This week, Jake goes out with creator and comedian Talia Lichtstein. The two discuss burner phones, Cam from “Modern Family,” and the meanest things they’ve ever said. Tune in for more.
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Jake Cornell: This is already so fun. I feel …
Talia Lichtstein: I feel like we’re friends.
J: I feel like we’re friends. This happened really fast, and I’m happy about it.
T: A lot of people say that but I mean it.
J: I truly thought you… I perceived that as you being like a lot of people say that about me, that is a common experience.
T: No. A lot of people just say that in general but also people do say that about me. People say I’m very warm and they think that we’re very close, which is a problem, because I don’t like to be close to many people.
J: Is that why you kind of lead with negativity on TikTok?
T: Yeah. That was the shtick that started it but people tend to think, “OK, this is completely a shtick” and the meanness part of it, the aspect where I’m like, I’m going to bully people until they stop annoying me, that’s not me. I’m a nice person. That’s the layer that I add on top of it. The thing where I’m annoyed with everybody and I don’t want to talk to anybody and nobody is as good at social interactions as me and nobody knows how to navigate the world as efficiently as me, that is completely true and that’s how I actually feel and people are like, “Oh, it’s…” Either they take it too seriously and she’s a bully or, “Oh my God, she’s just laying it on thick but she doesn’t really see the world this way” but I do. I really do.
J: Interesting. It’s two ways of incorrectly perceiving you that are happening.
T: Exactly and no one perceives me correctly. I’ve never been correctly perceived.
J: Yeah. I kind of get that where I feel like it would be… Because you have this almost character you’re playing and then when people meet you and you’re nice, they’re probably instantly like, “Wait, we’re best friends.”
T: Yes. Exactly.
J: That’s hard.
T: That’s the issue. A lot of people …
J: That’s really hard.
T: I’ll say on my podcast or I’ll say on TikTok, I love when people come up to me in the street, that’s the nice aspect of me, right?
J: 100 percent.
T: I would never, ever snub somebody in the street if they came up and said, “I love your TikTok.” I’ll always be grateful and talk.
T: But the problem is that I want to talk to them so much, I usually say, “What’s your name? Where are you from? Oh my gosh.” Then they go, “Oh my God. Well, I know you don’t…” I always say I don’t like when people ask for my phone number because we can talk…
J: Wait, that’s a line crossed.
T: I would never go up to anybody in the street if I liked their TikTok or if I liked their acting or whatever and ask for their phone number. I say that but then I’m so nice to them in the street, that they think that they’re the exception, so they think, “Oh, that’s part of her shtick where she says that and I actually can ask for her phone number.” Then what am I going to say? It’s really hard to say no.
J: I think you have to get a burner. I actually literally think you have to get a burner.
T: I have so many people in my phone who have stopped me in the street and they’re like, “Hey, drinks next week?” And I never talk to them again.
J: Damn. It’s hard.
T: I was talking about this, you think you’re the exception? Nobody is the exception.
T: I sound like such an asshole but, come on. We’re here to complain and this is my complaint.
J: No. This makes sense. Wait, OK. I forgot this happened last time. I forgot this happened yesterday but this is now reminding me that we met just now today, moments before we started recording.
T: You would never know.
J: I obviously knew that we were recording today. I was in a building that I’m not normally in yesterday, like a residential building. I was coming off the elevator and there was a girl coming on, who kind of looked like you.
T: Looked like me?
J: Looked like you. Again, as someone…
T: I love when people look like me. I don’t know what I look like.
J: Same. I have no idea what I look like.
T: No idea what I look like.
J: I’m incapable of perceiving myself. We’ll talk about it. No. Again, I’ve only seen you on the internet, we’ve never met in real life, so people do look a little bit different in real life. I’m like, “Wait, I think that’s Talia.” Where I’m coming off an elevator, she’s coming on. We make eye contact and then I go, “Oh…” Then she goes, “Oh my God.” Then I think it is us, but it’s not you, but she’s recognizing me.
T: Shut up.
J: It’s like a true perfect storm where she’s recognizing me from comedy and I thought I recognized her.
T: True perfect storm.
J: Then I realize, “Wait, this might not be her. She might just be recognizing me” and we stand there and I go, “Do I know you?” Because I don’t want to be like, “Are you Talia?” I should have said, “Are you Talia?” Is the thing that would have solved it. I go, “Do I know you?” Then she goes, “No but I know you.” Then I go, “How?” She goes, “From the internet.” I was like, “Right. It’s so nice to meet you.” Then she got on the elevator and I was like, “That was a disaster.”
T: Oh my God. No.
J: I truly thought it was you.
T: The worst is when I’ll think that somebody recognizes me, like they’ll see me in the street and I think they see me from TikTok, they’re like, “Oh my God.” I’m like, “Oh, hi. What’s your name?” They go, “No, I’m Jackson’s friend. We met at the party last week.” I’m like, “Oh, you’re not a fan. I’m just a normal person. You’ve tethered me back down to earth.”
J: I’m still in a phase where I refuse to assume that people know me from my comedy or my internet presence. If anyone is like, “Do I know you?” out, I will not be like, “I’m a comedian.” I’m like, “I don’t know. Maybe.” Then they have to figure it out for themselves where I’m not doing it.
T: No. I don’t do this whole, “Where do I know you from? You look so familiar.” Usually they do know where they know you from and they’ll be like, “Are you… You’re famous. You’re on the internet. You’re famous.” What am I supposed to say to that? First of all, I usually just say, “No, it’s the internet. It doesn’t count. I’m not very famous.”
J: 100 percent. 100 percent.
T: Or I just say like, “I have no idea. I don’t know. I come around here all the time. This is my neighborhood.” I’m not going to play this game of like, “I don’t know. Where do you know me from?”
J: Yeah. It’s too much.
T: It’s stupid. It’s like this weird stupid level of fame where you’re like only famous in this niche and only a couple people know you but they don’t know how they know you. It’s awful.
J: Yeah. It’s not great. Wait, is this… Has this affected you going out? Also, wait…
J: You’re a going out-er?
T: I was a going out-er, big time throughout college. I was the party person.
J: Where did you go to college?
T: UC Berkeley.
J: OK. Love.
T: I graduated last year. I was the party person and I came to New York, because I liked to be in a scene, I would never move somewhere where there’s not a big nightlife. I came here and really thought that I was going to be going out a lot more, and I just feel, I guess since this happened, with the internet, I’m kind of a recluse. I just don’t really love it anymore. I like it but I don’t have a desire to do it. I kind of have to be convinced and then when I’m convinced I usually love it, and if I don’t love it, I’m desperate to leave the entire time.
T: It’s the only thing I think about. It’s become very polarized. I can’t just enjoy socializing anymore. It has to be amazing or I’ll do it once a week.
J: Yeah. I guess I did not realize that your blow-up happened so quickly after moving to New York. That must be so intense.
T: Well, it happened before. I moved to New York because I kind of blew up, but not as much until I moved here.
J: Got you.
T: I blew up enough that I got Betches’ attention and they offered me this podcast and then I also had the Snapchat show that I was doing.
J: OK. Amazing.
T: I was getting this steady income and I figured I wanted to move somewhere, I wanted to get out of California.
J: Were you like going to school for performance or anything like that?
T: No. Media studies. I was into musical theater for most of my life and that was my thing and then I did the classic musical theater to political science pipeline and switched.
J: Love that pipeline. Classic pipeline.
T: Classic musical theater to journalism pipeline. That’s what I did in college was more journalism and poly sci and then graduated and was just… I had been in California my entire life, thought about moving, thought New York would be cool or maybe Boston or Chicago. Then Betches is like, “Oh, well, we have a studio and we want you to record this podcast in the studio.” That’s why I moved.
J: Got you.
T: It’s ironic because that’s the one thing that I’m not doing anymore is the Betches podcast, or at least right now and that exact podcast, I’m not doing, and that’s what brought me to New York.
J: That’s so funny.
T: And caused me to double in followers. I’m just not… It’s completely different.
J: Interesting. Yeah, you’ve had a really sort of tumultuous… Tumultuous makes it sound negative. It’s just been kind of like a roller coaster since you’ve gotten here.
J: That makes sense. Yeah. I kind of can’t imagine because also I’m not like… Let’s be clear, I have a quarter of the followers you do. I don’t think I get recognized nearly as much.
T: But you have more on Instagram, which is what matters.
J: OK. Thank you.
T: Let’s be honest.
J: I’ve been waiting… I was like I’m not going to say it but if she says it…
T: No, no. Everyone knows.
J: I’m kidding. You have the blue checkmark. This is the worst conversation humans can have. This is the worst conversation humans can have.
T: I don’t have it on TikTok.
J: This is the worst.
T: I was looking on TikTok.
J: I don’t have it on either.
T: Chloe Fineman from SNL, who is massive and wonderful and she’s on “Saturday Night Live,” this is like the pinnacle.
J: I know.
T: This is a comedian’s dream. She has like 32,000 followers on TikTok.
J: I know. TikTok makes no sense.
T: Nobody can tell me that TikTok followers really matter that much because she has these few followers, she’s basically nothing, and then on Instagram, she is a superstar. Instagram is what matters.
J: It’s really funny. It’s really funny. TikTok, it’s like this thing that doesn’t make sense. Nothing about it makes sense.
T: There’s no pattern to it.
J: There’s no pattern.
T: There’s no consistency.
J: The TikTok I blew up on doesn’t exist anymore.
T: What was it?
J: I mean, like…
T: Oh, the version of TikTok.
J: The landscape of TikTok that existed when I blew up doesn’t exist anymore.
T: Yeah. Same.
J: I feel like it goes to these… The turnover of what it becomes is so different and so fast and it’s so insane but it is funny to be like, “Oh, I just found Cher’s TikTok. I have more followers than Cher.”
J: No, I don’t. No, I don’t.
T: Yeah, but more people on TikTok, young people would recognize you than Cher, which is weird.
J: It is funny.
T: There are so many people where the much older celebrities… Like Alec Baldwin has like 2,000 or something followers on TikTok. I’m one of his 2,000 followers. He gets like 100 likes per video and I’m always one of the likes. OK? People on TikTok, like 12-year-olds, recognize me. They probably wouldn’t recognize Alec Baldwin unless they’re mature and have seen “30 Rock,” which is like the youngest thing that I can think of him doing.
J: “Beetlejuice” maybe, but you wouldn’t even know that that’s him.
T: My Jewish parents made me watch “Beetlejuice” but a 15-year-old today? Are they watching “Beetlejuice”? Probably not.
J: I guess not. I forget that I’m older than you.
T: That is not the Alec Baldwin, that’s not Hilaria’s Alec Baldwin.
J: No. That is not Hilaria… That’s my Alec Baldwin.
T: That’s your Alec Baldwin.
J: He is so hot.
T: Oh my God. He’s beautiful. I’m one of his 10 followers on TikTok and nobody young would recognize Alec Baldwin, but if I were walking down the street and a bunch of high schoolers saw me it would be a big deal. It’s just so weird. I’ve found myself in this weird type of… You get it.
J: I do.
T: It’s a weird type of fame but not really.
J: It is funny, because I didn’t realize that you could look at the age breakdown of your following on TikTok and Instagram.
T: You can?
J: You can.
T: I had no idea.
J: Mine was literally… I could show you how to do it right now. Mine was like, “Oh, 11 people under the age of 25 follow you.” Literally mine is all…
T: No way.
J: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
T: Really? What’s your demographic?
J: Like, a New Yorker. Like, cities and like, 25 to 40.
T: Mine’s probably older than I think. I think that the sense of humor I have, a lot of the older people appreciate the jokes more. Like moms in the Midwest tend to like it but then there’s another type of mom in the Midwest that has signs from Homegoods all over her kitchen. That mom doesn’t like me but the Jewish ones really like me. Then the rest are probably teenagers. Oh my God.
J: I’ve only…
T: I had no idea.
J: Yeah. My followers definitely skew closer to my age for sure. A teen did comment and then this led to a lot of people commenting this and I did think about ending my life… A lot of my videos used to be me dramatically talking about things emphatically and someone was like, “Come on, Cam from ‘Modern Family.'” I was like, push me in the street and call me f*ggot, I would prefer it. Push me in the street… when I tell you it’s the rudest thing anyone has ever said to me.
T: I can’t. That’s the funniest insult. I wish people came up with creative insults for me. People call me ugly all the time, people call me fat.
J: You’re beautiful.
T: Shut up. Yeah. Whatever. People still call me ugly.
J: I’m Cam from “Modern Family.” I’m straight. I can say you’re beautiful.
T: You are straight. He’s straight.
J: Never forget the most famous gay character on television and they’re like, “What did you base this on?” He was like, “My mom.”
T: I can’t. I’m losing it. Oh my God. No, it’s insane that he’s straight. OK. People call me… It’s literally the most insane thing in modern pop culture. OK. People call me ugly a lot. They never come up with anything creative.
J: That’s crazy.
T: The most creative one I saw on Reddit recently, somebody was clearly really trying to be funny, like they really thought about it, they’re like, “She looks like your not attractive cousin from the Midwest.” I’m like, “What does that mean?”
J: That’s not a thing.
T: I think of cousins from the Midwest and I think of like, OK, well, they all want to f*ck each other when they’re cousins, that’s the whole joke, so wouldn’t they be hot? I don’t think that’s mean. Why couldn’t you say nobody has gone for Kristen Bell if she ate carbs or like… Nobody says Chloe Moretz if she never got famous. Nobody says that. That’s what I look like, I look like if Chloe Moretz never got a stylist and never went on a diet.
J: This is a new game but it’s the best TikTok comment insult I can come up with for you.
T: Abigail Breslin if she stayed looking like she did in “Little Miss Sunshine.” These are all insults that I’ve come up with for myself. I’m throwing them out there, go use them.
J: Olive Hoover in “Little Miss Sunshine 2.”
T: The teenage Little Miss Sunshine or like the adult Little Miss Sunshine. People don’t go for this sh*t.
T: You need to go for the good stuff. At least, make me laugh if you’re going to be mean. Come on.
J: No. The thing is it’s like… When they see a confident woman, they’re like, “Oh, she must not know that I don’t think she’s attractive.”
J: Do you know what I mean? Or they’re like, “I just need to tell her she’s unattractive, so she’s not confident.”
J: Then it’s first thought.
T: The only thing you need to say to hurt me is you think you’re funny but you’re not. That’s it.
T: That’s all I need.
J: It’s like I will never recover from being called Cam from “Modern Family.” It will never happen.
T: I will never recover from hearing you get called that. Oh my God.
J: I also have to be like, game sees game. Like, damn, that’s good. You know?
T: That’s so funny.
J: Do you know what I mean? When someone says something really rude but it’s good, I’m like…
T: You have to laugh.
J: You have to respect it.
T: That’s comedy. That’s the best stuff. If you’re going to be mean, it has to be funny. There are so many times in my life…
T: I’ve learned this lesson the hard way since this whole blowup happened. I’ve confused mean with funny and I’ve confused funny with mean. There are some times where I’m trying to be mean and I’m really funny on accident and times where I’m really trying to be funny and it’s just mean. You have to find the balance.
J: I know.
T: But if you can find that balance, it’s the best thing in the world and people who can’t joke about that, people who can’t understand it, I think are the worst that Earth has to offer.
J: Yeah. It’s like… There is like… If someone has a joke that’s so good and so well done, I feel seen in it. Do you know what I mean?
J: It’s like there’s a love to it, because it’s like you actually have to be paying attention to me and seeing me authentically so deeply to write this joke.
T: So many people will peer right into my psyche and know all of my deepest insecurities and they can pinpoint it from one of my videos. To me, that’s a sign of respect. It’s like clearly you’ve been watching long enough. People will pull up things that I said in October, people will come up with things from way, way back, people will get on me about, “You said this already. You couldn’t think of anything original?” I’m like you know what? That was mean and you’re trying to insult me but you’ve been paying attention this long.
J: 100 percent.
T: You really get me, and you know what’s going to hurt me. At least, there’s that.
J: It’s because it comes from being bullied in high school and middle school and elementary school and being like… I actually wasn’t bullied in high school. It was mostly middle school and elementary school but you get to this point where if you’re a Scorpio, you’re like, “OK, I need to…” Instead of fighting back in the moment, I would sit and seethe and think about what’s the most painful thing I could say? Do you know what I mean? Instead of throwing something at someone at lunch, I’d wait and then be like, “Hey John, I think your parents got divorced because of you.” Do you know what I mean?
T: That’s so good.
J: Do you know what I mean?
T: See, I respect you.
J: Thank you.
T: If I were the teacher, I’d be in trouble because I would have laughed.
J: John should be like, “Wow. Jake’s paying attention. He knows that my parents got divorced. He sees that it was about me.”
T: Yes. He knows what’s going to really hurt. He knows that I feel that way deep down.
J: I know.
T: Somebody has to really love you and pay attention to you for that.
J: 100 percent. The meanest thing I’ve ever said…
T: Do it. Do it. I’ll tell you the meanest thing I ever said too. Go ahead.
J: Yeah. OK. One of the meanest things I’ve ever said, because I’ve probably said something meaner, was one time I really… OK. In high school, I used to… OK. This is too complicated but basically in high school, I was bad at Spanish. I was really bad at Spanish. I took sign language in college and crushed. I was much better at it. I think it was just an audio language thing.
J: No. I was really good at sign language but I was really bad at Spanish. Anyway, moving on.
J: I was in the Spanish class for my grade, it was the normies of my grade with the advanced girls from the grade below me. Does that make sense? It was like me with this group of girls who were the biggest overachievers in the world and homework would be to write a paragraph in Spanish about your favorite thing to eat for lunch. Then we would come in and they’d be like, “I actually just decided to write three pages because I wanted to make sure I thoroughly discussed it.” I’d be like, “F*ck off” and then they would all get As.
T: So insecure.
J: Then I would get a B, and they would get an A, and I’m like I should get an A for doing the assignment. Do you know what I mean?
J: I used to complain about it and I did it in a way that it was like, funny, so it was kind of a bit but I was also f*cking pissed.
J: One time, this girl, I won’t say her name.
T: Say it.
J: ***. Beep it. Beep it out. Beep it. It was like we would always bit about it, and I’d be like…
T: A Jew? A Jew did this to you?
J: I don’t know if she was Jewish.
T: She has to be with a name like that.
J: Interesting. You know I found out I was Jewish when I was 22.
T: She’s that much of an overachiever… Wait, what?
J: We’ll get to that. We haven’t talked about going out literally at all. I’m having so much fun, though. She goes… It was like a bit in the classroom but it was the kind of bit I was actually mad about. I was like, “Oh, wow. Once again, *** went above and beyond, so now we’re all going to get Bs.” She was like, “Sorry that I just really care about my schoolwork.” It was like God filled me in this moment and I wasn’t thinking. I went, “Hey, have you ever thought about in 10 years when you look back, I’ll have friends and memories and you’ll have a report card?”
T: Oh my God.
J: The room went silent.
T: There’s no way. There’s no way. How old were you?
J: 15, 16.
T: Oh my God. That’s an advanced comment. That takes… See, wisdom. Hindsight but you’re 15 but you’re seeing… Like you went above the Earth and you saw the future.
J: God came into me.
T: That’s genius. OK, so what did she say?
J: The room went silent and because I did go to high school in Vermont, the girl sitting behind me was legitimately named Rainbow, she went, “Jake.”
T: Oh my God. I need to know where that girl is… I want to say her name so bad. I need to know where Miss Girlie is today.
J: I’ll look it up. I think she’s actually very successful in D.C.
T: Send me her Instagram. F*ck her. Well, yeah, successful with no friends or family probably.
J: In D.C.
T: Never goes out.
J: We have to bleep her name. She was really nice to me later on. We have to bleep her name.
T: She was nice to you?
J: Well, because it was one of those things where it was like… My school was too small. Did you go to a big school? Yeah, because you’re from…
T: No. It was a very, very small private school. It was 130 per class.
J: I was 110.
J: For me, I was like I can’t have actual enemies because I can’t spend energy on that on a day-to-day basis.
T: Exactly. No.
J: Do you know what I mean?
T: You couldn’t really be a bad person.
J: I actually carried that into my life in general. I’m not someone… If you think you’re my enemy, congrats but that’s a one-sided experience.
J: I don’t feel like I have enemies.
T: Oh no. I’m not that way.
J: It’s too much energy.
T: People don’t know that they’re my enemy but they are.
J: Oh, OK. That’s a new podcast. I can’t…
T: People that don’t know that I hate them and I have very detailed experiences, memories. I have a list in my phone of people that are not allowed to post about me if I die, right? Something that really bugs me is that when people die, people will make posts about it. You know? I’ve had family members die and you express your love for them and you talk about them but a lot of people become f*cking clout chasers when people die. OK? It’s a real thing, so I want to make sure that my friends get their free pass. I want my friends to all use my death to get out of class or get out of their assignments or get out of work. I want my friends to use it for sympathy, for clout, whatever, but only if they’ve earned that. If they want to post about me, they have to be my true friend. There is a list of about 15 people who have wronged me. They probably don’t know. If I saw them in public, I’d be so warm and friendly but they cannot post about me.
J: Is this going to be sent to them when that…
T: Here’s what’s going to happen, I have a couple of friends who have my iPhone password, my parents know this, they don’t have my password, only these friends do. Once I die, my parents have been instructed to pass the phone to these friends. These friends go through the list and then they watch my Instagram from my account. If one of these people posts a tribute to me, “She was my best friend. I loved her so much” and like, no, you didn’t. No free clout. My friend is going to comment on that post from my account, the deceased person…
J: Oh my God.
T: And there in my name, verified now, so it’s going to be extra, OK? They’re going to comment from my account and say, “I didn’t know you like that.”
J: Oh my God.
T: Then, this is a real thing, I made a video about it. My mom knows this is what’s going to happen. Also, there’s a folder in here called death photos. OK? These are perfectly FaceTuned photos.
J: You’re 23.
T: I love true crime. OK?
T: I’m really just… Sometimes I listen to so many of these true crime podcasts and these shows and these books that I really do see life in the context of them and I see things as being very much more possible than they probably are.
T: I have thought many times about what’s my Laci Peterson photo? What’s my missing poster photo going to be? I better look cute, they better say I weigh this much when I do not weigh that much. I will not come back, if I’m missing and alive, if I see that they put my actual weight on the poster, I’m not coming back.
J: I’m changing my name.
T: I’m staying gone. OK? I don’t care. Typically, after a week, the person is dead, if you cannot find them. My parents know that, I’ve educated them on that. I say, “I’m dead, so you might as well make me look really good.”
J: Absolutely. Can I just say this, let’s not throw the weight up? No one is going to be like, “I really think that’s her but she looks a buck over 125.”
J: No one is doing that.
T: They’re going to recognize me. They’ll just assume the kidnapper gave me a little more to eat.
J: Imagine you’re in the back of the van, you’ve just been kidnapped and they’re like-.
T: “But you said she weighs 120 and she’s easily 150. I’m going to go ahead and let her go,” and then she was never seen again. The last known sighting of her was dropped. No, but that’s fine with me. That’s honestly fine with me. I would so much rather be inaccurately portrayed on that poster as skinny, gorgeous, beautiful. I want them to stress the blue eyes, blue eyes in capital letters, blue eyes, blond hair, even though I haven’t been highlighted in a while, blue eyes, blond hair.
J: They’re never finding you.
T: It’s a very specific picture that I want them to use. My teeth look so good in it. They’re white.
T: I want them to use color. People need to see my eyes. They are to use that photo on the posters; if they don’t, I’m staying gone.
J: I really appreciate how much thought you’ve put into this.
T: I’ve put thought into everything, my friend. OK, can I tell you my mean comment before we move on?
T: I said something really devastating the other day and I’m really proud of it.
T: OK, so there’s this guy that I’ve been seeing for four or five years. OK? I’ve known him for so, so long but he’s older than me. He’s been in this…
J: Is it Alec Baldwin?
T: You know what? Let’s call him that for the sake of…
J: OK. Perfect.
T: He is a narcissist in that way and he would have 12 kids just for his own ego. This is him. Alec Baldwin is… It’s similarly, he’s kind of in the same career path as me, he’s into comedy or whatever and he found some success but he kind of fell back, he didn’t really go much further.
T: You know, we got in this sort of falling out and I was just ending it for good, a couple of weeks ago. I go… OK, this is like the coolest thing I have ever said. I said, “At this point, the only thing that you’ve done that I haven’t done yet is failed.” Isn’t that so mean? I don’t know what came over me. I go, “The only thing you’ve done that I have not done yet is failed and if I continue to stay in your life and keep following you, you’re not that good to me, so the only thing you really had to offer me was maybe some career mentorship and advice.” He didn’t have any more advice to give, because the next thing for him to do was flop. If I kept keeping him in my life, I said, “I have to diverge paths now or else I’ll continue to follow the blueprint and I will fail. I need you to let me go. I’ve outgrown you. Thank you.” It was the meanest thing I’ve ever said.
J: Did you say this or was it a message?
T: No, I said this to him, straight to his face. It was so mean.
J: Did he walk into the Hudson River?
T: I got really scared, because I got out of the car after and he was crying when I got out of the car and then he called me and I was talking to my dad, so I didn’t pick up. I called him back but he wasn’t answering. I was so convinced that he had driven off a bridge. I started crying like, “What have I done?” He calls me back and he’s like, “I’m fine.” I’m like, “Yeah, you’re right. A narcissist would never kill themselves. F*ck you.” That was it. Anyway.
J: That’s impressive.
T: Yours was meaner. But mine was pretty good, right?
J: That’s really impressive.
T: I know. I know.
J: The rudest thing I ever said as a bartender, so we can talk about bars for a second, the rudest thing I ever said as a bartender was one time I was bartending at Rosemary’s, which is this…
T: Yeah. I know it.
J: You know it.
T: There’s one in Stuytown.
J: I did not work at that one. Thank you. Sorry. Definitely worked at the West Village location. Served half of Sydney, honestly.
T: I can’t with you. OK. Yeah. Continue.
J: It was kind of busy and this girl… I kept thinking she would be funny. Like walked up to the middle of the bar and kind of threw her hands down and was like, “I need two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.” Once again, God filled me, and I went, “Is there a fire?” Everyone looked at me…
T: You’re not real. You’re literally not real.
J: Everyone looked at me and I was like… I didn’t realize I had done it. Then she just left the restaurant.
T: Good. She went to the Stuytown one. She walked herself right over to the Stuytown location.
J: It was like a miracle that no manager, no other coworkers, no one saw it happen because I was like, that is the rudest thing I have ever done.
T: Oh my God. Oh my God. You’re not a bartender anymore, I’m assuming.
J: No. I stopped bartending in September, so it’s been like 10 months, nine months. I’m not good at math. I was a bartender for 10 years.
T: Oh my God.
T: Did you get great tips? It’s such a good job, I feel like, financially.
J: Well, it’s funny. This is not me dragging you but it’s funny when people are like, did you get good tips? Because it’s like that’s your whole paycheck. That’s what pays for it.
T: That is you dragging me. You’re telling me I said something that was false.
J: No, no. It’s like, yeah, I got paid for it but I didn’t work at one of those places where it was like $1,000 a night. Do you know what I mean?
T: Everyone who is a bartender loves to say, “I’m making $1,000 a night.” That’s all I f*cking hear.
J: Yeah. I would say it’s true in some places. I would say of all my bartender friends, I have one friend right now that is making sick money.
J: The rest are making solid money and some of them are making solid money and they have full benefits. You can have sick bartending gigs in New York.
J: I think people think every bartender is walking out with a Birkin bag every night, being like, “Going home from my shift.”
T: That’s what I thought.
J: It’s just like not that.
T: That’s what I think about strippers too. They’re making so much money.
J: The strippers on TikTok, I’m obsessed.
T: It’s unbelievable.
J: Coming home with a car full.
T: I saw “Hustlers” and I was convinced this was my new career.
J: They come home with a car full of cash, they put it in the washing machine.
J: Have you seen this? They put the dollar bills in their washing machine and wash them with detergent because they count them because they’re so dirty.
T: Ew. No.
J: I mean, it’s kind of like the opposite of ew. It’s like clean, they’re cleaning it, and then they count it all.
T: Oh my God.
J: Seeing it, it’s actually really satisfying. They open their dryer and it’s full of money. It’s actually really satisfying.
T: They put it in the washer and dryer?
T: You can do that with money?
J: Yeah. Money is made of cloth.
T: Oh my God.
J: Money is made of cloth. Fun fact. That’s why it can get wet.
T: I’m learning so much today. Wow.
J: Isn’t it fun?
J: Wait, OK, so you moved to New York, you’ve been in the East Village the whole time?
J: OK. When you were going out at Berkeley and you were loving it, what was the vibe? House parties? Bars?
T: OK. It was frat parties, which I loved.
T: No. OK. Give it a look. You’re allowed. It’s fun.
J: I want to hear why you loved it.
T: I’m a girl and it was like I got everything for free and everyone treated me so nice. I mean, they’re obviously all disgusting and don’t actually see me as a human being but I had so much fun. You go out and…
J: You’re not falling for it. You’re not thinking of finding a significant other.
T: Exactly. You can’t… OK, I would never date a frat guy. I was going out into the city on the weekends and going on dates with 28-year-olds that I found on Tinder, which is probably really a cause for a lot of trauma in my life.
J: I’m sure.
T: I’m sure bad things happened for my development from doing that, but I was just convinced I couldn’t date a frat guy but that was actually probably worse. I just knew what frat guys were like, so I just used them for the fun of it. I was in a sorority, I used that sorority.
J: Which sorority?
T: Pi Phi.
J: I think my college had that.
T: Pi Beta Phi. It was cool. I don’t know how I got in.
J: I think Pi Phi was at my school.
T: I was by far the fattest girl of all my pledge class combined. Everyone was so hot. Everyone was so… I don’t know. Everyone was from Newport Beach but it was really fun. I liked the activities. I didn’t ever have a role in the sorority. I never wanted to plan anything or do anything. I just paid the money and reaped the benefits of it and just didn’t get too emotionally invested in the whole Greek life thing.
J: Sounds really healthy.
T: It was so fun. No, it was extremely healthy. You wake up… The fun parties were when you would wake up at like 6 in the morning, because it’s a game day, and you’d just get… You’d go into a frat kitchen and the pledges would make you breakfast and you’d be drinking Mimosas and eating the bagels and then you’d go and just lose your mind at 7 in the morning. You’re like blacked out. God, it’s so fun. Nothing will ever be that fun again. It was the best. You’d randomly have sex at noon and then you’d go back out.
T: It was so fun.
T: Then I did the bar scene. I got a fake ID when I was a sophomore and I did a little bit of that but it was not that fun. The frats were fun.
J: This is so interesting to me.
T: Did you have Greek life in college?
J: Yeah. It’s just so different because I’m gay.
T: Where did you go?
J: I think that’s truly it.
T: Yeah. No. Obviously.
J: I went to UVM, so it was… It’s funny because UVM is in Burlington and they’re super, super strict about ID-ing there.
T: OK, I was just with my cousin last week who goes to UVM. She’s 20. She was terrified to use her ID. You can’t use it.
J: Yeah. It’s no joke. It’s no joke there. Even there, I’m like… I don’t look under 21 now. Every place I went, I was there this past weekend, they’re like bending my ID, they’re black-lighting it. I’m like, God bless, do whatever you want, I don’t care, it’s going to work, it is a valid ID and I’m almost 30.
J: This is to say, you could not… Unless you had, I did at one point… I’m also young for my grade. I graduated high school at 17 and college at 21, so I didn’t turn 21 until November of my senior year. Early junior year, I was like this will not do and I actually ended up on the dark web and found someone in Seattle who could make me a real Colorado ID and I did. Western Union…
T: The dark web?
J: I was like on message boards. I was like I’m going to get arrested.
T: Oh my God.
J: Yeah. I don’t think I was actually …
T: I would never be able to sleep. I was not…
J: I actually don’t know if I got on the dark web. I don’t think I could have bought a body but…
T: Oh my God.
J: I was on a weird message board and did get a fake ID. Allegedly. Anyway, I had a fake ID that was good enough at one point in time but this is all to say freshman and sophomore year, but I was only at UVM for freshman year because I did my sophomore year abroad.
J: It’s like the only option is either the Greek life parties or the sports houses.
T: Exactly. That’s how it was at Berkeley. You had to join or you weren’t going to a party.
J: What’s weird about UVM is they are the totality of your going out experience freshman and sophomore year, but the Greek life only makes up I think 8 percent of the student body.
T: No way. That’s a lie.
J: The vast majority of people don’t go to the parties but it is kind of the only thing available to you, unless you make friends with upperclassmen and go to the smaller, cooler parties. If you’re a freshman and you don’t know anyone, you’re like showing up and just the whole rigamarole of, OK, we have to have the ratio of three girls to one guy, all of that. Hellscape. I was also like, “What am I going to these parties for?” Guess what’s not going to happen? Me hooking up with someone.
J: You know what I mean? I hooked up with one closeted person at a frat party in my four… I stopped going to frat parties after freshman year but that only happened one time and I think it was like… So much of it was about hooking up and flirting and partying and f*cking at noon and going back out.
J: I was like this key component that makes this fun for all of you is truly missing for me.
J: I’m just going through the motions.
T: Right. No. That’s how I feel now. You can’t deny that going out when you’re young is about hooking up. That’s what it’s about. At least, for me. Unless I’m crazy…
J: What’s your sign?
T: I’m a Capricorn.
T: OK. You too? Yeah.
J: I’m a Capricorn rising.
T: OK. OK. I’m a Taurus rising and I’m a Capricorn sun. I don’t know a lot about what that means.
J: I know everything about it.
T: OK. You’ll have to tell me.
J: Not everything but I know a lot.
T: I do resonate with what I usually read about what I am and my birth chart and whatever and usually most of it seems real for me, but I think that going out… You’re going out to hook up. You’re going out to have fun. Even if it’s not sex, you’re going out to meet a guy, flirt, it’s fun.
J: The flirtation of making eye contact across the room and getting… That’s all fun.
T: If you don’t do that, if you don’t do that, it’s not fun for me on a night out. I’m sorry. I’m not going to lie. Just doing a girls night out, sometimes if you don’t meet anybody new and do a little flirtation, it’s… How fun are my friends that I go out with every single night? I know everything about them.
J: I was just going to say, and correct me if I’m wrong, we’re talking about when you’re going out in larger groups and larger dynamics.
T: Yeah. Sure.
J: I’m always down to go out one on one.
T: I’ll do one on one.
J: One to three groups. If we’re going out in a big-ass group, it’s like part of it is the flirt, the hookup, the dynamics.
J: That’s part of what the entertainment of the night is. 100 percent.
T: You’re not looking for guys that you like or ever want to see again. I make it my mission of the night to get this one guy’s contact information and then I completely ignore him forever. It’s the fun of the night and you want it to be like… You like to feel desired. You like to feel the validation.
J: 100 percent.
T: You like to play with somebody and have fun and meet somebody new and the chance of that. If you’re not getting that in college, I can totally see why going to parties in college just isn’t that fun. That’s the whole point.
T: You said that really well. I mean, I don’t know. I think there was a big… Obviously, there are closeted guys in these frats but I never… At Berkeley, you’d be surprised at how… It’s Berkeley. You know what I mean?
J: Yeah. UVM, that’s actually so f*cking funny you say that.
T: Similar vibes.
J: It’s funny you say that because it’s so similar.
T: Everyone thinks it’s so open but everyone is closeted.
J: There’s a difference. This is the thing. I was like, there is a huge difference between dealing with a place that is not outwardly homophobic and people would be like, “That must have been so great,” but if there’s no other queer people there, it’s horrific.
J: I think I would rather be in a place where I had queer community and a homophobic contingent against it than being in a place where I’m accepted but totally alone.
T: Exactly. That’s what Greek life was at Berkeley. I’m sure it was happening but it was not… You couldn’t just say a terrible slur about gay people and people wouldn’t like, come for you. It wasn’t open like that. There was this illusion of acceptance but nobody was actually out.
T: My entire sorority was bi. Everyone was hooking up. Everyone was hooking up. You’d go to a frat and it was not the same type of culture, obviously.
J: That’s so funny.
T: I can understand for girls it was really fun because you’re living in a house with a bunch of girls and it was kind of like the best-kept secret that’s not really a secret is that every… At least in my sorority, people were hooking up. I don’t know. For a guy, I can understand where it’s just not that fun. There’s no point.
J: Yeah. My version of what you’re talking about is now going out on Pride weekend and partying and going to these… Sometimes I feel like I’m having what you’re talking about now, in my late 20s, early 30s.
T: Right. Isn’t it this weekend?
J: It is this weekend.
T: Are you so excited?
J: Yeah. I’m going to go get my monkeypox vaccine right after this.
T: Oh my God. Unbelievable. Sh*t, I have to do that. Is this real?
J: Yeah, but it’s for gay men.
T: OK. OK.
J: You’re fine.
T: OK. Good. I didn’t know if it’s everybody.
J: I mean, you genetically can get it but it’s mostly spreading among gay men.
T: OK. That’s good to know.
J: Yeah. Fun fact.
J: Don’t quote me on that. I’m not a scientist. I majored in film theory.
T: Oh my God.
J: That’s what they say on Twitter.
T: You’re such a riot.
J: Did that element of the flirtation and the fun, when you got to New York and people already kind of knew who you were, did that kind of rob you of that a little bit?
T: It’s completely dissipated and that’s a huge part of why I think I don’t go on dates as much anymore. I haven’t… I was kind of, I think, a little bit of a sex addict in college. I lost my virginity freshman year and I was so excited about this concept. I was so sexual and into it and was like “This is so fun, why isn’t everybody doing it all the time?” I just wanted to do it all the time. Didn’t care with who. I racked up a body count. Then as soon as I graduated, I was like, “Ew.” I just don’t… It was partially the excitement of that whole thing, flirting, having sex, meeting somebody new, one-night stands, I kind of got through that phase and I’m glad that I did because I know a lot of people who are now my age and it’s not as easy to do that, but they are wanting that type of phase. A lot of girls, I think, have that desire to have that hoe phase and college is really the only safe place to do it, in my opinion.
J: It’s not even safe.
T: And it’s not even safe.
J: It’s not even safe.
T: The only more acceptable and easy place to do it.
J: It facilitates it in a way that… Yes.
J: 100 percent.
T: Then there was this added element of like, if I do go home with some random, usually, if they’re my age, they know who I am… If you have TikTok and you live in New York, you probably have seen me before and it’s very easy to figure out who I am. Even if you don’t know who I am, you can meet me and then go look me up and then you’re now part of the conversation. You have an experience with me. I’ve read on Reddit people saying, “I met her,” blah, blah, blah or, “I went home with her.” It’s like I don’t…
J: That’s so f*cking rotten.
T: I’m paranoid. Do you know what I mean?
J: That’s rotten. That’s rotten.
T: I’ve never read anything bad but I just don’t want to.
J: You don’t want to be like, hooking up with someone and being like there’s a potential that this person could write about this online.
J: And use it as currency.
T: And they’re scared that I’m going to do that. They always meet me and they’re like, “Well, you talk about dates on your TikTok.” Usually most of those are fake or exaggerated and I make up the guys. It’s just for entertainment. It’s like movie magic. A lot of the people will say, “I don’t want to go on a date with her because she’s going to talk about me.” It’s like, “No, I’m afraid you’re going to talk about me.” I can talk about you with a pseudonym and never mention any details about you.
J: They’re going to use your first and last name.
T: Only you would know. You can ruin my life if you tell a lie about me. Or if I hook up with you once and then I ghost you, you can say that I was a real d*ck to you and I disrespected you and I used you. I don’t want that. I can’t hook up with people now like a normal person anymore. Again, it’s not real fame. Again, this is not being a real celebrity. I don’t know what it’s like for somebody like Jennifer Aniston or whatever but this… I’m famous within a very small niche. It’s sort of like being very well known at your school. It’s like being school president at your college.
J: That’s such a good comparison.
T: People know who you are but you’re not a celebrity. It’s just weird.
J: It’s really hard. Do you have any… Do you enjoy anything about… Outside of the hooking up, do you care at all about drinks, dinner, restaurants, bar vibe?
T: No. I can’t plan anything. I can’t plan. I don’t like when people text me the day before and say, “What are we doing tomorrow night?” No, no, no. It’s too far in advance. I really get stressed out. I always see my friends going on amazing vacations or doing all kinds of cool activities around New York, like they went to Brooklyn for the day and went to the flea market and then they went to this restaurant. I’m like, “Wow. It’s so cool. They had such an action-packed weekend. How did they do that?” They got on the phone and they planned it and they made an itinerary.
J: You’re people-focused entirely.
T: I’m nothing-focused. I’m like you tell me who to Venmo and where to be and I’m going but I don’t want to be… I cannot plan the trip, I cannot make the bookings, I can’t make a reservation. I’ve never made a reservation in my life. I don’t do that. I don’t know how to plan anything in advance. I can’t commit to anything. I feel like I’m a little feather flowing through the wind and if I land somewhere, I land. I’m seeing somebody after this. She’s trying to plan this with me right now. She’s like, “Where should we meet?” I’m like, “I’m doing a podcast. I’ll text you when I get out of there and then I’ll know where we’ll meet in five minutes.”
T: I can’t have this advance. It really freaks me out.
J: Does the idea of going to a new restaurant excite you?
T: Sure. It does, but I can’t be the one to plan it or make the reservation.
J: I understand.
T: I can see a zillion times this restaurant is popping up on Instagram, I’m like, “Oh my God, I have to go there. I can’t die peacefully without going there. That is amazing. I need to see it,” and I’ll never go.
J: You’ll never go.
T: Because I just don’t plan it. But if somebody else texted me and said, “Oh my God. Have you been seeing that too? I’d love to go.” I’m like, “Great, you call and I’ll meet you and I’ll buy you a drink for doing that. Thanks.”
T: I can’t do it myself.
J: OK. Interesting. This is so interesting to me. OK. I’m assuming, and if I’m totally wrong, if I’m totally off-base on this, correct me.
T: I’ll correct you.
J: I know you will. I know you will. With the niche you’ve blown up within, do you… I’m assuming you get invited to a lot of the influencer events and that kind of stuff.
J: That’s happened to me a bit but I’ve never gone to any of it.
J: I’m just curious. Are they fun?
J: Are they awful? What are the people… What is the energy of going out in these going out influencer spaces?
T: It’s really weird. OK, so basically, they email you and they ask if you want to come to something and sometimes it’s just kind of cool. A lot of people will say, “Do you want to come eat at my restaurant for free?” And maybe you’ll post an Instagram story. Somebody offered, “Do you want to come hang out on this boat that has hot tubs on it? That’s what I do, I put people on a boat with hot tubs on it.”
J: Do you want to get an infection?
T: OK, well, there’s two types of people in the world. I think this looks really cool. They’re like, “Yeah, you and 10 friends for free” and hopefully you’ll post an Instagram story. I’m like, that’s fun, that’s a cool experience, I’m happy to use this. That’s a perk of this that I think is really cool is free sh*t.
J: You get to bring friends.
T: Yes. Free sh*t is always really cool. I go to things where it’s free stuff that I don’t mind promoting the thing, if I think it’s really cool and it’s free. Then there are the events where you’re going to go. You’re going to see other people and to be seen there. It’s very clear what the difference is. I show up to an event sometimes because I think there’s going to be free stuff and really it’s like, no, the perk is that you get to take a picture and say that you were here. It’s like, to me, I just… None of these people are bad, I don’t mind mingling with them, whatever. All the New York City influencers are lovely. I don’t dread seeing them but when you’re seeing all the same people at the same event, every single week, and there’s no perk, there’s nothing free that they’re giving out, there’s nothing cool about it, why am I just… I’m showing up, I’m providing my likeness, I’m providing my face, I’m going to post about it, so you’re getting free promotion, the brand, and the perk for me was, what? I was there? And I was next to this person and that person and they were there?
J: Oh God.
T: It’s social capital. It’s really not fun. They’re nice people but what is there to talk about when I’ve seen them at the same five events over the last five days. You’re kind of just in and out and it’s kind of a hassle and you have to get dressed up for something that it’s nothing. I like events where somebody… Some rosé company asked me and my friend to go on a yacht around Manhattan the other day. I haven’t been on a yacht around Manhattan. I moved here recently. I think that’s a bucket list thing. I like to be on a boat around the city, so I went. It was stupidly boring and all I got was free drinks. I got an experience and I didn’t have to mingle with a zillion people. It was fun.
T: You have to pick and choose and, unfortunately, I have managers but they do paid stuff for me. They figure that stuff out.
J: Yeah. Brand deals.
T: I don’t want to burden them with scheduling me to go to certain events and having to ask me all the time, “Do you want to go to this one or that one?” So I handle all the events and stuff and podcast recordings, stuff like that. When people ask if I want to go to these, I get a little overwhelmed with the amount of emails and I just don’t respond.
J: I know.
T: They’ll email you all the time.
J: Oh, 10 times.
T: Like 12 times.
J: It’s crazy.
T: “Hey, just following up. Are you sure you don’t want to come on this magnificent boat ride around the city?” I’m like, no.
J: To preview the Amazon Prime Day deals.
T: Thank you.
J: Oh my God.
T: “Are you sure you don’t want to come to the Amazon booth at blah, blah, blah?” I’m like, no, isn’t it easier if I don’t respond and then you can just not put me on the RSVP list? You sent me an RSVP link. I’m not going to fill it out, so now you know I’m not coming. Remind me once and then we’re done. Remind me five times, shame on you. You know that I don’t want to come, so why are you doing this?
J: Yeah. It’s not like I asked to be invited to this. I don’t owe you anything.
T: And you’re not paying me.
T: I got invited to a premiere recently and I was excited because, again, a free event that is fun. I want to see the celebrities who are there. I liked the show. I’m like this is really cool. It’s a cool event that you would do it too if you got the opportunity, so you’re going to go. I went and they’re not paying me to go. They asked if I would go because they said they love my content. That’s code for we’re hoping that you’ll make something, post a photo, get some buzz about it. When I post about it, it makes people talk about it, so they wanted me to contribute to the conversation about it, but they’re not asking me to say anything nice about it, I didn’t sign a contract and I’m not getting paid. I don’t have to say anything about it and I don’t have to say anything nice about it. I went to the premiere, I thought the show was wonderful and I made a little video and I said that, but I also joked, “I don’t really remember what the show is about.” I made a joke about that. This company was like, “You gotta take it down. That doesn’t make the show look very good. You’re making people want to talk about how they don’t remember the show.”
T: I took it down because I’m like, OK, I don’t want to start any drama but you didn’t pay me to come to this, you didn’t make me sign a contract. Why should I have to say something nice about your show? That’s just blatantly using an influencer and then censoring them when they don’t do what you want them to do. You got to pay us if you want us to say what you want us to say.
J: Totally. Do you view your career and what you’re doing with your life as… Are you like, I’m an influencer and I’m passionate about this?
T: No, no, no.
J: OK. I’m just curious.
T: No. Oh my God. I cannot die an influencer. I really can’t. If I get a Wikipedia page…
J: Another rule for the death listing is like, do not…
T: Do not say she was the best influencer. That’s how I know we weren’t friends because everyone knows… I would love for my Wikipedia page to say she got her start making money as an influencer and then blah, blah, blah. I need this to be…
J: Do you know what you want…
T: I care very deeply about what the blah, blah, blah is. Yes.
J: Do you want to talk about it or no?
T: Yeah. Let’s talk about it.
J: What is the blah, blah, blah?
T: I really need to win an Emmy. That is all I want in my life.
J: For writing or acting?
T: For writing and for… Not for acting. Absolutely not. No. I would love to be on late night TV or have written a scripted show, like an HBO show. I’m in no particular rush to do those things, I’m very young but that’s where I hope that this will take me and people tend to think, “Oh, you’re an influencer. This is so great.” It irks me to be called that because I know that’s what I’m doing right now and that’s how I’m making money right now but that is so not the vibe.
J: I know. It’s really hard to… I’m so afraid I’ve turned down everything from that world pretty much, except for… I’m so afraid of getting considered that, and I’m not as young as you, I think is part of it. It does just feel like people view it. It’s like you’re not doing anything, you’re using a platform you built to make money.
T: Right. It’s just I have the luxury of being able to entertain for a living now and, even though it’s on their weird platform and it’s not the traditional way that people get into the business that I want to be in, I think it’s the future. This is where people are going to get their start from now on, you just have to go with it. You can’t fight it. And I think, unfortunately, I’m one of those people. Before, there were YouTubers and now there are TikTokkers and I would like to be one of the few who is able to turn the TikTok platform into something else more traditional, and I don’t think it’s that crazy to think that can happen.
J: I don’t think it is at all.
T: I think it’s what’s going to be the norm and, unfortunately, I have to call myself an influencer for the time being because it’s not common enough that people really take it seriously and it’s annoying to say that about myself but this is what the future is for us I think.
J: Totally. Yeah. I mean, I do think it’s like, people… It’s like people will say you can’t make that transition until someone does. You know what I mean? There is, I think, in general, a lot of bad sh*t gets made but if you are able to make something that is truly good and truly funny, that will speak for itself outside of the connotations of what people label you for.
J: That’ll break down to the point where in 10 years, it probably won’t be as shameful to use social media to get in.
J: Do you know what I mean?
J: The other thing is in my mind, in my mind, being an influencer is like someone who… To connect it to going out, it’s like someone who ‘s like we’re looking to what you do in these situations to find out what we should do. What do you do when you go out? For restaurant influencers, it’s like where are you going? I want to go there.
J: Skincare influencers, what are you using? What are you doing? I want to use that, I want to do that.
J: You, to me, are an internet comedian.
T: Thank you.
J: I would cut internet off. You, to me, are a comedian.
J: You are making comedy. People aren’t watching your videos to be like, “What am I doing?” Do you know what I mean?
T: That means everything to me and that’s what I hope people… See, you’re like the good insult givers. You saw me. You saw me. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear is like somebody who says… Yeah. I do make a lot less money and have a lot less potential to sell myself to brands as an influencer than other people I know.
T: Exactly. They don’t come to us to see what skincare she is using. If they’re going to buy anything from me, it’s going to be like hangover cure pills or, I don’t know, a dating app or something.
J: I’m in a similar boat where I left the restaurant job, that was how I paid my bills for 10 years. I stopped bartending because it was taking up too much energy for me to focus on this next stage of my career.
J: I still need money to live, right? This podcast is wonderful, I have these different things but I do… I’m not in a place to turn away every single brand deal I get offered, because I need to pay my f*cking bills.
J: I need to not just pay my bills. I want to have a life that I somewhat enjoy.
J: You have to negotiate this thing where I’ll look at a brand and think, “This is a lot of money” but I’ll turn down stuff that I feel like if they want me to… Also, it’s like 90 percent of the time you can reach out for any sort of deal. They’re like, “We love your content,” and then they say something that literally proves they’ve never seen a single thing in their life.
T: It’s completely not my content.
J: You’re like, “OK, this is bullsh*t.” I will only do ads if I can write it and make it a skit and make it funny.
T: Exactly. It has to be you.
J: I’m not going to sit there and be like, “Hi, my name is Jake Cornell and here’s this product I’m selling.”
J: I can’t do it.
T: Never. Never. No matter how much they pay me. That’s because I feel like I have a loyalty to my audience and the people who gave me the platform. I have to stay myself and even if I’m going to be a bit of a sellout, which is what you need to do in order to be able to do this full-time, you have to make it your own and people. I don’t get how these brands still don’t understand that me getting in front of the camera and saying, “Guys, you have to buy this,” isn’t going to do as well as me integrating it seamlessly into what my normal content is and making a funny story around it. That is going to perform so much better. That’s going to sell the project or whatever it is, the product. They don’t get… I don’t know why nobody is telling these brands, you can’t just have me stand there and hold it up.
J: It’s crazy. It’s so true, because it’s also like any brand deal I’ve done has not performed well. I don’t care. I got paid the same rate. Right?
J: Oh, OK. It’s like I don’t get paid the same rate but it’s like every single time, I’m like, it’s because of the creative notes you gave me.
J: You’ve morphed this into something that looks insane.
J: It’s not cohesive.
T: They’ll have me put music in the background of it. I’m like I’ve never used music in a video before.
J: I literally fought them on that.
T: Right. I don’t use music and they’ll be like, “No, we think it’ll do really well.” I’m like, “OK, well, your loss. Your video is going to get 1,000 likes.”
J: Your loss and I’m taking it down the second the contract expires.
T: The second it’s over.
J: Yup. 100 percent.
T: There you go.
J: OK. We’re going to wrap up. This went by so fast. This was so fun.
T: So fast.
J: Let’s plan our night out. I want to go out with you.
T: No. Let’s do it.
J: Are you down? OK.
J: Where are we going?
T: This isn’t me just being like the people on the street where I lie.
J: I’m down to go out.
T: No. I really am down to go out.
J: OK, but wait, you’re going to want me to plan it, because you don’t like to plan.
T: Yeah. Where do you want to go?
J: You want to do Brooklyn?
T: I have not explored Brooklyn at all.
J: OK. You’re off the F, right?
T: Yeah. I used to be off the L train right there and now I’m not anymore but it’s still really close.
J: I would say let’s get you… Walk down to the F, at 2nd Ave.
T: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
J: Jump on. Come over. Transfer at J. It’s quick. It’s 25 minutes. I’ll meet you at the train.
T: You know everything.
J: I’ll meet you at the train and I’ll take you to some of my favorite bars in Bed-Stuy.
T: This is my dream plan.
T: I don’t like when people are like just tell me where you want to go and we’ll go.
J: No, no, no. Do you have dietary restrictions?
J: Are you picky?
J: I love this.
T: I will eat anything.
J: OK. We’re going to do a restaurant hop and then we’ll go to a bunch of my neighborhood bars and I’ll show you my apartment.
T: Oh my God. Amazing. See, this is how a plan should be made.
T: He knows the area, he’s going to show me around. Just tell me where to be. Tell me who to pay. I’m done.
J: I love it. OK. We’ll see you in Bed-Stuy.
T: I’ll see you then.
J: OK. Bye.
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.
Ed. note: This episode has been edited and condensed for clarity.