Peter Kelly is a writer, director, and producer based in New York City. He currently works at The Opposition with Jordan Klepper on Comedy Central. You can check out his truly groundbreaking and innovative work on his website: peterkelly.co.
This week, Kelly talked to me about making real serious art in his Moleskine notebooks, and other equally profound things, like Spongebob memes.
When I create my art, something that I try to focus on is elevating form, regardless of what medium I am working with. I think this tweet is a pretty great example of that elevation. I took the poster for the film Love, Simon and I changed the word “Simon” to “Salmon” because they sounded the same. Then, I took a piece of salmon (a fish) and I put it over Simon’s face. I don’t mean to sound arrogant here, but my photoshop work was so exceptional that MANY people thought Love, Salmon was a real movie. Overall, I think this tweet says a lot about the current state of queer cinema while simultaneously critiquing the seafood industry.
Very cool that you are a serious artist. Do you like visual jokes?
Thank you so much for your very accurate assessment of who I am. Yes, I do love visual jokes! I prefer them. In all honesty, I am aggressively bad at photoshop. I mostly taught it to myself, so I never learned the “right” way to do it. Most of my jokes on Twitter include hastily made images, and I know 900% of those images would upset any half-decent graphic designer.
This is only partially a joke because every few months I see one of those spinning racks filled with Moleskine notebooks near the checkout line at a book store and feel an overwhelming desire to buy one. I think to myself, “I will definitely, 100% use this. I can write down funny ideas! Or outline a pilot! Or start journaling, because that’s what emotionally stable people do!” Then I get home and remember two things: 1) I am not an emotionally stable person and 2) I already have like 4 Moleskine notebooks scattered around my apartment, each containing less than a dozen words.
What does your newsfeed look like? Is it mostly comedy or news or etc?
Right now my feed is about 60% comedians and 40% horrible right-wing journalists that I follow for work. It’s a really strange mix – I’ll be scrolling through Twitter and see a Spongebob meme sandwiched between Laura Ingraham tweeting about how liberal college campuses are restricting her free speech or some bullshit.
I was at a Staples a few months ago waiting to use a printer when I saw this dude. He sat there for about 20 minutes, just scrolling through an endless feed of horses and dogs and cats, all living together in perfect cyber harmony. He seemed truly happy and I hope that I too can one day achieve such a state of sensory bliss.
Who do you enjoy following?
I used to work at Above Average with @Ziwe and I absolutely love her Twitter. She truly taught me how the internet works. I don’t think I knew what a meme was until Ziwe taught me. She is VERY smart and everything she tweets makes me laugh.
What do you get out of Twitter?
I don’t tweet a ton, so I mostly love Twitter just to follow people who I admire and think are funny. But when I do find the time to tweet, I’d say that I’m fully in it for the immediate validation. It’s why every person is on Twitter regardless of how much they deny it!!!!!
Karen Chee is a is a writer/performer who contributes regularly to The New Yorker and McSweeney’s.