That’s what she said

February 1, 2008

Josh was talking about networking, and how writers are terrible at it. (Writers are terrible at it.)

I, being a writer, am also lousy at the gladhanding. Additionally, I have this problem that– Well.

This sequence happens fairly frequently:

1. I meet someone.
2. I make retarded comments about silly things and laugh at my own jokes. (Yes… I’m one of those people.)
3. The person says: “And what do you do?”
4. I say: “Well, I write stuff.”
5. The person says: “Oh, you must write comedy!”
6. I say: “Um… well, actually I just finished an apocalyptic drama and now I’m kind of writing this thing I lovingly refer to as UNTITLED TEEN ASSASSIN.”
7. There is a really awkward pause.
8. The person claims that they have to go home to turn off the stove.

I’m never sure what to do about this. Do I need to make my public persona and what I write line up more? Do I need to be more emo? Wear more eyeliner? Ruthlessly suppress the desire to crack jokes, even when I see an opening that’s just begging for it?

I could probably stand to do that, anyway. You remember that episode of The Office where even though there’s sexual harassment drama going on, Michael is just physically incapable of passing up a good “That’s what she said” opportunity?

I have that problem ALL THE TIME. Sometimes I just shouldn’t be allowed out in public, because I’ll see the opening for a really awful joke and be unable to resist. Naomi also has this problem. (That’s why we’re friends.) Once we went on a blind date (not with each other: Naomi was on the blind date. I was there to make sure the fellow wasn’t an ax murderer. Or to at least call the cops if he was.) and I could see the poor guy wilting in real time as we back-and-forthed about the relative hilarity of different kinds of fried fish. But we just couldn’t stop, not when there was ONE MORE LEVEL THIS RIFF COULD GO TO. WE HADN’T EVEN TOUCHED ON CATFISH YET.

Do you have that problem? Joke-topping? Where it’s like “Hey, this is funny!” and then the next person goes “Yes, and what would make it even MORE hilarious would be if it involved sausages…” and then the first person says “Yes! Bockwurst! That’s pretty much the funniest kind of sausage.”

Well, not everyone likes that. It’s pretty embarrassing when you’re all “Sausages! Okay, now you go!” and your conversational partner leaves you hanging. And what’s REALLY awful is when you do that, and you can see that the person you’re talking to wants you to knock it off, but you can’t. You just keep trotting out sausage jokes.



3 Responses to “That’s what she said”

  1. naomi Says:

    Man, I wish MORE people were into joke-topping. It’s just not nearly as entertaining to do it alone.

    Also, that was an EXCELLENT blind date. For us, I mean. Not so much for that guy. (What was his name?)

  2. Josh Says:

    Yeah, I can’t imagine why people think you write comedy….

  3. chaia Says:

    I live for joke-topping! Tofurkey dogs are seriously funny, especially when you dress them in ridiculous outfits, like pink velvet camouflage onesies with little helmets that say things like I’M A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER and TREATS NOT WAR.

    Also: Lucy and I have had to stop saying “That’s what she said” around her son:

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