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March 21, 2023

Jessica Holmes: Everything Is Funny Eventually

Laugh? I thought I’d cry. Why do comedy and depression go hand in hand? They often do, and Jessica Holmes says that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We talk about supportive husbands, surly teenagers, hosting corporate events from home, punching up (and down), Celine Dion, joining and leaving the Mormon Church, and just what the hell is normal anyway?

Jessica Holmes is a Canadian actress, comedian and speaker. Best know for her time on the Royal Canadian Air Farce, Jessica has also performed Just For Laughs and The Second City. Her impersonations are legendary, and include Celine, Liza, Britney, and, for some reason, Belinda Stronach. Like millions of Canadian, Jessica has struggled both with post-partum depression and, as she puts it, “regular, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety depression”. Her inspiring book Depression The Comedy: A Tale of Perseverance delves into her personal journey with validation and warmth. She continues to advocate for mental health and helping people take simple, sustainable steps towards fulfillment and well-being, one laugh at a time.

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

Maureen 00:00:07
Hey, Wendy.

Wendy 00:00:08
Hey, how are you?

Maureen 00:00:10
I took a quick dip into depression this morning to get ready for this week's guest.

Wendy 00:00:15
Really? You're depressed?

Maureen 00:00:16
No, no, no. I didn't get I didn't get depressed. I have medication for that. But I wanted to brush up on Jessica Holmes, who is one of the funniest people on this or any other planet. And she's also one of many, many comedians who deal or has dealt with depression. And she's written and talked about it, and we know she's not alone.

Wendy 00:00:36
Yeah, it's weird. We've talked to a lot of comedians who suffer from various forms of anxiety, depression. But then we did our first man, Rick Mercer, and he had a happy child. And we're like, what's wrong with you? Like, you're a comedian. How could you be happy?

Maureen 00:00:49
Yeah. And a lot of them, like Mark Marin, Patton, Oswald Tig, Natero Tig says she used to suffer from depression. Or as her father put it, no, you don't. Then there's those that suffered so deeply that they couldn't take it anymore. Like Mitch Hedberg and Richard Jenny and Freddie Prince.

Wendy 00:01:09
Robin Williams.

Maureen 00:01:10
Robin Williams.

Wendy 00:01:11
I mean, he ended up dying of a mental illness that was related. He had all kinds of addictions. He was the funniest man on Earth. I just loved him.

Maureen 00:01:19
Yeah, but before we go too deeply down that rabbit hole, there's Jessica and some others who figured out how to cope with it. And not only that, but she's using her powers to help other people.

Wendy 00:01:30
Yeah. So obviously, we're going to talk to Jessica. A little background first. You might know her. She was at the Royal Canadian Air Force, which was on for like 1000 years. I think she was there for at least three or 400.

Maureen 00:01:41
No, she was the youngest by far. She was the puppy. She was the she was the young ajadoo.

Wendy 00:01:48
Yeah. And very funny. And and she's so famous for her character impersonation. She did an uncanny Celine Dion, which we'll have to talk about that because things are changing. She's written several books, including one called Depression the Comedy. There you've got it.

Maureen 00:02:03
You've got it with you.

Wendy 00:02:04
Oh, that's so great. These days, she's a motivational speaker. She's taken her own experiences and used them to help and, of course, make other people laugh.

Maureen 00:02:18
So we're very happy to welcome her. Hello, Jessica.

Jessica 00:02:23
Hi. I am so happy to be here. I admire you both. And I remember when you reached out, I was so flattered by it. But during the pandemic, I switched to doing shows virtually, and I felt like for my own self care, I was like, I cannot look at screens any more than I possibly have to at this point. And then finally, life has some balance again. So I'm thrilled to just be about people now.

Wendy 00:02:49
Oh, we're so happy that you're here because you were on our list from the very beginning, and, yeah, we can see you. This is fascinating.

Jessica 00:03:00
Well, I appreciate and Maureen, you and I had met several times on radio interviews. Wendy, I had seen you at the CBC, but do you remember I also approached you on a flight one day, and I was just like, hi, how are you? I even know what to say other than like, hey, we both do stuff in public, and I just really admire you. And while the rest of the passengers sort of looked over and gawked at my awkwardness, but, yeah, I admire you both, and thank you. Thanks for having me on.

Maureen 00:03:28
Did Wendy say, Please leave me alone?

Wendy 00:03:33
Where is everybody? But we're on a podcast now, so it's a very different world, and you're doing speeches, but it's interesting because you sent us an email for this whole setup thing, and there's something in there. If you're telekinetic everybody in the crowd, raise your hand.

Maureen 00:03:49
What the hell is that?

Jessica 00:03:51
No, you know what? I believe that's an Emo Phillips joke. I try and switch up every so often the joke that I put at the bottom of my email address just to be a little fun, just to have some fun in life. My only job right now is I'm a speaker. Other than the shows that I have booked, I have no set schedule and no set motivation. So I have to motivate myself to, okay, well, you know what? The first of every month, I'll change that quote, and every single day, I'll listen to a new podcast, or every day, I have to sort of trick myself into having this fake schedule that really nobody cares about except for me. But it's good for my mental health, and I feel like it's good for my job to kind of treat it like it was a nine to five.

Wendy 00:04:38
So you don't make plants rise and travel across the room or, like, carry.

Jessica 00:04:44
Listen, I've got teenage kids, and so they keep me honest. We do the drop off and pickups every day, and that has been a giant part of schedule. And you know what? People keep saying, well, just let them take the subway. And I'm like, I can't let them be independent. They won't need me. So anyhow, I'm at a very needy stage of parenting where I'm pretty sure the kids get excited when I go on the road for work.

Maureen 00:05:11
So I wanted to ask you I follow you. I followed you on Instagram for years, and I know that during the pandemic, for a while, everything was quiet, and then you started doing all your work virtually, right down to the pretty sparkly dresses from your living room or wherever you were. Nobody had ever done that before. You were actually doing keynotes and m seeing from home.

Jessica 00:05:33
I wish I could go back to the first five virtual shows that I did and just shake myself and be like, no, try harder. But I was sort of a bit paralyzed with fear in those first five virtual shows that I did. We were all learning. And whereas now when I do a virtual show, I have pom poms by my side. I'm like, I get my cat and dog in on the show. I have just a whole little series of props and doohickeys that I use. And quite frankly, I've just gotten you and you would know this, Maureen, as someone who did radio work, I feel like you were so much better prepared to just imagine who the listener is. And I feel like two and a half years later, now I know who my listener like, I know who my viewers are. I don't have to have their image up on the screen. I really do feel like I'm chatting with someone who's like, dude, give me a bit of connection. I just want to feel a bit of human connection. So now I'm so comfortable and happy in that space. And I understand the service it provides, but at the start of the pandemic, like, Wendy, did you feel that when virtual first started? Were you like, well, I still don't.

Wendy 00:06:45
Really know what I'm doing. Like, Maureen does everything technical involved. So I'm just faking it. I just show up and I click the button, and then it doesn't work. And I see maureen, it doesn't work.

Jessica 00:06:54

Wendy 00:06:54
But, yeah, I'm going to have to do more virtual things. But I'm fascinated that you have teenagers because I'm having flashbacks and a friend of mine just wrote something about what the hell is going on. My kid is just growing older and rolling their eyes after I took them to school and I fed them breakfast and how dare they. So are your teenagers, like, are they eye rollers or do they only roll their eyes when you're not looking?

Jessica 00:07:20
No. I married the kindest, gentlest man in the world, and somehow my children inherited 100% of his personality traits. So I'm the only drama in the house. I'm the only one who kind of freaks out and rolls her eyes or whatever. My kids are delightful. I think it was pure nature, not much to do with nurture. Or maybe one little theory that I have is there's only room for one drama queen in the house. And so perhaps the children grew up feeling like mom takes up the oxygen in the room and I get to be a really happy spectator. So, as I said, it's neat for me to see as they go out into the world more, that they have their own lights to shine. Like, in their friend groups, they're the funny people, they're the wild card. Whereas in the house, it's sort of people going, mom, can you put clothes on? Mom, can you stop leaving your paintings around the house? Or can you I'm the kid in this house.

Maureen 00:08:22
I guess this is so interesting to me and Wendy to a certain extent, I think. But the way that you talk about Scott is the way I talk about my husband. My husband is the calm, nurturing, dependable one, and I'm the one that sucks the oxygen in the room. I wouldn't say if that's true about Wendy and Liam, but definitely between the two of you, you would be the more dramatic one.

Wendy 00:08:47
Oh, no, he'd call me a drama queen.

Jessica 00:08:49

Maureen 00:08:49
Okay. All right. So I just wanted to tread carefully, but have you any of you seen the fablemans?

Wendy 00:08:56

Jessica 00:08:57
Did I see it? Is it wonderful?

Maureen 00:08:58
Yeah, you absolutely should see it for a lot of reasons. It's a beautifully crafted film, but my youngest son said he couldn't get over how much Michelle Williams character, who plays essentially Steven Spielberg's mother, reminded him of me. So when I watched the movie, I mean, she's a wonderful character, but definitely everything that you're talking about, and I think that works. I don't think you can have two show stopping people in a relationship. Somebody's got to stop the show and the other person.

Jessica 00:09:30
Don't you think that's what Richard Burton and Liz Taylor probably were? And that's why it only lasted a year type of thing? So I put a post out the other day, and Scott's been wonderful in allowing me to share the ups and downs of our marriage in the book or in interviews, just for the greater good. Because nobody talks about a difficult marriage while they're in it because it feels like a rude thing to do or it feels disrespectful to your partner. Whereas Scott and I like his full time career is he's an energy healer, and so he is very much. Honey, say whatever you think will help people, and I'm just an open book. And so I wrote a post the other day just about the fact that when we were in one of several difficult periods in our marriage, I said to my mom, like, I don't know, mom. I don't know. And she was like, Honey, honey, first of all, you'll never meet someone who loves you like that, man. But secondly, sometimes kids carry the marriage. Sometimes work carries the marriage. Sometimes marriage carries friendships. You know what I mean? There's moving parts to life, and some parts of it are down while other parts of it are up. So you just lean on the parts of it that are up until the other parts come back around. And my marriage has come back around. We've been married 20 years. We celebrated 20 years this year. I'm so glad to have stuck it out during the hard times. If you're with the wrong person, get the heck out. If you're with the wrong job, wrong friend, all of it, get the heck out. But if you're with the right person and you're just in a rocky patch, I say, Hang on. I say, see what's around the corner.

Wendy 00:11:10
There was such a lovely thing that you wrote about and somewhere that I read about you, about how you didn't know you were depressed. You were just, like, sleeping all the time, and you were a zombie. And then at some point, you said to him, I can't look after the children.

Jessica 00:11:24
He's like, yeah, whatever.

Wendy 00:11:24
You just chill out and you go, no, I can't look after them, like, ever. And he was like, okay, I'm going to call the doctor. And that's when it all changed for you. It was a pretty lovely story of him trying to be supportive, I think.

Jessica 00:11:37
Well, and do you know what's interesting? So I went through my depression for a couple of years, and he hung on, surviving on adrenaline alone. And then when I came out of my depression, he went through a couple of years where it wasn't depression, but finally when I was sort of, like, on shore and safe, that's when he was finally allowed to be like, hey, man, I hurt, too. I have feelings, too. I have this stuff I go through. And so he went through his own thing, and it's kind of funny because I was like, oh, God, how long is this going to last? And he's like, hey, I two years of you sitting on the sofa while I cleaned up after your junk, so you better stick this one out, honey. And I did stick it out, and now it's nice because we're sort of both in this healthy place, and it's.

Maureen 00:12:26
The dessert, I guess, and seizing the moment and recognizing it. Very few people realize they're happy. They go back. They look back and go, that was a good time in our lives. And to be able to say, this is a good time in our lives is important and very similar. I suffered from depression, then I got cancer. Wendy and I got cancer at the same time because we try to do everything together. And it was after I had finished treatment that I got depressed. But that's a whole thing to do with surviving and having been through something, and then you realize, well, what's the point? And then I got fine. But I think that John, like Scott has been sort of that he's got to keep it together. And once he doesn't have to keep it together, he's free to feel his own emotions. We tend to suck up a lot of energy, don't we?

Jessica 00:13:14
Yes. God bless the people who like difficult women, women of ill repute.

Maureen 00:13:21
Yes, exactly.

Wendy 00:13:23
Well, we think it's a compliment. Not everybody does, but most people do. But I guess it all comes back to that book, Depression the Comedy, which sounds like it doesn't sound very but.

Maureen 00:13:32
It is very funny.

Wendy 00:13:34
Back to what we were talking about at the beginning, that so many people who tell jokes have felt big, bad things as well. So I don't know. I can't believe that people said, no, Jessica, you can't call the book Depression the comedy. It's not funny. It actually sounds good.

Maureen 00:13:53
Very intriguing.

Jessica 00:13:54
Yeah. And I was approached by one gentleman at a mental health event where he said, are you mocking depression? And I said, never. Like actual depression? No, not funny at all. Can I look back at my journey and find humor in it so that other people can learn about mental health in a very light, non triggering way? 100%. And quite frankly, that is how I look at life. Comedians look at life that way. We go through something. We say, tragedy plus time equals comedy or stress plus time or embarrassment plus time, it equals comedy. And so once you do begin to turn that corner on something bad that's happened, our brains naturally say, what's funny about that? Where can I find a little bit of humor in that? So, for me, it's making fun of the antidepressant commercials or making fun of the fact that it took me two years to even stop. The list of things that I blamed it on were it was such an extensive list because people kept saying, is there something wrong? I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with you. And I was like, no, you know what? It's anemia. I'm pretty sure it's just anemia. I need more iron in my diet. I keep forgetting to go to the store. That's what it is. People's shoes keep cluttering up the front hallway, and that's why I'm angry all of the time. That's very reasonable. So you go back in your own journey and you look at the excuses you made. So absolutely, I would never make fun of anyone else's journey, and I would never even tell someone else, hey, you should look on the bright side and see the funny in it, because chances are you don't find funny in your own pain. Comedians are a different breed. All we know how to do is put a little bit of levity into the world when we've been through something hard, and that gives us purpose. It's an equation not everyone understands, but for me, it makes perfect sense. And I'm even relieved when I see my kids go through something hard and then turn a corner and make a little joke about it. And I'm like, oh, my gosh. Okay, we're all going to be okay. We're going to be okay.

Maureen 00:16:06
The women of ill repute. Okay. So, yes, the comedic mantra that time makes everything funny. I've got a two pronged question for you. You ready?

Jessica 00:16:17

Maureen 00:16:18
Is there anything that time does not make funny other than the Holocaust, although people will go there as well. That's my first. And how are you dealing with Celine and her prognosis?

Jessica 00:16:31
Okay, so you know what? That ties in very well. There are some things that absolutely just shouldn't be laughed about. And I can't joke about someone else's painful journey, so that is not something I would do. So I decided that I'm just indefinitely going to not do Celine Dion anymore. And part of that is there's a term in comedy called punching down. And when you poke fun at someone who has less than you or is struggling more than you, that's called punching downward. Like the person's already down. There's no joy or fun. It's just mean spirited. Punching up, on the other hand, is this person is glamorizing their rich, famous life. And me doing an impression does not hurt that person in any way, shape or form. And it actually speaks a little bit of truth to power in its own tiny little way. So I started doing the Celine Dion impression when she came out with a book of photos, I believe it was, that was sort of glamorizing this relationship with her manager. And at the time I was just like, sorry, are teenagers allowed to just be left alone with their managers and fall in love? And that rubbed me a little bit the wrong way. But also the first page of her autobiography was talking about how there were 13 siblings born before her. But then she was born, and it was a little bit of a miracle and it was a very special occasion for the family. So I sort of thought, what would it be like to have that self esteem, to love self that much? And this character was born and I've loved playing her because it does feel good to believe you are a miracle bestowed upon planet Earth. And so my impression went from being mean spirited to just being a little more what if I added self esteem to whatever I said and a French accent, and that impression was born. But then now she's not able to sing. I can't imagine the pain of thinking your outlet for connecting with the world is gone. And so for me, there's no joy in making to me, that would be punching down to do that impression.

Maureen 00:18:41
Did you ever talk to her? Did she ever acknowledge that she knew you were out there?

Jessica 00:18:45
No. And I avoided it. I've met a lot of people over the years who are like, I know her, you should do your impression for her. Let me hook you up. And I was just like, oh, no, I'm good, because I was scared that she would say to me, hey, the impression hurts my feelings. And then I'd be like, well, now I'm out of it.

Maureen 00:18:59
No, I've met her a couple of times, never when she was just starting out, but like a lot of and I'm going to make a sweeping generalization, like a lot of French Canadians, she loves to laugh, and she was always good about laughing at herself. So I think she probably appreciated what you did, and she probably would appreciate the fact that it's time to back down.

Jessica 00:19:18
Oh, that's beautiful. Yeah. Maureen, what is your take on what.

Maureen 00:19:22
She'S going through stiff person syndrome. When I heard it, I got to be honest, when I heard it, I thought, this has got to be a joke because I didn't know that that existed. But it's an incredibly painful autoimmune disease for which there doesn't seem to be a cure. I mean, she's so full of life and full of passion and full of workaholic, and I can't imagine how devastating this must be for her. And you're right, she's disappeared. And whether that's permanent or not remains to be seen. But, no, it's a tragedy, no doubt. And really, what you would say is the prime of her life. Like, she's become even after especially after Renee died, she's become this sort of bird of paradise with the fashion and no, it's very sad. It is very sad.

Wendy 00:20:10
It's too bad because your impersonation of her was spot on. It was so clever and now she's still a big deal. When Rolling Stone came out with their list of the top 100 musicians and her name wasn't on it, quebec Ers have a love hate relationship with her and it's kind of like Madonna. Like, she's amazing, but she's too much or too little for so many people. So it's kind of sad that you can't do that anymore.

Jessica 00:20:37
Yeah. I'm going to find. Thank God for Jennifer. Coolidge. Maybe that might be my next impression. But what I do now when I'm doing a live show, because I like to start any show by doing impressions, because for me, that's just an icebreaker. So usually what I do is I have a medley. If it's a live show, I have a medley of different characters that I've played over the years and Celine Dion is not a part of it, but it'll be Liza and Joni Mitchell and Britney Spears and just a bunch of different singers whose voices I've always found incredible because now so many singers are very homogenized and you can tell they've been auto tuned. So I'm a fan of the people whose voices you could just pick out on the radio and you say, oh, my gosh, there's nobody else like that. Even Miley Cyrus right now. I find it cool how deep her register is. And, yeah, I'm always sort of on the lookout for, okay, who's the next person that I can have fun with and play with? And so I do that off the top of my show just for me to feel more relaxed. And then, quite frankly, it's fun. It's just fun to have a little music for people who are often stuck in an office all day. But I also stopped doing Celine for two years after Renee passed away because, again, not funny. And it was only when she came back out swinging that I was like, woohoo, we're on.

Maureen 00:21:55
Do you sing yourself, like, as Jessica?

Jessica 00:22:00
Okay, so I sing okay for a comedian, but I never had any kind of training. But when I used to be part of the Mormon Church. And I went and served a mission in Venezuela for a year and a half when I was 21. And I just got the reputation for being one guy said, a tiene Aldon de la Bos, which means she has the gift of the voice. So whichever new city I moved to, I became the choir director in that city, and I would be the one up front singing. But it just never occurred to me to be a singer or that I sing. It just felt like, oh, that's a handy thing to have in my back pocket for when I want to do impressions of someone.

Wendy 00:22:39
That's one of the things that I remembered about you was the whole Mormon Church thing, and that growing up in that world would be unusual, would be quite special in many ways. And I was trying to remember whether you rejected it or it's just something that was part of your family, or whether it's something that you endorse and you talk about it. Now. How influential was that?

Jessica 00:23:05
It was incredibly influential. I only joined the church, I believe I was 16 or 17, but my parents stayed married. But right after they got married, he joined the Mormon Church. And she was like an agnostic feminist, and somehow they managed to stay together as a couple. And the boys followed my dad and were Mormon, and I followed my mom. It was hilarious. She was agnostic, but she was like, I just need you to be not Mormon. So they made a compromise, and I went by myself to Catholic Church for my whole childhood. Like, literally, my mom would be like, here's $2 for the basket. Go to church. So I'd go by myself as a child. In retrospect, not a choice I would make for my kids. And I'm sure my parents are like, Whoops. Whoa. Wish we could do that one over. But when I was 16 or 17, I felt really compelled to join my father's church because it just seemed very beautiful to me. And that's kind of the community that I hung out with anyway, so I went and I served the mission, and it meant so much to me. But then when I moved to Toronto, comedy felt like home to me. And I started to have a lot of friends in the comedy community. And even though I didn't drink and I didn't swear, I was hanging out with people who did, and that made some of my church friends a bit nervous. But also, I had a lot of gay friends. And when I told them, oh, my gosh, I'm part of the most fun church. You guys should come to the church, and they're like, oh, we're not really welcome at your church. And I was like, what do you mean? What are you talking about? It's about love. It's about loving everything. And they were like, no, look into it. And I looked into it and they've changed their policies now, which I'm so glad for, but I just felt like, I can't be there. I can't be there. If it's not for gay, then it's not for me. It's not for anyone who believes in true equality and inclusivity. And so I have no ill wishes. I love so many people who are Mormon and I love my dad so much, but it just wasn't for me anymore.

Maureen 00:25:19
Fair enough. I didn't even know that about you. Wendy said. Oh, Jessica.

Jessica 00:25:26
That's right.

Maureen 00:25:26
She's the mennonite comedian. I went, no, not going.

Wendy 00:25:30
I knew there was something, but it was something a little bit unusual, something like that.

Maureen 00:25:34
And then I did a little more research and there you were.

Jessica 00:25:37
Yeah, well, it's me, Robin Crawford. Also. He grew up Mormon, and so he and I have had some little tete about how does that influence you? And so there is a part of me that still tries to be a little bit prim and proper and then cross over into, like, OOH, I said the shit word. And that's just who I am. But it's kind of neat when I have so many different circles of people in my life, like through sports or through work or through and so sometimes I'll lean a little more into my pristine upbringing, innocent upbringing. I'll lean more intoward that with some groups and then other groups, I'm just, like, bring on the moves.

Wendy 00:26:22
So we're not going to get you to tell, like, dirty stories about all the terrible people at Air Force? It doesn't seem like you somehow I.

Jessica 00:26:29
Have no terrible stories about, you know don.

Wendy 00:26:33
Yes, Don Ferguson. Yeah.

Jessica 00:26:35
And you knew Roger, and for me, they were the kindest people in the world. And I just felt like I was with family, like it was such a safe landing for me. And when I arrived at Airfars, I had just come off a very bad experience with the home show ending abruptly and sort of being feeling blacklisted from that whole segment of my career. And so then to come to Airfars, and I almost thought people were mocking me one day because they were being so nice. And I was like, Are you making fun of me? And they were like, no, I genuinely think you're very good. And I was like, this is weird. Comedians will tell each other that they're very good.

Maureen 00:27:17

Jessica 00:27:17
So it fit like a warm glove. It was really wonderful people. And I stayed until depression kind of pulled me out. All in all I did over many years. I was on and off that show for about 15 years. Incredible. Wow. You guys know it's strange to have a long term job in this industry.

Maureen 00:27:41
Yeah, it is very odd. And then back to gigs, which is what we're all doing right now, actually, in one form or another. But it's interesting that you talk about the lack of. Support. It's not really that. It's just comedians don't laugh at other comedians. I've literally stood in the back of a comedy club with other comedians watching someone on stage, and they're like, that's funny. Yeah, that's funny. That's really funny.

Jessica 00:28:07
Yeah. The first open mic night I went to, there was a comedian at the back of the room with a rubber chicken. And if whoever was on stage wasn't getting laughs, he'd whip the chicken at them. And I'd be like, this is why am I here? And I went up and I didn't get whipped with a rubber chicken. But I remember feeling like, oh, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Maureen 00:28:33
Funny or die. Funny or die. Even the terminology I killed tonight, I killed. I murdered everybody in the room. Good for you. That's the terminology.

Jessica 00:28:44
And you know what? I don't have the stomach for that. I barely had the stomach for it at the beginning of my career, and it's been probably over ten years since I've set foot in a comedy club, and it's just not for me. And I sometimes joke that I'm the most working comedian that other comedians don't know as a comedian. Like, no one in Canada's comedy community would be aware that I make a living doing comedy because I only do corporate shows, and that's where I feel safe and happy, and there's nobody standing at the back of the room with their arms crossed. And so I've found my niche, and I'm very happy there. And I guess I'm just at a stage of life where I don't want to push myself to try and be liked by people who don't like me or don't get me or I don't get them. We're not everyone's cup of tea, and that's just fine with me.

Wendy 00:29:39
It was funny. You were talking, Maureen, about comedians never laughing at others. I went to see Mark Marin among the people that you referred to as suffering from anxiety, depression. It's a big part of his act, and he's very, very funny, and he's led a somewhat complicated life, but a number of people went to see him. It was at Just for Laughs in Montreal. The Comedy festival. And Jimmy Carr, who is one of the rudest, meanest comedians, was sitting in the back with his arms crossed, and Mark Marin was like, AHA, we're all laughing and everything. And he's like, I know. And yet they're both comedians, so I don't know what there is. And you don't quite fit, Jessica, because you're so nice.

Maureen 00:30:18
You're so nice.

Jessica 00:30:20
Well, I'm nice, but I'm also just too sensitive. If someone were to tell me that I'm the type of person where if someone were sitting there with their arms crossed, I would make up a whole story in my head about all the reasons they don't like me and stuff. It's energy that I don't want to give. And I'm grateful every day that I found a place that does seem like, a bit of a happier, health well, a much happier, healthier place for me. And that being said, I'm glad comedy exists for the people who really do need that energy. Like, 90% of comedians love the camaraderie of the people who are willing to go a little darker, and that just isn't for me. But I've always admired them, and those are the comedians I love watching, and I want to support them. I just don't fit in.

Wendy 00:31:12
So say shit.

Maureen 00:31:14
Say it. Say it here, now smoke the cigarette. Schoolyard.

Wendy 00:31:25
Yeah, I know. We had a big debate on this podcast about someone used the C word, and we had a big debate over should we use it or not.

Maureen 00:31:32
You should have seen our faces. We left it in. Yeah, we figured, if that's how she wants to represent herself, that's fine, we support that. And who are we to be that? Well, actually, we are the ones that ship.

Jessica 00:31:44
Who are we to decide?

Maureen 00:31:46
You are the ones that decide. So, Jessica, you're doing the corporate thing. You're being a mom. You're being as good a wife as any of us can be, whatever that means. So do you have another book in you?

Jessica 00:31:59
I don't have a book in me, but I do have something I'm excited about. I have felt for years terrified of social media. Like, whatever I write on it, you can write, the sky is blue today, and someone will write something angry about, like, don't talk about the sky when there's poverty, or what do you mean.

Maureen 00:32:17
About blue.

Jessica 00:32:20
When you say blue, what are you talking about? What do you really think? And even just wondering, who am I? Like, what is my voice? What do I want to put out there? Because I'm a motivational speaker who uses comedy to bring a message of mental health. And I have always wondered, how do you do social media if you don't really feel like you want to brag or say, like, hey, isn't my life great? And you want to put a nice message out there? So I actually started working with a woman named Lisa Peterson about six months ago, and she is a social media coach who helps you find your authentic voice and then find the bravery to just share what is in your heart. And so I feel like instead of a book or instead of new material, I'm just excited to figure out how can I reach people through social media with just funny, feel good, quick little tidbits. And maybe for some people listening, they're like, you just do it. But I had a lot of anxiety to get over, and so now I finally found my mantra, which is just, hey, universe, or God or Oprah or whoever makes the decisions up there, please give me the courage to make a difference where I can. And that's it.

Maureen 00:33:37
There's community building happening in all different directions. You just got to find the right specific outlet. But, I mean, I love Twitter. There are other people who are like, I will not be on Twitter. It's the most hateful place in the world, but that's true of the world in general. It depends on who you know.

Wendy 00:33:53
It's like everything it's like TV. There's good TV and bad TV, and that's the thing.

Jessica 00:33:57
And I just hadn't found what is my TV like? What am I trying to say and how do I want to say it? So I'm very happy to have finally figured that out and to be sort of very slowly moving forward in that direction, because I've always joked that social media is like a mean time travel machine, because you go on for five fun minutes to be like, what are my friends up to? And then poof, suddenly it's an hour later, and you don't know what happened to the time. You just know you feel very sad about yourself, and so I had to navigate it a little bit.

Maureen 00:34:26
Well, we'll find you on you're on Instagram. You're on Twitter, aren't you?

Jessica 00:34:29
I'm on Twitter and Instagram. So I'm looking forward to joining TikTok and putting videos out a couple of times a week.

Maureen 00:34:39
Yeah, that would be good for you. If you want to book Jessica, you can book Jessica through Speaker Spotlight, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, so good luck with that. I'm really happy for you, Jessica.

Jessica 00:34:50
Thank you.

Maureen 00:34:51
We said at the beginning, knowing you're happy, knowing someone else is happy right now, as opposed to looking back on it, life was so much better then. It's good now, and I'm glad for that. I'm glad for you. And thank you so much for coming to talk to us.

Jessica 00:35:04
Thank you so much for having me. It just feels like a fun coffee with friends, so that's great.

Wendy 00:35:09
Thank you so much, Jessica. And we'll be watching on TikTok, because I have seven followers there, so you'll be my eight.

Jessica 00:35:17
You know what? If we join forces, we'll have 14.

Maureen 00:35:20
We'll take over the world.

Wendy 00:35:24
You she's so lovely. I remember her from airfares and the Celindial impersonation and everything else, and just such a lovely person. She doesn't want to crap on anybody, but she's still funny.

Maureen 00:35:35
Do you remember her coming? Do you remember her approaching you on an airplane or wherever it was?

Wendy 00:35:40
Well, now that she's not here, I can say, no, I don't remember. But I do remember her. I remember meeting her. I just don't remember the plane. But as you know, I have a crap memory and you do. Crap memory. But yeah, I do remember her so warmly, and I remember the thing about her being a Mennonite, which is not quite the same as being a Mormon.

Maureen 00:36:01
No. Oh, wait, she's a mennonite, not a Mormon.

Wendy 00:36:05
No, she's a Mormon. But my memory was that she was a meta. I knew that there was some amusing happen.

Maureen 00:36:12

Wendy 00:36:13
But yeah, I just think it's so cool that depression is a complicated thing, as you know, and she kind of figured it out and wrote a book about it, and she's still finding a way to be funny. I think that's kind of amazing.

Maureen 00:36:27
The other thing, too, about acknowledging depression, and it used to be something that was never spoken about, just like the Tignatero joke, I suffer from depression. Or as her father said, no, you don't. It was considered something to be ashamed of, and that just compounded it. I suffer more from anxiety than depression, although the two tend to be playmates, as it were. And I am mildly medicated, officially. Some people who just drink and smoke, I'm medicated.

Wendy 00:36:56
Well, you give up smoking mostly.

Maureen 00:36:58
I did give up, mostly. Yeah. But the most important thing is to be able to let in some air and sunshine and to be able to talk about it. And Jessica has certainly led the way for a lot of people, and as soon as you open it, it's Pandora's box. There's so many other people, funny and otherwise, who are like, yeah, me too. And once you acknowledge that you're on.

Wendy 00:37:18
The road to recovery, it was interesting that she mentioned the whole punching up, punching down approach, which is so I mean, we both have 24 year old kids, and so it's a thing that we would have been aware of otherwise, but is brought home. I think that it's not okay to punch down in any humor, but it's interesting because on our podcast, we have a young black comedian who says, yeah, but punching don't call me down.

Maureen 00:37:45
You're punching down. You're belittling.

Wendy 00:37:48
It's a complicated idea, but I generally agree that if you're going to make somebody really unhappy or sad with your comedy, then don't do it. Which is where Jessica, I think, is coming from. Yeah. All right.

Maureen 00:37:58
I feel better now.

Jessica 00:38:00
That's good.

Wendy 00:38:01
Yeah, me too. I think she's lovely. We'll have to go and be motivated by one of her corporate speeches. She's great. Lovely to see you again.

Maureen 00:38:09
Lovely to see you. 

Voiceover 00:38:09
Women of Ill Repute was written and. Produced by Maureen Holloway and Wendy Mesley with the help from the team at. The Sound Off media company and producer Yet Bellgraver.