One of our names begins with T and the other with A – we’re a magical combo representing the front and the back, the best of both worlds, the humps and the lumps. We’re women with similar life paths, who came to Los Angeles ages ago and earned our stripes looking for love among the Hollywood hipsters. We are here to share what we’ve learned with you, with the charm of Southern gals and the smarts of city vixens.
A has dated so many LA guys that she couldn’t come close to naming them all, and sometimes doesn’t recognize them in public.
T has managed not to kill her boyfriend, somehow.
C’mon by our brand new Facebook “Like” page.
Gaby Dunn is a great liar—
only in the fact that her meta-tag on her website says:
“No Fun Gaby Dunn”
Gaby’s best known for the project she created and calls 100 Interviews where she talks to 100 people from various walks of life. 100 Interviews is amazing and is going to be a book. Gaby interviews all kinds of folks, including some you’ve heard of like author R.L. Stine and actor/PhD Mayim Bialik. Gaby also writes a hilarious on-going column for The New York Times Magazine‘s “6th Floor” called The Cultural Osmosis Pop Quiz.
We love to talk to strangers too and were lucky enough to correspond with Gaby Dunn, the woman herself.
T&A: You seem fun to us. Did you give yourself that handle or did someone else?
GB: My friend Chaz dubbed me that when I was in a sketch comedy troupe in college because I was always kind of the person who’d be like, “Enough dick jokes guys. Let’s get down to work.” Those comments started being met with literal chants of “No fun! Gaby Dunn! No fun! Gaby Dunn!” which unfortunately rhymes and is very catchy. The chants would only stop when I’d respond, “So fun Gaby Dunn.” Then, we’d all cheer and get drunk instead of writing our shows.
T&A: Speaking of which, what’s your newest favorite thing to do for fun besides writing and improv?
GB: This is really lame but the first thing I thought of is that I’m on Reddit a lot. I love that site, with all its flaws. I feel like it’s a really good place to learn — for instance, reading Reddit introduced me to Khan Academy, which is this online education center basically. You just pick a topic and learn about it for free. It’s a new obsession.
T&A: What do you think you’d be doing with your life if there was no Internet?
GB: Crying? That’s a tough question. I might be in politics or working in a lab or trying to get poems published in local quarterly magazines, honestly the possibilities are endless. That said, I spent a lot of time on Livejournal as a kid and I met some people there that really helped me during some tough times (through bullying, and all that stuff that’s just on Glee now) so I’d probably be a lot worse off, less intelligent and sadder without the Internet for more reasons than just how great it’s been for my career.
T&A: You’re a long-format gal in a short-format world. Do you have any advice for other bloggers on how to get and keep people’s attention with thoughtful writing rather than the snark of the day?
GB: It’s hard. There are days where I just want to look at memes and pictures of cats on skateboards, so I totally get it. But I think it’s a misdirection that people don’t want to read long-form anymore. They do. It’s just that writers have to work harder to grab and maintain a reader’s attention, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think the best advice would be to be thoughtful about your writing in a way that isn’t self-indulgent. What I mean is don’t blog about navel-gazing topics.
Don’t be afraid to get deeper with it, have controversial opinions and experiences and share things from your own life that aren’t necessarily pretty. If a reader feels like you’re being real with them, and that they’re seeing real parts of you, they’ll respect that and those that don’t, don’t have to read it. I’ve written about my dad’s alcoholism, my less-than-stellar relationships, my extreme nerdiness, whatever; I try to make it so the reader knows that my life is open to them and that is what makes a blog engaging.
T&A: You decided to do what you love doing, even though you weren’t getting paid for it, and ended up finding success. Do you think that works for everyone?
GB: Part of me thinks it could. Obviously some people don’t have that option and there were days where I hadn’t had time to eat and I was tired and my head was swimming and it was really unhealthy — I’d worked a 9 to 6 and then done two interviews back to back at night. It was like having two jobs, and one of those jobs I didn’t get paid for. But at the same time, 100 Interviews was what I really loved and wanted to do so in the end, I was happy to be doing it. There are so many people who say, “I’m a writer. I’m an artist.” but they’re not going out of their way to create something. I wrote because I couldn’t not. And if people see that about you, how can they ignore it?
T&A: What are you bringing to comedy that’s different from the rest of the funny ladies out there now? (Although, we can never have too many funny ladies!)
GB: Oof. I try not to do material that is specifically geared toward women or clearly written by a woman. I never want to be all, “Am I right, ladies?” Plus, in real life, I have no idea what women want or are like. Unless they all read Game of Thrones and watch Doctor Who? Seriously.
I don’t think there’s one kind of woman anymore that can be marketed to through comedy. You just have to be you as a person and then the people who like it will like it. That being said, I think a lot of female comics do jokes about the Kardashians and I am guilty of that, but it probably stems from jealousy. I want to be rich and do nothing. WHY NOT ME, AMERICA?
T&A: We’re pretty obsessed with life in Los Angeles versus other cities. Do you find a difference in people and their interactions between Boston and New York?
GB: I just visited LA for the first time in June and I had a blast. I thought I was going to hate it because I’m a New Yorker, but I had a great time in LA. You all get a bad rap, but you’ve got sunlight and beaches and weed and great comedy. Kudos.
Boston, even though it’s a city, feels way more like a small town. Everyone knows each other. There’s a very small town mentality and a love/soft spot for townies and townie culture (eg: loving the Red Sox, the accents, shamrock tramp stamps).
In New York, there’s way more pressure to be ambitious and on to the next step where as in Boston, it’s like, if someone is talented, then they’re just talented in Boston and then go live their life in the quiet suburbs. In New York, you’re always anxious for the next big move, at least career-wise. There’s merits to both and I love both cities.
T&A: Since you’re acting, does that mean you’re going to move to LA eventually? (The weather’s great, you know.)
GB: Probably not, unless I got a writing job out there. I’m not a very good driver (I am the world’s worst driver, too anxious) so, it’d be hard for me to get around out there. That’s why the NY subway system is so great (It is not great) because when I’m drunk or tired or whatever, I never have to get behind the wheel.
That being said, LA was so fun when I visited, I wouldn’t mind terribly if work brought me out there. I can just hire a chauffeur to take me everywhere right? By everywhere, I mean to In N’ Out Burger.
A: A girl we know is in a play with Jesse Eisenberg. Want us to hook you up?
GB: No joke, I just saw that play purely so I could gaze upon his beautiful face in person. And it was actually a good play! Your friend (the main girl) was really adorable and funny. I might actually go see it again. Is that weird? I just love him. I want to put him in my pocket and talk about therapy and Woody Allen all day long. Plus, we’re both Jews! Hook a lady up!
We at T&A Do LA personally think “Gaby Dunn is Gonna Stun Ya” works better than “No Fun Gaby Dunn”.