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Nov. 29, 2022

Allison Dore: Laughing All the Way

Women are not funny, or at least not as funny as men. Men don’t like funny women, they like women who laugh at their jokes, but not their penises. If women are funny, they’re probably lesbians. On and on it goes, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Enter Allison Dore, laughing. Allison is the founder of Howl and Roar Records, a female centric comedy record label that facilitates in the creation and distribution of content, in order to empower artists and help different voices and perspectives be heard. Plus, she’s funny. Allison, Wendy and Mo talk about Christopher Hitchens, atheism, standup, sit down, and trying to be funny in a dangerous time.

Allison Dore is the host of the entertainment-focused, daily talk radio show The Breakdown, on SiriusXM channel 167. In 2018 she founded Howl & Roar Records, a female-centric comedy record label with a mandate to focus 70% of their output on women in the industry. In the remaining 30% priority is given to men in marginalized communities. Allison is a highly coveted speaker and host, and shares her story of battling mental illness and addiction in order to bring hope to those who are currently struggling. 

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Speaker 1 00:00:02
The women of Ill repute with your hosts. Wendy Mesley and Maureen Holloway.

Speaker 2 00:00:07
Wendy, we're bringing the funny this week.

Speaker 3 00:00:09
Okay, I'm ready. It's going to be funny. Funny, funny, funny, funny all the way through.

Speaker 2 00:00:13
Funny, funny. Except we can't what? We can't what we can't bring the funny is women. We are not biologically equipped to be funny.

Speaker 3 00:00:22
Oh, come on. No, explain. What do you mean?

Speaker 2 00:00:25
Well, you know what I'm talking about. I'm referring back to a highly contentious article written by Christopher Hitchens for Vanity Fair back in well, I like Christopher Hitchens, but in 2007, he wrote an article to make a long story longer. Hitchens maintained that women are not funny because there's no need to be funny on an evolutionary scale, that men will protect us and be attracted to us even if we don't make them laugh. And furthermore, women are more interested in talking about things and making jokes about them. Jokes are a male code. And finally, and this one, if you don't know about it, it's going to kill you.

Speaker 3 00:01:04
I know where you're going.

Speaker 2 00:01:05
When women themselves laugh, it probably is because a man has a small penis.

Speaker 3 00:01:10
Yeah. So I think that is the whole issue all wrapped up. Anyway. I bet that went over really well, particularly the small penis part.

Speaker 2 00:01:18
Yeah. So then you might recall a bunch of famous female comedians like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman took issue with this, and they appeared on the COVID of Vanity Fair and obviously had the wherewithal to show him the error of his ways as they're all highly successful comedians. But Hitchens just doubled down and said, bless your little heart, but I'm still not laughing at you.

Speaker 3 00:01:41
That's his problem. And then he kind of died.

Speaker 2 00:01:44
We totally died.

Speaker 3 00:01:45
We shouldn't be laughing.

Speaker 2 00:01:47
No, but that does sort of where the argument doesn't hey, come back here. So anyway, the argument continues in comedy, and almost every other area of women are lagging behind.

Speaker 3 00:01:58
Yeah, which kind of sucks. But we're going to change all of that with the podcast. And so today we have on our podcast Allison Dor. So she is the founder and CEO of Howell and Roar Records, which is a female centric comedy record label that empowers artists and facilitates the creation of content.

Speaker 2 00:02:18
So many questions. Like, what's a record label?

Speaker 3 00:02:21
Yeah, I sort of remember those record labels. But she's also a broadcaster. I'm not sure that broadcasters exist anymore. There's podcasters, right? She has a daily show that's called The Breakdown on SiriusXM. She has a podcast like US, which I believe is on Hyatt, because podcasting is well, it's kind of hard, as we know.

Speaker 2 00:02:38
Podcasting is hard, do you think? Tell me about it.

Speaker 3 00:02:41
And she's a former comedian, which is like perfect, Maureen, because our whole podcast is a comedian and a journalist walk into a bar. She's a former comedian. Perfect.

Speaker 2 00:02:49
But I don't think you can be a former comedian, you either are a comedian or you're not. It's like being a priest. Even if you decide to leave the church, you are still a priest.

Speaker 3 00:02:58
The church is comedy. Women are still trying to make their way we're getting we're getting somewhere. Good analogy, but is it funny?

Speaker 1 00:03:05
No, of course not.

Speaker 3 00:03:06
You're a woman.

Speaker 2 00:03:13
Let's say hello to Alison Dora. Hello, Alison.

Speaker 1 00:03:17
Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 3 00:03:20
Oh, it's so lovely to talk to you. So can you be funny? That's how I used to do interviews with comedians all the time, and I would start by saying, tell me a joke.

Speaker 1 00:03:32
Yeah. And Wendy, they said some mean things about you behind your back after that question, because comedians hate that question. But I do just want guys, I have to big you up a little bit before I dive into I want to comment so bad on everything you just said, but I just want you to know that I am so stoked to be here. And when you asked me, I texted so many people being like, oh, my God, get so let me begin the podcast. You can't believe it. So I'm so thrilled to be here. By the way, Hitch would love it that you said, and then he died and laughed. He would love that. And I think he's one of those guys. I loved that guy, but also, I wanted to punch him in the face. And I think that's the reality of human beings, because that was one area where I went, no, you're completely wrong about this. And if we want to make it genetic and biological, he is forgetting a huge component, which I think men can do sometimes, which is, sure, women don't have to be funny necessarily to attract a mate, if you want to go by that logic. However, one of the biggest threats to women's safety, especially if we go back to evolutionary days in caveman's, is men. Yeah.

Speaker 3 00:04:42
And some of their jokes are not funny. For, like, ten years, it seemed like all of the jokes that men were doing was about, hey, I'm going to hump you in the behind. Let's do a hump hump, isn't it? No, it's not funny.

Speaker 1 00:04:56
Kind of funny when you do it. That was pretty funny. But managing the emotions of men is something that women have had to do since the dawn of time, and humor is part of that. So I hate the biological argument because humor has nothing to do with that. It has nothing to do with genetics. But at the same time, it's like, buddy, you missed a huge component of that. Like, you oversimplified my friend. And the fact that you don't think women are funny doesn't mean they're not. It means you don't think they are. But part of why he was, in a way, so beloved is he had his opinions, and he would get a glass of whiskey and tell you what he thought, and he didn't care. So that was a tough one for me because I was in a real loving that guy phase when that came out, and I was like, oh, no, I hate you.

Speaker 2 00:05:44
He broke a lot of people's heart. That's why we're still talking about him years later, because it was an intelligent argument. Not a valid one, but an intelligent one. And it kind of broke those of us, especially us women who loved him. We're like, you're telling me, I get it, but you're breaking my heart. And then, as we said, he died. But the argument continued. He sure he sort of died. As Wendy said.

Speaker 3 00:06:09
You know what? This is a completely different trap to fall into. But he was an atheist, and everyone wanted him to say that women were funny, but they also wanted him to say, okay, now you're entering the pearly gates. Will you embrace God? And he was like, no, but I don't think he ever said women were funny either. So he kind of stuck to his guns, as the men would say.

Speaker 1 00:06:26
Sure, he thought what he thought, and I think when he got sick, that was the big question everyone had for him. And I'm also an atheist, and I think there is this idea that in the last moments, you're going to change your minds. But I also think, sure, that's on people's deathbeds, they have changed their minds, but I think you can't go with what they said in the scariest moment of their lives versus what they said for their entire lives. But he was one of those people that I was like, no, of course not. It doesn't matter that I'm dying. I still believe what I believe, bless him.

Speaker 2 00:07:02
And I say that with all the irony speaking. Okay, so we're touching on religion and comedy, which are not totally disassociated. Let's go back to that idea that you are a former comedian. You're not a former comedian.

Speaker 1 00:07:17
No, I mean, I use that only because I don't get on stage anymore. And, yeah, I'm a former stand up. And to me, I think when you're in the standup world, you think stand up is the only type of comedian there is, which obviously is not true. But, yeah, I just don't get on stage anymore. But you're right, it's a way of life. It's a way of being. It gets inside you. I always liken it to the Mafia. You can quit, but you can never really leave. Or it's Hotel California. And so it is something that just it's a way of looking at the world. At some point, it becomes almost an ideology because you're constantly thinking about how is this funny? Or seeing sides of it that maybe people who don't live in the weird world of comedy might not see. So you're right, it never leaves you.

Speaker 3 00:08:04
Well, I think Maureen and I would agree with you. When we had a big fight. We had a couple of little fights, but one big fight. And during that moment, she sent me Tina Faye's notes on how to do improv. Because I kind of agree with all of the comedians who say stand up is like the ultimate ultimate, but I can't imagine doing that your whole life. It would be so hard. So you did stand up, but now you're doing kind of sit down.

Speaker 2 00:08:31
Before we get to alison. Back to me. I disagree. I think stand up, you're tight. Ten minutes, you work on it, you polish it, you've got your piece, you come out. But I think improv is more demanding because you have to think on your feet and you don't know where you're going, where standup is more of a controlled effort. What would you say to that, Allison?

Speaker 1 00:08:53
I think you're right in many ways, and certainly improv is the hardest, right? Which is also why improv has such kind of a bad rap in a way, is because it's so difficult that if it's not going well, the audience is like, well, I hate improv. This is ridiculous. But when it goes well, it blows your mind. And there are people that are so gifted, and I'm okay, I'm not great. You look at people like Melissa McCarthy, who is a genius, improviser Paul F. Tomkins. Oh, my God, he's so good, it makes me want to cry. But I think with stand up, when you start out, for sure, you're very much going from the script, but there also has to be a fluidity and a give and take with the audience, and that's what makes the best standups the best. And when you watch a special like, that's a bit of a different situation, because you're right, that's very polished. They're saying what they have worked on and they practice. But when you're in front of an audience in a club or whatever that show setting is, it's much different, and there is a lot more improv because you have to control the room.

Speaker 3 00:09:55
Isn't it harder these days? Because, like I saw a few years ago, I saw Don Rickles, which was probably one of the last shows he did before he died. And I am not a Don Rickles fan.

Speaker 2 00:10:04
Sweet man, though, apparently.

Speaker 3 00:10:06
Well, yeah, so is Don Cherry, but seriously, sweet man. I went to see Don Rickles because all the comedians were saying, you have to see Don Rickles. He's dying, and he's a god of comedy. Even if you disagree with everything he says, he's funny. So I went and at the end of it, he did improv. He was like a thousand years old. He was dead two weeks later.

Speaker 2 00:10:27
It killed him.

Speaker 3 00:10:29
Yeah, I think so. It was had to be the improv.

Speaker 2 00:10:33
Anyway, he did all of these jokes.

Speaker 3 00:10:34
But they were all basically racist. Like, there's no way that anybody could do those jokes today.

Speaker 2 00:10:41
That's a generational thing, though.

Speaker 3 00:10:43
But how do you do improv in this day and age where everybody takes offense at everything?

Speaker 2 00:10:50
How do you do comedy? It's such a scary time.

Speaker 1 00:10:53
So I'm one of those people that doesn't feel like it's a scary time, to be honest with you. And I think it's really funny. The difference is and first of all, with John Rickles, it's different for sure. People who love comedy and have been watching him their whole lives give him more of a pass. Like, if you look at Eddie Murphy's for Special Delirious, if you did not watch it in the 80s, you cannot watch it now because you'll be like, this is horrifying. You will not be able to overlook the jokes, which he has since apologized for. And Don Rickles is very much the same. If you don't have the context of Don Rickles from the 50s, you're going to go, what am I watching? Who is this man? But I do think, like, today, it is a different time. We have a different sensibility. And the difference is, is that it used to be only the comedian had the microphone. And so if you didn't like the show, maybe you complained to the venue. Maybe you went home and you told all your friends you hated the comic. Now you get on social media and you tell the comic directly. And so the difference is, now comics hear the feedback. It used to just be you get laughs or you don't, and you judge it on that. Now you get people giving you their commentary on social media, and no one who creates or wants to be in the public eye wants to hear you suck. And I didn't like it. And so I think comics are very much like, well, you can't say anything. Well, of course you can. You can say whatever you want. But now the audience has the mean to say whatever they want, too, and that feels uncomfortable. And so it's not any different than it ever was before, except for now you're hearing the feedback you don't want.

Speaker 3 00:12:29
So you must get you do. Can we talk about your show?

Speaker 1 00:12:31
Of course, yeah, we can talk about whatever you want, but you must get.

Speaker 3 00:12:35
Lots of feedback because you started this show to interviewer actually, to empower, I think was the word, empower female comedians. You must get lots of feedback. So tell us, I guess, why did you launch your show?

Speaker 1 00:12:46
Oh, you mean the label.

Speaker 3 00:12:48

Speaker 1 00:12:49
Okay, so the label was it kind of happened by accident, and there were a few things that caused it. But one of the things is I host a show on SiriusXM, and there is a Canadian comedy channel there, and my boss asked me if I wanted to curate a show for that channel celebrating women in comedy. And the idea is that the Canadian Comedy Channel usually only plays Canadian comedians. And so when I got access to kind of the system to see who's in there. I realized A, we did not have enough women in Canada with jokes in the system for me to be able to make it a show just about Canadian women. So I had to broaden it to celebrating funny women around the world. And luckily, they let me do that. But also, it was because women in Canada just were not recording at the same rate as their male counterparts. And obviously there's way more men, but proportionally speaking, they weren't doing it. And there was a number of headliners and women that have been doing this for 2030 years that had nothing. And I was like, Why aren't you recording? There's people out there with even a great 2030 minutes that it's like, this is additional income. This is additional exposure. This is all the kind of things and I kind of went around just yelling at women for a while, being like, Are you recording? And shockingly, that doesn't work. That does not motivate people. And then I also had some issues with I had put out an album. The experience was I hated it. And so I kind of went, okay. I think there are some barriers that women face that men don't necessarily in comedy. And I think I can see both sides of it now. And now being in more of an audio field, I think I can make it a lot easier. And so initially, I was just going to, like, low key help out some ladies, and it kind of snowballed and got away from me. And then I realized that there are also challenges for men of color and people in the LGBTQ plus community. So I didn't want to make it exclusively women, which is why we're female centric. So our focus and output is on women. And then in the remaining 30%, it's our focus is on people in marginalized communities. The one exception, obviously being my brother, because it is entertainment and nepotism is the rule, the women of ill repute.

Speaker 3 00:15:21
So your brother's a comedian, too?

Speaker 1 00:15:23
John Dor yes, my brother's a brilliant comedian. I mean, he started comedy first. I started acting when I was a teen. And he got into comedy, I think, probably when he was about 20. And then he started encouraging me to do it. And I kept saying, I'm not funny like that. And he was like, no, there's no like that. You're either funny or you're not. And he kind of I always say he forced me to do it, which makes him so mad because he's like, I didn't force anyone. I'm like I'm joking. Obviously I'm not. That funny.

Speaker 3 00:15:52
You're funny for a woman.

Speaker 1 00:15:56
Yes, exactly. And sometimes men don't get our jokes, and it's hard. But basically, yeah, just he kept saying, I think you should do it. And after a couple of years, I was like, Fine, I'll try it. And then the first time I did it and when I started there was only one club in Ottawa, so you got to book one open mic spot a month. And I booked my one spot and it went well. And I think if it had gone badly, I never would have gone back.

Speaker 3 00:16:21
It must have been terrifying. I can't even imagine what it would be like the first time going on stage trying to be funny.

Speaker 1 00:16:27
My brother's girlfriend at the time, who is also a comedian, had to hold my hand and walk me to the stage because I was like, I don't want to go. I changed my mind. I don't want to go. And she was like, no, they said your name, you have to go.

Speaker 2 00:16:39
No one else can go.

Speaker 1 00:16:41
Yeah, she's like, you have to go. And so she literally had to, like, escort me to the edge of the stage and get on because it is terrible. And what an insane thing to want to do, to look at a sea of strangers and try to make them laugh. It's insane. But then when it works, it's the best drug in the world, right? And if I had bombed, bombing feels so bad. And if I had bombed that night, I don't think I ever would have gone back. But the first few times I did it, it went pretty okay. I got some laughs and I felt pretty good. And then by the time I bombed real hard, I was like, I'm too far in. Now I know how good it feels on the other side. I can't not do it.

Speaker 3 00:17:21
And did you ever have anyone say, why would you go to that girl show? Like the hitchens thing. I mean, he's dead. Is that argument dead?

Speaker 1 00:17:29
No, of course not. We're in a fun time of a new rise of this weird misogyny, which is great and fun, and the Internet has many blessings, but it also has a lot of dark side. And so, no, I think there's still a lot of and you can see it when women post clips of their stand up on Instagram or on YouTube, and there's just tons of well, women are funny. Like, look at this loser trying to be so it's still very prevalent. And I think the one thing, though, I mean, women expect that, right? When you get in this industry, you're ready, it's going to happen. You know, it I think the harder thing, and this happens all the time, is when you get on stage at a comedy club and someone comes up to you and this is all genders, no gender is exempt from doing this. Comes up to you and says, I don't usually find women funny, but you were really funny.

Speaker 3 00:18:20
Oh, wow. A funny woman. Wow.

Speaker 2 00:18:23
People say that, though. They do. It's like saying, I didn't like you when I first met you, but now I think you're great. What good is that to me?

Speaker 1 00:18:31
Yeah. And especially when it's young women, I would go, what do you mean you don't usually find women funny? Because when they really think about it, of course they think women are funny. But the society still there is this kind of culture of women aren't as funny as men. And so it's that subconscious kind of information you're getting over your life that you don't realize has kind of embedded itself. Because I think when you sit down and kind of pull it apart, it will be like, oh, I actually do think a lot of women are funny.

Speaker 2 00:18:59
I'm going to do a bit of a deep dive into this. Hopefully not too deep, but the first women that were successful in comedy and that made men laugh were almost grotesque. They were big or they were clownish. And that hasn't disappeared entirely. Sort of the I think of Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones putting on weight and falling down and getting a face full of whatever. And I think the first woman who managed to be attractive and funny on a broad spectrum was probably Lucille Ball.

Speaker 3 00:19:31
I'm not funny, but I'm brave, she said. I think that's one of our favorite quotes.

Speaker 2 00:19:36
Yeah, well, and think of Phyllis Diller, who was actually an attractive woman but made herself look ridiculous because that made it more palatable to her audiences. And it's only recently that we've seen women who are attractive, not that it should matter, but not feeling that they need to be self deprecating while they're out there presenting themselves.

Speaker 1 00:19:56
Yeah, and it's absolutely that's something that was in my head a lot as a comedian. I remember my head shot at one of the clubs. It's like my head shot was for acting, and so it was much more done up. But when I came to do the club, I'm not dressing sexy. I'm also really I'm kind of not that person. I rarely dress sexy in my life anyway. But yeah, I'm probably going to put my hair up. And I remember some kid, some guy, I say, Kiddy, he was probably 20, saying to me, oh, but I wanted to see this girl do stand up. And I said, no, you don't. You think you do, but you don't. And it was because often the reaction from the audience and like, this was a while ago, and things have changed somewhat. But as a woman, you step on stage, there's always this one guy, he always sits in the front row. He's always a beefy bro, and he sits and stares at you with his arms crossed, your entire set and listen. That kind of stuff, because I already struggled with self confidence would really get in my head. And I think there is a new generation that is much more selfassured in many ways than I was. And I think if you look at someone like Nikki Glaser, who is so hysterically funny, but is also sexy as all get out and, like, it works. And so we continually kind of broaden. I'm going to say what we allow, which is a terrible way to put it, but yeah, I think there has definitely been steps forward, for sure.

Speaker 3 00:21:19
Can we talk about the like, you sort of hinted there that you have a thing about the guy sitting with a straight face and the arms cross, but you also suffered from anxiety and depression and mental health and all that kind of stuff.

Speaker 2 00:21:33
Yeah, we want to jump in on that because I find it really fascinating and compelling and true that mental health and addiction and comedy go harm and harm. So tell us talk about that.

Speaker 3 00:21:46
Our people go into journalism.

Speaker 1 00:21:49
Yeah, well, comedy comedy is a coping mechanism, right? And I think that's part of not everyone who is a comedian is struggling in that area, but a lot of people who are struggling learn to have a sense of humor to cope. And so I remember I had a nervous breakdown when I was 23, and so I moved back in with my parents. I was like sleeping 18 hours a day. And when I on the way down and on the way back up, there were times where I would go and do comedy and it was so weird. It's like I would go and do a set, it's only like five minutes on an open mic. And then I'd go home and be like, should I kill myself? Like, what? What am I doing? But how weird, right, that I was able to go. But it was because of when I found comedy, because in order to write jokes, you kind of think about things differently. And it was something that really helped me reframe certain things in that depression and in that where I started, I started going, could this be funny? And I didn't really do that stuff on stage, but just for myself in my life, in my worst moments, every now and again, I would be able to turn something around and suddenly I'm like, I feel a tiny bit better. So I do think that is what brings a lot of depressed people to comedy is that it helps you cope.

Speaker 3 00:23:05
So it doesn't make you funny, it helps you survive.

Speaker 2 00:23:09
Oh, I think what doesn't kill you makes you funny. I definitely do.

Speaker 1 00:23:13
It's all interwoven, right? It's hard to kind of pull and it's hard to know what comes first because I do think obviously I was funny before, although I dealt with all these things when I was a kid, I just didn't know it. So it's like nothing came first. All of the things are true, right? I'm funny. I'm also depressed and have anxiety and will go on to become an addict. And we'll do all those things. None of them are mutually exclusive. And you don't have to have any of those things to be funny, but a lot of funny people do because comedy is such a crutch.

Speaker 3 00:23:47
Well, I love how you I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere someone writing about you, or I think it was on something that you wrote, you said, learn to be afraid, swing big, like take risks. And I think that's something that women of ill repute is something that some.

Speaker 1 00:24:02
People go, oh, no, not a woman.

Speaker 3 00:24:03
Of illegal repute, but we all kind of are. And I think it is basically about learning to fight back and to fight for stuff that you believe in. And we choose to interview people or to talk to people that we think are fighting for stuff that matters, as opposed to making the world a less good place. But I think it is about be afraid, swing big, fight back.

Speaker 2 00:24:27
And also, you know, define fight for me and I think for Allison. I speak for you, Alison.

Speaker 1 00:24:35
I'll allow it.

Speaker 2 00:24:36
That telling jokes is a form of fight. It's subversive, it's asking you to see it's scary to do, especially if you know you're eventually going to offend somebody. Humor is, by nature offensive. So you don't just fight with guns and knives, you can fight with words. And making people laugh is a bit of a victory, isn't it?

Speaker 1 00:24:57
Oh, for sure. And it feels very powerful. And yes, look, it is true that no matter what you say, at some point someone is going to get offended because comedy is subjective and what I think is funny and appropriate to make fun of, there's always going to be someone who doesn't. I mean, you have to have a thick skin in comedy. And so comedy saved me in a way, as so many other things did, because I was so raw and emotional and everything hurt me. And in comedy, if you let don't get me wrong, there were many times I cried, but at the same time, it's like, if you don't start toughening up, like, yeah, you're just going to quit. You can't stay in that world. So I do think, yeah, and there's been so many times. First of all, it was difficult for me too, in the sense I don't want to say difficult, but an interesting layer was that because my brother is so brilliant and so funny, there were so many people who were like, she only does it to try and write her brother's coattails. Or she only got this gig because of her brother. So there was this additional thing to push back against. And I think when people yeah, I'm one of those people when someone's like, you can't do that, I'm like, well, now I have to. Now you basically double dog dared me and now I have to. And so I think that kind of helped in some ways because I went and listen, my brother is also my best friend. He would give me anything if he could. But if you think my brother has the power to get me places, bless you. Don't know. Anything about the Canadian industry. And so, yeah, there absolutely is fight. And being a woman on stage again, when I grew to love that man in the front row that had his arms crossed because I was like, you're trying to psyche me out. I'm just going to snap your talking microphone, doom a little jokes, and it's gonna make you so mad the whole time, and you're not going to like it, but you have to sit there and listen. And so it is a fight, and there is something subversive in it for every comic that gets on stage because you're kind of forcing people to listen.

Speaker 2 00:26:53
I have to ask you practically so howland Roar Records, so you record. I need to know the practical end of this. So what happens then? You're not putting 45 in a record store. So where do people access this bank of talent?

Speaker 1 00:27:07
Everything is pretty much digital now. Sometimes people get hard copies and especially, like, older comics with an older audience. I'm always shocked when they're like, I sold out a CD.

Speaker 3 00:27:18
What? A CD. What's that.

Speaker 1 00:27:22
Bless every person that still has a CD player. But you go to the website, you go to Apple Music Spotify, you can buy it on Bandcamp. It's every single online title. YouTube music, like, whatever streaming platform people use, that's where you buy and find comedy albums.

Speaker 2 00:27:41
All right, now, Wendy wants to know about your tattoo.

Speaker 1 00:27:45
Which one Wendy?

Speaker 3 00:27:48
You are.

Speaker 1 00:27:49
There's only seven.

Speaker 3 00:27:51
Okay. I'm only going by the one that is in the photo that appears everywhere when I research you. So it's on your arms.

Speaker 1 00:27:58

Speaker 3 00:27:59
You can tell me about any that you want to.

Speaker 1 00:28:03
I really need to get new pictures, by the way. So the one on my shoulder is kind of space. So there's one on my back and I've tweeted and probably I don't know if it's still on my Instagram, I'll have to put it back up because I make a joke that Ben Affleck and I are the same person. But what? Because we both have giant Phoenix tattoos on our backs. His is much bigger than mine. Mine is about a quarter of my back. His takes up his whole back.

Speaker 2 00:28:29
That's phoenix, everybody. That's Phoenix.

Speaker 3 00:28:32
It's not like the Roger Smith Ronald Reagan tattoo on his back. It's not like that.

Speaker 1 00:28:39
No Phoenix rising from the ashes. I feel like we both got them after we got out of rehab. So the Phoenix I wanted, it kind of flying into a night sky that then goes into, like, space and then weirdly. And this is I don't know. The problem is, once you get used to having tattoos, the first tattoo, I was like, I got to really think about it now. I'm like, yeah, I don't care. You tattoo that on there, which is what happens. It becomes so easy, but then you.

Speaker 3 00:29:09
Have it for life. Do you have any that you're embarrassed of that you got when you were 14.

Speaker 1 00:29:14
Okay? So I'm not embarrassed because whatever, it's a passage of life. But of course, the first one I got was when I was 18. It's a tramp stamp. It's the lower back. Yeah, of course it's off the wall. I went in and very studiously looked at all the pictures on the wall, which I don't know how many places even do that anymore. And I picked one that was Celtic Dragons. And my background is exotic. And I said, this is meaningful to me. Put it right above my butt crack.

Speaker 3 00:29:46
And it's still there.

Speaker 1 00:29:48
Yeah, it's still there. And actually, it's not in bad shape. So the one I got, like, literally as soon as I got out of rehab is on my wrist and it says, Still I rise. Because when I was in rehab, I read my Angela's poem, still I Rise, like a thousand times a day, because it really just gave me strength and inspiration. And so I decided to get this tattooed because I'm very visual. And I was like, this will be my constant reminder not to do drugs. But I just walked in, I finished work at this restaurant I worked at and just went down the street to a random tattoo parlor and said to the girl that was there, and clearly she was, like, the newest person there. And I was like, this is what I want. And she was not great. Like, she's not good at it yet, and her curse is not great.

Speaker 3 00:30:34
Oops, I put in my boyfriend's name. Oh, sorry.

Speaker 1 00:30:38
Yeah. So is it the most beautiful tattoo? Absolutely not. But then at the same time, I love it because it's very representative of that moment in time in my life where I was newly clean and going, I got to stay with this. And no one can ever tell what it says. They always be the I as a Y, but that's okay with me. Most people. Someone goes, is that about Jesus? I was like, oh, absolutely not. No, someone asked me if it was two pack lyrics. I was like, I'll be honest with you. I don't know.

Speaker 2 00:31:13
Maybe he said it.

Speaker 1 00:31:16
He knew my Angela, so maybe he worked it in, but that's not where I got it. And then so the phoenix on my back was the first time where I spent real money and it was kind of designed for me, and it's colorful and beautiful, and I loved it. And then, yeah, I added the shoulder piece. Oh, this is what I was going to say. So it's space. But then I was like, you know what? I love? Divine proportion. It's neat. Can you add that? It's like the seashell kind of looking thing. That is the mathematical equation. I go, Just put that in space. Makes no sense. Nobody people look at it and go, Why is I'm like, oh, no, I just like it. It's weird that nature just does that. So put it in.

Speaker 3 00:31:58
You need an evil eye. Evil do you have an evil eye?

Speaker 1 00:32:01
I don't have an evil eye. But then it just yeah, and then you just keep going. So then now my whole I have a half sleeve on my right arm, and it's a garden, and there is a plant to represent each of my grandparents. And I just keep adding stuff.

Speaker 2 00:32:18
I have a son who he's an English well, he's in law school, but he's also getting a degree in English. Don't ask. He's just over the top. But every year for his birthday, which is coming up, he puts a quote, a literary quote on the inside of his arm. And he deals with the same kind of questions that you get. Sometimes the font is obscured and say, what is that? But I mean, it's meaningful. You're your own personal scrapbook. I wanted to ask you we're not going to keep you much longer, although we could keep you all day if you'd let us tell us about Chili.

Speaker 1 00:32:49
So, yeah, Chili is my sweet, beautiful angel. Corgi I rescued him when he was.

Speaker 3 00:32:53
Three from the Queen.

Speaker 2 00:32:56
From the queen. She was abusing him.

Speaker 1 00:33:00
Yeah. I think we all know that family is suspect. And so I said, not for this baby dog. No. You know what? Chile is so representative of so many things in my life because I struggled for a really long time. And, you know, post rehab, it's so funny in rehab, they're like, by the way, when you get out, you're going to think your life is just going to magically get better because you're clean now and it's not. And I was like, okay. For everyone else, though, for me it is. And then I got out and I was like, I think they're still hard. And I still struggled and working a bunch of Joe jobs and trying to do stand up and feeling like nothing was working out. And my whole life I've wanted a dog. And when I finally like, success kind of came when I got the show at Sirius and my life stabilized a bit and I was happy for the first time in a really long time. And so I started thinking about it more. But I also had this fear of I had a cat for a few years, and I blamed myself for that cat's death just to make it really heavy and because historically speaking, I have felt very unbalanced, right? Like, with all the mental health issues and then the addiction and a lot of fun self esteem and self worth issues all mixed up in there. And so I never fully feel capable or trust myself or those kinds of things. And when the day came where I kind of started thinking, like, could I handle this? Do it financially? Am I responsible enough? Am I responsible enough to take care of an animal? And a friend of mine and I'd always loved corgis. And randomly, a friend of mine said, do you want a corgi? And I went, Obviously, because I thought we were just talking about cute Internet talks. And she's like, okay, because I know a guy who's going to take his corgi to the Humane Society this weekend if he can't find someone to take it. And I was like, Wait, what's happening? And I took Chile for a trial weekend because I really you have to understand at this point in time how little faith I had in myself. So I was very scared that, what if I'm not enough for this dog? What if I can't take good enough care of him? But at the end of the weekend, I realized that my anxiety about giving him back and him going to the shelter was equal to my anxiety that I would not be able to give him a good enough life. And when I went into rehab, one of the counselors said, like, the door to rehab opens when you want to quit as much as you don't want to quit. And so I kind of look at things as like, okay, when my anxiety is equally balanced in opposite spectrums, you go with the risk, kind of, right. You go with the scariest option. And so for me, kind of, it's like, I have to trust myself more than I trust the shelter, more than I trust like, I think I can give this dog a good life. And so getting him was, like, a huge risk for me, and it's literally been the best thing. And Chili's messed up, too. He's got anxiety. He's got issues. Yeah, he's a little nightmare, but he's perfect. And it's changed my life, and it's made me a better person because it's made me more patient. It's made me more loving. And during the pandemic, especially those first few months in 2020, I wouldn't have got out of bed if it wasn't I got to take care of Chile till he's got to go for a walk. I wouldn't have left my apartment for three months. But he's got to you know what, he has needs, and my job is to meet those needs. And so he has just been the but he's also hilarious. Like, he is a ridiculous dog, and he is so obstinate and so funny, and he falls down a lot, but.

Speaker 2 00:36:42
It'S not a long way to go, right?

Speaker 1 00:36:48
With the short legs. Yeah.

Speaker 3 00:36:50
I was going to say Christopher Hitchens had a few things to say about dogs. Not he didn't.

Speaker 1 00:36:57
I don't believe you. I don't know about this.

Speaker 2 00:37:00
I think she's just trying to do that circular thing. Your bookend.

Speaker 1 00:37:04

Speaker 3 00:37:04
Because we got to go. I had so many more questions for you, like your favorite interview. Well, you've dropped a few names, so we're going to go and check those out. And we just love what you're doing for women and for funny women.

Speaker 2 00:37:17
And for yourself and for Chile. And thank you. It's such a pleasure to meet you. I feel like I've known you forever. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Speaker 1 00:37:25
I mean, same. And I love this. And, yeah, I would love to talk to you both again.

Speaker 2 00:37:31
All right, let's make a date.

Speaker 3 00:37:35
She was lovely. I think we had so many more questions, but she has such great stories.

Speaker 2 00:37:40
She is an open book. I found her incredibly moving and I mean, hilariously funny, but just I don't understand why so many funny people are so racked with anxiety and suffer from depression. But she I do understand because she explained comedy is a coping mechanism. So, you know, it's probably better for you than drinking to a certain extent.

Speaker 3 00:38:03
Well, drinking is good. It's funny because she made me think about it in a different way, which is it's not that all sort of people who are depressed and anxious turn out to be funny.

Speaker 2 00:38:13
Wouldn't that be great?

Speaker 3 00:38:14
Yeah. If only life was so simple. That comedy provides you with an escape for depression and anxiety, which is a happier way of looking at things.

Speaker 1 00:38:23

Speaker 2 00:38:24
But then, okay, so here it's a double edged sword. So you take to stand up or improv or performance or whatever, and it helps you get away from your depression. And if you're successful, you get all this adulation, and then you become addicted to that. And when it fades, and it always does, it may have been flow, but it's not always there, then chances are you go back to your addiction, whatever it is. So comedy is a dangerous business. It's risky for a lot of reasons. And I like Alison so much that I'm happy that she seems to be in a good place.

Speaker 1 00:38:55

Speaker 3 00:38:56
The other thing that she put a happy spin on, something that you and I know a lot of people in the comedy business are different people, but I think they're all finding it difficult. It's difficult to make a joke these days because you can offend people so easily. But she was saying, actually it's better because the connection is stronger because of social media. And so we've all seen, like, crazy troll shit on social media, but there's really good stuff, too, and she was playing up the good stuff.

Speaker 2 00:39:24
And you know what? I agree. And I find the Internet is hilarious. There are so many truly funny people out there who aren't professional, and that's like the Internet makes me laugh every day. So that's the positive side. It isn't all bad.

Speaker 3 00:39:39
So I wanted to ask her, who are the funniest people? And the only one she mentioned was Melissa McCarthy, who I know already, and Nikki Glaser.

Speaker 2 00:39:48
What I'll do, Wendy, is I'm going to get back in touch with Allison Langer, send a thank you note, and ask her to refer us to a bunch of other funny women so we can have them on the show. You see.

Speaker 3 00:40:00
Yeah, that would be fun.

Speaker 1 00:40:02

Speaker 3 00:40:02
And you know what? It's funnier than reading the news on the national. Somehow I knew you'd see it this way. A lot of jokes there. Yeah, it's been lovely. It was lovely to talk to Allison Langer. I'll talk to you again soon.

Speaker 2 00:40:15
All right. Bye.

Speaker 1 00:40:17
The Women of Ill Repute with Wendy Mesley and Maureen Holloway, available on Apple podcasts spotify, Google podcasts or@womenofillrepute.com produced and distributed by the sound of a media company.