Everything has been bad for a long time. All of 2020 was bad. All of it. Start to finish. If that wasn’t bad enough things weren’t even magically better at 12:01AM on January 1st 2021, which, to me, feels like a scam. Today, though, there is some good news.
And boy, howdy, it is good.
Although it feels like the world is growing smaller and smaller, every so often science comes through to remind us all that hey, actually, this bitch is huge and there is so much we don’t know. Case in point, last week not one, but two new animals were discovered. Earlier in the week it was announced that researchers have identified a new species of whale in the Gulf of Mexico, and as cool as that is (truly not trying to take anything away from you, Rice’s whale), that’s not what we’re here to talk about.
Today we’re here to marvel at this little bastard.
The researchers responsible for finding this small and equally angry man pouting in northern Madagascar are saying this is possibly the tiniest reptile on the planet, and y’know what? I believe them. To me this new nano chameleon looks like a Barry, or perhaps a Gerald, but his official name is Brookesia nana, shortened to B. nana.
B. nana, the sour-puss nano chameleon. Hello, Pixar? Are you writing this down?
I’d imagine it’s hard to be taken seriously as a 13.5mm long lizard essentially named banana, however because the females are larger than oh-so-miniscule males, that means they have to have pretty —aherm— substantial junk to do the deed. So, hey, chin up, guy! You may be small, but you’re big where it counts.
You know what they say, the smaller the chameleon, the larger the trouser snake…?
… until TikTok creator, Celina Myers, set up cameras inside (and outside) of her home to capture her out-of-control (and now insanely viral) sleepwalking adventures.
When she held her chest and said “womp”… I felt that. I feel like anyone with a chest has done this at least once.
For the sake of our entertainment, Celina has been intentionally triggering her sleepwalking by eating chocolate or cheese before bed (but for safety reasons, she has her husband Adam stay up and supervise her sleepy shenanigans). Celina, if no one has said this to you, please know: you are a hero. We appreciate your sacrifice and bravery.
Bless you Adam for chasing after Celina when she sleepwalked outside and corralling her back into the house…
The sleepwalking journey started when Celina posted a video of herself after she had sleepwalked out of her hotel room and woke up naked and locked out of her room (whoopsies!). After the video’s intense virality (collectively the series has over 530 million views), she made the ✨correct✨ decision to start capturing and sharing her sleepwalking shenanigans.
Wanderlust can strike at any time, even while watching an animated series set in the frozen tundra of Alaska! And when you can’t physically travel there yourself, the next best option is a transformative ASMR experience into the world of The Great North, a new Fox animated series starring Nick Offerman.
Our ASMR artist takes us on a journey into the wild, creating a full sensory experience that captures the essence of The Great North, as well as the importance of respecting sell-by dates. He may not be a fisherman, an Alaskan moose, or know how to squeeze syrup on pancakes, but he certainly knows how to help you escape to Alaska using only the power of whispers.
Listen. The pandemic has been hard on everyone, and we’ve all been coping in different ways. Probably somewhere around 30% of Americans have become addicted to baking sourdough bread, I’ve become way too emotionally invested in the lives of the birds that come to my bird feeder and a lot more lenient about the definition of “clean” laundry, and the other day I saw a guy drop his keys twice in a row on the sidewalk and scream “FUUUUUUCK”.
We’re all going through it, and I’m not an expert but who am I to not extend that sentiment to involve our pets? I know for a fact my dog is tired of staring at my face all the time, based on how much time he spends actively not looking at me and instead staring out the window now. And I can only imagine this much time forced inside with their humans has made the cats of the world more than a little crazy.
So who am I to judge this cat who is zoned the hell out as he “drinks” water?
Sure, he’s not drinking the water, but he seems content enough.
No drinks, only vibes.
Is he an idiot as his human claims? That’s definitely a possibility. But my brain has also been reduced to, like, three cells max over the last year, so I ask you: who amongst us is NOT an idiot? Something to ponder.
There’s a lot going on right now, I know, but stop the presses! Everybody stop what you’re doing and listen up, because this is important. On Monday six bold individuals were arrested in Los Angeles for vandalism. What was their crime?
The turned the Hollywood sign into “HOLLYBOOB”
I don’t care who you are, this is peak comedy. I’d even go so far as to say this doesn’t count as vandalism, this is an improvement. Listen, we’ve been living under a pandemic for almost a full year now and things are, suffice to say, extraordinarily shitty. If there’s one thing we could all use right now it’s a good laugh, and you can’t tell me that boobs don’t put a smile on everyone’s face.
Speaking of boobs and how great they are, this stunt was coordinated by the CEO and founder of Shagmag Julia Rose and YouTuber Jack Tenney in an effort to draw attention to the completely prudish and bogus censorship rules implemented on various social media platforms and how they are unfairly implemented against and directly target sexworkers, which you can read more about here.
So, to Julia, Jack, and all the other pro-tiddy accomplices responsible for this masterpiece, thank you.
Trying to adjust to either mostly or entirely virtual schooling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly proved many challenges for both educators and students, and my hat is off to all of them. I can’t even imagine how difficult and strange it must be getting used to delivering lessons via Zoom, or only seeing your classmates through a screen. However virtual school has also presented unique opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available. For example, I bet the ability to mute your class at will is a bit of a godsend, and apparently students have figured out how to use these new circumstances to their advantage as well.
First there was “the dog ate my homework” then there was “oh, I emailed you my assignment but I guess it didn’t go through” and now is the age of connectivity issues.
Twitter user Chris Arnold recently shared that his wife is a teacher and one of her students has found a damn near foolproof way to get out of answering questions when called on— by changing his screen name to “Reconnecting”.
My wife is a teacher and apparently one kid has been changing his name to ‘Reconnecting’ during the Zoom lessons so that he doesn’t get asked any questions. Been doing it for weeks. The lad doesn’t need to worry about his education, he’s already a bona fide genius.
Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is an absolute masterpiece. It’s arguably one of the greatest films ever made, and, unlike the dinosaurs themselves (RIP), it has stood the test of time. Nearly 30 years later and I still have to prepare myself for the incoming heartache of watching that poor, sick triceratops lie there in pain. Yes, I know it’s not real, no, that hasn’t stopped me from becoming emotionally attached to it.
The groundbreaking film answered a lot of questions, like is playing god and bringing dinosaurs into the modern age for the purpose of a theme park a good idea? (No.) Would people still 100% do it anyway and learn nothing from their fatal mistakes? (Yes.) Is it possible to outfit Jeff Goldblum in too deep a v-neck? (Resounding no.) One question the movie failed to answer, though, that I’m sure we’ve all been wondering, is what if instead of dinosaurs, Jurassic Park was filled with Pee-wee Hermans?
Well, okay. Perhaps that’s a question you haven’t pondered until now. But! Now that it’s been asked, you are pondering it!
The good news is you don’t have to wonder for long because creator and mad scientist Pixel Riot has the answer, and it’s… honestly a little horrifying. I’m not sure what I expected when I imagined what a Pee-wee meets Jurassic Park collab would be like, but it certainly wasn’t this. This absurd (and definitely scientifically sound) mashup is terrifyingly hilarious and hilariously terrifying. It’s enthralling and confusing like an ultra vivid, bizarro dream brought on by eating too much dairy before bed.
It goes without saying that the coronavirus pandemic has completely changed all of our lives and what our day to day looks like. It’s safe to assume that we’re more than ready to kick the vast majority of these New Normals to the curb and go back to doing things like, I dunno, standing closer to someone than six feet or even indulging in the occasional high-five, and a very, very slim percentage of these pandemic changes will be missed. Having the luxury of working from home AKA not putting on real pants every day has been nice.
There is one thing that has become normalized during the pandemic, however, that we as a collective society need to pull the plug on immediately. And that thing is puzzles.
It can be hard to try and find new ways to fill the time through month after month of lockdowns, I get it, I do. But that is no reason to resort to willfully doing a puzzle, as if it’s fun, as if doing a puzzle is somehow an enjoyable activity. Puzzles suck. They suck ass and we all know it. Why have we been pretending otherwise? Why have we been lying to ourselves? To our children? No. No more. This has gone on long enough.
Puzzles, from start to finish, are a scam.
Step one, you buy a puzzle with your hard earned money. Step two, you stare at the pieces dumped on your coffee table going, “Uhhhhhh where’s the blue piece? No that’s the wrong blue piece. That’s the wrong blue piece. That’s the wrong b—” etcetera for hours, even days. Step three, eventually you finish the puzzle and discover that, surprise surprise, it’s exactly the picture it told you it was going to be. Now what? Now you do it all over again?
Do you know how insane that is?!
I would rather mow a golf course by cutting each blade of grass with nail scissors. That isn’t an activity, that is a form of torment that belongs in the dungeons of Tartarus. The only thing more psychotic than subjecting yourself to completing a puzzle over and over is completing it once and then keeping it. Does it do anything cool like after you finish building a model plane? No, you just stare at it, because it’s a puzzle. Okay. Cool. So you have the picture on the front of the box framed and on display, except it doesn’t even look like the picture on the box, it looks like shit because it’s a fucking puzzle.
Go buy a desk from IKEA and spend your free time putting it together and taking it apart, since we’re doing things that don’t make any sense. At least whenever you decide you’re finally done you’d have a goddamn desk.
Look, all I’m saying is that you deserve better. Choosing to spend your time doing puzzles is like if the Donner Party still had rations but some guy was like, “Alright who are we eating first?” NO. STOP. There are OPTIONS. Getting into claymation or puppetry would be a less depressing and better use of quarantine downtime. Say no to puzzles.
Painting with broad strokes here, things are kind of rough right now. The planet’s on fire, literally and figuratively, and there’s a lot to be worried about. But, in a few ways, this is also a pretty cool time to be alive (figuratively cool, because one again, the planet is on fire). For instance, weed is becoming or has become legal in a lot of places, like my home country of Canada. Last Fall, weed was legalized at a federal level, which meant a lot of really cool opportunities for businesses opened up. Everybody and their dog now works in the weed industry, including my sister, who shall remain nameless because I didn’t tell her I was writing this.
Before I go on, yes — I am technically writing about myself. But only in a small way, because I’m actually writing about something that happened to my sister, so this is only a mild abuse of editorial power.
So, my sister works for an online weed dispensary, which shall also remain nameless. If you thought 1-day Amazon Prime deliveries and Postmates are cool, wait till I tell you about online weed dispensaries. They operate like any other dispensary, they offer various weed strains with incredibly eloquent names and descriptions akin to vintage bottles of wine at fancy restaurants, as well as products like pre-rolled joints. SO handy, right?? Well, it gets better. Because weed is legal across Canada, shipping it within the country is pretty simple. Which means… you can order weed the same way you order a burger.
AMAZING. THE FUTURE IS NOW.
There are still age restrictions on weed purchases though, much like alcohol, so in order to register with these online weed companies, you have to submit photographs or scans of two pieces of ID, front and back, for verification. Where does my sister fit into all of this, you ask?
I’ll tell you.
Part of my sister’s job is going through these applications and either approving or denying them, so she looks at a lot of ID’s, and probably a lot of fake ones. Usually, when using a fake ID, you want it to be as believable as possible. So this was a surprise.
Someone legitimately tried to buy weed using a fake ID —
— as THOR, MARVEL HERO AND GOD OF THUNDER.
Please, if you will, join me in unpacking this.
Thor — MIDDLE NAME THUNDER — Odinson
Thor is apparently FROM ALBERTA, CANADA. AS ALL NORSE GODS ARE.
49 years old???
This says he’s clocking in at 6’7” and only 150lbs. Thor. Buddy. Come on. We know that’s not true. We all saw Endgame.
He lives at 69 BIG HAMMER LANE.
Even if this was somehow a passable fake, THE LICENSEIS EXPIRED.
So, I think it goes without saying that she had to turn this application down. I know, I know, you’re all probably thinking, “What! No! He deserves to have weed just because of how great this is!” And while I agree with you, unfortunately federal law does not have a sense of humor, and it would be a lot harder to text my sister if she was in jail. If it’s any consolation, she let this guy down in the best way possible.
NOTES FROM SLOANE
I decided to write about this because I tweeted screenshots of these texts from my sister because I have no self control, and a LOT of publications picked up the story and wrote about it themselves, so it would’ve been dumb not to. While I had to keep my sister and her company anonymous in order to protect all parties involved and ensure that she doesn’t become more famous than me, she has thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this story is literally all over the internet. To my sister, if you end up reading this, thank you for this excellent article fodder, and for not beating my ass when you saw this story on the news.
We did it. We made it to inauguration day, which shouldn’t be a huge deal but let’s be honest, it felt a little touch and go for a while there. The Biden-Harris administration’s to-do list is a mile long, but they’ve already started making changes. We’re gonna skip over Biden firing three Trump appointees who are the embodiment of evil, reinstating DACA protections, and rejoining the Paris climate accord and move right on to the stuff that really matters, which is the news that President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button.
“What is the Diet Coke button” you ask?
Well, first of all, apparently this is not actual “news” and was covered at the very beginning of Trump’s presidency. I have no memory of that whatsoever, though, either because I just never saw any of the coverage or because the subsequent four year onslaught of absolute fucking hell that ensued took priority in my brain. In any case, I’m definitely not the only one who has just now been made aware of the Diet Coke button.
The Diet Coke button is (or rather, was) a discreet red button atop an inconspicuous wooden box that sat on the Oval Office desk, and when President Trump pressed said button a butler would arrive swiftly with a glass filled with Diet Coke on a silver platter.
President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It’s gone now. pic.twitter.com/rFzhPaHYjk
If someone had told me four years ago that that’s a sentence I would someday type I probably would have responded, “Is it crack?? Are you smoking crack?? Because it sounds like you’re smoking crack.”
You probably have questions. I have questions. Who was assigned to the Diet Coke button? Did they have other duties or was that their exclusive post? What was the hiring process like? Was there a special, Diet-Coke-Only mini fridge? Just how extensive is the therapy they’re for sure now going through after spending years delivering Diet Coke to Donald Trump and reflecting on the life choices that led them there during every walk to the Oval Office? I would watch the shit out of a 3-part doc-series solely about the people who manned the Diet Coke button for four years, but we’re probably not going to get one so we don’t have many answers, but we do have one undeniable fact. I hate that I’m going to say this.
The Diet Coke button rules.
I’m not happy about it, but it rules. Personally I hate Diet Coke, but the fact that there was an official button on a goddamn wood-finish box that could summon essentially a Diet Coke genie is, unfortunately, cool as fuck. Like that is some Scrooge McDuck shit. That is what middle schooler career fantasies are made of. That’s the American dream, baby. I understand now how people get addicted to power, because this is fucking tight.
The only thing as indisputably true as the Diet Coke button kicks ass is that anyone who agrees that the Diet Coke button kicks ass, myself included, should never be in charge of the country.
I praised Trump for his Little Red Diet Coke Button™️ and I’m gonna need some time to adjust to its unceremonious removal. https://t.co/9wg8APNKvU
Do you want to know what it’s like to foster bonded bunnies? (I hope so because if the title didn’t give it away, that’s what this post is about.) It’s like the movie “50 First Dates”, that’s what.
Henry hits it off with Lucy. Henry thinks he’s found THE girl – and discovers she has short-term memory loss – she forgets him every “next day”.
No matter the “progress” with the bunnies from hours spent on the floor in the evenings doling out little pieces of treats, the next morning, it’s like they’ve never seen me, or any human, before.
And so our dating ritual starts over.
They really need to be brushed, but I hate to chase a bunny to pick it up for grooming, so we are letting it slide for now. Bunny hair wafts through the air.
So this very short video is immediately after I took the picture above as I rose s-l-o-w-l-y from my chair:
Their personalities are showing.
Lana – The boldest. Least likely to bolt from my approach, or maybe most likely to bolt last (if I get too close). This was demonstrated in the video above.
Lois – Curious and most likely to explore.
Clark – Really is the meek, mild-mannered reporter, I mean, bunny. He is most like to bolt first.
The bunnies are food (treat) aggressive. When one gets a treat that can’t be chewed on the spot, each will look for a safe place to snack. If spotted, the others will give chase. I feel like I have to watch out for Clark to make sure he gets some. When the two-legged treat dispenser is on the floor, Clark is the one in the background.
Lois will take treats from my open hand.
Lana will take a treat from the tips of extended fingers.
Clark prefers his treats to be thrown at him (not violently) from some distance.
If my hand is extended with no treats, Lois bites the ends of my fingers! She’s never scratched me or drawn blood, but it’s harder than when Bunya used to let you know he was pissed about something (“Read my lips – No more brushing!”).
Happily, they are not food aggressive at meal time. They will all nibble the breakfast pellets but the bowl is not empty when they have moved on. Similarly, the dinner greens are heartily set upon by the three, but by the time they get to the romaine leaves at the bottom of the bowl, there’s some debris on the ground. They finish it up later.
The Georgia House Rabbit Society (GHRS) has set up their foster program with some guidelines that make it easier to take care of the bunnies, like what to feed them when and how much. Dinner greens are romaine lettuce, parsley and cilantro. To reduce the “move this out of my way so I can get to what I like most” scattering of dinner greens, I have learned to put the lettuce on the bottom of the bowl and the parsley and cilantro on top of it, so they can devour what they love most, first.
As a new bunny foster parent, I’m guessing it would be easier to foster a single bun. We had Bunya for a couple of years, as he patiently waited until we learned how to better care for a bunny and found his loves, Lucy & Ethel. Consequently, he was always the most comfortable around humans, even strangers. He’d check out just about anyone to see if they were carrying a treat, while Lucy and Ethel hung back.
This trio of bonded bunnies have short memories, influenced by each other’s behavior. Clark bolts first, triggering Lois, who bolts next. Lana will keep a wary eye on you and as long as you do not get too close or move too fast, she’ll stand her ground. Previously, she would zoom away with the others, but she’s seems to be evolving, getting a little more used to us.
Been about 27 First Dates so far. I hope I can improve on 50.
Today has been a ✨beautiful ✨day: our country woke up and was serenaded by Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. THEN it finally happened: Joe Biden became our President and Kamala Harris became the first female, Black, and South Asian Vice President (!!!).
The speeches were eloquent, thoughtful, and inspiring… which should’ve been standard at this point, but after four years of sloppy speeches from a fascist, gaslighting, violence-invoking politician former president Donald Trump – these speeches were a hopeful foreshadowing of us being able to (finally) start making America the united country that it always had the potential to be.
And while history was being made – dank content was being created. These are five of the funniest TikToks we found responding to this historical moment:
1. When we all realized Trump was officially out of office, there was definitely a national GLOBAL sigh of relief
Did you feel lighter today? I did. Everyone did. Why? I dunno – maybe it was because we could all collectively unclench our bodies as we watched a fascist regime being removed from power and democracy being restored? That might have been it.
2. We FINALLY got to be brutally honest about how happy we were that Trump was officially out of the White House
Sure, this video is a bit crude – but so is an administration that allowed over 400,000 U.S. citizens to die from a preventable disease. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
3. Amanda Gorman’s inauguration speech was perfect… but thanks to the internet (specifically Boman Martinez-Reid), we get to see what that speech would’ve been like if Gen Z had been allowed to ✨go off ✨
“The first thing we need to get rid of? WHITE PEOPLE!”
[SLAPS HAND OVER MOUTH]
I mean… he’s not wrong. If white people sat out for a few rounds and just like… did a lot of listening, it’d probably do the world a whole lot of good.
4. Yes – things are going to get better… but unfortunately, there’s A LOT of work to be done (but we’re down to do it!!)
Just because we have a promising administration, that doesn’t mean things are ✨magically✨going to get better. Even though we voted Trump out and flipped the Senate, we gotta keep an eye on the people we put into power and make sure that they actually make the changes we need to make this country a livable, united place for everyone who lives here (and not just for rich white people).
After the Inauguration, we all collectively agreed that nothing else was getting done today, right?
Honestly, it’s a miracle that this article got written. Once this goes live, I’m logging off and getting stoned (and am probably going to re-watch the Inauguration speeches and cry).
Like my TikTok recommendations? Cool. Got better ones? Awesome! If there’s a TikTok account you think FOD should feature, send it my way: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aida Osman is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles, California. They spoke with Funny Or Die over Zoom to discuss their career, intersectionality in comedy, how the industry has changed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer of 2020, and what still needs to change for progress to continue.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Thank you for joining me! Let’s get into your origin story. How and when did you start in comedy?
I started doing stand-up when I was 19 in Nebraska. The very first time I did it, I was doing slam poetry comedy. I was trying to do a mockery of poetry slams. Oh my god, buddy, it was so bad. It was so fucking bad. I’m having flashbacks just thinking about it.
The second time I did stand-up was my senior year of college. I was like, fuck it, let me just try this, and I actually just read my tweets, which was such a stupid idea and not a good formula for anyone starting stand-up. But it worked because the tweets that I had been writing were essentially one-liners. Then I got really, really into comedy and was doing dive bar shows in Nebraska with six other local white comedians. Thriving, actually.
And then you were in New York for a bit?
Yeah, I went to do Wild ‘n Out in May of 2019. After Wild ‘n Out was done, I moved there for the summer of 2019 and was doing stand-up, meeting a bunch of New York stand-ups, and just having a blast. Way too much fun. Then I moved to LA at the end of 2019 .
What was your beginning here in LA like? At what point did you get involved in writers’ rooms?
I moved to LA because I got the co-host position at Keep it!, this podcast at Crooked Media, which was great, but I still really wanted to break into comedy writing. You know this hustle, treating Twitter like a portfolio and writing every day, trying to fire off tweets like it was my fucking job. I’ve since calmed down, but that’s because I’m in writers’ rooms now. Now I don’t even know how to use that goddamn bird app. I no longer enjoy it. I’ve been saturated with all the ways people can be funny on Twitter. There was a while where I was posting raps and music—
That was the best era of Aida Twitter!
And I should come back! But after a certain point, you go into a Netflix meeting and they’re like, “You’re the pegging girl! You’re the girl who pegged boys in their booty hole!” It’s great, it gets you a job and Big Mouth executives love it, and you find your people in that way, I guess. It’s not embarrassing, but you don’t want to let it define you. I want huge projects. I want to write for all these different shows. I didn’t want to just be pegged as the pegging girl.
But I think I might bring that back, because I do want to find that world where rap and music and comedy can intersect. If it’s in a non-corny way, it can be some of the best comedy. I’ve had a squirting anthem in my head for like a year, I have stupid lyrics ready, it’s just about putting it together. The horrible part is the world has been falling apart ever since I released the pegging rap. I’m not saying that started it, but I’m not saying it didn’t. But there’s no gap to release a squirting anthem. The president’s getting impeached or Black Lives Matter is happening, and it’s like, well, here’s Aida with her squirting song…? What?? I’m trying to find space for it. It’s hard.
What’s it been like not only breaking into, but finding such success in different areas like stand-up and as a writer and podcast host, in such a heteronormative, cis, white industry, and becoming a trailblazer for other young, queer, Black creatives?
It’s a big question! We can take it down in pieces.
Oh my god. Being called a trailblazer at all, thank you, that’s insane. It’s so hard to be objective about what I’m doing, what I’m trying to do, and the reason why I started in the first place. I didn’t understand the world of comedy writing until I realized there was a lack of Black women and nonbinary people in it at all. I looked around and there are not a lot of nonbinary comedians or people who are willing to make jokes about their pronouns, and even just have the kinds of conversations about gender that I’m really excited to finally be having.
The success has been really weird. I don’t know how to define it. I feel like I’m always going to be dealing with imposter syndrome, but I also think that every good creator should. If I’m not in a room where I’m like, am I supposed to be here? I’m not working hard enough, I think. I feel most comfortable when I’m uncomfortable. So I feel good right now, but it is scary.
It’s scary to be in a [writers’] room and look around and realize that you are one of the few Black people in there, and that the executives and people are trying, but you still see the lack. You can’t help but see the lack. I think one of the hardest things is, as a Black person, you spend all this time going, “Black people are not a monolith. We have so many different facets to our being, stop trying to pigeonhole us,” but then you get to the writers’ room and nobody asks you to do it, but you feel like you need to be the spokesperson for Black culture and you feel like you need to nail it. You need to make sure you represent everyone. So there’s this burden that you’re putting on yourself, and that’s really daunting. I try to just be myself and let that be the representation, because that’s the only thing I can do.
Does that ever compound with also being nonbinary and queer and Muslim? Do those different facets intersect at all, or come with that same kind of pressure?
I still have yet to find a writers’ room where me being Muslim is even invited into the conversation. If there’s no Muslim characters, there’s no Muslim sensibilities. It’s becoming more apparent to me that if I want representation for someone who looks like me and has all the different facets of my identity, I’m going to have to make that character. Fox isn’t going to release a primetime show that is Muslim, nonbinary, and Black. I have to be the one to write that character.
I’ve yet to figure out where all my intersecting identities can come together and speak as one voice, but that’s uniquely my challenge, and that’s exciting. Nobody else can ever take my career or my story away from me.
I still find that we’re not having gender conversations in writers’ rooms. I wrote on one show where we’d have open conversations about gender with the girls, but still no openly nonbinary characters. That show is revolutionary in many ways, but we still don’t have any main characters who are openly trans or nonbinary. I’m excited to have shows where cisgender people aren’t always the main stars, but I haven’t even been in the room where that’s a reality yet. We’ve had a trans coming of age storyline on Big Mouth season 4, so we’re getting there. We really are getting there.
I feel like a lot of cisgender writers don’t write nonbinary and trans characters if they or the audience can’t immediately identify that they are trans and nonbinary by looking at them, or if that’s not the focus of their narrative.
We need more trans characters and trans actors that play roles where maybe it’s after the season is over when you’re like, “Oh, that person or that character is trans?” I also think it’s exciting to write characters that are nonbinary or trans and figuring that out, and their story is not tied to that figuring out. There’s no reason that my confusion or my experience with gender should be a device.
Yes, the purpose of trans and nonbinary characters doesn’t and shouldn’t have to always be trauma or struggle.
Yeah. I know that I have certain privileges being femme presenting, but it’s a unique thing to try to explain still feeling burdened, because it sounds like bullshit complaining, but it still hurts to have an identity that isn’t clear and recognizable to other people.
I tweeted recently, “Someone just called me sir in the airport and now my pussy is wet.” It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I wasn’t trying to even be masculine. It just happened. Someone called me sir and I was like, whoa! I got really excited and I tweeted that, and someone was like, “This tweet makes no fucking sense. What’s wrong with you? What do you want? You don’t even know what you want.” It was difficult for me, I was like, oh my God, that person is right. Maybe I don’t know what I want.
But I had to tell myself that is part of the wonder of my day to day. I don’t know and that’s okay, and accepting that lack of knowing so I can go be fucking great. So, more people call me sir. If you see me in the airport, call me sir.
Since you’ve been in LA, how have you seen comedy, or more specific spaces like writers’ rooms for example, change in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer?
I’ve seen the beginnings of changes. I’ve seen large corporations beginning to sow the seeds for change. The next year to two are going to be really pivotal in proving that they still give a fuck about what we’re trying to say. I’m still so new to this industry and I feel so fortunate that I’m walking into a very safe environment, but a lot of growth still needs to be done.
I think ten years from now in an ideal world, if I’m a showrunner and I have the ability to staff a writers’ room that is all Black genderqueer people, and not just a small show but a show on Fox or ABC, that is going to be when things have truly changed. Right now it doesn’t feel super palpable.
It feels like we’re in this transitional phase, where someone like me is still answering to all white executives. And sure, I’ll take white money all day, but I can’t wait ‘til I’m the one signing the checks to another Black creator. And hopefully they don’t have to go through what I’ve gone through, which is uncomfortable conversations with executives about how I deliver jokes or how I speak and a lot of microaggression in writers’ rooms, but that’s so much better than, say, five or ten years ago. I can’t even imagine what someone like Issa Rae or Kenya Barris had to go through. I feel like we’re in-betweeners, but every generation probably feels like that. Maybe in ten years people will be like, “We’re in-betweeners,” and robots run all the writers’ rooms.
While we’re in this transitional phase, what are changes you think need to be implemented by executives, and people running writers’ rooms, and showrunners, that could and need to happen immediately?
Large corporations need to be providing resources to marginalized writers, giving them script writing software, or access to a masterclass or somewhere they can get information. Transitioning from the stand up world, I didn’t know screenwriting existed until I was about to be hired as a screenwriter, and that’s such a fortunate experience, but I didn’t have the tools I needed to be the best that I could be in a writers’ room. And nobody’s telling little Black girls in Nebraska that they should go to school for screenwriting or playwriting, nobody gave me script writing software, or a laptop, or even the inspiration to do all of this.
I’m a strong advocate that all careers and passions are only seeds dropped into people’s pots. If there’s no seed being dropped into that pot, there’s no flower, no plant that can grow. I think large industry corporations in Hollywood need to have programs that encourage project submissions, and then have actual execution and follow through to promote those projects, and give [creators] the resources to make those projects.
Accessibility, resources, and promoting that this world even exists, and of course, just hiring more Black writers and more writers that are marginalized. I often see executives and people who have seats at the table just sitting there like, “Where do we find them? What are we to do?” The burden is on you to be in active pursuit of these people. You look goofy having Black characters and no Black writers. That should never be something that exists. You look goofy having trans characters without trans writers. In fact, you cannot tell those stories without having those faces in the room. It’s so vital that they do the work and find those people, because those people exist, they have social media, there are newsletters that are all about Black writers that want to be hired. Go find them. Don’t come to me. Don’t ask me, “Do you have any little friends that I could hire?” No. Go find them.
I have talked to so many white executives in general meetings and they’re like, “This is such a unique, fresh voice. We never met anyone like you.” And I’m like, what? You should be taking more meetings with Black creators. I should not be one of the first Black, Muslim, nonbinary people you’ve had on your couch.
Did you have anything that you wanted to plug?
Watch season four of Big Mouth on Netflix, be on the lookout for season two of Betty on HBO, and listen to Keep it! Wednesdays on Crooked Media. It’s a pop culture podcast that I do with Ira Madison III and Louis Virtel. We talk about the intersections of pop culture and politics, we get really messy, and it’s the reason why I’m blocked by a lot of your favorite rappers.
Season four of No Activity, the first fully animated season, will find Special Agent Nick Cullen (Brammall) finally realizing his dream of joining the FBI — but his excitement won’t last for long, as he quickly discovers this job is not at all what he expected it to be. A seemingly dull observation detail takes a turn and becomes the potential beginnings of a career-defining case when he learns of an emerging cult, and when a massive operation takes aim at this cult, it’s unclear which side will break first. Although this promotion means his life is far from the same as it once was, Cullen’s path does continue to cross with that of his former partner Judd Tolbeck’s (Meadows), who is going through his own adjustment period with a new partner.
Along with Brammall and Meadows, this season will feature an incredible roster of guest stars.
Guest stars to watch for include Louie Anderson, Kevin Bacon, Jillian Bell, D’Arcy Carden, Rob Delaney, Elle Fanning, Will Forte, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Udo Kier, Lamorne Morris, Oscar Nuñez, Hannah Simone, June Squibb, and Samara Weaving, as well as returning guest stars Joe Keery as Officer Reinhardt, the new partner of Tim Meadows’ Judd Tolbeck, Sunita Mani as dispatch operator Fatima, Jason Mantzoukas as an undercover FBI agent, Bob Odenkirk as Greg, and Amy Sedaris as dispatch’s mother hen, Janice.
Watch seasons one through three of No Activity on CBS All Access and get ready for season four coming soon!
NO ACTIVITY is produced by CBS Studios in association with Funny Or Die, Jungle and Gary Sanchez Productions, with animation production services provided by Flight School, and is based on the Stan original series produced by Jungle. The series is co-developed and executive produced by Brammall and Trent O’Donnell, alongside executive producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Joe Farrell, Mike Farah, Joe Hardesty and Jason Burrows. Nina Pedrad, Steve Toltz and Becca Kinskey serve as co-executive producers. As in previous seasons, O’Donnell will also direct.
Hello, folks! We’re not even halfway through the first month of 2021 and already some pretty crazy, important shit has gone down. Oh, did you think I meant the fact that Donald Trump was just impeached, a second time, for inciting a violent insurrection on the US Capitol last week?
I’m referring to something of equal importance to the country, which is that I just learned today that a church in Brazil showcased a bunch of amateur wax figures in 2015 and they are fucking terrifying. Although the exhibit itself was from six years ago, video footage of the exhibit has gained a lot of attention online over the past few days because, I will say again, these statues are FUCKING. TERRIFYING. The artist responsible for creating these horrific figures and cursing them with their own existence is Brazilian sculptor Arlindo Armacollo. On one hand it’s easy for me, a non-sculptor, to sit here and pass judgement on his work like it carries any weight, but on the other hand, Jesus Christ almighty.
If there are two things we have learned this week they are 1. Don’t tell your angry mob of supporters to attack the Capitol, and 2. Wax figurine sculpting is not for everyone and perhaps we should throw the whole medium out entirely.
A Brazilian church decided to do its own mini waxwork museum. So the news turned up and did a piece. And now I’ve lost my shit. The commentary really makes it. pic.twitter.com/AHOzmB7TVA
Drunk History vol. 6 w/ John C. Reilly & Crispin Glover
Rest In Peace Neil Mahoney. A talented and lovely dude with a big heart that edited my first videos when I moved to LA. We worked on many of the same shows throughout the years, and I always loved seeing him around. ❤️
Our friend Neil Mahoney died this week. He edited your favorite TV stuff & was the most loyal friend. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so sad. Making jokes here helped distract me, but I felt like angry garbage. This wasn’t public then but now it is. We love you, Neil. pic.twitter.com/v1bGEjDDNx
RIP Neil Mahoney. He was as funny as he was kind, and more talented than most of us. I mainly knew Neil through doing podcasts and seeing him at shows, but every time I had an interaction with him I’d walk away saying “I like that guy”. The world is worse off now that he’s gone.
Really, really sad to hear of the passing of @NEILMAHONEY. I remember always being glad if he was at a party because it meant there’d be a guy to stand in the corner with and just talk and laugh. Heartbreaking.
I miss you @NEILMAHONEY. Memories of all the backstage, tour bus, airplane, crappy van, shitty bar laughs with the Mr. Show and Comedians of Comedy tours. Drinking for free twelve nights in a row and giggling like hammered idiots. You were the fucking best. Love you, man.
Rest well, @NEILMAHONEY. He was such a funny and talented director & editor –and during the pandemic, a whittler. We shared whittling advice, which he did not take, & subsequently he posted intricately-carved wooden figurines dampened in blood. Neil, the world misses you. RIP.
I adored @NEILMAHONEY the moment I met him. In a sea of LOOK AT ME’S, he was quietly the funniest, smartest person in the room. I could talk to him about anything, he always made me feel comfortable and safe, which is rare. RIP to a perfect man. I hope he knew how loved he was.
Still sorting through the last godawful week, which came to some sort of terrible nadir with the passing of @NEILMAHONEY, my friend. We worked together a lot (he was a great editor) and I loved every minute. He deserves a better tweet but it’s all I have right now. RIP, Neil.
I’m caught by complete surprise hearing that our friend @NEILMAHONEY passed. He was one of the funniest, kindest, and most supportive people I met while living and working in LA. Always a smile on his face and ready to make you laugh. We lost a friend and true talent. Bye, Neil.
I treasure the memory of @NEILMAHONEY conspiring to pull a fun prank on @jonahray’s podcast last year. Neil was a gifted comedy editor. As the news of his sudden passing is now on social media this is just one of many tweets you’ll see. My heart goes out to everyone. RIP Neil.
I didn’t know Neil Mahoney well other than having mutual friends & both being Funny Or Die alums. I mainly knew he was one of the best comedy editors on earth, I’d always wanted to work with him & finally got a chance for the first time just 3 months ago. So tragic he’s gone.
Sad to hear Neil Mahoney passed away. I only spent a short time with him making an insane movie, but he was passionate and kind, and I’ll always remember being at the bottom of this empty pool in the Valley during rare insanely cold LA weather. Rest in peace. #FantaseezForeverpic.twitter.com/VvRKVa36m1
Neil Mahoney was always hilarious and salty and smart and probably the coolest person I knew, even though he would never ever admit to being cool which ended up just making him even cooler. You could talk to him about anything without judgement.
TikTok has given so many weird, funny, and underrepresented creators the opportunity to get their stuff SEEN and grow an audience. Apps like TikTok make it so YOU can see the content you actually want to see, versus television and movies, where (mostly) heterosexual Caucasian men control what narratives get produced, which actors get cast, and the level of inclusiveness/diversity the film will have (both with casting and production).
Isaiah is making the world a better place, one woke joke at a time. He’s incredibly quick-witted, creates content that’s just really f*cking funny, AND seamlessly normalizes talking about mental health, gender-inclusivity, and gender fluidity. Can we have him host something? Please? He’s entertaining and makes me feel safe, and I want everyone to feel that.
Most musicians write about the momentous moments of life: like love, the fragility of life, and other stuff that’ll send you into an existential crisis… Anyway, when I came across Sarah Maddack on TikTok and saw that she was writing songs defending pineapple on pizza, ending the debate on whether milk or cereal goes in the bowl first, and MORE, I realized that the world needed to know. Because of creators like Sarah, we can have songs about both the big parts of life AND weird songs about getting romantically rejected by a refrigerator. When this pandemic ends, can we please just let her produce a Broadway musical? Or just make her a guest on SNL? I NEED MORE OF THIS MUSIC IN MY LIFE – AND SO DO YOU.
Like my TikTok recommendations? Cool. Got better ones? Awesome! If there’s a TikTok account you think FOD should feature, send it my way: email@example.com
The thing about living in lockdown for a year(ish) is somehow having both too much and not enough time. For example, running errands like going to the grocery store or the bank take a whole lot longer than they used to. On the flip side, working from home (and generally just not going anywhere ever) means my 30-minute commute from my apartment to my office has turned into a 3-minute commute from my bed to my table.
(This also means that the 20 minutes I used to spend getting ready each morning has turned into 20 minutes of nothing because who the hell is still putting on actual pants and shirts with, like, buttons, am I right? Am I right? Guys?)
So, what is one to do with an extra 30-50 minutes at the beginning and end of each day? Well I suppose one could get a jump on the dishes, do some laundry. Maybe, say, use this time to start reading more books. Perhaps even pick up a new hobby. I, however, have chosen to fill this time with none of these things and instead use it to answer the dumb questions that rattle around my pea brain while I’m in the shower or waiting for coffee to finish brewing.
Questions like, “What does asparagus look like when it’s growing?”
As a result I can confirm that having too much extra time is a curse, because after almost one year of using it to Google these questions and travel down the subsequent rabbit holes that open, I now know how hundreds of fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, and the like grow.
And, folks, I wish to god I didn’t.
I’ve learned that some of our most cherished, beloved, even staple produce grow in truly horrific—dare I say offensive—ways. Listen, I don’t enjoy writing about these awful plants, but I’m gonna do it anyway, because if anything can bring us together during this dark period of seclusion and distancing, it’s being absolutely fucking livid about what a complete nightmare Brussels sprouts are.
That being said,
Alright, first of all, the fact that they’re called “Brussels sprouts” is more than enough reason to be pissed off. (If you’re just learning that it’s not “Brussel sprouts” or even “Brussels’ sprouts” right now know that I am sorry and I do feel your pain.) Look, I know that the city is called Brussels, but that’s no fucking excuse for that many S’s. As if that wasn’t bad enough, look at how the fuck these Belgian assholes grow.
Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? Brussels sprouts are a type of cabbage. Have you ever seen a cabbage grow like this? With a stalk and leaves at the top? Like we’re cosplaying a goddamn tree? No, because other cabbages have a thing called decency.
You love them, I love them, whether or not they belong on pizza is one of the most important dialogues of the modern age (they don’t), they contain an enzyme called bromelain which breaks down proteins which is why your tongue hurts when you eat it, pineapple is metal as shit! Pineapples kick ass! Except:
Pineapple should be renamed because on top of not being an apple nor anything to do with pine, it is, at its core, a goddamn liar. Liarfruit. It should be called Liarfruit. Are you telling me that it doesn’t grow from the leaves on the top? It grows from the fuckin’ bottom? And it does this from a plant that looks like it has no business being associated with it?! What’s the point of the leaves on the top then?? What are the leaves for?! Why do you look like you were just superglued to a random succulent, Liarfruit??!
A lot separates us, but what we can all agree on is artichokes rule. Artichoke hearts, artichoke dip, I don’t care what form they’re in, I’m game. You’d think that a sturdy vegetable like artichokes would be reliable, predictable. They look like succulents, they should grow like succulents, right? WRONG!
What reason does a hardy food like an artichoke have to grow at the tippy top of such a thin plant? NONE. Excuse me, sir, are you a dainty goddamn dandelion? No? You’re an artichoke? Then what the fuck.
Artichokes part II
Listen, I also thought I was done being mad about artichokes. Until I discovered this!
Artichokes are a flower?! And not just any flower, but a thistle?! So what does this mean, then? Eeyore, the melancholy donkey who lives in a shack doesn’t eat thistles because they’re spiky and evil and that would be on brand for him, but because he has a refined palate and enjoys French greens?!? Get out of here. Get the HELL out.
I had always loved papaya because it’s not only delicious but also a bit of a mystery. Are you a melon? Are you a gourd? “Who cares!” I used to think, in my naivety. Who cares? I care, because this is HEINOUS.
Neither are they a melon nor a gourd, they are clearly very confused. Papayas are BIG! They’re the same size and density as a butternut squash! Why, why would such a thing grow in CLUSTERS? From the top of a very TALL, very thin TREE?! This is a HAZARD. They don’t even look happy there! This is wrong, they KNOW it’s wrong, and it should not be allowed to continue.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, asparagus is… fine. It’s okay. There are so many different ways to cook asparagus and, unlike potatoes, that’s because none of them are really that great. It’s just not a remarkable food! So, I don’t really know what I expected from asparagus, but it wasn’t this.
I’m so disappointed. I honestly didn’t think I could be more disappointed in asparagus, and then I found out it grows like this. It grows the way you stick your asparagus into mashed potatoes as a kid to make them look cool and avoid eating them at the same time. I’m just not getting any kind of flair or enthusiasm from you, asparagus, and maybe that’s why you’re not very good. Something to think about.
Pitaya / Dragon fruit
Dragon fruit is fucking beautiful. Stunning. A work of art. It’s soft and pliable, pink and green on the outside, and then like the La Croix of kiwis on the inside. Also, it’s called motherfucking dragon fruit. Too bad just like actual dragons, this fruit would be cool if it wasn’t a FAKE BITCH.
No. Nope. Absolutely not. I REFUSE to believe that DRAGON FRUIT-SLASH-PITAYA, one of the most ELITE fruits, grow at the end of these gangly, floppy succulent tree arms, like a fucking tumor, like somebody tried to decorate a sad cactus on a budget, like their goal was to turn the “whomp-whomp” sound effect into a plant. NUH UH.
If there’s any vegetable that I, you, and probably the rest of the country feels like we should be able to depend on, it’s broccoli. It had always been a vegetable of truth and dignity. It was a vegetable that said, “This is me, exactly as I am. No rind, no weird plant hairs (looking at you, corn), just equal parts hardy stalk and fun little branch things.” But we have been duped.
To hell with all of this. Like Brussels sprouts, broccoli is a relative of the cabbage, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned about cabbages today it’s that they cannot be trusted. Not only is the broccoli “crown” (what a self righteous asshole) without a doubt the least impressive part of this whole operation, the plants grow to around two-and-a-half-feet-tall. Which is the size of the average toddler. Why would you deceive us like this, broccoli?! You wear a crown of LIES.
I don’t know a lot about nuts. I know that coconuts are actually berries (fuck that), peanuts grow underground, and that the rest of the nuts, for the most part, are “tree nuts”. Now, I don’t make the rules. But I do believe there should be some fucking order to this. Walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, what all these tree nuts have in common is that they come from inside a pod that grows on a tree, as is right and just. Then there’s THIS fucking guy.
What the fuck. What the FUCK. Cashews, those sick bastards, grow from the very bottom of this… this bell pepper imposter, on the OUTSIDE, and then call themselves tree nuts? The audacity. The GALL. Do they think they’re tree nuts because they look like some comical, tiny dick-and-balls?! Are they tree “NUTS”?! Is this all just one big JOKE TO YOU?!
Plums grow on trees. We know this. Since the Davidson plum does, in fact, grow on a tree, you’d think that it’d be impossible to be mad about this fruit. And yet!
I’m so— I’m so tired. In a fair world, in a world where good prevails over evil, we would have global peace and Davidson plums would grow from the branches of trees. But we don’t live in a fair and good world. We live in hell, and in hell Davidson plums are allowed to sprout out of the goddamn trunk. God is gone.
Click here to donate to the National Farmers Union