On the evening of Wednesday, November 9, I got on the train to head to the wrap party for the feature film I co-wrote and shot with my best friend and collaborator. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my whole life. I made a lot of new friends, a few of whom are of the lifetime variety, and worked alongside a team of 50 or so people to bring a script born from the minds of two dudes telling each other dumb jokes in Chinatown to life. I couldn't wait to celebrate that tremendous achievement that night. But this was also the same day where the fate of our country took an unfathomable turn, and a palpable sadness overcame our city. Just two days prior, I was in an unparalleled state of euphoria so high cloud nine was only a speck below me -- I had just wrapped my first feature after the most intense schedule of my life and the future was looking pretty damn good -- and now, everything I, and we, believe in and have been actively fighting for has been put into jeopardy in just a day. And here I am, writing this, with a knot in my stomach I think I might have to get used to being there for the next four, or, God forbid, eight years. I am scared, yes, but I am not going to hide or be silenced, and I'm certainly not going to stop pursuing the future I was overwhelmingly enthusiastic about just a few months ago. And not just my future, our future.
I decided that I would not let that man, a man who's one breath away from appointing Ms. Trunchbull from Matilda as Secretary of State, have that power over me -- and neither should you. I am 25-years-old. I have some of the best years of my life ahead of me. I plan on having some of the best years of my life -- even under a Trump presidency. In addition to wrapping a film, I'm graduating in May. I wrote my first book, and even though it's been a long-ass process of trying to get it into the world, I'm still happy and excited to put the work in even though there are some days I want to quit comedy and writing and pursue something that pays more, like opening my own Etsy store and sell bracelets made out of twine or become a cruise ship DJ. But that doesn't mean I won't stop trying with the same vigor I had before Everything Went Wrong.
The subtext of this essay is by no means "give him a chance" because no and fuck that and also again, no, and for further clarification, no. It merely means that I will continue to stand by my convictions and not let him rob me of my chance of attaining happiness, or as close as I can get to it. Yes, my rights are in grave danger; a lot of people's rights and security and health are threatened. It's only been a week since the inauguration and things are going from bad to worse. I'm even more cognizant of the responsibility I have now; as a citizen; as a warrior for justice; as someone who's committed to the impetus so many who have come before me fought to start and standing in solidarity with my LGBTQ+ brothers, sisters, and everyone in between. I'll continue to take to the streets; fight for Planned Parenthood and everything it and its supporters stand for; set up a monthly donation to organizations like ACLU; scream to protect my local organizations and resources that benefit those who need help and care until I'm red in the face; call my local representatives until they block my phone number as if I dated them -- because that is my responsibility; it is our responsibility. I find hope in good people; if it wasn't for my friends and the people I look up to fighting the good fight, I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. It makes me committed to the smaller things too -- like making people laugh. Why? Because laughter rejuvenates the spirit; an awakened spirit is the imperative nectar that keeps people going because we have a long four years ahead of us. There are still good people in this world and we need to remind ourselves of that - this was made evident when our cities' streets were flooded for the Women's March this past weekend to a point where marches all over the country were brought to a stand-still by virtue of many people showed up. Compare that to the number of people who showed up to the inauguration last week (which, let's be honest, more people showed up to my improv troupe's performances in the library basement than the inauguration.) So, if you need to hear a dick joke, come to me; I'll whip out (pun strongly intended) my Rolodex of dick jokes and we'll get down to business.
I'm also going to make a small effort employ small acts of self-care, and I urge you to do so too. Maybe today I won't spend seven hours complaining about dating in New York City; I'll only spend five. Maybe tomorrow instead of hexing everyone on my newsfeed who posts a selfie in the Meitu filter I'll call a friend I haven't spoken to in a while. I'll still probably roll my eyes at people who say "JIFF" instead of "GIF," but hey, baby steps, people.
I know what you're thinking: a happy comedian? Isn't that an oxymoron? All I can say is: an infantile reality-TV star has been elected president of the United States and adult coloring books are booming in the literary market--anything is possible. Yes, this essay is lovey and borderline hopeful (which is so off-brand for me), but I'm scared and feel the need to do something, personal brand be damned! So, if this charges you up I've done my job. I'm here, I'm queer, and I'm tired; but I'm also not giving up, and neither should you.