If Hillary Saw Ghosts
by Gili Malinsky
Excitable. Sad. Good-natured. Weirdo. That’s how comedian and writer Anna Drezen describes her work (and maybe herself…). On stage she tells stories of working in a woman’s magazine (she made a multiple choice quiz about bowel movements - what do you do if you see a cute guy during girls night? “Have a comfortable bowel movement”). Or, she might tell you stories of working as a concierge (answering questions about using the “bus” - sorry, “bathroom”). Depending on the show she might also make up a character (teacher struck by radioactive liquids. How did that second baby get in her uterus?). Drezen’s an editor at humor site Reductress, doing stand-up by night including hosting her own show at UCB, Open Michelle. She’s also co-written a book out May 17th, How May We Hate You, about her and co-concierge Todd Dakotah Briscoe’s time working in hotels in Manhattan. Below is an interview with Drezen, poised to blow up in her excitable, sad, good-natured, weirdo way.
Tell us about yourself
I’m from Long Island. I was there and then I went to NYU [for theater] and then I’m here and I do comedy.
How did you make your way to comedy?
I saw [an NYU] sketch group during Welcome Week and Donald Glover and DC Pierson and Dominic Dierkes were on it and I was like, oh fuck. That looks really fun. I think I’m funny… I was always better at making people laugh in rehearsal than at being an actor.
So how did you choose comedy in the end?
I'm generally bad at picking... With theater you can perform eight times. But for stand-up, you can perform multiple times a night. You could walk into any bar in the city and wait 28 hours and there would be a show. It’s easier, it’s more accessible. You can actually put your feet on the stage.
… It’s a lot of trying to find my home. I get sad easily. I get lonely very easily, too. I think people who do comedy for a living are the people who need to laugh the most.
Tell us about some good moments in your comedy life.
I had a really good moment this week. There’s this show at UCB called The Female Gaze, which is a fake View. They had a bunch of Hillary impersonators on. It was Hillary but with specific angles. I only ever wanna do comedy about ghosts. So I was like, I’ll be Hillary who can see ghosts but is trying to be cool about it. It was mostly me making faces.
What about How May We Hate You, how did that start?
I started How May We Hate You [the tumblr] with my friend Todd. We were both concierges at different hotels. It’s just transcripts of interactions that we had with tourists (we put it up and it went viral immediately). I think everyone’s dealt with having to swallow their pride and deal with a crazy person or a mean person in a professional setting. So I think it’s cathartic to see someone else put up with it in a moment where you don’t have to put up with it.
Finally, what’s in store for you, Anna?
I would like to get hired to write for a television show… And keep writing this exclusionary, inscrutable comedy for the internet. I would love to book a Cat Chow commercial, too.