind the middle school in your Toyota Celica. It's REALLY obvious what you're doing in there with the windows all steamed up. Averie: Eating raw cookie dough is dangerous.

What are you thoughts on the representation of women in the comedy world? Do you think women have equal opportunity? Lindsay: Women have busted some walls down in the last few years thanks to bad-asses like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and many others. Many years ago when I was auditioning for my first improv troupes, we had to be 10 times as funny as the dudes auditioning to be considered. Everyone was just looking for their "token female." Now the boys understand that girls came to play and the audience values our perspective. Lauren: Women have more obstacles to overcome, but people are becoming more aware of and sensitive to that and interested in representing our perspective. That isn't exclusive to comedy though, it's everywhere. Tab: I think right now is an amazing time to be a woman and a comedian. I have noticed that class ratios are starting to have more girls than boys. We have so many great role models to look up to right now, and the idea that women comics don't have a chance is dated.

I've also always thought it was strange to have the "women aren't funny" argument, because I grew up watching I Love Lucy. We watched it, our parents watched it, our grandparents watched it. The first episode aired in 1951, and the show was the most watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings. It is often regarded as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms in history. In 2012, it was voted the "Best TV Show of All Time" in a survey conducted by ABC News and People magazine.

All that, from so long ago, and you're telling me people still say women aren't funny? Lucille Ball is one of my heroes, and she was doing hilarious bits 64 years ago. Come on. Sorry to go on a rant. It's probably my period. Sarah A.: What Tab said. Maggie: Sure. Lacey: Almost all of my favorite comedians are women. Even though I've grown up loving female comics, I've definitely seen a change in representation and treatment in the last 30 years. However, if things were truly equal, Tina Fey wouldn't have had to make the joke on David Letterman's last show that "he finally proved that men are funny." Damn, that was a good joke though. Averie: The fact that we are still asking these questions is very telling.

Who is a funny lady you admire and why? Lindsay: OMG, every girl ever! My Grandma Helen (RIP), because she taught me how to bring that #realness and not give a WHAT. Kate Lambert and Erica Elam are some Chicago ladies who always inspired me, because creativity just pours of out them. And of course my LYLAS gals who blow me away all day errday. Sarah A.: Besides all the fine females in LYLAS?! I got a super mad crush on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I want to be her. Maggie: My mother - Barb. Lauren: My mom's super funny and always on. I really look up to the chicks in this troupe, and honestly pretty much all the improvisers at the Dallas Comedy House, even some of the man ones. Tab: ALL OF THEM. Lacey: My memaw -- though I don't think she always means to be funny. She's at the age now where she says whatever she wants and doesn't give a shit because she's like, "I'm over 80 years old, whatareyougonnadoabout it?" I was visiting her a few weekends ago when she debated the merits of a walk-in bathtub and talked about how awesome it is that you don't have to shave your legs when you're a senior because you just stop growing hair...everywhere. Averie: Maria Bamford. She turns her pain into comedy gold.

Sing a line from a favorite hit song and pick someone to sing it to. Lindsay: "I'm just a girl in the world...cuz THAT'S ALL THAT YOU'LL LET ME BEEEEE" -- to all men, CUZ WE LIVE IN A PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY!!!!!!!! Maggie: Ohhhh baby youuuuuuu... you got what I nee-eeeeed... and I would like to sing that to anyone who doubts themselves. BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF YOU. Lauren: "Who let the dogs out?" You know who you are. (You are the Baja Men.) Tab: "I am woman, hear me roar" sung by Maggie because THAT'S WHAT SHE WANTS. Sarah A.: Also, what Tab said. Lacey: I would absolutely sing "Friends in Low Places" to Garth Brooks. Averie: "Fuck da police!" Garrison Keillor.

LYLAS performs at the Dallas Comedy House on June 6 with Franzia and June 27 with .f.a.c.e.

Tori Oman is a Level Four student at DCH. She’s trained and performed with the Second City and iO in L.A. and Chicago. Favorite pastimes include being irrationally competitive at Monopoly, eating an apple in every country she’s traveled to, and being the sole person on this planet that thinks Necco Wafers are a delicious candy choice.