podcast

Ep 6: Jacki Buys Laura Lane a Drink

By The ThirstyNest Editors

Episode 6: Jacki will interview Laura Lane, comedy writer, performer, journalist, and author of two amazing, hilarious books. She’ll go into detail about her books, This Is Why You're Single and Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling. Laura will chat about the launch of her podcast and share her dating experiences.

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Jacki Strum:

Hi there and welcome to Can I Buy You a Drink, a podcast from the ThirstyNest 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 ThirstyNest, The first wine and spirits registry for the modern couple. I'm really excited to welcome my guest today. Laura is a comedy writer, performer, journalist, and author of two amazing, hilarious books. Laura co-hosts the This Is Why podcast, adapted from a comedy sketch show and book called This Is Why You're Single. And most recently wrote a book called Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling, with a feminist spin to some of the dated fairytales we're all familiar with. Thanks for joining me today, Laura, how's it going?

Laura:

Oh, as good as it can in a global pandemic.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah, exactly. And you mentioned to me before, are you in Brooklyn or you're in Ohio? Where are you at right now?

Laura:

We drove to visit grandparents. We got COVID tested before we drove and we did the little road trip to Ohio, but now I'm safely back in Williamsburg.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, wow. That's great. And how old is Rylah now, your daughter?

Laura:

Two years old. Yeah.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, that's so cute. I feel like it's been so long since we've seen each other and I was just remembering how long ago it was since I went to see This Is Why You're Single at the Pit in New York. I think it was the Christmas special is when we went to see it. And I was just curious if you could tell me how that idea came about and how it flourished into the amazing properties that it is today?

Laura:

I love that you saw the show back when it was at the Pit because that was like ages ago. Yeah. Oh God, I miss that holiday show. So, I wrote, This Is Why Your Single, I co-wrote it with my friend Angela. And it was kind of, we just put it together really for our friends about our own dating experiences in New York City, all of the crazy and funny things that we've been through and wrote a sketch comedy show, put it up for our friends and really had no idea that it was going to turn into what it turned into and become something that I was still working on seven years later.

Jacki Strum:

Wow, yeah.

Laura:

It's really wild. So, that holiday show, we first just did, This Is Why Your Single and then the New York Times put it in their comedy listings and it sold out. And then from there we kind of just didn't stop doing it for a few years and we did a Valentine's Day version and the holiday version, which is the that you saw. And then, at some point, we got a book deal, so we wrote a book and then we decided to launch our podcast in 2015. And it's funny because we did not really understand podcasts at the time, we were like, "Our books coming out, let's start a podcast to promote our book," which isn't how podcasts works. You don't like podcasts...

Jacki Strum:

Yeah, they're not little commercials.

Laura:

Yeah. They're not commercials [inaudible 00:02:48], but logically it made no sense at all. But we were like, "We're going to do 13 episodes for each chapter of our book," or maybe 30, I don't even remember how many chapters were in my book, I wrote it so long ago. And then weirdly the podcast became the most successful thing that we had done, so we just didn't stop doing the podcast and now we're on, I don't know, episode 260 of the podcast.

Jacki Strum:

Wow. I noticed you changed the name, did it evolve to be like more than just dating? Is that kind of why?

Laura:

Exactly. I think our interest expanded and grew, I got married, she got engaged, I had a kid. We started talking about politics and my miscarriage and like workplace dynamics, and friendship and we just started expanding what we discussed and wanted to kind of have the title reflect what the podcast had naturally evolved to. So, we changed the title and then restructured it a little bit. And yeah, I don't know, our listeners, I was really waiting for some backlash to happen for people to be [inaudible 00:03:51] like, "Just shut up and just talk about dating," but that, luckily, hasn't happened and our listeners have kind of grown with us. So it's been nice.

Jacki Strum:

That's awesome. I mean, five years, they've all developed a relationship with you. Is that even like pre-serial, like that's before podcasts really exploded?

Laura:

Oh, 100%. Yeah, because if serial had happened and I actually understood what podcasts were at the time, I would not have thought about it as a promotional tool for a book.

Jacki Strum:

Sure. I guess that's true.

Laura:

Yeah. It is though. Yeah, it's been fun.

Jacki Strum:

That's great. And do you actually have friends that come to you for dating advice more now? Like relationship advice because of it?

Laura:

Okay, you would think so because we have dozens of people that write into us every week asking for relationship advice, so you would think my friends would think of me as a dating expert and come to me for advice, but they don't. They go to each other, I don't know if they think that I'm married and, I don't know, don't like know [crosstalk 00:04:47].

Jacki Strum:

Don't get it anymore.

Laura:

Yeah. But I think I'm pretty good at giving advice and I'm a straight shooter. But I don't know, I get it, it's different when it's your friends because it is a little harder to be blunt and straightforward with your friends. Because if I tell them, for example, "Hey, I think the person that you're dating totally sucks and they're they're probably dating other people and they're some deadbeat," and then they end up getting engaged and marrying that person, that's going to be bad for our relationship and they're going to think I hate their boyfriend. But if I tell a stranger that same thing, then the stranger might be like, I don't know, they're not going to be mad at me if it ends up working out.

Jacki Strum:

Right. I wonder if like Dan Savage runs into the same stuff with his advice because he's like similarly a straight shooter.

Laura:

I wonder if friends go to him for advice, if I ever get a chance to talk to him, that probably would be the first thing I ask him.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. So, that's great. And so, are you working on more episodes right now? What do you guys have coming up in your schedule?

Laura:

Yeah, we're still doing the podcast, which has been fun. And then I had another book that came out, it came out like the week that COVID hit New York City. I think you mentioned it in the intro, Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling, and we had like a whole little tour lined up that obviously got canceled and all of our events got canceled. But we got to do some virtual events, which was fun and it got optioned for TV. So, now we're trying to develop it into like... I don't even know if I'm supposed to talk about it, but whatever, who cares, I can. We're developing it into an animated series and then we still have to sell it to a network.

Jacki Strum:

That's so cool. I love it.

Laura:

No, I hope it happens. My first book also got option for TV and, obviously, you have not seen a show called This Is Why You're Single on television, so it did not end up getting picked up. But I'm hoping that I have better luck this second go around with the kind of same... It's weird, I've done the same formula both times, sketch show to book to TV option. And so, I don't know, we'll see if it works out the second time.

Jacki Strum:

Well, I love the concept. I know right now our kids are almost the same age, I'm always looking for a more, I don't know, progressive things to show my son's to kind of wake him up to the realities of society. So, I assume it's not like a kid's book though?

Laura:

It's targeted for adults, but I do think that very cool, progressive parents can show it to their, maybe, young teenager. I think our kids would probably be very confused and not understand what's going on in the story, but when they get older, we can do a little reading together.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, that sounds great. And where did the idea come about? I love the whole concept and my favorite review of it was somebody who was saying that girls are always just being saved or falling asleep in fairytales, which I though was really funny.

Laura:

Why is that? Why are many people, they're in like a coma and then they get kissed while they're sleeping? Which is obviously very problematic.

Jacki Strum:

Yes. So problematic.

Laura:

Yeah. I don't know, I think it may be... I'm trying to remember if I was pregnant at the time, but I was just very interested in fairytales for some reason and it was at the height of me too and I was going through all of the stories I'd pulled and movies I had watched, and fairytales I had read growing up and thinking about how problematic, basically, all of them were. And I was taking a sketch class at the time and we had to bring in a sketch we wrote and I kept bringing in these fairytale sketches.

Laura:

And at some point in class, I had to like explain, "I promise I'm not just obsessed with fairytales, I think I'm maybe going to turn this into a show." And so, they were all somatically linked and then I had a classmate come up to me and say she thought that doing a show was a great idea and she'd help me finish writing it. And so we wrote it together and it was a lot of fun, it ran for a year in New York, we brought it out to LA and we got to go out to the Chicago Sketch Festival. And then, I don't know, I had this light bulb moment where I thought, "Why can't this be a book also? Why can't I turn a sketch show into a book?" And so, I put together a book proposal and we together adapted the sketches into a few chapters. I don't know, when you do a book proposal, unless it's a novel, you do like three to four chapters.

Jacki Strum:

Okay.

Laura:

I could like talk shop about book proposals, what goes into the proposal. But anyways, we got a book deal and now, hopefully, trying to develop it into something bigger.

Jacki Strum:

That's so cool. And I love the process that, obviously, has worked for both of these because it's kind of like you get to really test what works in an improv setting and then work it out.

Laura:

A hundred percent. It's so helpful because, yeah, exactly what you said, you get to kind of workshop which jokes work in front of an audience. And from audience to audience, some people will laugh at certain jokes and then other things will fall flat depending on what's in the news or just who's in the crowd. But yeah, that was extremely helpful because we were able to get the sketches into a really good place and then have kind of a template to work from. You can hear I'm in Brooklyn, I don't know if you can hear that ambulance going?

Jacki Strum:

I can. Well, I'm not dating anyone, so I'm going to ask you for some advice. So, what advice do you typically have for people during COVID? It's such a challenging time to meet people, so what do you usually end up talking to people about for that?

Laura:

Well, first of all, I would tell people to spend a little bit more time doing the video chats. So, I would say get off text and just start video chatting because you can get a little bit of a sense of somebody's vibe from video. So, I would do that a little longer before you meet in person? And then, I don't know, this might sound kind of blunt, but I would say treat everybody that you're talking to you like they might have syphilis because you need to ask questions like you would ask before you're having sex with somebody. Like [inaudible 00:10:32] before you have sex with somebody, hopefully, you would ask like, "Are you sleeping with other people? Do you use protection?" And if anybody thinks that's a weird question, well, that would be a red flag to me because it's about your health and safety.

Laura:

So, we're in a global pandemic, I would say, "How many people are in your quarantine circle? Do you wear a mask?" And you can ask these kinds of things in a way that doesn't make it feel like you're grilling them. But, at the end of the day, it's your health and safety and if anyone thinks that you wanting to do a six foot picnic date for your first date or your social distancing a bit and they think that's strange, then I would think that's a red flag and worry that maybe they're not following guidelines in their normal life, and that would worry me.

Jacki Strum:

I mean, that even worries me with my friends. Seeing friends and family, you kind of have that weird line of questioning no matter what. Even if you're not sleeping with them, just like eating dinner with somebody.

Laura:

I know, I had a friend come up to me in the park and go in for a hug with me and I was like, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa." And I was like if you're hugging me, who else are you hiding?

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. I know exactly what you mean. And it's just uncomfortable, but everyone has their own lines and boundaries and it's so extra right now.

Laura:

Yeah. I know. It's very weird. I don't want people to think that I like... I don't know, it's weird. Yeah, it's just uncomfortable. I don't want people to think that I think that they have COVID or that they're not being smart, but, I don't know, if you're reaching up to hug me and you shouldn't.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. It's almost like the muscle memory of behaving the same way with everybody. But let's rewind back in time to a happier time, how did you and Nick meet?

Laura:

We met at a holiday party actually.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, okay.

Laura:

Yeah, it was a holiday party in the West Village that my old roommate was having. We used to live together in LA and then she had also moved to New York City. And I was working really late that day and almost didn't go, but the thought of her being mad at me for missing her holiday party was worse than like [crosstalk 00:12:42] just like sucking it up. So, I threw on this like really crazy '80s prom dress that I had gotten at a vintage store and hadn't had altered yet, but I was like, "All right, whatever. This screams party." And I went to the party and she introduced us and we just spent four hours straight talking and dancing, and we've been together ever since. It was one of those very weird things. That scene sounds a lot more simplistic than it was, I definitely remember freaking out at the beginning and texting my friend that we had in common and, "Tell me everything you know about him," and, "Do you think he liked me?" And definitely, it wasn't like a perfect fairytale, but we pretty much have never dated anybody else since we met.

Jacki Strum:

Wow. That's amazing. And was your friend introducing you guys like intentionally with the idea of dating or just like here are two humans, be friends kind of thing.

Laura:

So, Jackie, they had gone on an OkCupid date, actually.

Jacki Strum:

What? Oh my God. That's so funny.

Laura:

But they didn't hit it off or there was just no sexual chemistry, I guess you could say, but they really liked each other as friends. So, according to each of them, they never kissed, but they did start hanging out a bunch. And then she still invited him to her party even though they weren't, and then I scooped him up I guess.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. Well, I guess OkCupid's good for some things. It was actually, for me when I was dating, OkCupid was the Tinder of that time. So we're like dating ourselves in that, but...

Laura:

Like now there's like tumbleweeds rolling across OkCupid, nobody really uses it anymore, but it was hot for a while.

Jacki Strum:

It was, we're cool. I swear. And what was your wedding like? I saw photos, so I know it was amazing, but tell everybody because it's one of my faves.

Laura:

Oh, thank you. It was so much fun. So, pretty much all of my family and a lot of my friends are all from out of town, so we really wanted to put a lot of thought into giving them a sample platter of New York City. So, we did the rehearsal dinner at a place called the River Cafe in Dumbo and that kind of overlooks the skyline of New York City and you can see the statue of Liberty. So, we thought we'd give them kind of a taste of, I don't know, a pretty view.

Laura:

And then actual wedding was at the Brooklyn Museum and my husband's an artist, so that was really special because we were getting to dance them among these insanely gorgeous artworks that were all around us. And it was in this beautiful ballroom and it's like we really don't need to decorate it much, it's just such a beautiful museum. And then we did a Sunday brunch and that was at a Beer Garden in Williamsburg, that was kind of a taste of like, "This is how we usually live." Like you kick your feet up, eat some pretzels and beer, got kind of like a mix between the three venues.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, that's so fun, that's so iconically New York. But, honestly, you could do all those things in a weekend and it'd just be a wonderful weekend, like going to the museum, the botanical gardens that are there.

Laura:

Yeah. Oh I know, when things pick back up, I would recommend all three of those venues for just a normal weekend.

Jacki Strum:

That sounds great. And what did you guys drink at the wedding, I have to ask?

Laura:

Okay, so when I saw that you were going to ask this question, I went back and looked at our catering menu, to give you the real deal. For wine, I don't remember if I did a tasting for these, but they were all good. Okay. So it was Starborough, 2014, Sauvignon Blanc.

Jacki Strum:

Okay.

Laura:

William Hill Estate, 2012, Chardonnay.

Jacki Strum:

Love William Hill, I've actually been there. It's gorgeous.

Laura:

I was going to say, I don't know if you wanted this specific, but...

Jacki Strum:

No, I love it, I wish more people did that.

Laura:

Okay, so Degas Elena de Mendoza, 2013, Malbec.

Jacki Strum:

Great one.

Laura:

[crosstalk 00:16:30], 2012, Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jacki Strum:

Amazing. Wow, that's a great selection.

Laura:

Yeah. So, those were the wines and then we had everything else available. And a big thing for me was I wanted champagne served as soon as people walked in the door before the ceremony even started. And I would recommend that to anybody, like have a signature cocktail, have champagne, have wine. I just think it sets the tone that once people can have weddings again, that this is going to be a fun, laid back wedding. So, I think as soon as people walk in the door before the ceremony, you're not like trying to get people tipsy before the ceremony starts, but I think it just sets the tone that it's going to be a fun wedding.

Jacki Strum:

Totally, I love when people do that. Especially because you don't want to feel pressured as the bride, people are enjoying themselves. So if you're not ready on time, it's no big deal. I actually did the same thing at my wedding.

Laura:

Oh, you did? I was going to say that's a good point because I was like 15 minutes late.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. They're not going to care if you're late if they're drinking.

Laura:

Exactly, that's so true.

Jacki Strum:

What was your favorite part about your wedding?

Laura:

I just remember dancing all night long and we had a really good cake. But I don't know, I think I just had so much adrenaline, we had the best food, the food was so good and I just had no appetite because I think I just so much adrenaline. And I just remember thinking the next day, "I'm so pissed I didn't eat all of that [crosstalk 00:17:55] food," I was so mad. And they have like a weird rule about they wouldn't let us take home any of the leftovers.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, that's weird.

Laura:

[crosstalk 00:18:05] for them, yeah. Anyways. But dancing, I think just dancing, it was so fun. Yeah, I was on my feet the entire night.

Jacki Strum:

That's great. If that's all you remember, that's still pretty great. That's like the best part for me too, I hear you. Because that's what you want to remember your wedding as, just celebrating.

Laura:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it was fun. Weddings are fun. They're fun.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. I miss them.

Laura:

I know, me too. I know we have a mutual friend who's wedding got postponed.

Jacki Strum:

Yes. Oh yeah, I'm so sad about that, but she's doing that, I'm sure she's told you, our friend, Olivia, is doing a mini one in like this gorgeous place in the woods in Northern California. So, I think it'll still be pretty gorgeous and then we'll celebrate a little while after perhaps.

Laura:

A little later, yeah.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah.

Laura:

Yeah, good. That's good, I'm glad they're doing that.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. And so these days, since we're all home, especially since we both have kids, what do you like to drink once Rylah is asleep?

Laura:

I've been really into Sangria this summer. I mean, I always loved Sangria, but particularly this summer, I've been getting it to go from some of the restaurants that are doing the outdoor dining and outdoor bar. Yeah, and getting Sangria and bringing it home and then making some homemade tacos. So yeah, that's kind of what I've been drinking a lot of lately.

Jacki Strum:

That sounds delicious and very like relaxing lifestyle for the summer kind of thing, because we're taking so many things so seriously right now, we all need a break.

Laura:

Yeah, it does. A nice Sangria kind of brings you back to like nostalgic, past, happy times.

Jacki Strum:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly. Oh, that's great. Do you have a recipe you'd recommend? I can post it afterwards too.

Laura:

I wish that I knew how to make it, but if I was going to give you a recipe, it wouldn't be genuine, I would just be Googling, "How to make Sangria."

Jacki Strum:

Or is there a restaurant you recommend nearby?

Laura:

Well, so Cantina Royal was my favorite restaurant and they just closed.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, no.

Laura:

[Crosstalk 00:20:03] you know all are your favorite restaurants are closing.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah.

Laura:

It's sad. But Cantina Royal, I'm sure I could get the recipe from them though, they're close friends and maybe I'll message them and then we could post the recipe from my RIP favorite restaurant.

Jacki Strum:

They can bottle it and sell it.

Laura:

That would be a good idea.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah.

Laura:

Yeah. They do sell their salsas in stores and online. So I would recommend their salsas, which are always good with a nice drink.

Jacki Strum:

Oh, that sounds great. And so, anything else you're working on right now? Obviously, Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling, it just came out in March, so everyone should check it out on Amazon or else like any independent retailers. But I feel like you're always so busy, so what are you working on right now?

Laura:

Pretty much just that, just trying to work on developing that and still doing our podcasts. And then I've actually just been trying to use these last couple of months for what I'm calling a consumption break. I feel like I'm always on deadline, so I've been trying to just read as much as I can. So I've been, I don't know, bingeing all of the short fiction stories on the New Yorker and trying to actually get through some books and kind of taking a little consumption break, which I feel like will be healthy for me when I dive into my next project.

Jacki Strum:

Yeah. That's a good point. That's a great idea. Well, the last thing I'll ask you and since you have a lot of relationship experience and you're married and home, what advice do you have to folks who are quarantined with their partner right now?

Laura:

Oh man. Quarantined with their partner? Do some game nights online with friends, so that you feel like you're still kind of mixing it up with other friends and couples, try to just give each other space. I don't know, it's been like up and down, I feel like at the beginning of quarantine it brought us so much closer and then we were getting on each other's nerves for the [crosstalk 00:22:02], it's like this is going to go up and down, but you got to ride it out. Yeah, hopefully... I'm lucky, my husband, he never cooked our entire relationship or pretty much his whole life and then he took up cooking. And so, he's been making bread and fish and tacos, so, I don't know. I've been really appreciating that he's taken on that skill to kind of help the family or, I don't know, just do something special for us. So, I don't know, try to do that for your partner because I, as the partner, have appreciated it. I don't know what I contributed that he would appreciate, but...

Jacki Strum:

I'm sure a lot. I'm sure. Well, that's great. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Laura, I really appreciate it.

Laura:

Oh, thanks for asking me to join.

Jacki Strum:

Sure. And cheers.

Laura:

Cheers.

Jacki Strum:

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. When I go to the wine shop, I like to look for the best bang for my buck, especially when it comes to sparkling. Many people know that champagne and sparkling wine are different, but why? So, here's the scoop. The champagne region of France is where the wines founding fathers first saw "stars" in their glass in the 17th century and developed what's now called Methode Champenoise. This method, by which all true champagne is made, starts with a still wine that then goes into a second fermentation in the bottle.

Jacki Strum:

These bottles are rotated slowly over a long period of time while upside down to collect the yeast in their necks. The yeast is eventually released and sugar is simultaneously added before corking the bottles. Methode Champenoise is arguably the most labor intensive winemaking process resulting in the highest quality sparkling. It shares very little with a standard sparkling process in which the second fermentation occurs in a steel tank. While this method was invented in Champagne, it is used around the world to make wines of nearly the same caliber with significantly lower price tags. That means that you don't have to pay big bucks for great quality. So, just check the back of the label for Methode Champenoise or Methode Traditionelle and you've got some Champ-status juice to pop at your next party, have fun.

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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