In this episode of “Going Out With Jake Cornell,” host and former NYC hospitality pro Jake Cornell speaks with producer, podcaster, and journalist SuChin Pak. The former MTV News correspondent is no stranger to New York City nightlife and experienced the city’s “gilded age” of bars, restaurants, and clubs. They discuss how nightlife has kept up with the changing media landscape, unexpected career paths, and how to know when your night should come to an end.
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Jake Cornell: I’ve been saying all week, I’m so excited to talk to you. I’ve watched you for years. You just said you lived in New York for a long time, you lived in L.A. for a really long time, you have existed in a lot of different careers and world spaces. I don’t know that much about your social life, but I would assume based on the career path you’ve had that your social life has probably changed a lot as well along the path. I would assume in tandem with that, going out, restaurants, nightlife, just how your life existed on a day-to-day basis over the course of all this is probably fascinating to someone like me. This is all I talk about, people’s social lives, and restaurants and bars and how they live in different cities.
SuChin Pak: Oh boy, are you in for what I like to call just a “full speed into a brick wall.” You are talking to a real life, social anxiety-ridden hermit.
S: I say that and everyone’s like, “Oh, God.” Here she goes with her “I have social anxiety and I hate people talking.” And then she’s on the microphone or interviewing. Those two can coexist, and they don’t coexist very well.
J: It makes sense that they do to an extent,
S: I think you can relate.
J: It makes sense to me. You’re someone who is a journalist and an interviewer and a human-interest researcher. That’s not the right word. But part of your job is viewing people in their full picture, their full story, and in their full context. When you’re doing that with everyone and then you’re in a room with a lot of those people, that becomes crushing very quickly.
S: Oh, my God. Jake, hold me. Just rock me to sleep, as do you often do at night. I always love a good Jake tirade. It just makes me feel seen, thank you. You know what I mean? That’s how we connected. Let’s be honest. That’s probably how you connect with so many of your fans. Like, how have I been invisible up until this very moment in time? You have seen me, so I agree. Working and being on MTV and living in that world, especially in your 20s and 30s, there is a lot of pressure to live up to a certain standard of fabulousness. I always fell very short of that. But talk about going out. I moved to New York wet behind the ears, I don’t know if that’s the phrase, I’m just going to say it. I was so fresh and dewy from the Bay Area.
J: Did you move to New York for MTV?
S: I moved to New York for a network called Oxygen. We know it now, I think, as Crime. And then it was Girls Gone Bad.
S: But before that, it was Oprah Winfrey.
J: I remember it as the network that played full-season “America’s Next Top Model” marathons on my days home from school. That’s Oxygen, for me. And “Bad Girls Club.”
S: Which is also amazing. But before that, you wouldn’t have seen it, because it didn’t even air in New York when I was working there. I never saw the show that I worked on. It used to work that way before the internet and YouTube and all of that. So I went out there to do that. When that whole thing changed and shifted and that show went away, that’s when I came to MTV. A lot of my producers at the time had worked in TV. MTV and Viacom in New York are the biggest parties. It’s a lot of media. If you work in this industry and you live in New York, you have friends. You’re one person away from a permalance MTV person.
J: That’s so true, I can name six right now.
S: I still run into it all the time. I get jobs from MTV people and event invitations. It’s a bizarre, massive world. So that’s how I came to MTV. I had come there and never really had a nightlife opportunity coming from the Bay Area. I say Bay Area, and I don’t mean San Francisco. I mean East Bay, a small suburban town very far from San Francisco. I remember when I first moved there, I had a Frommer’s guide in New York. And I, along with my two friends there, would circle a neighborhood and we would hit all the bars on that list. That’s how I worked my way through my 20s in New York. I will not be discussing a lot of that in public, as you can imagine.
S: You’re talking to an A-plus student here. That’s how I’m going to approach bars in New York. Go through a travel book methodically. Nothing is left out, everything is researched. That was my introduction into New York City. This is pre-MTV, when I first moved. MTV is a whole other thing, then you’re talking about lists and yachts.
J: Did you enjoy that world? What was that like? I guess this has happened to me on a much, much smaller scale. But being a comedian and also doing stuff about the restaurant and the nightlife scene in New York, there is an influence that your career starts to have on your social life. That line is blurred in a way that I don’t think it is when you are even just working at Viacom as a producer. When you’re not in front of the camera, when your name isn’t part of the whole thing, what was it looking for you when that started to bleed? Did you enjoy being on the lists and having to go to the events? Or is it kind of a nightmare?
S: I think so. Anyone would lie to you if they’re like, “Oh, no, don’t take me ahead of the line and put me on the list.”
J: I’m glad you’re being honest, because if you had said no, I wouldn’t have believed you.
S: Give me a break, are you joking with me? There’s the line, that’s not my line. Then there’s also the complete horror of getting to the front of the line being like, “Hi,” and they’re like, “No.” Or, “We know who you are, that’s still a no.”
S: There’s that rejection as well.
J: That’s never happened to me, and that would crush me.
S: There’s always that fine line. In New York, the checks and balances come fast and furious behind every corner. The second you’re feeling yourself, someone will vomit in your face and then go right back to the J train. You know what I mean? That’s not how people play in New York, and they don’t give up. They didn’t care then, and they certainly don’t care now. There was something really nice. A lot of the work that I was doing involved the after parties stuff. So the interviews were there, that sort of thing. One of my best friends was my producer at MTV at the time. I was at his house and I’m like, “I want to do a T-shirt line where all it is are clubs that were hot in the early 2000s.”
J: I would buy every single one.
J: I remember Limelight. I’m aware of more of the L.A. ones, because I feel like those are really documented. Ledoux and the Viper Room, I remember thinking those were hot. That’s what’s so funny to me, talking about this with you now. To give you some context about my background, I was born in Rhode Island in a somewhat metropolitan area. When I was 7, my family moved to the woods in Vermont. So I just became incredibly obsessed with everything cosmopolitan and urban, because I felt very isolated and like I was missing culture. I’m missing the world.
S: I was there at the center.
J: I was in Cranston, R.I., a suburb of Providence. But it really felt that way to me. For me, MTV and VH1 in the late 90s, early 2000s was a sort of iconography of that time. And the nightlife of New York and L.A., and going out on “The Real World.” That was the French salons of the day, in my mind. I was like, “That is where culture is happening, that is where they are in the forefront.” Twelve-year-old me was obsessed. I’m involved in the New York nightlife scene to an extent, and I know the veneers of how it works. Especially to go to the events that are considered the coolest, hottest spots and how absolutely brutalizing it can be. It’s just so funny to imagine what it was actually like, even though I was salivating for it so desperately as a 13-year-old.
S: I don’t know what it’s like now. Obviously, my life has changed so much. Not to be whatever, but I think it was salivating-worthy. This was before cell phones and videos and the internet, like sh*it was happening all the time, and it always felt private. And it always felt very exclusive. You’re watching Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears dancing, and nobody knows this is happening.
J: I just got chills. That’s what people may realize when you’re talking about going to these events in the 2000s. What years are we talking about?
S: I was there from 2001 to 2010.
J: Totally. When did cell phones even start, like 2005? But smartphones came later than that.
S: No, and where did you put those videos?
J: Yeah, exactly.
S: You didn’t put them on your Instagram.
J: Those events now are still onstage spaces.
S: That’s right.
J: They’re public-facing. But you were going to them back then, you were getting behind-the-scenes looks.
S: Nobody was performing. That was how you let off steam, right?
J: You were a journalist. Do you feel like there was anything like, “Oh, be careful around you?” Or was it that, once you’re in, everyone’s in?
S: Number 1, once you’re in, everyone’s in. Number 2, I worked for MTV. It wasn’t like I was on the front lines of PBS. I was doing TRL. So there’s a relationship; it is sort of like a symbiotic relationship. My good relationship with these artists only helped me be better at my job. There’s always a trust there. And also, what would I do with that? Where would I put that? There was TMZ and there was all of that. I don’t actually know when TMZ came out. I guess it would be Page Six.
J: And maybe Perez a little bit.
S: Yes. But think about Page Six, you’re like words on a page and blind items? Can you imagine that being so salacious? Page Six was everything. I remember the first time I made it on to Page Six. I was like, “This is awesome.”
J: May I ask, do you remember what Page Six claimed you did?
S: It said I was canoodling — real word — with someone. Who is the person? I can’t remember because it didn’t happen. I just was like, “Oh, I’m f*cking canoodling.” That’s where you would do it. But it would be blind and it would be on print. Everyone was reading it. But you look back now and you’re like, “Oh, isn’t that so sweet?” I mean, it ruined lives.
J: I know, it’s wild. We didn’t know how much worse it would get.
S: That was as bad as it was, getting on Page Six. There’s a certain freedom there in that sort of thing. I’m sure it exists elsewhere. Were you around to experience the shift, or do you feel like it kind of shifted after you got out? Oh no, it shifted way after. By the time I left TRL, it was just about the time that Twitter was happening. It wasn’t even Instagram, right? I remember the moment that I saw the writing on the wall was when Britney Spears had given birth to one of her children. I was going to go live on TRL. All day long, we were waiting for confirmation from her PR team. We were a legit newsroom; you can’t just report hearsay. But everybody was tweeting about it. And I was thinking, “This is the death of my career here.” She was one of our biggest stars that we helped and was part of the DNA and the fabric of TRL. If I can’t go on to say the thing that everyone already knows, then what’s my job? I can’t even retweet it either. I had to speak on air. So that’s how far I was when it comes to this time that we’re in now, when I left.
J: It’s funny that you say that because trying to explain TRL is beyond words. It’s something in my bones, like the VJs. Trying to explain what TRL was when I was 12, 13, 14 years old to a 12-,13-,14-year-old now, would be like trying to explain Earth to an alien. It’s so fundamentally different.
S: Every aspect of it.
J: You have to understand what the world felt like before the internet. I feel like my people my age are the buzzer beaters, the last few people who got to do that. TRL was it, in terms of our pop culture. It was the top of the pyramid in terms of everything; what music was big, what the news was, who was on it. It was such a big deal. This conversation is making me very nostalgic for that time. I do think it’s a good thing that there’s more of a dissemination of egalitarian access to information. But there was something cool about everyone tuning in. The sense of community nationwide to TRL to see if someone’s going to knock Mariah Carey out of the top spot this week. That was huge.
S: I know. I’ve gotten myself in those jams explaining that. You’re just like, “Oh, this is so clunky.” I feel so old. Because then you have to explain what live TV was.
J: Now it’s just “Saturday Night Live” and that’s it. It’s the only live thing left.
S: But I watch SNL on YouTube.
J: That’s so true.
S: Who’s watching the live broadcast of it, unless you’re a hardcore fan? You have to explain to people what cable TV was. You lose your way so quickly in trying to explain what a VJ was, what TRL was. It’s not about MTV changing — it’s the whole world. Everyone’s like, “Well, MTV stopped playing music.” No, MTV stopped playing music because people stopped watching TV for music. Otherwise, they would still be playing music videos. Everything changed.
J: That is so true, it’s such a chicken and the egg conversation where people always villainize the media outlets. They’re like, “They stopped doing this.” Well, there’s a reason. They weren’t like, “This is doing well and culture loves it. Let’s bail.” That’s never what has happened.
S: We have too much money, let’s go to the Jersey Shore. You know what I mean? Everything changed and it happened so quickly, as the internet and technology does. To me, it felt like it happened overnight, just one day. People also ask me if I miss it. It didn’t exist. When I left, there was no TRL. Do you know what I’m saying? It all ended around the same time. It wasn’t like I left and was watching TRL. It was all gone.
J: I can’t miss this thing because it’s gone. It’s truly gone. In such a fundamental way, it couldn’t even exist. Not that many people can say that, that the entire industry I worked in doesn’t exist anymore. This is not about going out, but I am just very curious. Was that incredibly personally destabilizing to you? Like, “What do I do?”
S: Oh my God, yeah. There’s milestones in your life. When my parents moved me to Vermont, that’s one pin, right? I moved to New York, that’s another pin. You have these pins. It wasn’t like I had ever wanted to be on MTV. I really didn’t have a concept of what MTV was. I knew what it was, but I grew up in a very small community, and my parents didn’t speak English. We did not speak English at home. They were born again Baptists, so secular music wasn’t allowed. We were poor; nobody’s going to pay for cable. I had the pliers when the dial fell off of the TV, just to turn it to the six channels. That was sort of my world. When I came to MTV, of course, I knew what it was. But I had never seen MTV.
J: I guess VJs were a thing of the ’90s, so it is very established.
S: I knew of it, it was in the ether. Coming to MTV, I had always imagined if I wanted a career as a journalist, there was only one path. And that path was the path of Connie Chung. She’s someone who looked like me. There’s one thing on the menu. That’s it, we got nothing else but Connie. So I had always imagined that that was the path that I was taking, and MTV was a bit around the way. But I always thought, “OK, then I go from MTV to a news desk, and then I become the anchor, then I’m Connie Chung or Diane Sawyer.” That’s where my mind always was. When I left MTV, I did that. I was like, “OK, now it’s time to graduate college.” I’m off to grad school and working at one of the networks. And I did the rounds, did the auditions, did the things that I’ve done. It was months and months of vetting. I got to the end of that road, and I remember very clearly, prophetically, I was standing with a friend of mine who was also at MTV and who knew me very well. And we were in the middle of Times Square in that triangle in front of the network that I was trying to be at. I came out of there after a meeting and he was like, “Is this what you want to do?” Essentially, that was the conversation. He could tell that there was something happening. It just wasn’t lighting me up or I wasn’t sure. He was like, “If I offered you a job to do something else, would you take that job?” I thought about it, and I said yes. I remember being in that moment being like, “Holy sh*t.” I had laid my life out very clearly. He was offering me a job that had nothing to do with what I was doing. It was in the pro-social world, working with really amazing activists and organizations. I didn’t even know what I would do there, but I would rather do that than go down this path. The whole thing was changing so fast and the way that I had conceived of what a news journalist looked like, was just no longer. I had been going through this traditional process, and the whole time I’m going through it, I’m thinking, “Do you still use fax machines?” All of this stuff was going through my mind, and I was just like, “That thing is dying. That’s a sinking Titanic.” They just don’t know it yet. They’re still at the party, but the iceberg is ahead. And I was like, I don’t want to be there for that. And I also don’t want to be at that party. That party was really boring, coming from MTV and that experience. It was extremely destabilizing in the sense that it changed the trajectory of my life. MTV didn’t change the trajectory of my life. This whole thing we’re talking about did.
J: This cultural shift. I can relate to that so much because I feel like that was happening in the restaurant industry, to an extent, when I moved to New York seven and a half years ago. Part of me was really considering doing restaurants as my career and not being a comedian. I was trying to hedge bets on both and do both at the same time. That was really when the push was starting to happen, of social media being the No. 1 driving force of how restaurants promote themselves and exist. I was experiencing how that was massively shifting, what restaurants value, what restaurants promote, and how they operate. That was really terrifying to me because I was realizing that the thing I loved, almost like what you’re talking about with the events and the lack of phones, which is having a really intimate vibe. Everyone in this room is connected to the same thing, and it’s only for the people in this room. Anyone’s welcome in, but if you don’t happen to walk through these doors, you’re not going to get it. Now it’s all about broadcasting, literally, at all times. How can we get the food on this table photographed and posted and shared, and the people who are sitting in these chairs photographed and posted and shared, to make it about this restaurant being a destination more than about being this experience? I also was going from working at a taco restaurant in Burlington, Vt., to a very high-end, fancy restaurant full of celebrities in Gramercy. I was losing my mind. But it was that realization of like, “Oh, the thing I have been fantasizing about for the past few years is dying, and I don’t know what to do.” It’s a weird, scary thing. I almost did the same thing you did where I was like, let me just fully jump ship and change. I’ve never talked about this publicly, but I went through four interview rounds at a nonprofit to move into working in the nonprofit sector. I didn’t know what else to do; this is too scary. And then right at the end, when they were going to offer me the job, they said that something had changed in their funding and the only position they were allowed to offer was for hours working on the streets from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. And I was like, “I can’t do that.” So I turned the job down, but I almost did fully change my entire life because of that experience, of seeing how much things were changing and how quickly. And it’s all because of social media.
S: It’s so crazy, and there’s no end to it. Even MTV made that — some would say — fatal mistake of underestimating that. MySpace is dead, but that was the big controversy. When we were there, it was like, how do we compete with MySpace? It was about underestimating the power of the internet and the power of, like you said, the democracy of information. Now, it’s a love-hate relationship. I’m sure it is with you. We’re both nostalgic for a world that doesn’t exist. So I think there’s always a love-hate relationship. And the older you are, the more hate there is.
J: Totally. It’s interesting for me, because over the past year, it’s become a part of my job. It became the method with which I was building a following and getting my comedy out there. It’s like how I promote my shows and sell tickets and stuff like that. That boundary of, this is now a work tool, made it feel so much safer and not as unhealthy. Whereas before, when I had Instagram, it was a part of my personal life and how I was showing things and how I was socializing with people. But it’s also how you’re comparing yourself to people. Now that it is very much a work tool, it’s a much healthier relationship. It was eye opening that this was kind of poisonous to me when it was a personal tool. It wasn’t a great tool, it was like self-harm at all times.
S: Oh yeah.
J: But it’s been interesting to see that shift before. Now, are you a homebody? Do you like to go out? Do you enjoy a night out? What does your socializing feel like?
S: Everything’s changed so much, but also it hasn’t changed very much for me. The people that know me the best are like, “Do you know that there is a pandemic?” We’re all kind of figuring it out. There is a sense, right now at this moment in time, that everybody’s at a 24-hour buffet, and I just need to get all the food in my mouth. I want to taste everything. I want to set it on fire.
J: 100 percent. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
S: Who knows when we’re going to shut down again? There is that kind of a resurgence, and a love of going out. I moved to Santa Barbara, like I said, in the middle of this pandemic. Everything was shut down. So I actually don’t know where I live. Someone told me this, I don’t know if it’s still true, that Santa Barbara has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the world. But I had never been anywhere. I’m having some friends visit right now, so I went online to look for the top restaurants in Santa Barbara. I’m making those reservations. I feel like the geeky girl with a bar guide. They say this has the best pizza in Santa Barbara, let’s make a reservation. And like you said, places are now into themselves a destination. I was just invited to a birthday party and they were like, “Well, I already made the reservations at Gwen’s.” The whole time, I thought we were going to a woman’s house. The way the lingo, even, is like, you’re not going out, you’re going to a place. That’s really changed. Now, I really am still chasing good-tasting food. I really don’t care what it looks like. In fact, I’m very wary if the restaurant is too beautiful. Oh, they spent all the money on the Instagram shot, no money on trying to figure out what the food is. I’m still into the dive-y things, the things that get whispered like. So for me, it’s the pursuit of food. Maybe when I was younger, it was more the pursuit of Balthazar, which doesn’t have the best food. But you get that corner booth and it’s a scene; it’s a moment. That has really changed for me.
J: Totally. You have the luxury, more than most people, of having experienced a lot of those things in a way where you can be like, “No, but the food needs to taste good.” Do you know what I mean? You can say the corner booth at Balthazar was an experience, but I would prefer the food to be delicious. Whereas, people who have never had those experiences are probably like, “I got to try it.” You know what I mean? People are chasing this thing that you’ve really, thoroughly experienced. You’re like, I’m was watching Britney and Justin dance before it was public, but the canapés were sh*t.
S: The canapés were sh*t. I already did that, I did two decades of shitty canapés while watching pop stars dance. I just want to eat really good food, and I don’t want to have to take pictures of it. I don’t care who the designer of the apron is. What does the food taste like?
J: More than anyone I’ve ever talked to in my life, you have this gilded level of like, “No, I’ve done all the cool stuff.”
S: I’ve done all the cool stuff from the years of 2001 to 2010.
J: That’s when everything was cool to me. In my book, that’s what I’m saying. To anyone ages 27 to 35, you could be like, “I was forged in the fires of what you thought was cool. Try me, I’ll win, every time.”
S: I was driving in L.A. the other day and I looked over and saw 1 Oak. Do you remember 1 Oak?
J: Of course I remember 1 Oak.
S: Is it the same 1 Oak in L.A.?
J: I think there’s a 1 Oak in L.A., a 1 Oak in New York, and I think there’s a 1 Oak in Miami.
S: Obviously, we’re talking about the 1 Oak in New York. When 1 Oak opened, that was a moment, of course. It’s funny driving down and seeing the franchise for a moment.
J: I call that category of places the “Sex and the City” restaurants. 1 Oak, Tao, it’s all such a vibe that I think is so funny. So were you also a homebody when you were younger, or did that come as you grew up a little bit?
S: I’m always a homebody. Sometimes you see children and you’re like, “Oh, you’re an old person trapped inside a child’s body.” I was born at an energy level, 20 percent charged, 60 years old going on 75, you know? So I’ve always been that way.
J: Were the MTV years hard for you in that way?
S: Totally. Also, I don’t drink.
J: Oh, at all?
S: I’m missing both enzymes. Most Asian people are missing just the one. That’s why they get flushed. I’m missing both, so I’m allergic. So I don’t drink, and I don’t really like to go out. I had other ways that I sort of kept myself, but I was also the most sober person all the time. Which is kind of awesome, because I saw it all go down.
J: I feel like PR companies are listening to this right now being like, “We need to take her out, she knows too much.”
S: They’re so lucky it was me. I could name a few, but you are lucky I was the person who saw that and don’t really care. So it was really tough, but it was part of my job. and it was also part of my job being a young person in my 20s living in New York.
J: It’s kind of a gift in that way. It probably gave you a little kick in the pants to go do it all.
S: I did it all. When you’re the sober person, I know nobody can relate to this, this is the craziest thing.
J: There are plenty of people that don’t drink.
S: Well, when you’re the most sober person in the room — always and has always been — you always know exactly when to leave.
J: I’ve had my sober friends tell me this. I was actually just talking to my friend — he used to drink but stopped. I was asking him about going out, and I think I had asked him, “Does it trigger you to go out with people?” He was like, “No, but I can sense an energy shift.” I don’t know if it’s like this for you, but he feels like the level of inebriation where no one is actually here, and leaves when it gets to that level.
S: It’s no one’s here, or some sh*it is about to go down. People are getting aggressive.
J: I would be like, I’m going to find a corner. But I will keep watching.
S: I did some of that, but generally it was like, “No, no, no.” Because usually it was at my table. I’m with all these clowns and someone’s about to do something. I gotta go right now. So yeah, the energy shift is when the fun has left the room. Now we’re left with people who are going to start crying, and I hate that. The worst drunk is the crier. I would rather have a stabber and defend my life. I would rather have a crossbow in my face and defend my life than have someone who is on my sleeve, crying, and begging me to stay. There’s violence in my heart.
J: I’m also guessing that there’s no good reason why they are crying.
S: No good reason. So as soon as fun leaves the room, I am going to stick around to see if anything kind of comes out of this mess, but it’s going to be a minute. A quick, New York minute, and if it doesn’t happen now, I’m done. Also this flashed before my brain. I lived in New York at a time before Uber. I had to catch a cab home. What are we talking about? I don’t think I can get in trouble for saying this anywhere. But we had cars for talent at MTV, and we had access to that. So each of us would get like two vouchers a day: one to get us to the office and one to get us home. It was very corporate. But I would be like, “If I walk home or take a train to the office, then I have an extra voucher.”
J: The driver’s like, “This voucher is not for 4 a.m. so what’s going on?”
S: The drivers are like, “I’m getting paid more at this point.” People would be like, “Who’s got the voucher tonight?” I can’t catch a cab outside Moomba. Come on now.
J: You already skipped the line. You can’t wait in a line now.
S: That thought crossed my mind. I’ve never drank so, but I’m always ready for the witching hour when things are going to turn.
J: That was probably key in making sure that you could sustain that schedule in that job for as many years as you did, was the fact that you weren’t imbibing every week or every night.
S: I don’t know how people did it. I mean, they imbibed 24/7. I imbibed in things, from time to time. I’m definitely not a saint. I had to be in a news meeting every morning at 9 a.m. That was not an option. I think that there’s a certain discipline to going out, like you said, when it is your job. It is a little bit. You do treat it a little bit differently. You know when it’s fun and then when it’s time. I can have this meal again. It doesn’t all have to be at once.
J: I was talking to a friend of mine about this. We were talking about someone we know who we really love, and we were expressing concern over the way in which they’re going out and how they’re consuming when they’re going out. As someone who goes out often and likes to and now it has become part of their job, I have to approach it with the mindset of, “You need to stay on top of this and be responsible and mindful so that you don’t have to stop any time soon.” It’s going home and not getting another drink. It’s OK to want to do something and tell yourself no. You have to if you want to make those things sustainable.
S: Plan it, I’m all for that. I think that everybody needs to let loose and have one of those buffet nights where anything and everything is on the table. This spontaneous buffet is not where I’m at in my life right now. I have been cleaning my chakras for two weeks. I am taking probiotics, knowing that this event is coming. I’m taking reishi mushrooms. I need to do all the things I have to do.
J: Sound baths.
S: I’ve got those things coming up. I am cleansing now, because I will fill my cup. I always joke to my friends, when you asked what has changed for you, the other day I was laughing. A friend of mine invited me over to dinner and it was full sun in the sky and we were having dinner at her house outside. I was like, “I love that during this dinner, I may have to reapply sunblock, guys.” This is my safe space, like a full-sun dinner.
J: I’m filled with jealousy because as we record this, the sun is setting in New York City at 2:54 p.m. I’m looking out the window, and we are getting into sunset vibes.
S: I know, I live in a magical land. It is very different.
J: It’s very nice. You mentioned you have kids, right?
S: Yeah, I have two kids.
J: How old are they, if you don’t mind me asking?
S: Seven and 9 years old.
J: It’s funny because they are at the age where going to be like, “You have no idea how f*cking cool I was.” You can have them call me and I’ll post a TikTok being like, listen, your mom was the coolest person.
S: They’re still young, where I’m still cool.
J: Well because they love you.
S: I remember when I was in the throes of, maybe some postpartum, let’s be honest, and I was on the phone with my friend. She also had a baby around the same time and we’re just sobbing, like every body part was leaking. You know what I mean? Tears and everything else that happens when you have a baby. I remember saying to her, “I used to be important, people pay me to get on a plane. Someone paid me to actually just sit on a plane. I got paid to do that, and I was important.” I was genuine and she was like, “I remember that, I know, you were important.” There was no irony, no eye-rolling. I was genuinely bummed that I am no longer relevant or important. So I’m sure I’ll have that moment and my children will just laugh as they TikTok away into the night or whatever they’re going to do.
J: It’s horrifying because by the time your kids are at that phase, it’ll probably not be TikTok. It’ll probably be a computer simulation. I don’t know, I don’t even want to think about it.
S: No, it’s so scary. It’s terrifying. I hope I’m not alive to see what the hell my kids are going to have to live through. I’m just going to be like, “Honey, I’m so sorry, sweetie, but do you want ketchup on that turkey dog?”
J: Sorry, I have to unplug your head for a second. But do you want dinner? The big conversation in Podunk, Vt., was which families allowed the kids to watch TRL because it was a bad influence or not. Now it’s like, if you knew what was f*cking coming, you had no idea.
S: We all knew it was a terrible influence. No, I’m kidding. It’s so sweet to think about that being the worst influence.
J: Yeah, because that’s on the Disney Channel now. I don’t know. It’s just so funny.
S: I know. Like I said, I think that it allowed for dark moments to happen unobserved. And that was also, let’s be honest, a little fun to be witness to. But it was pretty darn sweet.
J: Those are some of the most iconic moments. I look back on TRL with warmth, for sure. I mean, you, SuChin, will always be cool to me. And you will always be important to me, and thank you so much for doing the show. This was so perfect.
S: I had no doubt that it was going to be a very satisfying meal, and I am satisfied. That was so much fun. My kids will call you when I am screaming, “I am important!”
J: I am available at any time for that service. Please just let me know.
S: Thank you.
J: Thank you so much, enjoy the rest of your day. We’ll talk soon.
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.