YBY ep 224: Melissa G. McKnight is a funny and poignant storyteller!

This week on Yes But Why, I talk to performer Melissa G. McKnight.

Melissa is a standup comedian and playwright out of Nashville, Tennessee.

Backup dancing for the band, Chrome Pony

Melissa and I had a delightful conversation! In our chat, we talk about singing and motherhood and working hard to get her voice out there.

Melissa talks about taking a class in standup and what it was like to get involved in the standup comedy scenes of Tulsa and later, Nashville.

Melissa enjoys making people laugh with her comedy and making them learn with her playwriting. She is not afraid of telling a cautionary tale.  Melissa tells me about a writing project that she’s excited about!

This interview goes all over the place but we had so much fun in it! Tune in!  

Support Melissa G. McKnight by following her on Instagram!

Yes But Why Podcast is a proud member of the HC Universal Network family of podcasts. Download the FREE HC Universal Network app for Android and iDevices or visit us at HCUniversalNetwork.com and join the fun.

This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible – get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at http://www.audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY

This episode of Yes But Why is also sponsored by PodcastCadet.com. Swing on by PodcastCadet.com to get help for all your podcasting needs! Go to PodcastCadet.com and put in offer code YBY20 to get 20% off your first consultation!


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(production notes: recorded phone call with Rodecaster at the home studio on 7/8/2020)






TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai

HOST  00:00

Hello, Yes But Why listeners, this is your host, Amy Jordan.   Welcome to episode 224  – my interview with comedian, Melissa G. McKnight.   But first, let’s hear about the sponsors.   This episode of Yes But Why podcast is sponsored by audible. You can get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.   Our guest this week, Melissa G. McKnight, was talking to me about motherhood. Let’s see what Audible says about motherhood. Oh boy, I think I broke the internet. So many titles. No end to advice for mothers out there. Thank God most of this looks well meaning.    Audible is available for your iPhone, Android, or Kindle. Download your free audiobook today at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY.  This episode of Yes But Why is also sponsored by PodcastCadet.com. Swing on by PodcastCadet.com to get help for all your podcasting needs! From writing to producing to hosting, Podcast Cadet can help you improve your podcast. Go to PodcastCadet.com and put in offer code YBY20 to get 20% off your first consultation!  This week on Yes But Why, I talk to Nashville-based standup comedian and writer, Melissa G. McKnight.   Melissa and I had a GREAT time talking.  We talk about singing and performing standup and how fun they are!  And Melissa tells me about a writing project that she’s excited about!   This interview goes all over the place but we had so much fun in it!   I hope you enjoy Yes But Why episode 224:  Melissa G. McKnight is a funny and poignant storyteller!  I’m Amy Jordan. And this is yes but why podcast… YEAH What was the first experience of performing that you had that made you really think, you know, this is for me, I want to do this.


Melissa  02:30

Oh, I think I was 27 years old. I had just graduated from the University of Oklahoma. And I was on tour with Chrome pony, the now defunct electro pop band that I was in for two years after college. And I performed at the Norman Music Festival because the University of Oklahoma was in Norman, Oklahoma. And it was the first time in my life outside of like, Cool chorus performance that I picked what I wanted to wear and styled my hair and more like, you know, accessories like like a whole ensemble and and I just had a lot of fun. Granted, you know the sound, the electricity actually went off during the performance. And also at some point both guitarists were just not playing in sync with each other at all. But me, me my part of the show I executed perfectly, and I just, I felt really alive just being there and taking it all in because my friends and I would go dancing on the weekends during college and that’s where my bandmate Steven saw me and he was like you’re a really great dancer, would you I need a backup list and a dancer, you know, to make my show less boring. He was like, Are you interested? And I was like, Yes. Like, check this off of the bucket list. Yes. And unfortunately, he didn’t really like to rehearse very much. But you know, we, the farthest we went, we performed at South by Southwest in 2012. That was the last time I’ve been to Austin. So I need to, you know, get another gig and go back.


HOST  04:30

Yeah, see, see if you can find a different pony. And make it work. Yeah, this this can be a better more rehearsed pony Who knows? You can be in the front this time.


Melissa  04:45

Yes, essentially, my experience with that band reiterated that I did want full creative control and so So, okay, listen. So then I the next venture that I found, was singing in an acapella women’s group, a sweet adelines group even by the name of talk of Tulsa. And my mom was also in this chorus.



So my mom and I can sing really well together like duets and stuff. Anyway, it was really fun. We won the first competition that we ever tried and we competed in Dallas, Texas and Honolulu, Hawaii.


HOST  05:37

Oh, I have been looking for a good performance reason to go to Hawaii my whole life. Oh my goodness. I love that


Melissa  05:48

So yeah. If you’re into acapella singing the sweet adelines are active in the Midwest.


HOST  05:54

Wow. That but


Melissa  05:58

but again, you know, so Sweet adelines I didn’t have enough power. I wasn’t getting to pick the songs that we were singing. Like, you know, the song book was from like 1920 or earlier. Do you know what I’m saying? So I also had to leave the sweet adelines behind. And then I was living in Tulsa just working in a like, I guess it was a government call center like for the mayor’s hotline. And at night, I decided I wanted to take a stand up comedy class, because I really wanted to experience the freedom of saying something that I wrote for myself on stage. And I took a stand up comedy class and I had such a good time at the little club that I think it I think it still exists, maybe it’s been four years. It’s kind of hard to tell there’s been a lot of change up in downtown Tulsa, but


HOST  06:53

especially these days,



yes. And anyway, so and then I took a stand up comedy class at that comedy. Club and then I also took two improv classes there. And I had so much fun. And I forgot about all the bad experiences I had with improv in high school and in college and I’ve been doing comedy ever since. Hooray.


HOST  07:16

I like how you’re you know, the the lens through which you look at your move toward stand up was about like being able to have your own voice out there. I feel like when people are, you know, creative a lot of times that can be the hardest part is to acknowledge that they have something to say. That’s really great that you knew that you had something to say and had the ability to do it. How did it go? Like, did you start out the gate with like, let me tell you what I think or were you like, or was it like a lot of Let me see if I can’t tell some good basic jokes airline food or whatever how did it go?



I, Oh man, I went straight for the throat like I really did.


Melissa  08:08

I love Okay. Here’s one of my favorite comedians. I love Adam Sandler. I love Trevor Noah. I love Leslie Jones. I love Let me see Richard Pryor, George Carlin Gene Wilder, but I don’t know if he really Yes, he does count of course he’s a classic. So, also, I mean, I have to mention, like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck like I love and also Okay, fine Groucho Marx as well. So, I Love Lucy. Sorry, Lucille Ball is her actual name everyone so I like five year old me just came out. I Love Lucy.


HOST  08:51

Okay, I Love Lucy a solid example of good comedy structure. I actually use a clip from it to teach You know, increase like heightening when I’m doing sketch comedy.


Melissa  09:05

Yes. So I definitely like vaudeville American vaudeville is definitely a big part of my comedic influence. And again from some of the comedians that I listed I also really enjoy the jokes where it’s like, that was sharp. Oh my gosh, did you really just say that? Yeah. So I just tried I wasn’t like everything else that I did in my life. I just I was afraid but I just like did it afraid and I just said what I wanted to luckily for me in my class, there was like a sort of alcoholic like douchebag for lack of a better you know, vocabulary sorry, mom. But he was just like saying really inflammatory things about his ex wife, and he was making his personal problems into jokes and making everyone uncomfortable and then Like after the class, the woman that I knew she was now a city council person in Tulsa. We were having a margarita is after our first comedy class and he came in and was like yelling at me about something. I held him accountable for saying something about slavery. And I was just like, says the person who was never considered like, three fifths of a human being and he was like, who was fifth? It was five thirds, get it right. And he like came up to us after the class while we were having Martinez, and was like, five thirds. And I was just like, Oh, my God, and I ripped him a new one. I was just like, how dare you like approach me this way? I wasn’t even talking to you. I’m just trying to enjoy my drinks, like, you know, kick rocks, basically. Yeah. And so when it came time to actually write my actual monologue that we performed at the end of our class, I integrated like that experience into my standup and to the point but like, For my white male improv teacher, which is like, Hey, I just feel like you should just like go easy on like the white guy jokes. Yeah. Oh, you know, and I was like, Oh really? Cuz you told me that if you find in in with comedy, you know, take it Do me like it was just like



Okay cool. Yeah. So I don’t know, it’s it’s been really fun.


HOST  11:26

I’m glad that you do you like took advantage of the scenario I mean like you know, like I said a lot of times when you start, you want to say stuff but then you’re like, oh maybe I shouldn’t say I’m glad that you know you were ignited by this terrible douchebag as you as it were sorry Ma and, and, you know, let yourself allowed yourself the ability to, to say what you want to say. I feel like even before we were talking earlier about the idea that like now we’re you know getting to be in a society that Could be more open to that kind of thing. But I really think like, you know, you need to be strong and say the strong things, and like like that it’s an acceptable thing to say. And for a while it might be where people are like, I don’t like that. You’re like, well, I’m like, Well, I’m things, right?


Melissa  12:21

I don’t like being the only black girl at every comedy thing that I go to. Hmm, how about that?


HOST  12:28

Oklahoma. Wait, you’re in Nashville now?


Melissa  12:31

I’m in Nashville. It’s still like we’re here in Nashville. Yeah, sure.


HOST  12:36

I’m surprised they stand up but or is it just like the opening of a country music venue?


Melissa  12:42

No, we have a pretty well, pre Corona we had a pretty vibrant comedy scene. I even got to the point where I was getting paid regularly to be a part of shows like just from ticket sales alone. But again, Corona has essentially dried it all. So,


HOST  13:01

yeah, yeah, right now I think it’ll be right now. Yeah. be exciting in the future I have. And, and all I can say is stick with it and keep writing now because as soon as those doors are ready to be open, you’re gonna get right up on that stage and it’s like, Guys 2021 best year ever. Am I right? Like Yeah. Yeah, no, I mean, we’re excited parties. I can’t tell you every Hall every tiny holiday we could possibly celebrate and 2021 is gonna be like fireworks and explosions and hug them over just hug. Oh, let’s just have you want to share let’s let’s lady in the tramp this spaghetti right now. Ah, you’re right in the mouth here right now.


Melissa  13:50

Oh my gosh. Okay. Is it just me or, you know, now that we’re in the Rona life when I’m watching movies, and I see character’s hug their mother. It makes me cry every time cuz I’m just like,



my mom.


Melissa  14:13

And like she only lives three hours away, but she’s also almost 70 Yeah, so she’s just being safe. I’m just kidding. She’s literally on vacation in seaside, Florida right now. I understand my mother’s the same. She’s like,


HOST  14:26

fine. I just went to Verizon store and got a new phone. I’m like, no. talking to people.



Is this a game? Do you do you think this is a game?


HOST  14:40

I don’t know. And then I’m like, do I have stayed home privilege? Is that what’s happening right now? I just sit at your home and do nothing. And they’re like, that’s your life.



Not my life. Yes. Oh


HOST  14:51

my gosh, Mike, I don’t understand


Melissa  14:54

like cancer and she has said those exact words to me. She’s like you’re the type who likes to stay at home. But I’m not Yeah.


HOST  15:04

Yeah, high five. It’s okay. Where are we gonna be okay. And in the future tons of people are gonna be excited to watch comedy in Nashville. It’s gonna be great. Um, I saw a few of the videos that you had on your on your YouTube so they, they they do have some venues. I was sort of joking that I thought it was just kind of music I get it. I know, I think I’ve even talked to people in the improv scene. So like, I know that there’s the scene. But like for you, like, how long have you been in Nashville, you start the band that you were in, was in Oklahoma. And you know, then you were like, I can I’m not going to be in the back. And then you’re like, I’m gonna sing. I don’t even need instruments. That’s how much I want you to notice. And, and then more you’re like, but they’re not looking me at me enough. Let’s get on stage by myself and say whatever I want to say. I’m into it. I think They’re very much two different like, it’s almost like introvert extrovert, right? Like, some people want to be alone. Like, they’re like, I don’t need you to help me. I will say my jokes, you know, whereas when I teach improv I’m usually teaching the other half of people who are like, dude, do I have to talk by myself? I’m like, No, never. Never. This is the game. The game is we’re a team together forever taking care of each other. You’re safe now. Right? So it’s my game. But you know, it’s not how


Melissa  16:32

do you feel about that? Okay, here in the Nashville scene that there’s definitely a sort of a dichotomous vibe of your either improv or stand up and I hate bashes, I do both and they’re fun, but Well, how do you feel?


HOST  16:47

How do I feel personally?


Melissa  16:49

Like do you think there’s some validity to it? You’re either improper stand up.


HOST  16:54

I don’t know that. I don’t know that. I would say that people’s talent is one or the other. I think sometimes people limit themselves one way or the other in any way, like people will leave there. Oftentimes, they will believe they can only be good at one or the other, that they are the opposite sort of skills. It’s the same effort, right? But it’s a different skill set ones, the alone ones, the together, and then people who are alone like to pretend and think that that means they’re, like, stronger and better and like they don’t need other people. But I feel like both sides have need for validation. And, you know, they’re, they’re the same, I think, yeah, it’s just the way you want to express yourself and also, personally, especially when it comes to because then so I’m in in worlds where there’s also the third hybrid storyteller. Who doesn’t get any respect, storytelling don’t get nothing. They get damn off and so much respect from the high pollutants, but they Don’t get no respect from the improv or stand up. They’re like, what are those people doing? And you’re like they’re doing exactly what you’re doing.


Melissa  18:11

You know, I literally host the monster story slam in Nashville. That’s so funny. It’s like,


HOST  18:17

but it’s like important. And it’s like a specific skill that’s not even just related to performing in a comedy sense. It’s also just like a life skill, right? It’s like, go and do the math, and then you can get a TED talk. These things are similar, like, you know, as opposed to, you know, but the standup and the improv worlds are all like, I don’t know what that is, what are they doing? They’re doing what you’re doing, except for instead of groups telling a story, or individuals telling a story. It’s a person who’s gone through like, it’s like, there’s so many stand ups, for instance, that we use that thing. You’re talking about Hannah Gadsby earlier. I totally think of her That way I think of like Mike Birbiglia that way. Yeah, have like a big story they’re telling. And then they put teeny little stories all the way through. Right. And that’s their style. It’s the beginning to the end, the beginning of the story to the end of the story is the full hour long, but then any itty bitty little jokes in between are the standup, right. But that’s what storytelling is. That’s how you keep it going and developing. And I think, personally, that’s, that, for me is the best. You know, I think that that’s you. But it’s also acknowledges storytellers, acknowledge the audience in a way that stand up does not in the same way that improv does. So I would say I see the storytelling as sort of the Venn, the center of the Venn diagram of stand up and improv even though you’re still alone when you’re a storyteller, but you’re not because you’re like, Hey, guys, do you hear about this thing that happened and then everyone in the room is in You’re seeing except for You’re the one talking in the scene,


Melissa  20:02

right. But also my producer is usually with me too. So that’s, that’s awesome. But what I was gonna say I what I like about storytelling is that, you know, before books, there was an oral tradition, and a storyteller had such an important role and a community. And I’m not saying that we’re going to lose books again, like, I don’t want to live in that world at all for the record, but like, storytelling is important in the sense like if there’s a child around and you don’t and you know, your iPads dead, and you know, you’re trying to entertain them, storytelling is infinitely, you know, important in a scenario like that. So I really love storytelling is really like a, an old school life skill. Storytelling is also the way to communicate to people things that they don’t want to hear. Like, if you can give somebody a story About a person who’s doing a thing, you can give them the double whammy of like, and that’s why you shouldn’t be racist, like right


HOST  21:08

at the end and you’re like, wait, Oh, I get it. Now you know what I mean? Like, like, there’s different ways that you’re able to, and doesn’t even have to be as intense is that necessarily you know what I mean? But it’s like, that’s how we teach everything. That’s how if you if you look back at like, sort of like German folktales, or whatever, they’re all horrifying. But then you’re like, oh, but they told that so that kid wouldn’t keep doing whatever he’s doing whatever. Yeah. And you’re like, I guess that’s how you do, man.


Melissa  21:41

But I also read recently that the Inuit culture does the same, they will come up with a story that will scare the child. Like, they’ll be like, if you hit mom, she won’t feel good and she might die and the kid will and they’ll be like, you don’t want your mom to die. Do you and The kid will be like no. And they’ll then they’ll be like, well then don’t hit.


HOST  22:03

Yeah, man. Stuff like that. That seems super cruel. Turns out apparently it’s not. Yeah, read a few of those things. I was also watching a weird there’s a weird rabbit hole and like neuroscience brain, like how your brain works and your brain like so many different things where you’re like, you think your brain works like this? It doesn’t this is a thing that you should do instead. And I was like, what, you know, the way we process stuff, the way we receive information, even though Yeah, for me telling a child that a monster is attacking me so they don’t hit me, you know, might not be great. I maybe have to do it. But like, but like, it tells a strong story. It puts an image out there creates an emotion. That is the emotion you want them to feel right. And that’s what you’re doing with storytelling. You’re like, I want to get them feeling so bad about this thing. Oh my god, I can’t believe but Larry polarie Well, turns out Larry was this guy. Now what? You know, like, whatever, whatever story you’re telling or the whatever point you’re trying to make, you know? Yes. Like, making people feel one thing and changing it on them. Or you know, the other thing too, that I think about is the way we put stories together. You know, like I was just watching the Patton Oswald a new hour on Netflix, and he was talking about how he was telling a story about a person. He was saying that like the Bible’s probably like Jesus is probably multiple people. Because like he when he’s telling a story about like a crazy dude, in his high school, he uses one name, but there really were like, 10 guys, but he just says the one right, because it’s easier to tell a story about all the crazy things Johnny did versus like Johnny did this and Teddy did this. And this guy, like one story. And he’s like, I’ve also kind of forgotten which one of them did anything. And now it’s my story and not theirs. And that’s the other thing too is it’s like, if you can find a way to tell yourself a story, even to reframe something in your head, or to help you get past something, where you’re like, I did this for this reason, and that’s okay. Yeah, to move forward, you know, that kind of stuff. We know I deal with my childhood. Sure. Yeah. To a certain extent, if we can try to separate ourselves and, and process the story of our own lives in a larger, wider sense. I think it can help.


Melissa  24:41

I think so too. I order. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m just hoping that the longer I live, it will hurt less and less and eventually it will just be a story of how I overcame something, you know? Yeah. Huh.


HOST  24:57

Don’t wonder how many things that we have like Like, the, the trauma that you’ve been through, led you to learn lessons and be a certain person so that people can see you being that strong person and be inspired by you in this moment, right? Like that. It’s it’s like you’re you experienced it, so that hopefully Suzy who’s watching you on YouTube doesn’t have to, because now you’re like, Hey, watch out for this crazy shit. And she’s like, Oh, I didn’t know I don’t watch over that crazy shit. And now she’s gone on. Because you told her and yeah, and you seem like a strong person that should be listened to?


Melissa  25:39

Well, I certainly hope lil Susie will listen, because when I was growing up, I mean, my parents were pretty great parents. I mean, they Okay, fine. You know, the emotional intelligence that I have, you know, after studying like human relations, like a bunch of Social Sciences classes, but I don’t blame them. I blame them. The baby boomers in general for that, anyway, and what I’m saying is,



it’s just


Melissa  26:10

I don’t really like I don’t lose any sleep at night over what happened to me anymore. Do you know what I mean? It’s just, I plan to record what happened just like you said, so that it can be potentially a cautionary tale for someone else. And in so that’s one aspect of what I want to achieve with my work. But I also do just want to be like a great entertainer, like all the people that I listed previously. So like, I really if I could get a fraction of the expression that Lucille Ball shared on television, I I’ll definitely be able to die happy, you know. So I’m looking to have as much fun as I can, but also to like, be real about about the stuff that matters, like standing up for people that need help, obviously But like, I definitely want to have some fun and there’s some deep belly laughs in my future, right? And all of our futures come alive.


HOST  27:07

Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Sure. Especially when you’re a person who’s working towards putting laughter in the world, right? That’s not to say that there haven’t been plenty of sad comedians along the way. Yeah, we all have our handful of like, oh, that guy. But but at the same time, I know the exact same person I was, thank you so funny. But like, but like, at the same time, you know, there has to be some solace when you can, when you see the joy that other people get when other people, you know, even just earlier we were talking about a goodwill hunting. I mean, like, that was such a random ridiculous, but that little bit even if you think about that, in the sense that it was like, those were two high school friends who wrote a thing. Yes. Just trying to create something who knows what it is, I’m sure The two of them who, you know, who wrote goodwill hunting weren’t like, you know what I really want to do I want to make like a statement about like, the way people are treating and while they just wrote a story and tried to make it happen, and then now they can use the cloud that they have to do things like I think Matt Damon’s like saving water You know, that’s great. And and and find a way to put that out there but even just like you were saying, like, you want to be a great entertainer, tell me what, what kind of projects are you? It doesn’t even have to you don’t have to know spoilers or anything but like, you know, are you writing screenplays for there to be new characters for you to play? Are you like creating a one woman show just to sort of again, create another discussion about like, stand up versus improv versus storytelling versus one woman shows?


Melissa  28:51

I am currently writing a I guess it’s just a story. For story sake. I want to adapted to a stage play. So the story is very close to being completed. It’s I would say it’s a speculative sci fi plot, just because that’s or I guess magical realism is what I would use to describe it if it were a literary piece, but it’s not. So I’ll stick with speculative sci fi. And basically, okay, I have to preface this by saying in my own life when I had my menarche illustration, it was like, it went away when I was I got it at 13 then it went away because I didn’t wait enough and then it came back with like a gut punch at 14 and from like 14 to 19. Every few months or so I would vomit with my menstrual cramps and it was just like a really painful time. So like, I’m, I’m writing this story, so stay with me here. Future me is celebrating her Her daughter’s first ministration. And she’s like, I’m going to tell you about your secret powers and the kids like, What are you talking about? And then the holster that’s the frame. And then the whole story is me like when I was like 27, I guess me or lm 30 would be more accurate. And it’s just showing like a day in the life of when I had like a shitty job that I hated. And I was like super disgruntled, and I just wanted to go dancing every weekend. And essentially, when this character is on her period, she has psychic powers that can move the victim from one dimension to another, but they just sort of explode into confetti and this dimension, and it’s a whole thing. And okay. I’ve been developing the story for almost a decade and when you were saying earlier that when you write a story, even if you have some some virtue or moral that you’re trying to tell that’s not good enough for a story. Because if you want to capture someone’s heart and their mind, you have to set the scene and make a context and really give the character like a life. And so I’m pretty close to finishing. I’m going to apply for a Master of Fine Arts, you know, whenever those terms for 2021 are announced, of course, and my mom went to Brad Evans DS, and she’s encouraging me to apply to brown. Mankato, your mom went where? In the 70s Oh, my mom went to brown in Rhode Island. Oh, and she’s encouraging me to apply. So I feel very intimidated. And it’s really intimidating. even say it out loud. But yeah, I’m going to apply to brown and I’m going to apply to Yale and I’m going to see what happens.


HOST  31:55

Yeah. Why not? Yeah, yeah. It’s pretty intense.


Melissa  32:00

Yes, yes, I’ve heard that it’s really intense. But here’s the kicker, they’ll pay for everything for like, what is it three years. But the catch is you have to write an original play. So how about that?


HOST  32:16

So you’re going to use this one to be original play or you’re gonna write a new one when you get there.


Melissa  32:22

Oh, there’s a there’s another one in the works. This one it’s much easier to describe. Like, you don’t


HOST  32:28

have to give it away. If you don’t want I don’t want to take away from your thesis.


Melissa  32:33

I’ll just the title will just tell you what it’s about.



Okay, a suicide pact.


Melissa  32:43

But it’s a comedy you know, you want


HOST  32:45

to you want to think that that gives you a lot, but these days, you’re like this could be about anything. This is the third chapter of baby sitters club, isn’t it? Yep. Anyway.


Melissa  32:59

See ya. They’re gonna just wait. It’s gonna be like two friends and I’m remember that movie War of the Roses in the 90s Uh huh. I wanted to have like a War of the Roses field you know like a War of the Roses buddy comedy called suicide pact Yeah, I’m working on


HOST  33:21

anyway. Oh man, your your thing makes me think of like a movie though. Your magical realism makes me think of a movie that could you just go pitch it to Seth Rogen that’s who’s gonna make that like, like, have you watched the show fisherman? I haven’t seen future man yet. Which platform is it on Hulu? Okay. It’s a it’s a good one. He made it and it has. I would say for guys there is darkness in it similar to a story about magical menstruation like They were like when you said that I was like, yeah, Seth Rogen did make that that’s who’s got the cash for that for sure. So like he’s the guy



but written down.


HOST  34:12

I was like, seriously find out where he’s dying to make this movie immediately. Oh man,


Melissa  34:20

I really have a I have a secret motive for it also, my niece is what she’s eight now and I know she’s gonna like, you know, her periods going to come eventually. And I’m not saying my older sister will even allow her to read my play DNA like probably until she’s an adult maybe but but I’m kind of thinking of her and like what I’m going to tell the young people in my life when they start menstruating because I my mom told me when I started that I was a woman now. And do you know what I mean? Like I know Where she was coming from with that. But like, I just to when I associate it with with my being a woman, it’s like I associated being a woman with something negative. Okay, do you know what I’m saying? Kind of like I do like that being said by that definition she wasn’t wrong. Yes, yes. It was just so hard. It was like a sucker punch. Like I was like, Damn like, Oh, so I don’t is would you? What are you going to tell your daughter? Like, would you


HOST  35:35

I don’t have a daughter. Thank god. Oh, I have a son. So I’m not going to tell him anything he will find out about it. He’s dating. No, no, just kidding. No, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of instances where it will appear in his life. But, uh, but yeah, I mean, I mean, I would go straight biology I guess but I like the magical stuff. I think there’s something fun about that. If only just because so many of us have hoped that it would lead to something like real. You know, you’re like, God, what is this and like to the point where one of the other interesting sort of underscores of that particular thing is that not only is it like menstruation is something that not only do we not understand as a culture across the board what’s going on, but we don’t know how to even talk about it. Oh, yeah, individually and as a group, right? It’s Abby, for sure. More than half of the people are dealing with it. Right. So we talk about this thing, right? Like I can watch 27 Viagra commercials, but when the girl comes on and pours like a half gallon a liquid into the pad, I’m like, turn it off. I can’t do it like right, even though I’m like what’s, wait, before we turn off? Can you just what’s the name of it? Okay. That’s fine. You know what I mean? Like,


Melissa  37:03

it also happens to be you know, but origin of all human life on Earth.


HOST  37:08

Right? Can I just tell you that like, the door when I had a child, the door was open to me into the like, Mom groups of Facebook, and in the mom groups of Facebook, there can be terrible things. But there can also be really frank discussions about biology that I enjoy. Like when he’s gonna sing well, because he’ll be like a new mom like people before. don’t join it if you okay, if you have a child, do not join the Facebook mom groups until after you have a child. If you go there early. It’s like It’s like peeking through the curtain and being like, what? Like, it’s not you don’t want to know.



I’m already so scared of birth trauma.


HOST  37:56

No, no, no, no, no, it’s way it’s it’s fine. It’s not Not a big deal. No, having a baby is the same as human life. Meaning if you make a big deal out about it about it, it’ll be a big deal. But if you just try to go with the flow and be fine, it’s fine. Okay,


Melissa  38:11

I have a question. I have a question. Yeah. Did you like exercise during your pregnancy?


HOST  38:19

Oh, I forget you. You’ve never seen me know, I don’t exercise very often ever. And I didn’t exercise that much. I mean, that being said, I probably exercised more during my pregnancy than any other time in my life with that only because our car broke down. And so I had to take the bus everywhere for a long time during my pregnancy night. And so I ended up walking tons and tons and tons of miles all the time. Because I worked like I said, temp jobs and jobs don’t pick their locations to be near write ups, right or I would get off a bus and walk six blocks to some office and do Ever. But yeah, during that time I did. I did lots and lots and lots and lots of walking. But I didn’t think about it and it wasn’t like, I’m exercising. You know what I mean? Did you ever reach a time


Melissa  39:12

in your pregnancy where like, the doctor was like, you should just stay in bed and you shouldn’t move?


HOST  39:19

No, no, no. That being said, I, I’m 42 and my babies three. So I was 39. So they already looked at me like I’m crazy. And like I said, You’ve never seen me so you don’t know. I’m a large lady. I’m a plus size woman. So they were also like, Oh my god, are you all right? And I was like, I’m fine. So like, those two factors meant that I had to have a secondary Doctor Who would like check me out but turned out. Don’t tell him. Don’t tell anybody. The secondary doctor was better. The secondary doctor gave me better care than my first doctor. My first doctor be like what era were they put like a Korean War era microphone to my stomach and Bill So I was like, I don’t know what’s happening. I go to this other place and it was like a fancy, soft music and playing in the, in the lobby. They were like, would you like some herbal tea and you’re like, yeah. And then you go into a room that’s like, low lighting. And then like a sweet gal comes in and is all like, let’s do a 3d sonogram of the inside of your body and look at your new child’s body. And you’re like, I’d love that. I like having a baby. And then the first idea of them treating me weird. I was like, Oh, no, but then I was like, turns out they’re super nervous about me. So they’re gonna take care of me like they’re super scared, anything could happen. And they’d be like, please sit down on this soft chair. And I was like, All right. I’ll take a few minutes off share. I started to like some water. Yeah, I’ll have some water. I’m parched. Get it in here. Oh, yeah. And the doctor came in and he’d like hold my hand. didn’t look at me and be like we’re so excited for you and I was like yeah, you are like it was just like the way that I was able to transition perhaps just my mind maybe everyone was equally crazy all the way through but like having this secondary doctor it seemed luxurious versus a problem. They wanted to take extra care and we because they were all like check out the fat all the she’s gonna die. And I did. I’m very healthy.



All I have to say is


Melissa  41:35

I’m gonna be 35 minute few weeks and your story is like giving me so much hope because like I I do, I’m gonna put it off as long as possible. It I like just hearing stories of women that are older moms and I like I just had a doctor’s appointment last week so I got the talk about being an older mom. Or geriatric pregnancy I think was the most insulting way I’ve ever heard it put, but like, you’re just giving me so much hope and thank you so much for sharing your story.


HOST  42:12

Plus, the other thing was, I was so nervous about like having the child like emerging from my my loins as a word. He is perfect from beginning to end. And what he did was he just sat up and waited. And they were like, your baby can’t come out feet first. So we’re gonna have to do a scheduled c section. I was like, That’s right, boy. Make it easy and quick for Mama. Thank you. lovely morning. We had a schedule. He appeared on schedule. He was like, Hello, I’m here on time and we were like, excellent. And that was it. You know? Like other people are like four to seven hours. Crazy times. I’m All righty. Nope. That being said, I was like, kinda Looking forward to that, but glad I skipped it. Right.



Gotcha, gotcha.


HOST  43:04

I was like mentally preparing myself for, like, you know, like, when you know, you’re gonna have, like now for instance, when you know, you’re gonna have like a, quote, formative experience, and you have to really try super hard to soak as many lessons as you can out of it while you’re hating every minute of it. I figured that that’s what we would do with the birth. I was like, yeah, you know what, it’s gonna be one of those life things. I’m gonna be like, down and dirty with the other mothers or the earth, and we’re gonna be like, let’s do this. But then when they were like, it turns out that your child would like to be scheduled. I’m like, that’s my boy. Like, it was exactly right for me and so perfect. And like, Mm hmm. I was like, thank you. That’s correct. But I like that. Thank you for saying that. Yay. It can be wonderful. have lots of friends. I have a friend who has like, I don’t even know how many at this point like 14 kids. Oh yeah. Yeah, she loves it. I don’t think she hasn’t. I don’t think she hasn’t been pregnant in ever, like her oldest just graduated high school, but she has a brand new baby. It’s intense. He likes it. She’s gonna do it. Whatever, man.


Melissa  44:29

Uh, yeah, I mean, my mom had four. So I mean, that seems insane to me. Yeah.



I don’t know.


HOST  44:37

But the more I like do stuff and meet different people and see their like, level of being able to like, juggle and stuff. I’m just like, Hey, man, we are all we’re all figuring it out in our own way. Yeah, I can do it. Do it up. That’s right. Don’t


Melissa  44:52

worry, Aaron. Like I mean amazes me. You know, I mean, like, every single parent is incredible. Like in the sense that they are responsible and like I’m not sort of,


HOST  45:04

Oh, no, no, no, yeah, I can’t think of it that way. Because it’s not. It’s not a before or after, like now I suddenly understand because that’s where the trouble happens. I don’t want people become parents and they’re like, Oh, no, I’m not and wise, like I thought I would be no, one’s wise, we’re all terrible all the time, right? It’s just a matter of how to navigate our terrible. Like, it’s like, how do you figure out like, like, everything we’ve been talking about, there were tough times, right. And you found a way through those tough times and still found a way to make your even though there was roadblocks to you doing comedy to you being the person that you are, you made it there on your own terms of jumping over it, kicking that boulder off the road, whatever you had to do, and we all deal with it in our own different ways, right. It’s really just a matter of how you’re you know, trying To make it work, right? No parent is doing it right. We’re just like juggling and dropping a few balls here and there and hoping it works out. Yeah, like even to bring it back to like being a performer. Right? All those comedians that you listed all the comedians that we like, they have off days, we don’t hate them for it. You know, they’re not always great, they’re tired a lot. Sometimes they’re mean, because they’re tired, or because they’re a human being, you know, like, there’s you, we’ve gotta just be in the journey for our own journey, whatever thing it is. So like, Don’t put yourself down for not having accomplished something you’ve accomplished, what you’ve done, and your stuff is important. It’s just different. And maybe your next adventure will be in the parenting realm, but maybe it won’t. Doesn’t matter. It’s still the journey is still worthy no matter what path it goes down, because there’s just millions of people out there. You can identify with it,


Melissa  47:02

whatever. Oh, yeah. Man, Amy, you got a way with words.


HOST  47:10

Oh, man. Well, no, I just try to part of what I really like about chatting about people’s lives in this podcast is the idea of being able to reflect on stuff. And yeah, I say that I’m a Pollyanna, but I also try my best to help everybody to sort of frame the way they look at their own lives. So they appreciate it the way I appreciate it. When I hear the stories, when I hear stuff, and I’m like, man, I can’t believe you got through that and like, Oh my god, what would I have done? I don’t even know. But you’re telling me things that you’ve gone through and experiences and like, I’ve never been a backup singer in a band I want to do you know, like things like I’ve never done I didn’t know acapella was a thing. No joke. Until the movies, like I didn’t really know.


Melissa  48:03

Oh, yeah, at all. There was a movie about sweet adelines Oh my god.



I just didn’t know.



Your vero seal ball for sure for sure.


HOST  48:25

I mean, other than the hopeful better marriage choices, you know, other than that,


Melissa  48:29

definitely. Well, now that I mentioned it My husband is a percussionist. Oh my god.


HOST  48:37

Oh my goodness. Oh my gosh, I’m losing. Oh, wacky. Oh, yeah, so huh. Who knows? Who knows that being a lover lover hate that show? You know, whatever. The business scenario was on point. Yeah. Oh, you like


Melissa  48:56

the fact that no wait, start. Star Trek. Yeah, yeah, I’m


HOST  49:02

pretty sure the studio that they owned was the place where tons of stuff started to love it. Like they were, like, especially these days, and I don’t mean to, like put anyone down that’s not doing great a business because business is hard. But when I see businesses thriving and doing things right now, like and I say right, and I mean right now, but I also mean correctly, like when they’re dealing with this and finding a way to make it work for them, but also not being super disrespectful to like the, you know, death. I’m like, Bryce, you are doing it. You have found a way and like, I appreciate that there’s something so I don’t know. The nicest way to use the word American I guess. Like it’s it’s like, do you mean like you’re you like the adaptations that the industry’s made for a Corona? I mean, that I like the fact that some companies have pivoted in such a way to make themselves better for people or, or to improve their own business, given the circumstances that this was, this is a tough thing that we’re all dealing with. And we’re all going to have to find a way to pivot our lives in such a way to whatever happens next. But the fact that some of these businesses have been so, like active that they’ve made, like mid craziness pivots is like, yeah, oh, yeah, that’s nice. And also because who knows? There’s lots of businesses out there where you’re like, I don’t know if that business is gonna last purely outright, just general life, where’s the money to buy that thing? Or, like, no one’s doing that anymore? So of course, it’s gonna close down, you know, like in Austin, there’s six improv theaters, and they’ve all been closed since March or April. And so right now, everyone’s kind of rallying behind their community to keep it going, you know, for a period of time, there’s tons of online shows, of course, but you know, how much is that working? Some of them pivoted seconds in, it was like, all of a sudden it was like, wait, there’s an online show. What? Oh, wow. Okay. You know, it’s interesting to see how businesses are affected the way people are affected, almost like we were talking about earlier, where it was like, the way we are able to change pivot the way we think of our art now, because now we have a wider the cultural landscape is different. You know what I mean? Like if you’re right, if you were writing if the screenplay in your computer right now is a rom com, a real basic rom com, you’re gonna want to shut up. nobody’s buying them, you’re not being made. Right? Like, there needs to be some grit. There needs to be something you know, even even your story, you’re talking about the The magical menstruation I know that’s something I’m just throwing out there. It’s kind of interesting. That is, that’s the sort of edgy and Roman. Yeah, exactly. So you’re using it in a good way you’ve like pivoted and found, what do we need? What do they need to hear from me?


Melissa  52:21

Yes, I’m thinking about the little ladies that are coming up. Yeah, no, get the Little Women if he will. I’ll even go with the gender neutral spelling of women with the x instead of any. I’ll go ahead and do that. Sure. Sure.


HOST  52:37

Man. I mean, well, because you’re right. I mean, it’s good that you represent women in that moment, because there’s a lot of shows about not a lot, but certainly a handful of shows about what puberty is like for boys. Yeah, man. Isn’t it crazy? Did you know I had a deck and we know


Melissa  52:54

  1. And it’s like, yeah, we know because I was also there at puberty, too. Yeah, totally. Like literally everywhere in my life, there’s always a guy that wants to talk about his dick everywhere.



That’s like half a comedy, isn’t it?



How are you? Have you seen my dick?



That should be the name of my one woman show stories about my dick.


HOST  53:23

Debbie insensitive it would be it wouldn’t be. They’d be like, Oh, it’s a crazy show. And I’d be like, Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s not it was derogatory against sticks. Sorry.


Melissa  53:34

Well, it’s true. It’s true. Having you okay, I, again, I’m gonna read 35 pretty soon so you know, AOL was a huge part of my life at one point so like, the day when I when I started seeing the phrase big dick energy on the internet last year, I was confused. Like completely like I was just like, Oh, is that What is that the energy that the kids are exuding these days? You know what I mean? Like, what is this big dick energy? What? And now, um, you know, the social justice warriors of the internet have deemed that big dick energy and also little dick energy, which is apparent was a thing are now body shaming and like, sort of fetishizing different types of body parts because, like, think about it if we, if we were a person with a big or a little dick, like it, it would suck to have that being said out loud, you know, like, why can’t we just like not talk about people’s dick size? Maybe like, you know,


HOST  54:44

I’m gonna respect that, but I’m, for an alternate point of view.


Melissa  54:50

Oh, I’m here for it.


HOST  54:52

It’s kind of like the dudes, they can take a couple of punches and they’re gonna for a little bit before they couldn’t possibly understand what’s going on. So, yeah, no, I don’t feel bad. I won’t be stopping. I’ll stop saying all sorts of other things that I’ve heard about I, I, I will try to listen and change in that way. But this one, no, I’m not gonna do it. I’m not gonna do it. Because they can they can take it and they’re big dick.


Melissa  55:22

I think so too. And I also Well, I personally, I deleted my Twitter like six years ago, just for liability reasons. I kept seeing all these stories where people were like, so and so’s Twitter, you know, alerted his fan base to his predilection for necromancy. Like, do you know what I’m saying? Like,



that’s a hell of a title out there. That’s a crazy


Melissa  55:46

some unforseen like skeletons in the closet that someone finds on Twitter so I just got rid of it.


HOST  55:52

Yeah, but I don’t know you but I’m sure you don’t have that kind of skeleton of it. If, if a tweet has alerted your fan base to your predilection for necromancy. feel like they knew. I feel like they knew. Like that was a thing that they knew. You know? It’s like every time there’s a creeper where they’re like this comedian turns out to be terrible. You’re like, have you looked at this photo? Like, right? Like, 90% of the photos of this guy look like, you know, they were taken after he was arrested. What’s happening right now? These are production shots. Like, what? So I’m never really surprised. But it’s true. It’s true. I feel like we’ve gone on a weird tangent. Let’s do a final pleasant comedy related thing. And then we’ll and then we’ll say, Adios. So what is I know we talked about your writing projects, and the things that you’re doing? Is there any other like thing that you’re excited about right now? I know that you You can’t be on stage. And but are there other little projects that you’re doing? Maybe not even comedy related, but something that you’re excited about that you’re working on right now?


Melissa  57:12

Yeah, actually, well, I do host the moth story slam still I’ve been an employee with them for I guess a little over a year now and I just had a story slam via zoom last night. And it was so much fun like I just to look in all the people that were in zooms faces and you know, see their expressions when they were telling their stories. That was really fun. I wasn’t expecting to like enjoy it as much as I did. And the next one’s coming up in August. So I’m looking forward to that very much. It’s like back before Corona. Unfortunately, there was a tornado in Nashville but destroyed the venue where our story slam took place. I yeah, like 2020 has been literally been the worst chaotic year. But But yesterday story slam was the first slam that’s taken place since January because the tornado destroyed the venue in February and then Corona canceled all the others. So I’m glad that has picked up again. And I advertise those shows on my Instagram, which for anyone who’s listening, my Instagram handle is at mokou naito. It’s my last name in Japanese I took Japanese and undergrad and my teacher like, transcribed My name into Japanese and it was just like a really fun day and I wanted to remember that. Anyway, so but so I have the story slam going on. And then also I’m making earrings at my house. I’ve been knitting for 22 years and I’m just getting these little heart pillows and putting them on earring hooks and selling For $25 and it’s just to add a little bit of wimzie I’d say if you if you’re kind of into like Harajuku style where it’s just like an eccentric pillow that that’s hanging from your ear, you’re going to love them.


HOST  59:17

I hope that’s your marketing and your low hanging from your ear.


Melissa  59:22

It’s pretty weird but I sent a pair to my mom and they looked so cute and I was just like mom, this is cutting edge Do you gotta wear those earrings.


HOST  59:33

I don’t know anything about your mom but I feel like she probably is not the kind of person who wears those earrings.


Melissa  59:38

Well, she put them on just to throw me off of her trail. But when I facetimed her on the beach a few days ago she was wearing them.


HOST  59:48

Oh she loves you so much.


Melissa  59:54

I hope so I love her a lot too. I honestly I love moms like there’s there are very Few moms that I don’t like when I need them. Do you know what I’m saying? I love moms Come on.


HOST  1:00:08

Like Don’t let me go down the Facebook mother group rabbit hole again. I’m not doing it. It’s not gonna happen. You’re trying to draw me out. I’m not gonna do it sounds pretty juicy. Oh, it’s a good time. It’s a good time. I’m surprised there are more television shows about it when when we get our meeting with Seth Rogen. You don’t mind. Let me tell you about the moms.


Melissa  1:00:34

I mean, the way I make jokes crossover, I see the moms and the suicide pact story. I mean, look, it’s I would watch that show.


HOST  1:00:44

I feel like moms with a suicide pact is a little too real. Does that sound



I would watch that jazz. Oh, okay. On your pilot and I’m gonna work on


HOST  1:01:01

Oh my god, you know what I also have another I have a, I used to work in hotels in New York City. And so after hearing your hotel stories and my hotel stories, I was like, oh, man, I’m swiping that one and Butner right and this crazy story. Man, you’re funny. Moms in hotels. That’s what I’m writing down in my notebook right here. Oh, man, I also like the idea for the that. It’s both sides of it. Like when you mentioned the crossover, I thought you’re gonna talk about the daughter who’s menstruating and then the mom who has to tell her and it’s like two different shows. One’s the kid figuring it out. And one of the mom going to her friends like who’s got wine I just had to talk to lose Louisiana about her period. Now like I can’t believe it. I just had to discuss it with her to say what did you say? guarantee in a few years me and my Friends are going to be sitting around somebody’s living room going like What did she say next? What? What did she say? What did you give her? tampons? You gave her tampons right away. Oh my god, like there’s no


Melissa  1:02:14

oh my gosh, honestly my mom Oh, I will never let her lift this down. She offered to insert a tampon for me like when I had one of the first times when I was just like really scared about it. I was like, I don’t know how it works. The illustrations kind of confusing. Julie, if you want me to come in, I’ll help you. I’ll put it in for you. And I was like, no. Oh, like I knew that. I knew that was too far but I still appreciate she offered you know,


HOST  1:02:47

that’s the other part of being a mom that’s so hard is that like you’re with this little person and you want to help them you’ve wiped their bud you’ve made sure they’re don’t have rashes you like make They don’t eat the foods that give them allergies, you’re so on top of them. And then as soon as something you’re like, Hey, I know how to do this. Let me tell you. It’s pretty alright. Don’t worry about it. And they’re like, you can’t talk to them about it because they’re like, I want to talk about it. You’re like, Yeah, get it. Me neither. Oh.


Melissa  1:03:22

As my older sister told me, she said, after having her first child, she was like, it feels like my heart is on the outside of my body walking around. Yeah, and I was like, Cool. Cool. Cool. Great. Yeah, cool. Sounds fun.


HOST  1:03:37

I feel like I finally found a good reason for my Boston fury. Oh, like I’m like my mama bear. Has has like, given new life to the fire, because it’s like, my Boston is just my like, in general being angry about stuff which is not as fun as it seems. But Now that I have a child to protect the idea of that is what really gets me going. Oh, nice. Nice. Get up. What are you doing? Quick looking at them? Here I’ll show you. So there’s some, you know,


Melissa  1:04:15

yeah, that seems like I get into that because that seems to make a lot of sense. Like I could I could get behind that kind of motivated anger sounds that sounds appealing. You know what, though?


HOST  1:04:29

flipside, rough Flipside. I’m going to give you a rough Oh, I have never. I was never the kind of person who was nervous to walk home alone late at night. I knew there was danger, but I always felt like I could handle it. But now that I have a child, I feel more vulnerable. Because I can’t just become crazy to this person. Like I can be. It’s like with bears. You know, they say like you have to be bigger and crazier than them. That’s I treated people on the street in general. Like when I lived in New York, I would just be the weirdest one. And then they’re like, Oh, don’t mess with her. You know? If anyone gets too close to me, I just start like ranting about ridiculous things. Okay, well don’t talk to that one. You know, and that works. But it doesn’t work. When you have a baby or your kid you’re trying to rant uncontrollably they call CPS and not not go, Well, I should leave that woman alone. Instead, they’re like, go grab that baby, you know, so you can’t it’s like a different kind of vibe. And I can’t I also can’t be like, What? Oh, to anybody, right, by the way, is definitely how I react to a lot of things with a child like he’s here, and I have to stay sweet and gentle to him while also you know, so because they learn what they live. Right? Right. And I can’t just be like the right thing to do is to be combative with other adults. I can’t I can’t do that. Not Yes, you’re not Yeah, I have to teach him to be kind and open and identify each situation individually and not assume that because it happened once this way it’s going to happen that way. Again, so that’s a toughy. But


Melissa  1:06:19

I feel you I, I really like all the insights that you shared about being a mom and I guess every time I meet any mom, that’s older than me, I’m going to be like, Oh, well do you you had your baby, please tell me the story. Because I love it. It makes me feel so much better about everything. Honestly.


HOST  1:06:42

I feel like we just found you a podcast is what needs you talking to older mom.


Melissa  1:06:51

You got a TV, you know, a TV pitch and I got a podcast pitch



It has been a joy to chat with you. Thank you so much for being on the podcast with all the wacky podcast. Thank you so much Amy. It was my pleasure and I hope I’ll talk to you again very soon.


Melissa  1:07:15

Follow me on Instagram if you want to stay up to date on my happenings.


HOST  1:07:20

Oh happening so excited. Thanks for listening to yes but why podcast? Check out all our episodes on yes but why podcast calm or check out all the content on our network at Universal as HC Universal Network calm


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