@CaseyJEllison on Regional Accents and the Zen of Twitter

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Casey Jane Ellison is a Los Angeles-based stand-up comedian, writer, and multimedia artist. She has starred in several web series including Ovation’s Touching The Art and VFILES’ What The F*shion and Status Update. Most recently she wrote, directed, and stars in The Right & Left Brains of Casey Jane’s, a “branded content sitcom” presented by BB Dakota. This week I spoke with Ellison about three of her favorite tweets, plus regional accents, micro cultures, and what’s Zen about Twitter.

Do you have go-to favorite things to tweet about? How similar/different are they from what you like making other writing or art about outside of Twitter?

I like a nice bizarre good-natured tweet about my own behavior. I’d have to examine the data more closely but I think my tweets follow a theme in my other work.

Are there other elements of language/dialect that particularly interest you?

Mostly I like the elements of language different people or groups take for granted. And the internet has homogenized phrases and accents but also created these micro cultures. I once used the term ‘gurt’ to describe yogurt in a web series I did a couple years ago and there is actually a group of friends in LA called The Gurtz and they use the term fluidly like, “You’re not Gurt.” Or “Hey, Gurt!” Or “I have to go Gurt it out.” They throw parties and they just released a zine called Gurt. But I’m not on the cover which is insane to me. I don’t even know if I’m Gurt any more.

How do your voice and style on Twitter compare to your voice in real life?

I don’t think I’m as curt in real life. Also I’m much more curious. Twitter’s format requires that I express a short and confident idea. That’s not my natural instinct with communication.

Is it more fun for you to write observational tweets or ones that are more abstract?

I like using the forms of an observational tweet, but making the content abstract. Twitter is good for playing with standards because everyone is perpetually adopting and renewing them.

What do you like and dislike most about Twitter?

The immediacy and the disposability. And maybe that’s also what I dislike most about it. A really good tweet is just that and nothing more. There’s peace and grief in that truth. Twitter is Zen.

Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.