Jacob Smith (@jacobjargon) is a writer, performer, activist, and Libra. He has worked as an intern at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS and was featured as a playwright at the Mizzou New Play Series. Recently, he co-starred with Rachel Tiedemann in Noah and Sofia, a mockumentary which won first place in the True/False Film Festival’s Gimme Truth competition and was directed by Lily FitzGibbon. This week, Jacob and I talked about some of his favorite television shows and tweeting about real-life incidents.
I’m still so shocked that Glee invented being gay— Jacob (@jacobjargon) June 18, 2017
I thought it would be uncouth to submit three tweets about Glee, so I had to choose just one, which felt like an act of violence against myself. I think about this show probably once every hour. One of my favorite things about Glee is how incredibly gay it is (which I truthfully love), but it also acts like Will & Grace never happened and that Kurt and Blaine single-handedly decided marriage equality in the United States. Part of me is absolutely thrilled and totally in love with just how much queer representation the show has, but Glee thinks that it is The Stonewall for American youth which is…a lot. I love the idea of Elena Kagan sitting in her den watching Glee after a game of softball and thinking, “THAT IS IT! I’ve made up my mind!” and the rest is history.
The fact that you imagine Elena Kagan’s daily life is super endearing. How would you feel if she scrolled through your Twitter? What would she think?
I like to think that she would be politically stimulated, but I’m sure she would just be confused. She’d learn a lot about pop culture and Mindy Kaling’s pregnancy—which she needs to know! We’d be good brunch friends, but I don’t think our personalities would mesh very well. My personality is too rigid for her fast and loose lifestyle.
Most unrealistic part of 13 Reasons Why is that Hannah never had a guest on her podcast — Jacob (@jacobjargon) April 22, 2017
Most of my Twitter is either confessionals of self-loathing or just reactions to what I’m watching on TV. 13 Reasons Why was traumatic for me, like Mariah Carey New Year’s bad. There were just so many glaring issues with it; like the stage makeup nearly sent me into a coma because the middle schoolers who did it clearly had no clue what they were doing. Podcast culture is also so funny to me, so thinking about Hannah’s tapes as a podcast really made me laugh. Everyone thinks that they should have a podcast no matter what it’s about or who they are, so obviously Hannah had to have one. I like thinking about the show through the podcast lens and assuming that the entire plot happened because none of her classmates would go on her show. (All of this being said, I will happily send a resume and headshot to executive producer Selena Gomez if she reads this. Love the show, girl! Bold choices!)
Smooth. Selena Gomez is a huge fan of this column and I’m really glad you didn’t offend her.
That’s honestly my worst nightmare because her 2008 cover of Cruella de Vil was pivotal in my astrological development.
It seems like you post about TV shows pretty often. Have you ever gotten into Twitter conversations or arguments with other fans? Please tell me all the gossip.
Somehow I’ve avoided confrontation with angry fans, but only because I’m not important enough for anyone to notice me. One time I tweeted a Halloween picture of me dressed up as Billie Lourd’s character from Scream Queens (yes, another Ryan Murphy franchise; I’m his demo, sue me!) and it weirdly got a bunch of retweets from people I’ve never met before? I also tweeted once that Mario Lopez should host a game show where the game was to determine whether or not reality is truly this bad or if it’s just my panic disorder. He liked the tweet, so I guess he’s on board and I’m ostensibly on my way to being the Shonda Rhimes of the Game Show Network? I watch a lot of TV to escape the horror that is my existence, but then I have to tweet about it because I realize it’s been awhile since anyone’s paid attention to me.
Is it slutty of me to show up to a grocery store with a reusable bag from a different grocery store?— Jacob (@jacobjargon) January 29, 2017
I think this is a valid question and would actually appreciate an answer to it. I don’t know what my moral obligations are in this situation. I don’t always have my Target bag and sometimes I have to show up with my Natural Grocers tote, which is when I really feel the stares from other shoppers. All of these middle-aged white moms glare at me in my outfit from the night before, slightly hungover, and casting their judgement. It’s a real walk of shame and it doesn’t help that I always start drinking my Naked mango juice before checkout. I just want to engage in capitalism without being made to feel guilty about it. Is that too much to ask?
How often do your jokes stem from real-life situations?
Most of my tweets aren’t even jokes, they are just really sad and pathetic things have happened to me. Like one time the Google Street View car took a picture of me eating a Baconator alone in my car and then this summer a lot of wild things went down and I moved to LA, lived there for literally five days, and then left. I also had a new hairdresser who had a panic attack when she realized that she cut my hair too short and straight up ran out of the shop, got in her car, and fled the scene. My Twitter is mainly just a way to laugh at the terrible things that keep happening to me and then capitalize on my trauma for attention—which Mitch McConnell assures me is healthy. But when I do write jokes it’s almost always rooted in something that I’ve witnessed in real life or TV that I thought was silly.
Who are some Twitter users or accounts that set the tone for you when you first started?
John Early and Kate Berlant are two of the funniest people on the planet and I really can’t get enough of anything that they do. Sadly, I can’t remember the account that tweeted it, but one of the accounts that really influenced me tweeted “JEANS! All we really want is JEANS!” and then “Lunch: it’s what’s for dinner” and those have always stuck with me.
Karen Chee is a writer/performer who contributes regularly to The New Yorker and McSweeney’s.