podcast

Ep 3: Jacki Buys Alise Morales a Drink

By The ThirstyNest Editors

Episode 3: Jacki will interview Alise Morales, comedy writer and co-host of The Betches Sup podcast. They’ll chat about her experience coming up in the New York comedy scene, her current wedding planning during the pandemic and the launch of her new book!


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Jackie:

Hi there, and welcome to Can I Buy You A Drink? A podcast from the Thirsty Nest team, where we interview our favorite wine and wedding folks about their meet cute stories and what's in their glass right now. I'm your host, Jackie Strum, founder and CEO of Thirsty Nest, the first wine and wedding spirits registry for the modern couple.

Jackie:

I'm really excited to welcome my guest today. She's one of the funniest people I know, and she happens to be in the midst of planning her wedding. Alise Morales is a comedy writer and she is currently the writer of the Betches Sup newsletter, co-host of the Betches Sup podcast. Alise is also the voice of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Our Cartoon President and Lila on Tuning Out the News.

Jackie:

Thanks for joining us, Alise.

Alise:

Hi, Jackie. I'm so excited to be here.

Jackie:

Me too. Thanks for joining. I just have to say, I'm so happy to be talking to you on a podcast and not on another Zoom call again.

Alise:

My whole day is just different Zoom meetings, so I agree.

Jackie:

Maybe I should start wearing a different outfit for each one, or something, to make it more interesting.

Alise:

Yes.

Jackie:

Tell us, how did you get started in comedy?

Alise:

So I got started in comedy, I was always a theater kid. Always loved the plays, loved the stage, but kind of didn't think that that was something that I could pursue as a career. I didn't even really understand comedy as something you could pursue, until I got to college, joined my college improv team, which actually ...

Jackie:

She acted the rubber chickens, right?

Alise:

Yes, the rubber chickens at University of Delaware, baby. It's actually kind of how we know each other because a mutual friend of ours was on that team a year or two ahead of me. I just watched him leave the team and then move to New York and become a comedian and start doing classes at the UCB, which is the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. I was like, okay. That's how someone does that. That makes sense to me.

Alise:

Then I, myself, moved to New York after college. Starting taking classes at the UCB, moving through the system there, which is basically a series of 101 through 401 classes and then at the time you would move into advanced study.

Jackie:

Advanced funny.

Alise:

Of improv.

Jackie:

Super funny people.

Alise:

Yes. Then you could be eligible to be on a team, which was my goal is that I wanted to get on a team, which I did do.

Jackie:

Which I watched you perform, I think, once or twice with Bailey.

Alise:

Yes. Oh, yes! Because we have multiple mutual friends, actually.

Jackie:

Yes. We were bound to be friends.

Alise:

Exactly. The universe put us in each other's path in many different ways. Yeah, one of my UCB teams was with our other mutual friend, Bailey, who we both got on teams at the same time, but it was like we were late-year additions. It was towards the end of the year anyway, but we got put on to one team for a couple months. Then basically the way it worked was at the end of the year, the teams would be disbanded or reformed or people would get moved to different teams, et cetera. We got moved and put on a team together, which was my favorite, of the three teams that I was on, that was my favorite.

Jackie:

That's cool.

Alise:

Yeah.

Jackie:

In that whole universe, maybe something that I've always really respected about UCB and improv is it has this community vibe, unlike standup, which my husband used to do. Did you come out of that with a lot of friends and relationships and did it help you start your career in that way too?

Alise:

Yes. I definitely, I mean I learned a lot in the classes that I took at the theater, but I think the biggest thing for me was that it really introduced me to a lot of people who are my number one creative collaborators today. I mean number one, Bailey, who we've talked about, is one of my closest friends just as a friend, but also I love to work with her. My friend, Kady Ruth Ashcraft, who is really funny and an awesome director, we came up together through UCB and we formed a team that we were on forever that was an all-girls team called Mr. Sister. From that, we started really working together a lot.

Alise:

Yeah, it was like the connection and the relationships, because improv you have to have a team, it kind of fosters this friend-building network.

Jackie:

Right. I think something that you mentioned to me last time, working with other people, I feel, seems so conducive to improv. It means all about hearing other people and listening.

Alise:

Yeah. That's something that I found. It's a personal preference for anyone. I also really like doing standup. I just didn't come up through the standup world in the same sense, but I do find that I tend to gravitate towards projects where I am collaborating a lot with other people and not so much solo projects, even though I do have some, I really like to write with someone or to work on something with someone or to put a show on with someone. I just like the collaborative process.

Jackie:

That makes sense. Do you still have that at Betches? You started that kind of a while ago, right? Working with that?

Alise:

Yes. I mean I started. I liked the Betches website from college. It was really, really different in college. Now, it's like a pop culture website that covers reg news stories and stuff. Back then, it was a satirical blog written from the point of view from a quote, unquote, "betch" and kind of poking fun at that world and that world view and all that stuff. I just really thought it was funny.

Alise:

Once I moved to New York, I noticed they were hiring writers. I saw a thing on the page that they were having writers. I started writing for the site then. The site has changed a ton since then.

Jackie:

Right.

Alise:

It's basically a completely different thing at this point that just has the same name.

Jackie:

Right.

Alise:

I've always been really interested in news and politics and stuff, so I would pitch newsier articles to them once they started expanding what they were talking about. As a result of that, when they decided they wanted to start a newsletter, this was in 2016 so the election was still happening and stuff. They wanted to start a newsletter, they reached out to me. Started writing the newsletter for them then from that, they had me come start working in the office. I worked full time in the office for a while helping just build out the Betches Sup, which is their news and politics arm.

Alise:

Then last year I continued to work with them, do the podcast and do the newsletter, but because I started to have some other projects coming up, I moved. I'm no longer full time with them at the office, but we still work together a ton and I still write the newsletter and I still host the podcast every week.

Jackie:

Right. Do you feel like, I know so many people who love it. I mean I love it too and they have expanded, like you said, so much. Their voice, even just the name alone, kind of gives you such an understanding of how the editorial voice will sound.

Alise:

Yeah.

Jackie:

Do you feel like that stayed consistent from where its origins were?

Alise:

I think it's definitely changed. I think the website, you're always going to get that snarky, millennial-focused voice from the website, but what's interesting is the founders are really the same age as me. So it's kind of like, I think the website has grown up and become a little bit more adult and focused on real things that are actually happening.

Jackie:

Which we've all had to do, right?

Alise:

Exactly.

Jackie:

We grew up with the sites, so yeah.

Alise:

I think that the voice has become a lot more refined and stuff. Just not the founders, AKA the three women who just started the company and were the original writers of the blog, they're older, they're out of college, they're talking about different things. They have different concerns. They're more aware of different things. The audience, AKA myself, who started reading it when they were in college and I was in college, has also grown up.

Jackie:

Right.

Alise:

It's been really interesting to watch that company grow. When I started working for them, they were in a WeWork. Now they're in a nice office. The team has expanded, and I got to meet so many cool people from working with them, who I've really valued those friendships too. Again, just another really awesome opportunity, kind of like UCB to meet some people and work with them.

Jackie:

It's interesting that your work now with Betches, and even your voiceover work, it's all about this cross section, like hard news in comedy. What about that interests you so much?

Alise:

You know I grew up in the D.C. suburbs, so I've always just kind of been interested in politics. Me and my friends used to volunteer on campaigns and stuff in high school.

Jackie:

Oh, wow.

Alise:

Yeah. [Crosstalk 00:09:46]

Jackie:

So you've always been really interested in this field.

Alise:

Yeah. Always been really interested, which I think is a part of my personality, but also just a facet of the area where I grew up, and the suburbs of D.C., where I'm from, politics is the name of the game. A lot of people's parents work in government and stuff. I do think that we were just a politically savvy area.

Alise:

Then I would probably say that my biggest comedic influence is the Daily Show to Colbert Report lineup of the early 2000s, which I would watch every night. Then in college, I wouldn't watch it at night. I would watch the previous night's Daily Show and Colbert Report every day while I was getting ready in the morning.

Jackie:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And that was how you got your news?

Alise:

Yeah. I mean I followed the news, in general, but those shows were so they were the bedrock of my political growth and understanding.

Jackie:

Your alignment with them and the way they spoke about things [crosstalk 00:10:56] and yeah, I totally see that.

Alise:

Yeah, I did. I did and I just felt really inspired by the work that they were doing and I also thought that the shows were so funny to me. I was always in awe of how funny they were able to be.

Jackie:

Right. Isn't Colbert associated with Our Cartoon President?

Alise:

Yes. Actually, that is really interesting. Stephen Colbert is a producer on Our Cartoon President.

Jackie:

So cool.

Alise:

And Tuning Out the News.

Jackie:

Oh, he's on both, wow. That's so cool.

Alise:

Yeah, which has been really awesome. I mean I've never met him or interacted with him personally, but it's been really cool to be associated with a project that he's associated with, just because of that connection and how much I really, truly loved the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

Jackie:

That's awesome. It's like you're living the dream.

Alise:

Yes.

Jackie:

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Jackie:

I do have to dive into a little bit of the deets of your personal life, since we're here. I know that Danny, your fiance, is also very funny.

Alise:

Yes.

Jackie:

Let's get the juicy deets. How did you guys meet?

Alise:

We met doing comedy. It all comes back to comedy.

Jackie:

Well, they're the best people, I guess, so funny.

Alise:

Yes. Yeah, you know, they understand your crazy schedule and all that stuff.

Jackie:

Sure.

Alise:

My fiance, actually, came up in comedy in Chicago. He went through what is, basically, a similar program, but in Chicago more famous, arguably. It's like the Second City iO program out there.

Jackie:

Yes.

Alise:

He and a bunch of friends all moved to New York, I want to say five or six years ago, at this point, to start a branch of the Annoyance Theater, which is a Chicago-based theater. There was a short-lived, no longer exists, New York branch that they came out and basically they helped to start the programming there, just by they knew that they were starting it and so they did a bunch of shows and all that stuff.

Alise:

I started hosting my live show, which is called The Roast of Your Teenage Self. I started hosting it at The Annoyance. Through that, just The Annoyance became a really cool place to do and put up shows where it was UCB had a lot of students at that point, and so it was kind of difficult. It was really difficult to get a show up there, even as someone who was a performer on one of their teams, it was just like there was a lot of red tape because it's a hugely famous theater with thousands of students and multiple places and all that stuff, whereas The Annoyance was new and they'd give you a shot to put your show up.

Alise:

A bunch of us from New York all started doing shows there once we realized there were opportunities to be had. As a result, I met Danny. Started seeing him around the different shows and stuff. I was dating someone else at first, but we broke up. Then just ended up at the same show one night and the rest is history.

Jackie:

That's great. You guys were kind of friends before.

Alise:

Yeah, we knew each other and were friendly. I had had him come do my show. I would say we didn't have each other's numbers or anything.

Jackie:

Uh-huh (affirmative), but you knew who he was?

Alise:

We would see each other around. Yeah. If I saw him I would be like, oh, hey. We would chat and have a minute.

Jackie:

Is The Roast of Your Teenage Self exactly what it sounds like?

Alise:

It is.

Jackie:

Okay.

Alise:

Basically, comedians come on and they show pictures of themselves in high school and roast themselves, which has been really fun. We are actually turning that into its own podcast that's going to be released in mid July, so really fun.

Jackie:

So did you actually see, because I feel like those are intimate things you learn over the course of a relationship, did you see his before you guys were even dating?

Alise:

Yep. I had photos of him in high school with his mom on my computer before we ever dated or anything.

Jackie:

Wow. So it brought you together.

Alise:

It did.

Jackie:

That's great. How did he propose?

Alise:

Danny proposed, we had decided that we were going to get engaged. We had talked about it. I knew it was coming a little bit. We had had there had been a party. My parents moved out of our childhood home over the summer last summer and we had a party and I knew that he had asked my father for my hand in marriage.

Jackie:

Oh, wow. So gender normative of him.

Alise:

I know. Well, we discussed it and I was like, my dad would just like it so you should just do it.

Jackie:

Sure, sure. My husband did it too and I was like eh, whatever. It's funny.

Alise:

I know. It's just funny because I was like, just so you know, it's not actually necessary but we are doing it because it would make my dad feel good, but it's not necessary.

Jackie:

I'm not owned by anyone. I'm nobody's property, but go ahead.

Alise:

But also I like it when my dad feels happy.

Jackie:

Yeah.

Alise:

I knew it was coming but we went to Central Park because he and I had had a second date in Central Park. I knew when we were going to Central Park, I had it in the back of my head that I was like, well, this is really far from our apartment, so if Danny's insisting on coming here, I think that something is up.

Jackie:

Uh-huh (affirmative). It's that because usually people just go to Central Park and it's whatever, but you knew.

Alise:

Yeah, I knew because it was like we live in Bushwick, Brooklyn. For anyone who's listening who doesn't know, it's just it's really far.

Jackie:

Yeah, that's far.

Alise:

Really, really far. There are other parks. There's actually Park Slope, it was designed by the same guy. It's way closer.

Jackie:

Yeah.

Alise:

I just knew this wasn't a regular, I just really want to go to the park, trip.

Jackie:

Right.

Alise:

We got there and he proposed in a really nice, private area, because I'm not really ... The big, public proposal is not necessarily for me. He proposed in a private area and then when we went, we went over by the bridge, all of our friends were over by the bridge and he invited a small number of our close friends to be over by the bridge which was exactly perfect.

Jackie:

Aw. That's so sweet.

Alise:

Yeah, it was great. Then we went to the lake/boathouse area and got some champagne and called our families. It was just a really nice day.

Jackie:

That sounds wonderful.

Alise:

Yeah.

Jackie:

That's lovely. Yeah, it seems like there's two camps, either it's a very private thing or you're hiring a proposal consultant and getting a helicopter and hiring a singer and it's just way over the top. Yeah, there's no right way to do it. It's just interesting. You never know, depending on your tastes.

Alise:

Yeah.

Jackie:

Now, you guys are kind of in the midst of wedding planning, right?

Alise:

Yes, we are, which, obviously, has been very interesting to do. We are very lucky in that even though we got engaged last August, August of 2019, we did not set our date for until August of 2021.

Jackie:

Wow.

Alise:

Which, initially, we had been like, aw man, that's such a long engagement. I feel so ancy to just do the wedding. Now we're like, whew.

Jackie:

Thank God.

Alise:

Thank goodness. It's still crazy because we really don't know where things will be as far as the old COVID-19 situation.

Jackie:

Aw, yes. I've heard of that.

Alise:

Yeah, I don't know if you've heard about this virus.

Jackie:

Yeah.

Alise:

It was interesting because initially what happened is we were kind of in the process of locking in our name vendors. We had basically just decided on our caterer when all of this went down. We kind of put a pause on everything. We were just like, we are not committing to anything at this moment because I mean everyone remembers, but that first month, especially, it was the uncertainty was so crazy that we were just like, what if these people aren't in business? Just all that stuff.

Alise:

We had to put a pause for a month. Then things settled down. We checked back in with our vendors. We started resuming the process and then we were talking to our day-of coordinator. Shout out Heather at Naturally Delicious.

Jackie:

Whoo! Go Heather.

Alise:

How wonderful, wonderful, wonderful woman. She was kind of like, yeah, anything that has a date on it, you're going to want to start booking now, because now everyone who had to postpone is rescheduling for summer of 2021.

Jackie:

Right.

Alise:

So whereas at the beginning of the year, every vendor that we talked to was like, oh my god, you guys are so far ahead of time. You don't even need to be doing this yet. Why are you talking to us? You're crazy.

Jackie:

Yeah.

Alise:

Then two months later it was like, chop, chop! Everything is booked. It just got really wild.

Jackie:

You were fighting it out with other brides for five years down the road.

Alise:

Yeah, exactly. I mean we found out that our venue, which we had been if you looked at our venue's calendar prior to COVID-19, we were the only lone little August 2021 date. It was blank for weeks. Now, 100% every weekend of 2021 in the summer is booked.

Jackie:

Oh my gosh, wow.

Alise:

Yeah, it's crazy.

Jackie:

That's crazy, but it's just the world we live in. Everything is double, triple booked.

Alise:

Yeah.

Jackie:

I'm sure it'll be so fun when we're all there by then.

Alise:

Oh, yeah.

Jackie:

Hopefully things will be better, right?

Alise:

We're really excited.

Jackie:

Yeah. It's got to be.

Alise:

I mean the one thing that I'm thinking is like, I think, and watch me eat these words, but I think we'll have figured out how to do a wedding by 2021, even if the vaccine is not where it needs to be yet. I'm like, we're going to have something in place.

Jackie:

Some guidelines.

Alise:

There is a protocol. There's going to be a protocol by August of 2021, I hope.

Jackie:

Yeah. I think so. I would think so.

Alise:

Yeah.

Jackie:

Something, or everyone would just be really into Zoom, or something. I don't know.

Alise:

Yeah, yeah. People will do masks, or something. Everybody gets their temperature checked.

Jackie:

Have you noticed the masks just keep getting cuter? What's up with that?

Alise:

That's true. Masks are getting cuter and cuter and they're getting really nice. I saw people who they've got a cute mask and then it has an insertable filter that you can wash and stuff.

Jackie:

What? Oh my god.

Alise:

Yeah, the mask technology is...

Jackie:

Advanced.

Alise:

Yeah, it's getting advanced.

Jackie:

I need like aromatherapy in mine, I think, to calm me down while I'm wearing a mask that's freaking me out.

Alise:

That would be nice. Also, I need a glasses solution, because I'm a daily glasses wearer and I do the mask does fog up the glasses and then I end up it'll happen I'll be fine and then I'll exhale one time and my entire glasses become foggy. I'm like god, I'm blind on the street.

Jackie:

Oh my gosh, I know. It's hard to wear both. I, luckily, don't have to do it.

Alise:

I do need a solution. Yeah, I do need a solution for that.

Jackie:

We'll get that soon and it's going to be cute. Someone is going to figure out something very trendy to do.

Alise:

Yes. A little valve on my thing that can really, I don't know. I don't know how it's been. If anybody knows any solutions to that, get at me on social media.

Jackie:

The last thing I'll ask you, because it's kind of my thing, is what are you drinking to get through all of this, these days?

Alise:

What am I drinking to get through all of this? That's a great question. I was in a daily red wine moment. There was a really nice restaurant by us that after COVID shut down, they started doing half-priced wine bottles.

Jackie:

Oh, nice.

Alise:

That you could just buy from them. I was like, well, I simply must support this local business.

Jackie:

Of course. You're a saint.

Alise:

Yeah. We went and got an assortment of different wines, which I don't have in front of me, but you know a mix of white and red, different things we hadn't tried before. I'm almost to the end of those. I've actually been having a nice beer moment lately.

Jackie:

Mm, sipping cold for the summer coming up?

Alise:

Yeah, I think that's the summer energy has put me into a little bit of a beer mood lately.

Jackie:

Yeah.

Alise:

The trick is that when it's beer, for some reason, I can justify an earlier and earlier time to start. I'm like, no.

Jackie:

It's like a breakfast beer.

Alise:

Yeah, exactly. With wine I'm like, it needs to be the evening.

Jackie:

Ah, yes.

Alise:

With beer I'm like, well, it's PM.

Jackie:

It's like having a slice of bread or toast. It's basically the same thing.

Alise:

Exactly, exactly.

Jackie:

Well, I'm all for that and I think whatever it takes to make us happy right now is a good thing to do.

Alise:

Yes.

Jackie:

I guess I really appreciate you joining me today, Alise. This was really fun.

Alise:

Yeah, this was awesome. It's always great to talk with you, Jackie.

Jackie:

Yeah. Thanks. Good luck with everything you're working on. Did I see that you have a book coming out?

Alise:

I do.

Jackie:

Hm.

Alise:

I have a book of puzzles.

Jackie:

Wow that's like perfect.

Alise:

Yes. You know? When I started working on the book of puzzles, I did not know how necessary the book of puzzles would become, but it just so happens that I do have a book of puzzles. It's called, what is the swearing situation on this podcast, Jackie?

Jackie:

I'm good with it. Go ahead.

Alise:

Okay. It's called I'm a Fucking Puzzle Genius.

Jackie:

It's only allowed if it's funny; otherwise, you shouldn't curse, so you're good.

Alise:

It's called I'm a Fucking Puzzle Genius. There's over 100 different puzzles. It's aimed for adults. There's a Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriends' word search in there.

Jackie:

That's awesome.

Alise:

There's definitely some wine and spirits related word scrambles, different games.

Jackie:

Okay.

Alise:

Different trivias, '90s trivia, pop culture trivia, some serial killer trivia in there for the true crime fans.

Jackie:

Love it.

Alise:

There's really something for everybody. There's finish the drawings in there, where you can draw a new back tattoo on Ben Affleck.

Jackie:

Finally. Finally.

Alise:

Just all sorts of fun activities.

Jackie:

Great.

Alise:

That is coming out June 23.

Jackie:

Wow.

Alise:

There's a link in my bio and all social media for you to get that. If you just type my name into Bookshop.org, it'll come right up and then you can get it from your local bookstore, which is also just really nice.

Jackie:

Perfect. I mean I think puzzles are the second most valuable investment right now, after Instacart, so this is great timing.

Alise:

100%. Yeah. Yeah, it's really funny. People kept being like, wow, that's so smart of you to release a puzzle book now. I'm like, I finished this puzzle book in January. This has nothing to do with my own level of smarts or ingenuity. I am just a lucky girl.

Jackie:

Well, I think you're lucky and smart.

Alise:

Thank you.

Jackie:

This is a great idea, so everyone should pick up a copy of I'm a Fucking Puzzle Genius. I know I will. Thanks again for joining me, Alise.

Alise:

Thank you, Jackie.

Jackie:

Have a good day.

Alise:

You too.

Jackie:

Now's the time in Can I Buy You A Drink, where I like to share my favorite drink hacks for your bar cart adventures at home. An Old Fashioned is one of my favorite drinks and I'm clearly not alone. The Old Fashioned cocktail is one of the most Googled cocktail recipes on the internet. I love a traditional take with two ounces of American whiskey, either bourbon or rye, one teaspoon of sugar and angostura bitters all stirred together with ice.

Jackie:

However, the ratio of this classic cocktail is so easy to replicate, you can essentially make an Old Fashioned out of anything. Take two ounces of any brown spirit, be it [Anello 00:29:00] tequila, aged rum, scotch, brandy, et cetera, and a teaspoon of a fitting sweetener. I love agave nectar with mescal or maple syrup with Applejack. Get creative with the bitters as well, using orange, chocolate or whatever you're most fascinated by at the moment.

Jackie:

Follow the directions, just as you would for a classic and you have a delicious Old Fashioned riff, fitting to your taste any night of the week. We'll see you next time on Can I Buy You A Drink?

You can subscribe to The ThirstyNest Can I Buy You A Drink Podcast on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear what you think so please write us a review. Use the hashtag #CanIbuyyouadrink and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also send us an email at Hello@thirstynest.com. The ThirstyNest Podcast is produced by Jacqueline Strum. See you next time, cheers!

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