Saturday Night Live

Fasting on Yom Kippur - "It's the holiest day of the year." - Sarah Pfefferman, Transparent

This past week was Yom Kippur. It's the Jewish day of atonement, and the end of the Days of Awe. That's that week in between Rosh Hashanah, our new year, and Yom Kippur, when the Book of Life is open. We're supposed to think about the people we've hurt over the past year so we can atone for it, and then our names will be written into the Book of Life for the next year to come, and it is closed and finalized at the end of Yom Kippur. And while most of this time is generally joyous, celebrating the sweetness of life and the excitement of a new year, we're supposed to fast on Yom Kippur itself, to reflect on who we are and what we've done.

I'm a pretty bad Jew. I've never fasted on Yom Kippur. At least not before this year.

Honestly, I'm not sure I could tell you exactly why I chose to fast this time. It's not like anything in particular happened to make me understand that fasting would actually have meaning for me this time around. I've been connecting more and more to my Judaism and my faith/spirituality, but that's been an ongoing process for a couple of years now, I didn't start fasting when I started that. It was just a few days before Yom Kippur, and I realized that I was going to do it.

(Thank god I managed to give away my shift at my day job. Sure, it's about denying yourself the pleasure of food to think about what you've done, but I don't think whatever higher power there is meant for us to do that while working in a restaurant.)

I went about my day almost as normal. I slept in way later than I normally would, but I still volunteered at the New York Film Festival that evening, and I didn't go to services or anything. That didn't stop me from reflecting pretty much all day, though. And there were two things I was particularly thinking about.

One is that I never realized just how much my schedule and my life revolves around food. Not just my day job, but when I started to plan my day and I had to deliberately leave out a lunch break. Or when I thought I might be early to the NYFF, so I figured "I'll head down there, and if I'm too early, I'll just stop by Starbucks" before I remembered "no, I won't." When I started to run low on energy and I figured I'd just get a snack. And then at the festival, realizing that I would have to decide at 6pm between seeing a movie and breaking the fast. (Good thing for me that 6pm movie was also showing the next day at 9pm, so I just saw it then! Before I found that out, I was really, legitimately struggling with the decision.)

But more importantly, I was thinking about the people I've hurt and disrespected. And I realized that I haven't hurt that many other people. In fact, I go way out of my way to make sure I don't hurt others, and everybody likes me. I'm sure there are people I've hurt that I don't realize, but I'm also sure that they all know me and they know I didn't mean to hurt them.

The person I have disrespected is myself. Yes, I know, that's pretty self-serving for a holiday about atonement towards others, but by going so far out of my way to make sure the people around me are happy, I've put my own self at less of a priority. As if I'm not as important as my peers. I'm happy to help my friends where I can, but I also have to start looking out for myself more. I have to start demanding the things that I want, because if I don't, I'm not going to get them. And that's probably going to make me come off as a bit of a "bitch." But I have to stop caring about that, too. Besides, like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have said, bitches get stuff done. And I have a lot of stuff to do.

I have lost out on too many things that I've wanted this year so the people around me could like me more and I would hurt them less.

I then broke the fast by going to Indie Food and Wine in Lincoln Center, getting a soup, two sandwiches, as well as popcorn and lemonade from the concessions stand at the Walter Reade theater... and then I went to Gourmet Garage, bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's, and split it with a couple of other NYFF volunteers. Because it's also possible to get what I want AND make the people around me happy.

Is all of this the point of Yom Kippur? I don't know. Probs not. But it's the spiritual experience that I had, so it's valid, too.

#OscarsSoWhite. Again.

Happy half-birthday to me! Today I'm going to talk about why I've been considering giving up one of my favorite things of the year this year. Whee!

If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know that I absolutely love awards season. Sure, Hollywood awards are meaningless, given by a self-selected group of elitist white men, and are, in the end, almost entirely about the glitz, glamour, and self-congratulation of the awards ceremony on TV. I get that. I really do.

But oh my god, I love them. Everyone is so pretty! And you get to watch the winners' dreams come true! And it's all about celebrating some of the best told stories of the year! And if I could, while I'm one billion percent on board with #AskHerMore, I would wear couture gowns all day every day.

The thing is, it's kinda impossible to ignore #OscarsSoWhite. Two years in a row? Even the one year in a row it was last year was too much. And I saw calls going around for a boycott this year. I am a firm believer in being more of an activist than making Facebook statuses... or writing blog posts on a personal website. Which means that I should put my money where my mouth is (or, rather, take that money away from ratings agencies and advertisers) and join the boycott.

But at this point, what would that actually accomplish? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has already said they're going to double their number of minority and female voting members by 2020. There are definitely performances and films by people of color and women that came out this year that deserve awards-level recognition. What we need is a culture that actually recognizes them. The SNL sketch is actually pretty on the mark about it.

Here's the thing: If what we need is a complete change of culture, I don't think a boycott is going to accomplish that. The fact that the AMPAS is increasing their number of minority and female members shows that they know the community is upset. A boycott isn't going to completely change the culture in the way it needs to be changed. Complaining that underpriviledged people aren't being let into their elite club isn't the way to get them to admit underpriviledged people into their elite club.

I'm gonna be honest: I'm not sure what the next step to take would be, if it's not a boycott. There are means out there for female filmmakers and filmmakers of color to make movies and get them out there. Not nearly as many, and we are not a part of the white, straight, cisgendered boys club that is most filmmakers, but it's not impossible. We can do more, though. I just wish I knew what that more is.

In the meantime, I'm probably not boycotting the Oscars. It would just be not taking advantage of something I love, and, in the end, for zero net gain. But I don't think I'll be making picks, analyzing each nominee's chances, or doing a write up of any of it. I just don't feel like analyzing Charlotte Rampling in conjunction with other wonderful actresses.

(I mean, come on, Charlotte Rampling. The outcry is "racist against white people"? That's not even a thing. We're not on the bad end of systemic oppression. She's excellent at the craft, but damn. If nothing else, this controversy has made an excellent litmus test for how racist most white people in Hollywood are.)

And, at the very least, I can start to look forward to next year's Oscars. The Birth of a Nation just sold for $17.5 million to Fox Searchlight at Sundance, the highest amount ever paid for a film there. They went with Fox Searchlight instead of Netflix, which was offering $20 million, because they agreed to have screenings of it in high schools and do other community things like that. And it's already being seen as an Oscar contender. So there's hope for the 2017 Academy Awards yet.

Live from New York, it's Saturday Night Weekend Update! - "You thought I was gone, didn't you?" - Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, SNL 2008

D'ya think Lorne Michaels is gonna sue me for using his thing? I mean, I don't think he would. It's such a famous phrase that once I thought of it, I couldn't think of anything else. And it does technically describe what I'm doing, so I'm technically in the right. Right?

You're all getting a rare Saturday update because I've been getting so much footage in from so many interesting, beautiful, and emotionally spot-on short films I've done that I just couldn't wait to share it!

First and foremost is the short I made inspired by the Studio 360 It's a Wonderful Short contest: "The Subscription". It's sweet, funny, and intense, all while being 30 seconds long! Anyone who knows me and how much of a not-so-secret romantic I am can absolutely believe I made this movie.

Written and Directed by Emma Lieberman Director of Photography: Thaddeus Bouska Production Sound Mixer: Julian Seltzer CAST Becca - Emma Lieberman Rachel - Amanda Jane Stern Thomas - Jesse Boone

Secondly is a film called "Arranged". My Jewish identity is very important to me, but this film is an exploration into how far I would let that take me. I'm also not wearing any makeup at all in it, which I'm pretty sure basically makes me Scarlett Johansson. I'm fairly certain that's how that works.

And finally, I present to you "Trapped"! I genuinely wasn't sure whether to call this a drama or a comedy, and that makes it one of my favorite kinds of films.

Right? They're pretty intense.

I was also in a sketch show with The Mailroom NYC at The PIT earlier this month! There isn't video of that (yet) though, so I don't have fancy proof. You'll just have to trust me that it happened and was hilarious. But don't worry. I'm pretty trustworthy.

Next up as of now is another screenplay I'm working on! Still untitled (god, titling things is the worst) about a couple of young lawyers having to work together towards what they both know is an impossible goal. Looking to shoot towards the beginning of 2016, so be sure to look out for that soon!

All-You-Can-Read Blog Buffet!

Okay, so much has happened that today, instead of getting one long argument of a blog post, you're going to get a bunch of mini posts, all rolled up into one! More long form Weekend Update than, you know, Last Week Tonight.

Because you guys, the past couple of weeks have been absolutely insane. I didn't update last week because I was shooting for three separate projects, running to several auditions, and barely finding time to eat and sleep amidst all of that. It was all excellent fun, and I loved it, don't get me wrong! It was a short film and two webseries - Lactose Intolerance, Twisted Tales, and In Retrospect, directed by my friend Amanda Jane Stern, if you want to look out for them! - and they're all hilarious. But overall, it was also exhausting. If you had told me ten years ago that I'd be a massive workaholic who would willingly wake up at 6:30 AM for her job on a Sunday, I would've thought you were insane. But that sure is what happened this past weekend.

All of that has made me think a lot about how I spend my time, though, and what's worth it. For instance, every day that I don't have a paying gig, I'm at home working at least eight hours a day on either the business of being an actress, or writing scripts with roles I create for myself. And all of that is absolutely worth it, and it's the reason I've been cast in about three things within the past week! But sometimes I know I allow myself to get involved with projects, or let myself get put in social situations, where I would feel rude for declining. Especially if I know I would hurt somebody's feelings if I wasn't there, I will almost always turn up. But I've also been exhausting myself recently, and it's making me consider that maybe I need to drop some of these projects and friendships that are no longer serving me. One phrase I've tried to keep in mind this year is "don't set yourself on fire to keep others warm," and I've been working to remember it because it's a thing that I oftentimes do. It's a process, it's not something I'm going to snap to and start cutting people and things out of my life just like that. But it's something I've been considering recently. More of a way of trying to think about what I'm actually getting out of everything into which I put my valuable time.

Don't worry, the people and projects I'm thinking of aren't you and yours!

I've been thinking lately about romance and dating as an actor. This is a topic I'm sure I'll go into again, in greater detail, at some point in the future. But, I won't lie to you guys, I've been a little bit romantically lonely for a while. And I say that fully understanding that I don't have the time for a relationship. 99 times out of 100 I will place my work above a significant other. And I have a lot of work. And I don't doubt that choice. I've even tried to, but it's what's right for me. I would hate myself if I lost out on my dreams because some boy or girl distracted me. And if/when something really is right, I'm sure we'll be able to work something out. I look to the relationship Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer have as an incredible inspiration: They both have their own stuff to do, but when their schedules coincide they always choose each other, and they're still very happy, loving, and supportive. I just also know that that's a lot to ask of someone, and it makes me a little sad how difficult it is to find someone who interests me, who I like, and who is willing to put up with all of the baggage that comes with me and my work.

Finally, on a similar but much brighter note, I've been thinking lately how much I appreciate and value real friendships, and how good it is to hold on to what I believe in. Without going into details, I recently had a friendship that I have had to fight for over the years validated. And it's been giving me the warm fuzzies ever since when I think about it. It hasn't been turbulence-free, but because we both refused to let go and insisted on loyalty and perseverance, it's really paying off now, and I appreciate it.

So, you know, that's cool.

Some exciting stuff is coming up this week, so I'll be back to my single-topic, long-form blog posts soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this short form style! Because now that it's what I've written out, it sure is what I'm sticking with.

EMMY NOMINATIONS!!

Emmy nominations are out!! So... that means it's time for me to post all of my predictions! I won't bother writing out a whole introduction. You know what the Emmys are. If you're new to me and you're just joining from Telemazing, then you should know that some of my predictions will have analysis underneath and some won't. Also I'm mostly just doing the biggest awards (series, lead and supporting actor and actress, all in both comedy and drama), and a select few other categories that just interest me. So. Yeah. Let's do this!

Things in Bold Italics are the Categories
Things in normal text are regular nominees.
Things in italics are my winner predictions.
*Things with an asterisk are series/people I don't think will win because of industry politics or some other reason, but are good enough that they should.

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black

I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It was Mad Men's last season, and the Emmys love giving awards to shows as they're on their way out. It's all about examining a Complicated White Male (which the old, white, male Emmy voters love) in the sixties and seventies (which the old, white, male Emmy voters miss). Add that to the fact that the finale was a huge television event that is still discussed so it's pretty present in the average culturally educated mind, and it makes Mad Men a pretty clear choice to win.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Louie
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Similar to Mad Men winning Best Drama, this is Parks and Rec's last chance, especially since it has never won for Best Comedy! It's also a show that's all about love and friendship while still having something to say about politics and domestic and foreign policy, and the Emmys love a show that has an opinion on something outside of its own overall plot arc. Besides, it's a show that just has tons and tons of heart. I think that Veep and Louie are also excellent series, Modern Family has won pretty much every year for the past several years, and Transparent is straight up a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka, Jill Soloway). But Transparent, Louis, and Veep will be back again next year, Modern Family has had it's due, and now it's time for Parks and Rec to get the recognition it deserves. (And if you've also read Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, then you'll understand why I really want her to get her pudding.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill
Bloodline - Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn
House of Cards - Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom - Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
Ray Donovan - Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan

Did you know that Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for his portrayal of Don Draper in Mad Men, even though it's a career making, and beyond that, iconic performance?
If you've read any of my analyses in this post before this, you already understand why I don't think that'll be the case anymore after September 20th.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Empire - Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
Homeland - Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
House of Cards - Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating
Mad Men - Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal

Does this really need analysis? The pretentious elite (of which I fully admit that I am a member) that make up the Emmy voters (of which I fully admit that I am not) have finally discovered Orphan Black, and now Tatiana Maslany is going to get her dues.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
black-ish - Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson
Episodes - Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House of Lies - Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
The Last Man on Earth - Will Forte as Phil Miller
Louie - Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless - William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher
Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

Between how Transparent just cleaned up at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and the fact that the show is literally just a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway), while it may not win Best Comedy, it can certainly give this award to Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura with grace and humanity, and not a shred of the self-righteousness that comes with an actor who is trying to Make a Point instead of tell a story.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
*The Comeback - Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
*Grace and Frankie - Lily Tomlin as Frankie
*Inside Amy Schumer - Amy Schumer as Amy
*Nurse Jackie - Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
*Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Guys, this one was actually really, really difficult. Literally any of these women could win, and I would totally understand it, and there would be a part of me that agrees with it. I actually came really close to choosing Edie Falco to win this one as Nurse Jackie is also ending and it's one of those comedies that is really more of a dramady than a comedy. But... she's also won the award for this role already (not to mention previous wins for The Sopranos) and I really think this is the time for Parks and Rec. But really. This is such an over-the-top strong category this year with each of these actresses turning in strong, heartfelt, moving, and hilarious performances. This pick was really, really difficult.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantrout
Bloodline - Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn
Downton Abbey - Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
*Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
House of Cards - Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don't really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There's no one in this category I'm especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it's pretty much just that it's Alan Cummings' time.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey - Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
*Game of Thrones - Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Game of Thrones - Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
The Good Wife - Christine Baranski as Diane Lockheart
Mad Men - Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I know I just said that the Emmys doesn't usually have love for the Emmys, but dude, Cersei's walk of shame. That's the kind of scene that'll be shown in Lena Headey's lifetime achievement awards. I also want you to believe me when I say that it hurts me physically to not be putting an asterisk next to Emilia Clarke's name because she is my khaleesi but for this specific season there are other performances that are stronger than hers. Not to say that hers isn't wonderful and strong. Just that there are others that are stronger.
And yet you'll notice that my choice to win wasn't either of those two, but Uzo Aduba. And there are two reasons for that. First and foremost, because she deserves it. Her Crazy Eyes is touching and heartfelt and painful to watch because it's so personal, real, and you can't help but feel for her. I want to make it clear that this is the primary reason. Because she's really good. Also because the other reason is you'll notice how all of my other picks so far have been white people. I genuinely do believe that I picked the actors who had the best performances in their categories, but especially since this one is a pretty tight race, I think the Emmys will want to avoid the bad press that the Oscars got from having a whitewashed list of winners and make sure to have at least a little diversity there.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Girls - Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Key & Peele - Keegan-Michael Key as Various Characters
Modern Family - Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

The pretentious intellectuals who vote for the Emmys love Veep. And Tony Hale is an alumnus of the acting school I currently attend. (Yay The Barrow Group!) But... I couldn't give you a real reason I chose him over any other actor here. There are pretty much an even number of reasons why each actor here would or wouldn't win. Andre Braugher is excellent, but the show overall is more about laughs than getting deep at any point about people and the human condition. (And I say that as a huge, huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.) Adam Driver is having an excellent, public spotlight-y kind of a year, but nobody is really talking about Girls, specifically. Keegan-Michael Key does really intelligent, interesting sketches on Key & Peele, but sketch performers almost never win outside of a variety series category. The Emmys usually love on Modern Family, but maybe people are just too sick of it winning everything for it to win anything this year. Tituss Burgess has created a colorful, complete character in Titus Andromedon, but not necessarily a complex one. I just... can't think of a reason Tony Hale  wouldn't win. So... he's my pick to win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory - Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Getting On - Niecy Nash as Denise "Didi" Ortley
Modern Family - Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie
Saturday Night Live - Kate McKinnon as Various Characters
Transparent - Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees
Veep - Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All. From. The. TV. Gods. (Aka Jill Soloway).
Don't get me wrong, I love Allison Janney in anything and everything she chooses to do. Same goes for Kate McKinnon. And Jane Krakowski never won an Emmy for Jenna Maloney on 30 Rock, so I think she should get one for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Next season. But right now. Transparent is a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway).

...This, by the way, is the point where I'm just going to go and bring up a few select categories that particularly interest me for whatever reason. Just so you know.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
*Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live

So the asterisk this time doesn't mean that I think Drunk History should win over Inside Amy Schumer... it's really more my way of calling attention to what an awesome series it is, especially if you're a fellow history nerd.
But I think this is really where the fact that Amy Schumer is this year's "it" girl is super gonna come in clutch. You know, that and the fact that the show has been insightful, clever, and feminist as well as funny.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Comedians - Mel Brooks as Mel Brooks
Inside Amy Schumer - Paul Giamatti as Juror #10
Saturday Night Live - Bill Hader as Host
Saturday Night Live - Louis C.K. as Host
Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne

Well, by this point you already know that Transparent is a gift to us all et cetera. But I also want to throw out there that watching Bradley Whitford in anything is just an incredible lesson in acting. So watching Bradley Whitford in Transparent... guys, he's incredible. I wanted to stay away from opinions in my analyses because saying that actor in a particular role is "good" or "bad" is subjective and almost never helpful to true understanding of a someone's position. So I will also say that his portrayal of Marcy is subtle, funny, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. Even as we watch his scenes from Maura's (Jeffrey Tambor) point of view, he slowly brings the audience along to experiencing his world through his eyes as well. It's big and bright and exciting and quiet and intellectual and new. And guys, he's wonderful.

Outstanding Main Title Design
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Bosch
Halt and Catch Fire
******Manhattan
Marvel's Daredevil
Olive Kitteridge

I haven't seen all of these series, and so I haven't seen their opening titles. I haven't picked a winner here because I'm just straight up not qualified to pick a winner among all these shows I haven't seen. In fact, you might even say that I've only seen one out of the six shows listed here. I just really like Manhattan and wanted to point out the one category in which it was nominated for an Emmy.

Okay, this blog post took me literally three hours to write up. I nearly did it last night after I got home at one in the morning from seeing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before realizing what a dumb idea that would be. (That movie, incidentally, totally wrecked me in the best possible way.) So now I'm just gonna stop.

But what do you think? Do you agree with me?? Why???

(Guys, I'm really excited about the Emmys.)

"It sounds like a fart in a bath." - Benedict Cumberbatch

Bunchofgrapes Cabbagepatch is "in talks" to play Doctor Strange for Marvel. And it makes me laugh. A lot. Don't get me wrong - I admire Blasphemy Candycrush very, very much as an actor! I think that Brewery Crumplehorn is exceptionally talented, and I would love to emulate him.

I also think that he has an absolutely hilarious name. More than that, he has absolutely hilarious fake names, too!

So my challenge to all of you who read this is to leave me your favorite Beetlejuice Capncrunch name in the comments below so we can all expand our repertoires! Hard mode: You can't use the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator. 

Speaking of funny things, I've been more disciplined about comedy recently. It used to be that whenever I had an open mic, I'd mull bits over in my mind for days, or even weeks. Then, half an hour before the open mic, I'd scrawl them all down, hope they made any semblance of sense outside of my mind, and go with it. And sometimes it worked! But most of the time it didn't.

Recently, though, I've been working on SNL Weekend Update style two-line jokes based on the news. It's a weird comedic muscle I haven't used in years. And more often than not, I find myself staring at headlines, knowing there's a joke in there somewhere, and having no idea what it is.

I'm 90% sure at this point that, if I ever write an autobiography, it will be called Trying to be Funny: The Emma Lieberman Story.

Every so often, though, it works. And when it does, I find myself absolutely convinced that one day I'll be the head writer on Saturday Night Live. Even though the fact that I've actually written a joke doesn't mean that it's exactly SNL-quality material.

But who knows? Maybe one day I will be the head writer!

Until then, I hope everyone I know enjoys jokes like "You can now make custom urns with a 3D printer. Or, for less money, you can buy a custom urn."

"There are only two things I love in this world: Everybody and television!" - 30 Rock, "Believe in the Stars" (S3E2)

I was once having a conversation with an incredible woman who was directing a show that I was in at the time. We were both theater students at Brandeis then, and we were discussing, between film, television, and theater, which simulates real life the most.

She made the argument that theater does. Live performance is just that - it's live. It's really happening right then as you're living, and even assuming you're watching a traditional play where the lines are all rehearsed and memorized, and you're working with a theater set that has to be slightly fudged to work in a theater space (you cannot build a full house for a play that takes place in a home, after all,) anything still can happen. Things change, lines get messed up, and the production still has to deal with all of that and move on. Every performance is different, making the show a living, breathing thing on its own. And because of all of that, theater most closely simulates real life.

I disagree, however. Not about the performance itself - live theater is certainly the most live, as it's, well, live. But I think the most true-to-life medium, by far, is television.

Guys, I love television so much.

Not to say that I don't love film, theater, or webseries! (Webserieses? Websierae? Websieri?) They all absolutely have their advantages, and there are amazing works in all of them, and I love them! Don't misunderstand me, I'm not trying to say that I think one is better than the others.

But I really do love television. The very thing that draws me to it is one of its major defining features - how episodic it is. I love how it comes on every week, and something new happens. The story doesn't just open and shut. It can't be neatly summed up in two or three hours. Television stories wind, and take tangents, and weird things happen, and people come in and out, and they take weeks and weeks to happen. Usually there are multiple storylines where every person is doing something different and working towards a different goal. Characters change at the same pace that we do. Characters grow old, and pass milestones in their life. And often, you keep going past the happy ending to see what comes next. (See: Monica and Chandler's relationship in Friends. Do not see: Ted and Tracy in the broadcast ending of How I Met Your Mother. That went way too far past the happy ending, and I'm still not over it. But that's a blog post for another day.)

Even television that isn't based around a specific story is great. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, under the guise of a comedic parody of a news show does legitimately fantastic reporting on some issue or another that I barely even knew about before he talked about it. As much as it's kind of depressing that Jon Stewart is considered the most trusted newscaster in America when he's not a newscaster, he manages to make a demographic of people care about politics when they otherwise might not have. In fact, I've written academic papers about the effect that Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey (as "Sarah Fey-lin") had on the 2008 presidential election. At some point or another we've all dreamed about hosting Saturday Night Live. And, especially at its peak, the go-to conversation topic for most of us was what happened in the past week on American Idol. Television brings us together, and creates countless phenomenons that, in many ways, have shaped our modern culture as a whole.

...I, clearly, have a hard time shutting up when it comes to television. So I'm just going to stop now before this ordinary blog post turns into a full-on academic paper.

But guys, I love television so much.