In this episode of “Going Out With Jake Cornell,” host and former NYC hospitality pro Jake Cornell chats with comedian, actress, and TV personality Carly Aquilino. They reminisce over meeting for the first time in Fire Island and discuss their dating habits, how going out has changed for them as they’ve gotten older, and the art of choosing the perfect outfit for a night out.
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Jake Cornell: Hi babes, it’s Jake. We’re recording this intro on a Friday. I am currently on a high. I went to Kiki’s in the Lower East Side last night and ate so much Greek food. It was sorta violent, but in a good way. I’m slightly hung over today but we are on the mend, and I’m going out for a “Drag Race” viewing tonight. That’s where I am mentally. I’m also very excited for you to listen to this week’s episode. Our guest today, I would say we were brought together by the “going out gods.” You probably know her from “Girl Code,” her standup, or her very funny videos online. She talks about pop culture, fashion, and is so funny it hurts. Please enjoy me going out with Carly Aquilino. We met once before on Fire Island.
Carly Aquilino: Happy to be here. Thanks for having me. We met twice before on Fire Island.
J: Are you going to talk about what I think you’re going to talk about? What are you going to talk about?
C: Oh no, wait. I think we did meet once.
J: Can I tell you what I think you’re thinking of? And this is why I know that like, when we hang out, we will be close friends and we’re gonna get each other’s vibe. We had followed each other on TikTok already, so I knew who you were. I saw you at The Pantry the morning after some partying, hung over. We were both walking around The Pantry, getting our food in the morning. I sensed there was an unspoken energy of “not like this.” Like, this is not how we’re meeting. This isn’t the moment, who knows what we did last night? Not like this. And I feel like there was a silent agreement that we were not going to acknowledge each other. Then six hours later, at happy hour, it was time. Because it was in a better space.
C: I was with my friend and my friend was like, “I follow that guy on TikTok.” And I’m like, “Oh, I follow him, too.” But it’s so funny, because you’re right. First of all, I was wearing a bikini top in the store. I should not have been out at all, but in Fire Island, I’m very much like, “Whatever.”
J: Yes, anything goes.
C: I was probably embarrassing. I wasn’t on mushrooms, but I was drunk when I met you.
J: Oh yeah, I was definitely drunk when I met you as well. There is no question. I don’t really know what else was going on at that point; it was probably a little bit of a mixture. For me, every single morning I would wake up in my Fire Island house and be like, “I need to get to the store.” Would it have saved me roughly $600 to not go to the Pines Pantry every morning? Absolutely. But for my mental health, I needed that alone walk from my house with all the people I was staying with to the store to buy three cans of La Colombe cold brew.
C: And, you told me, prosciutto. You said, “I just can’t stop eating prosciutto for breakfast.”
J: This is bad, because another guest I interviewed was with me on Fire Island, and we also talked about prosciutto. So now everyone is going to be listening to this goddamn show associating me with cured pork.
C: Literally, like this man loves a cured meat in the morning, at all times.
J: So disgusting. Everything about that time on that island was absolutely foul, and I loved every single second of it. Do you go often?
C: Yeah, I go every summer. I grew up going to Fire Island on the other side, but my friends go every summer, so I go with them. It’s the most fun ever. And I always say, as a straight woman, I feel happy to be invited. Because that’s the safest I ever feel, on Fire Island.
J: You can walk home alone in the dark at night, and you’re still fine.
C: Exactly. It’s amazing.
J: Are you based in New York or are you based in L.A.?
C: I’m based in New York.
J: Oh, stunning.
C: I live in Brooklyn. What about you?
J: I live in Brooklyn, too. I’m in Bed-Stuy.
C: Oh my god, I’m in Bed-Stuy.
J: Where? No, I’m forgetting we’re on a podcast.
C: I will give you my address on this podcast right now. I’ll give you my social. I’ll give you my address.
J: No, but what are your cross streets?
C: I’m Myrtle-Broadway.
J: Oh, shut up. I’m Macon and Nostrand.
C: Oh, OK. So you’re deeper into Bed-Stuy. I’m right on the border of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy. My block is the first Bed-Stuy block.
J: We’re literally opposite sides of Bed-Stuy.
C: Right, right. Oh my god.
J: We gotta hang! We gotta grab drinks. I love that. On that topic, the question that I ask my guests is, what does the term “going out” mean to you?
C: I think there’s levels to it, right? Sometimes it’s just like, “I’m going to go out for a drink or something.” But to me, going out is getting ready for a long time, picking an outfit, putting it together, going out, and dancing.
J: Yes, OK.
C: The dancing is a major part of it. I f*cking love dancing.
J: I love dancing. Where are your dancing spots in Brooklyn, or in New York in general?
C: Where did I go a couple of weeks ago when my friends were in town? I have to find the name of it. It’s a gay bar and it was so much fun. Was it Playhouse or Clubhouse?
J: Happy Fun Hideaway?
C: No, not Happy Fun Hideaway. I like it there, too.
J: It’s cute there.
C: But there’s no dancing there.
J: No, there’s no dancing there.
C: There was a place that was up the block from me that was so cool. It was trashy, fun, disco vibes. There was a zebra-print spiral staircase up to the DJ booth. It was so much fun and they just closed. I’m so pissed.
J: No, that f*cking sucks. I’m so sorry for your loss.
C: The DJ was everything.
J: If I’m falling for a DJ, I’ll write them down. Because then I know to go. So no one’s brought this up yet, but you just brought up something. Are you a getting ready girl? Is part of your night out the 90 minutes of getting ready?
C: Well, it’s putting together the outfit. I will plan it for several days because it has to be a good mix. It can’t be too cute, but it can’t be too slutty. It has to be like, “I’m a cute slut.”
J: Yes, cute slut.
C: Cute slut is the vibe that I’m always going for.
J: I would say you were pulling that off on Fire Island, 100 percent.
C: I think I was more slut.
J: There’s something inherently cute if everyone else is a 230-pound muscle man, and then you’re just like over at the edge of the dock being like, “I’m having a great time.”
C: I’m like, “I love you guys.”
J: Feeling safe. So are you quality over quantity with going? Is it once a week and we’re really prepping for it and planning? Or are we out on the town most nights?
C: Yes. I’m 30 now. When I was younger, I would go out every single night. It didn’t matter, I just wanted to party. But now I only want to go out once a week if I’m really going out.
J: Right, and you’re going to milk that night.
C: And I’m going to milk it. And I will be there putting the chairs up at the bar at the end of the night.
J: See, that’s the thing. I’m 28, and I think I’m starting to make the transition that you’re at. Especially pre-pandemic, I used to go out every night of the week, if I could. I was a big advocate, and I think this was for sustainability, of starting early and ending early. Let’s meet up for a happy hour at 6 p.m. and go hard, but I’m going to be in bed by 12:30 a.m. or 1 a.m., and then I will get my full sleep. It kind of was the best of both worlds. Now, I’m starting to transition into less last nights out, but then I have the stamina built up for 4 a.m. night or two 4 a.m. nights, if I’m really pushing it.
C: Oh, absolutely. And then you plan it out, you know what you’re going to do, you go. If you don’t go out that often when you’re out, I’m going home at 6 in the morning. I’m going to be driving in an Uber down the West Side Highway, and people are going to be on their morning jog.
J: The sunrise car home is so clutch to really cap a night. What are we drinking on a night out?
C: Over the summer, I love an Aperol Spritz. I’ve been drinking a lot of Aperol Spritzes. The whole summer, that was my vibe. I was like, I am in Italy, essentially. But usually, I’ll do beers. Sometimes, I’ll do wine if I feel like I have to. But I like to drink beer because I know my limit. I don’t do mixed drinks because I’ll get so f*cked. When I’m in Fire Island, I do a Pines Punch or two. You immediately projectile vomit after a second one. You’re not going to be OK.
J: This summer, when I did the Pines Punch, everyone else was like, “This is fun.” I can hang with most things, this is f*cked up.
C: Also, you watch them pour it, and they have six bottles.
J: They have six bottles of liquor in their hand that are all off-brands. It’s Jonathan Cuervo Tequila, and I’m like, “Absolutely not.” I’m sorry, there’s a little bit of a red flag going on for me here.
C: Can I tell you a secret? I made out with one of the bartenders at Tea.
J: Can I guess which one?
C: Yes. You know which one. He’s the hottest one.
J: The tall hottest one, or the short, hottest one?
C: The short hottest one.
J: The one with the Dave Matthews tattoo on his back? I did not make out with him. The night before I met you, we were at Sip-n-Twirl. For those listening, it’s the club on Fire Island in the Pines. We were at Sip-n-Twirl out on the balcony of the smoking section. One of my friends in my house was consuming a substance that was neither a cigarette nor marijuana nor liquor. It was something else. Someone comes over and says, “I wouldn’t do that out here if I were you.” My friend, not perceiving that this is clearly an employee of Sip-n-Twirl, goes. “Well, who’s the cop?” And the guy goes, “Me. I am the cop.” No. And we’re all like, “Oh, we’re about to get kicked out.” And then my friend Dexter, who is an absolute icon, goes, “You’re a fucking Scorpio, aren’t you?” And he said yes, and he was like, “Great, I love you.” And then we were fine. That’s how we got out of it. But this guy hated us for the rest of the night, he was watching us like a hawk. The next day he’s at Tea, f*cking bartending shirtless. Here’s the thing: If an employee of any space has a negative interaction with me, it’s my only goal in life to make them love me. If I leave Fire Island any single bartender has a bad word to say about me, I’m going to jump off the ferry. It’s not an option. So I’m there and I’m trying to connect. I’m going to tip fat; I’m being nice. I’m like, “Can I get my gin and soda?” He goes to get the bottle of gin, he turns around and has a big Dave Matthews tattoo. So now I’m seeing the trauma, and now I’m seeing where the anger is coming from. I’m seeing the source of the trauma. Do you know what I mean? And everything’s forgiven, and now I can approach him with the kindness that he needed?
C: Right, right, right. Absolutely. You’re like, “Oh, he’s been hurt. He’s been hurt several times.”
J: So you made out with the one that doesn’t have a Dave Matthews band tattoo?
C: He has a lot of tattoos, but not a Dave Matthews Band tattoo. Thank god. But he’s a short king, and we love that, sometimes. Here’s the thing: When the only man that wants to make out with you on Fire Island is a short king, you do it.
J: Oh, absolutely.
C: Literally nobody else was giving me the time of day. Of course not. So I was like, “All right, well, why not? This is a funny story.”
J: I wonder if he is just like, I’m going to go to Fire Island, and every two to six weeks, there will be one woman who will have to hook up with me because I am the only option. And that was his move for the summer.
C: But honestly, it probably was. And I’m that girl. I know I’m that girl. We went to bingo and my friends and I were all so drunk. My friends were telling the host of bingo, I forget who it was, “Oh, our friend’s going to hook up with the bartender.” And it was full bingo. Everyone was there.
J: Are you into this or you or are you like “Shut the f*ck up, guy?”
C: So f*cking embarrassing.
J: But then it happened. I love that for you so much. Did you get a number? Was there any further communication?
C: Yeah, he lives in Bed-Stuy. But no, there was no further communication. To be fair, it was hard communicating. He was from Colombia.
J: So there’s a language barrier.
C: There was a language barrier, for sure. Which never stopped me before. I dated a guy once for six months that didn’t speak a lick of English. He was from Italy.
J: Do you speak a lick of Italian?
C: No, not at all.
J: I f*cking love that.
C: We had so much fun. He was my boyfriend, he was really my boyfriend.
J: Was this like you as a standup comedian is like, “Oh, I’ll just talk.” Is that what it was?
C: It was the perfect situation because we can never fight. He took me to the best restaurants. Italian people don’t really mess around like that. You’re going to the best restaurants in the city.
J: Oh, 100 percent. And they know what to order.
C: I don’t need to know more about you. You’re from Italy. What else do I need to know?
J: OK, I’m going to give you a tip. So we’re pro the Italians, and we love an Aperol Spritz. Next time you’re wanting an Aperol Spritz, try a Cappelletti Spritz. Have you encountered this yet?
J: So it’s like a lighter version of Aperol; that is the easiest way to describe it. It’s a little less sweet. It’s a little brighter. It’s still a red aperitif that you can throw in an Aperol Spritz, but it’s a little more crushable. It’s so delicious. They’re my favorite thing.
C: I’m going to literally try that this week.
J: They’re so stunning. So you are a standup comedian who is obviously on the road a lot, right? We’re touring. Do you enjoy going out in different cities, as someone who gets to visit a lot of different places all over? Or are you kind of like, “Let me stay in my hotel, I’m not really here for this?”
C: It depends on the city. In Nashville, I’ll go to the dueling piano bars. There are cool places in Texas like, “This is the honky-tonk.” If something is called honky-tonk, I’m going. Just because I want to be around people that are nothing like me. I have nothing in common with these people. We’re from different planets at this point, and I want to observe them because they’re so interesting to me. People from Texas; people from the South. I love this sh*t.
J: It’s a culture shock, absolutely.
C: It is! There are always really fun bars in cities like Nashville and Dallas and Austin and sh*t like that. So I make my rounds. But in some cities, I would never go out there. There’s one bar and it’s a Chili’s, you know?
J: Oh my god. The darkness of those spaces is real. I obviously care about my creative work as a person, but the main thing I care about in my life is going out. I love being in restaurants, I love being at bars. And being in spaces where there’s none of that available, how do you live here? What is happening?
C: I always ask myself that question, because that’s a lot of the country.
J: Yes, 100 percent.
C: But it’s people who are born there, and they love it.
J: You’re from Long Island?
C: Yeah, I’m from Long Island originally. What about you?
C: Oh my God, you’re from Vermont. That’s so exotic. I love Vermont.
J: Have you been?
C: Yeah, I’ve been to Vermont a bunch of times, and I love it there.
J: It’s beautiful. I appreciate it more now than I did when I was younger. I’m originally from Rhode Island, but we moved to Vermont when I was 6. Imagine being a burgeoning gay child living in the Providence suburbs. And then your parents are like, “Hey, we’re going to move into the middle of the forest and then just get divorced.” I spent the rest of my time growing up in the forest like, “There are no other gay people here, and the theater is terrible. I really resented it when I was younger, but now I think it’s beautiful and I get it.
C: That’s so interesting. Wow. So there wasn’t a gay community there?
J: Oh my god, no.
C: I’m so surprised by that.
J: People are like, “Oh, but Vermont is so gay-friendly.” It’s like being dinosaur-friendly. There are no f*cking dinosaurs around to deal with. So it’s really easy to say we’re gay-friendly.
C: It’s just that they’re friendly to you at that point.
J: Exactly. If you want to be gay-identifying and not catch a d*ck your whole life, go there. I think it’s a little bit better now. But where I grew up in Vermont, I was the only gay person in my high school. And then I went to UVM and, once again, the gay scene at UVM was so bleak. Because any gay kid who could afford to is absolutely going to NYU, Wesleyan, or some chic school. It’s only the kids who got B-pluses.
C: The B-plus gays.
J: That’s me. I did my sophomore year in England in a very gay city.
C: I love England, too
J: Me too. Have you been to Brighton?
C: Oh my God. I dated a guy from Brighton. He was so dumb.
J: Shut up. Did you spend time with him in Brighton?
C: No, I didn’t spend time with him in Brighton. I met him here in New York. First of all, can I just tell you really quickly? This guy was so dumb. He lived here for 10 years before I met him. We dated for like, four months. It was over the summer, and I was like, “Let’s go to the beach.” And this man didn’t know there was a beach in New York. He was like, “What? There’s a beach here?” It’s a f*ckin island, dude. What did you think we were surrounded by? You’ve never even seen a map?
J: You have to cross over the water to go from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
C: He was in shock. We planned the day, and tell me why this man shows up at my apartment with jeans, dress shoes, and a f*cking T-shirt on.
J: That’s Brighton.
C: He was like, “What, I’m going to change when I get there.” I was like, “You’re going to change at the beach?”
J: Brighton has a Pebble Beach with bars on it. You go to the beach and you’re walking to the pebbles. It’s the best town ever. I love it so much. But you’re going to like the pubs that are literally on the seafront and then you’re sitting on top of rocks. There’s no sand, which I love. You wouldn’t wear a bathing suit to those beaches; you would wear jeans and a T-shirt and go hang out.
C: He was wearing a tuxedo. He was in a full outfit. He’s like, “Well, I don’t know what people wear.” I promise, they don’t wear dress shoes.
J: No one’s wearing laces, babe.
C: It looks insane. It looks like you accidentally went to the beach.
J: I’m sensing a theme. We’ve dated one dumb guy and one guy who cannot speak the same language as you. So I’m sensing a theme in your tastes.
C: Right. It has to be really hard to communicate if I’m going to date you.
J: l prefer a low literacy level.
C: Yeah, if you’re not a match for me, I’ll get you for three years. And that’s my only rule.
J: Are you someone who likes going out on a date?
C: I love a good date.
J: I love going out on a date. And I’ve had a boyfriend for five years, which is an issue. When I was single, if I was bored and had a free night, I would go on Tinder. Let’s find a first date to go out on. I’m just obsessed. I think it’s the most fun. A complete stranger to essentially doing what you and I are doing — talking and getting to know each other in a fun bar.
C: I’m so good at dating, I’m so good at a first date. I talk for a living, this is what I do. So I can talk to anyone, and then I have so much fun. And they’re like, “I’ve never felt this way before.”
J: Well, that’s a problem. You just have had a fun time getting to know them. And then at the end, they’re like, “So I would marry you right now, I have fallen in love.” Unless you are a level of boring that should go in a record book, I will find something really interesting about you. Do you know what I mean? I’ll really dive in and comb the depths until I find the interesting thing about you. But then once I do, I’m all in.
C: Then you start praising them for very regular things. I dated a guy that was so boring. My best friend said to me, she only said something like this to me one time, but she was like, “I don’t want you to be upset by what I’m about to ask, but I need you to explain to me what it is about this guy.” She was like, “I need to get it.” She met him, and he was so uncomfortable to be around. She was like, “He doesn’t have a good personality. I feel so awkward around him. What is it about him that makes you like him?” And I said some dumb sh*t.
J: It would be one thing if she was like, “Hey this is my one issue.” Instead, it was, “Hey, I can’t find one goddamn reason I would ever want to interact with this person.”
C: But I love everybody, whatever.
J: Are you a serial relationship person?
C: No, I’m not a relationship person. I’ve realized that about myself as I’ve gotten older. I like dating. I like to have someone to spend time with and do things with. But unless it’s a really good, solid match, which is so rare, I just can’t be bothered.
J: Totally. Especially with your line of work; the constant traveling, the working, the erratic schedule. You can’t just plug someone in and be like, “All right, we’re boyfriend-girlfriend now.” It’s not going to work.
C: Yeah. And I feel like guys have a hard time dating female comedians. It’s always weird dating a guy that’s not in the industry. And it’s hard because I don’t want to date a guy that’s in the industry.
J: It’s a struggle.
C: Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.
J: What was going out like when you were younger on Long Island? What was that vibe?
C: I was going out when I was really young. I was going to bars when I was 13, 14 years old.
J: See this is what I pictured. I was sitting on my ass in Vermont, waiting for it to get warm enough for me to go outside again being like, “The kids in Long Island are getting f*cked up.”
C: Oh, we were getting so f*cked up. My fake ID said I was 28 when I was 13. Nobody cared. I got a tattoo when I was 13, and it’s disgusting. So it’s a nightmare.
J: I guess I am thankful that I was in Vermont where nothing could happen.
C: When you’re young, you go out to people’s houses when their parents aren’t home, like a house party vibe. Which, by the way, I wish still happened. I would love to go to a house party.
J: If I was f*cking rich, do you know what I would do? I would rent out a second apartment that was just for hosting huge parties.
J: And then I could just hire someone to clean it, and I would go home to my own place. And there’d be a house party where it’s no one’s actual house. I would love that. But the idea of 45 people in my house makes me want to die.
C: I mean, the idea of one person in my house makes me want to die.
J: Are you not a hoster? Would you host a dinner party?
C: I’m a good host, but it gives me so much anxiety. And then I wonder, is the juice worth the squeeze? I am freaking out cleaning every single inch of my apartment, and I don’t enjoy myself if there are a lot of people.
J: I feel the same. If it’s a close friend, that’s totally different.
C: Two close friends are good. But with new people, I can’t. Those people who are like, “I’m having a dinner party at my apartment,” that sounds insane.
J: The other day I was coming home, and my boyfriend texted me. He just became friends with this new group of people.
C: I hate that, tell him to stop.
J: He likes them; they’re good. But he was like, “Four of them are coming over for drinks and hanging out,” and I’m like, “I’m sorry, I haven’t cleaned the bathroom.” You can’t just bring people. Someone going into my bathroom without me having had one hour to clean it is me fully being cavity searched by a person. That is the level of violation I feel.
C: I 100 percent agree with you. A bathroom, especially, because when I go to someone’s house, that’s what I notice.
J: Growing up, any time I left literally anywhere, we’d get in the car and my mom would be like, “Did you see the bathroom?” My Rhode Island mother would be like, “Did you look behind the toilet? They don’t clean behind the toilet.”
C: She’s like, “Did you open the toilet tank?”
J: She’s like, “The water in the toilet tank is low, and also the prescriptions in the cabinet were concerning to me.”
C: I go through people’s sh*t.
J: Do you?
C: Oh, I shouldn’t say that.
J: I have in the past. I wouldn’t say I regularly do it. No, Carly. Don’t apologize.
C: I do it. I don’t touch it, but I want to see what’s in your cabinet.
J: This is really vulnerable. If I’m experiencing any sort of high-stress situation in someone else’s space, sometimes I just need to decompress for a second. I might go to your bathroom and see if I can find some Q-tips, get in my ears, and stress-clean my ears. I’m sorry. I know this is way too specific. But sometimes you just need to decompress, and that is my thing. And then I’ll bury them in the person’s garbage like nothing is there. That’s my version of going through someone’s cabinet.
C: But I mean, that is going through someone’s cabinet.
J: Yeah. I can pretty much walk into anyone’s bathroom and pretty quickly tell you where the Q-tips are.
C: What an insane way to calm yourself down.
J: OK, it works. I don’t know what to tell people. It works.
C: I believe it. That’s one of the best feelings ever.
J: It’s like the third form of sex.
C: Yeah, absolutely.
J: Those are my big three. So that’s what I need to calm myself down. But no, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going through someone’s cabinet. I understand it’s an invasion of privacy.
C: I just want to peek.
J: I want to see what you’re doing for skincare.
C: Right, exactly. That’s it.
J: The problem is when you find something that you have a question about and you can’t answer it. Not me Googling the name of prescription medication being like, “What is this for?”
C: I’ve done it. On the prescription bottle, it’s some type of generic name. I don’t know the clinical names for this sh*t, and I need to know if someone I’m dating has a disease. I need to know how I need to be there for you.
J: It’s a service for them. I’m just trying to learn your medical history so I can support you. You think that they have something horrible thinking and it’s like, “Oh no, this is heartburn medication.”
C: It’s always a different type of Tylenol.
J: This is a very “my mom” episode. She loves to stockpile prescriptions and then act like a pharmacist. And I’ll be like, “I think my allergies are really bad.” She has three different prescription-strength allergy medications that she’s been stockpiling. She’ll admit to symptoms to a doctor that I don’t think she actually has, to stockpile these medications.
C: Honestly, that’s such a mom move. It’s such a good move, though. But I hope that she’s not giving you expired medicine. Does it ever expire, really?
J: Some of it loses efficacy, I think. My friend’s grandma is also a medication stockpiler. I think they were in Paris, and she wasn’t feeling well. So she took one expired antibiotic — she thinks you can take those like Advil — and it did make her sh*t her pants in the Louvre.
C: Oh my God, traveling memories.
J: Oh my God. To tie it back, that was my first memory of you, seeing you in the Pines Pantry.
J: Are you a hangover person, or are we blessed?
C: I’ll rally even if I’m hung over. I’m always going to rally.
J: I really like that in a person.
C: I want my time in the morning. I’m going to get an egg sandwich, I’ll get a coffee, I’ll drink a bottle of water, and take a Tylenol. And I’m all set. I’ll be good for the day. But I need that little time in the morning. But then I’m all right.
J: If it’s really bad, you can do a Bloody Mary or something. I really like that in a person, someone who can kind of really push through it and get going.
C: Yeah, it’s important.
J: It is important.
C: I feel like in Fire Island, it’s so funny because it always happens this way. Everyone’s so excited when you first get there. It’s like, “Yeah, we’re going out, we get home at 4 a.m., and we wake up and we go get breakfast and blah blah.” And then there is that one day where it hits everyone at the same time and everyone takes a 15-hour f*cking nap.
J: The thing is, you get there Wednesday or Thursday for most Fire Island houses, which I would argue is actually a really flawed design. You get the excitement of, “Oh, we just got here, let’s do the whole thing.”
C: But it’s not the fun party nights.
J: So then you’re kind of already feeling it by Friday. And then it’s like, “Well, we have tickets to this party that starts at 3 a.m. and it’s mandatory that you do four drugs at the door. This doesn’t really work for my body and how it sort of functions.”
C: Yeah, we should start and go hard the first couple of nights.
J: Getting there on Friday and getting into it, and then having Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday all be recovery beach days would be so relaxing. Are you a big beach person? You mentioned it a couple of times.
C: Yeah, I like going to the beach.
J: Which of the New York beaches do you do?
C: I love Riis Beach in the Rockaways, that’s usually where I’ll go. But I grew up going to Jones Beach on Long Island.
J: Riis is funny because it’s such a pain in the ass to get to. But also, that’s why it’s special. If it was easy to get to, it would be ruined. But it feels like an absolute slog to get there.
C: If one of my friends is driving, I’m always down. I know you can take the train and the bus there.
J: But if someone has a car, it’s literally game-changing.
C: It’s too much to get on the train in your little flip-flops and beach bag.
J: And then you have to transfer to a bus? Absolutely not. When I’m on the bus, I’m like, “I don’t know if we’re going to get there, guys.” I don’t really know that this is going to work out for us.
C: I don’t even know where I’m going. It’s too much work.
J: In the early, early pandemic, when you couldn’t do anything, I would just go on really, really long bike rides because that was the way to pass the time and it was one of the only Covid-safe activities that we knew of. I biked out to Riis Beach, and then I biked down to the part of the Rockaways that has the actual boardwalk. I, unfortunately, did make the executive choice to put on a Lana Del Rey album. And I’m biking, listening to Lana Del Rey, alone.
C: You’re in the music video,
J: I’m in the music video. Because I’m in the music video, I start really only looking at the ocean, which is not the direction in which I’m biking. And then at full speed, I bike into a wall. I break my bike. I cut myself open, literally all over my body. And there are some people around. There’s this thing where people are like mitigating, like, “I need to help this person. But also because of Covid, I can’t get near him.” People were very concerned from 10 feet away being like, “Are you OK?” I was f*cked up, and I was like, “OK, I have to get home.” I was nowhere near the train. I couldn’t ride the bike back. I was like, “I guess I’m calling an Uber XL, even though it’s Covid.”
C: You put your mangled bike in the back seat?
J: So this poor f*cking driver who’s working during Covid because he has to, shows up in full-body Saran Wrap. He rolls down his window and goes, “You’re currently bleeding.” And I go, “I’m sorry, you gotta take me home.” It was an $85 Uber, with my bike in the back, all the way back to Crown Heights.
C: Oh my God. That is a nightmare.
J: All because of “Norman F*cking Rockwell.”
J: Lana owes me. It was right after that when she was wearing the mask that was fully just mesh. And I was like, “You’re spiting me.”
C: We risked it all for her, and then she wore the mesh mask. That was one of my favorite highlights of celebrity cringe moments of the pandemic. That and, I think, Vanessa Hudgens going like, “Oh, people are going to die.”
J: All I think about is her people. Can you imagine her agent watching that?
C: She did major damage control after that. She was so upset to not go out for St. Patrick’s Day, of all holidays.
J: Are you pro or against St. Patrick’s Day?
C: Hate it. It’s like amateur night. I hate any excuse for every f*cking guy in midtown to go out to a bar on the same night.
J: I hear you. This is an interesting topic that I haven’t really broached yet with any of the guests. It is so brutal. Obviously, there’s SantaCon, which is very easy to sh*t on as a New Yorker. I am not a big holiday person with family holidays. I grew up with divorced parents. The stress and headache of Christmas aren’t worth it. My favorite holidays, I feel like, are the ones that get sh*t on a lot: Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. I love days where there’s a reason to party, but there’s no familial obligation or moral obligation.
C: Right, right. You don’t have to take a train or a plane to do anything.
J: You don’t have to do anything on the Fourth of July, no one gives a sh*t. But you can also just drink beer in someone’s backyard for 200 hours. Those are my absolute favorites. On those days, you just have to be extra thoughtful about being with the pros. Going to someone’s rooftop, getting to a space where you’re going to be safe because the amateurs are out, but you can’t let them ruin your night.
C: I feel like the way to avoid that is to not go out to a public place, like a bar or something. Go to someone’s rooftop, go hang out at the beach. Not like, “I’m trying to get into this bar or restaurant.” It’s my nightmare. That’s what I was doing when I was like 13 years old, going out to bars when I was a kid.
J: Right and that’s the thing. On New Year’s Eve, I will do a bar. I actually do like being on New Year’s Eve. But for Fourth of July and St Patrick’s Day, thinking, “We can go to a bar and it’s just going to be fine?” That is so rookie in and of itself, right?
C: You’re a freshman in college.
J: You’re a freshman in college, you’re wearing the lanyard around your neck with your key swipe, swinging that around like, “This is my identity now”.
C: This is who I am.
J: Where did you go to college?
C: I didn’t go.
J: I love that for you. I love that you can make fun of the culture without having to ever pay for it. It’s truly perfect.
C: Sometimes, I wish I went. I started doing standup when I was 20, so it just ended up happening. I was on a show on MTV called “Girl Code” for years. If I didn’t have that, I would have had to go to college. You need a college education in New York for anything. It’s not even like, “Oh, I want to be a doctor.” I remember applying for a job at Urban Outfitters, and they were like, “Did you go to fashion school?”
J: Don’t tell me that. That f*cking pisses me off.
C: I was like, fashion school? You don’t even help when I ask you questions.
J: I’m sorry. That makes me really f*cking mad. To sell some busted-ass denim.
C: To sell flannel shirts. I wanted to work at Urban Outfitters so badly. You know how people are like, “I want to be a lawyer?” I wanted to work at Urban Outfitters.
J: When I was 14, the Gap was like my favorite place.
C: Of course, you were in Vermont.
J: The Gap was not in Vermont. You had to leave the goddamn state to get to one. They closed the one in my hometown. It was really devastating. I would be at the Gap, and every single time I went, someone would approach me as an employee. Because I was just a small gay walking around in a Polo shirt. They would be like, “Do you have these in a large?” And I’d have to be like, “I don’t work here,” and in my mind, I’d be like, “…yet.” It was my dream.
C: You were so flattered.
J: Yeah, I was so flattered. I know I really looked the part, but I actually was not on the payroll yet.
C: Dress for the job you want, though. Did you ever go to the Gap Factory Store outlet?
J: Oh my god, the one in Glens Falls is heaven to me. The Gap feels so safe to me. I love to go to Banana Republic and be like, “I know your cousin; you’re not that fancy.”
C: And honestly, Old Navy has the same kind of vibe. I know your family.
J: I know your older sister, we’re close. You’re not my vibe, but I’ll f*ck with you a little bit. The Old Navy American flag summer shirts were very formative. I mean, they’re powerful.
C: The Old Navy flip-flops molded my soul, my being.
J: The actual sole of your foot? Yes.
C: They molded to my sole. The way those would get so disgusting in one month, they would be black.
J: Here’s my thing about the Old Navy flip-flop. The thing about the Old Navy flip-flop is, I actually don’t understand where in the actual world they exist functionally. I’ve said this in a video before: If I see anyone wearing those in New York City, I’m calling the Health Department. It’s absolutely f*cking foul. You cannot walk around this city with three-quarters of an inch of foam, protecting you from hell.
J: People were wearing them at my high school, which again, is in the middle of the forest. There is rock; there is dirt. Your feet are horrific to look at. Is it for suburbia? Outside of the beach and maybe your bathroom, I don’t understand the true functionality of them. But they really had us believing that you could wear that shoe to and fro throughout the world.
C: Oh, 100 percent. Like, those were so stylish for some reason. I don’t know what it was about them that made them more special than other flip-flops. I never wear sandals, period. In the city? Hell no, it’s not happening. But those flip- flops really had such a moment. They were iconic for a while, and Old Navy convinced us that this was a formal shoe as well.
J: Trying to explain it to someone who didn’t live in that time, you could actually go to a business casual event in those flip-flops and gaucho pants?
C: And people would talk about you on the way home like, “She is so stunning.”
J: Because she’s also wearing a plastic turquoise necklace that is the size of my f*cking head.
C: That’s what celebrities wore.
J: Rachel Zoe!
C: All the girls from “The Hills” were wearing flip-flops with the gauchos.
J: Oh my God. The gaucho had a grip.
C: Oh, it had a grip. And it was the most comfortable pair of pants I’ve ever had in my life.
J: I see that so deeply for you.
C: There’s so much space in there.
J: If they try to come back, I’ll stop it personally. They can’t come back. I’m sorry.
C: Everything where I’ve said, “There’s no way this would come back, it’s so ugly,” has come back. Low-rise jeans with the thong out…
J: Well, the whale tale is so in, and it’s insane. But you know what has been whispering at the corners of society for about a year now? I’m curious if you’ve encountered this because I’m seeing it and it’s coming. I’m occasionally seeing Von Dutch hats. Von Dutch is back. And that I did not see, but I kind of want one.
C: It’s fun to wear it ironically if you were alive during the first wave. It’s like Covid, I survived the first wave. The second wave comes around, I’m getting a little more comfortable.
J: I’m feeling a little safer.
C: I’m feeling a little safer, and I’m going to wear the bedazzled shirt.
J: When Ed Hardy returns, that’s when it’s really going to cross over, and then I’m gonna have to put my foot down. We have all had a hard year and a half. I don’t know that I actually can see someone in an Ed Hardy shirt with a gaucho.
C: I’m going to buy it, and then just take a picture and send it to you.
J: OK, perfect. And then I’ll save it to my phone and someone will DM me on Grindr and someone will ask for a pic and I’ll send that.
C: Doing the Hilary Duff red carpet?
J: God, I love her. Nothing more iconic than those red carpet photos. I’m obsessed.
J: Before we go, as someone who I have faith in with their skills to go out, walk me through that. What is the No. 1 mistake that people make that you’re like, “Don’t pull this mistake?” What’s a rookie move to warn the people of?
C: Of going out? I think people naturally want to gravitate towards the “cool spot to go.” If the word is already out about that spot, don’t go there. Because all the people that aren’t cool are there, and it stinks.
J: The bar that you have found with your friends that you have fun at is the cool spot because you guys know about it. When everyone else knows, it’s going to suck. So keep going to the bar that you like.
C: Absolutely. When a shirt is trendy and then your dad gets it, and you’re like, “Oh, let’s throw the shirt away.” We’re donating it. That’s what it is. When everybody knows about it and everybody’s trying to be cool, it’s not cool anymore. Don’t go there. Stay where you know and are comfortable, and that’s the fun sh*t. Those are the most fun nights I’ve ever had. It’s in a little place with good music with my friends.
J: 100 percent. Nothing makes my stomach drop more than when I watch one of those hellscape compilations on TikTok of the best bars in New York City. First off, anyone who makes those videos, I hate you.
C: I’m so sorry, and I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but rot in hell. And I mean that. It’s cringiest sh*t I’ve ever seen in my life. And it’s always like, “These are some New York City hidden gems: Cipriani.” That’s not a hidden gem.
J: The other version of it is finance pros being like, “Five bars you should never go.” So kind, finance bro. The people who work there are trying to make a living, and now you’re putting on the internet that they should literally lose their jobs. It drives me f*cking nuts. Carly, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. This was truly perfect.
Thank you so much for listening to “Going Out With Jake Cornell.” If you could please go and rate and review us on whatever you’re listening to this on, that would be really gorgeous for me in a huge way, so thank you.
And now, for some credits. “Going Out With Jake Cornell” is recorded in New York City and is produced by Keith Beavers and Katie Brown. The music you’re hearing is by Darbi Cicci. The cover art you’re probably looking at was photographed by M. Cooper and designed by Danielle Grinberg. And a special shout-out to VinePair co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for making all of this possible.