Crissy Milazzo lives in LA, where she’s an editor at Distractify and a freelance writer. Her writing has been on Thought Catalog, Medium, and Refinery 29, and she helps out with the Loudspeakers podcast, Plz Advise. She tweets under the name @frizzyfilazzo. This week I spoke to Milazzo about three of her favorite tweets. We talked about emotions, hangovers, Rihanna, and more.
Milazzo: For all the stuff I’ve tweeted and said in real life when I was trying to be funny, I think the things that work aren’t jokes. Like, when I tweet about Rihanna, I’m just thinking of how wild her life is and wondering if I could even handle it. I was watching Beyond the Lights, this movie about a Rihanna-like young star. There’s a moment where she almost dies, and I was thinking that if my life flashed before my eyes, it’d just be a lot of sandwiches and me explaining YouTube videos to my friends.
Probably most of what I think is funny to talk about has to do with weird imaginary scenarios, dating, and people we’re all a little obsessed with, like Rihanna. My screenwriting professor in college, Randy Pearlstein, used to have us write emotionally sincere poems instead of screenplays or jokes. He said that was ten times harder to do, because people have trouble being honest. I remember him asking us to go around the room and say “something we’re really proud of” and our favorite movie, and everyone said really boring things like “I got this award once.” We were all just scared to tell people what we had feelings about. So, I think saying, in less words, that my life is boring and I’d rather live Rihanna’s in my final moments on Earth, is funnier than trying to do a super jokey bit about death or whatever.
Does knowing that honesty can be funny make it easier for you to be sincere on social media? Is it ever difficult for you to share your emotions online?
It is, unfortunately, never really difficult for me to share my emotions online. If anything, I have to do the opposite and type things into a notepad on my phone before I put them out into the ether. That’s always my problem, like in writing scripts, I have to navigate things without making myself the main character. Every college screenwriting class I took, or like creative writing class in general, was 90% people reading things where it was obvious it was all about their feelings, like a scene out of Girls. But I think anyone can channel their own private emotions or experiences in a way that’s relatable to other people, whether that’s with a joke or a character. Or a tweet, or all of the above.
How true would you say your Twitter voice is to your voice IRL?
I think it’s pretty spot on. I’m a distracting and emotional person. That’s probably the closest thing to a brand that I’ve identified? When I’m hungover, I like to distract myself by making my friends listen to me about Rihanna-Drake theories or how I’d prefer to be creatively murdered than have a splitting headache. I’m fun.
I use asterisks a lot, it’s like the Internet equivalent of dropping your voice an octave to make it clear that you’re doing a character. Telling a little micro-story in a tweet or a Vine or whatever is something I find super fun, and it doesn’t translate to real-life conversation the same way. Or to standup. It’s weird, like if you came to me four years ago told me I’d be using Twitter for anything other than telling people about my hangover, I’d think you were very dumb. But in the past year it’s really been my favorite place to entertain myself.
It’s fun to be thirsty online in a way that isn’t harassing other people. This was when they announced Trevor Noah would be hosting the Daily Show and everyone was scrutinizing his old unfunny tweets, and I thought it’d be funny just to focus on the obvious: he’s a total babe. Also, I remember I saw this tweet by Jamie Keiles once about how important Nicki Minaj’s lyrics are because she’s unapologetically nasty. Like, she’s not cutesy about it, she just says she makes dudes eat it with their grills on, etc. In a sort of similar way, I love tweeting stuff about hyperbolically thirsting after dudes. Also I just wanted an excuse to connect myself to Nicki Minaj there.
Did anything in particular prompt the change to doing characters and telling micro-stories on Twitter?
I got really, really sick of tweeting things into the void about my personal life. My first job was as a staff writer for Thought Catalog and my life was fodder for all those posts, so Twitter turned into a place where I didn’t have to talk about my feelings.
Have you noticed any other people whose Twitters or personalities have influenced the way you tweet?
Oh, yeah. My friend Chelsea Fagan is hilarious online and in real life, and everything she says is something you want to jump up and yell “SAME!” to. She is #goals in every way. My friend Safy and all the people she’s introduced me to – Sarah Hagi, Allison (Wutangcher), Doreen St. Felix – will tweet about celebs and just roast them, or do bits about the most mundane things and make them interesting. Molls will always be a big influence for me in this life, she’s funny through being emotional and honest. And she’s a huge bully.
Rembert Browne will tweet like, seven things at a time about minions or going viral or having bars, and that’s just the best way to live online, in my opinion—for fun, and to think through things you can’t yell on the street about. My friend Christopher Hudspeth tweets like, all Dad jokes and real set-up puns. I’m influenced by Dad jokes.
What would you say are the key elements to a good hyperbolic tweet?
I think you just have to make it so ridiculous that it’s clearly not a real thing, but it still relates to or pokes fun at something real. That sounds low key insane. Instead of sounding more insane, here’s a hyperbolic tweet from my friend that made me laugh for like 23 seconds.
After my ex and I broke up last year, I used Tinder and was promptly disappointed by how long it took to find out if a person was awful or not. The stuff we put in our profiles is so laughably unrelated to our personalities. And I get it, because I’m tall and I actually appreciate the height thing. But it’s funny to me how that subs for a personality trait. I’m on there like “he’s 6’2” and has four shirtless mirror selfies, buuuut I’ll take it!” That said, how else are you supposed to meet anyone ever? So many of my friends in L.A. are from the Internet. Dating is the same way, but we’re all just less honest and tactful when we have to describe ourselves. Dudes are always saying how much they like whiskey, and we all say we love adventure, and it’s just all so tragic and dumb and not tied to reality. My crowning karmic moment for making jokes about Tinder was having my profile shown in a segment on 20/20. So, tweet with caution.
Do you think that Twitter profiles have any of the same shallowness as Tinder profiles?
Yeah, but in maybe a more honest way. Like, you’re up front about your profession. People can see all your thoughts. Maybe Twitter is a better dating app than Tinder? Follow up with me in five years.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.