Kady Ruth Ashcraft is a comedian and writer (and comedy writer) and currently works at Funny or Die. She performs standup and improv around the city and her videos exist all over the Internet. She has a deep love for the kind of corny bluegrass music y’all fakers hate. This week Ashcraft shared with me three of her favorite tweets, and we talked about emotions, earnestness, and her favorite characters to play on Twitter.
Ashcraft: I love the idea of someone being so obsessed with having a topical wedding, a concern NO ONE should have, and then being upset that the GOP might also have a brokered convention and that that would take attention away from the wedding. I’m not sure I conveyed that the person saying this is upset, maybe it reads as them being excited, either way, I write a lot of my tweets from this voice of a manic yet earnest woman.
Is it often difficult to convey emotion through tweets?
It depends. For me, all of writing is “how do I get this feeling I have in my brain, my heart, my stomach into words!” That’s how I approach writing comedy, writing poetry, writing birthday cards. Sometimes that emotion is very simple and pure, like being happy to run into an old friend, and you can convey that. But I think what makes writing, and writing tweets, challenging (and fun) is conveying that you’re happy to run into an old friend because you’ve been thinking about death a lot lately and what if you were to never see them again, that’d be terrible, but also wait they still have your favorite sweater can they maybe give that back?
How much thought do you usually put into a tweet?
Little to none. So much of what I tweet is a reaction to an instinct. I’ll spend 3 minutes on a tweet, tops. Twitter is a compost bucket of drafts. I like throwing ideas out there, seeing what rots and what turns into a lil oak sapling.
How do you express earnestness online?
Five exclamation points!!!! Uhm, but seriously, my tweets are a grab bag of jokes, overheard statements, and sincere feelings I have about how fucked up (or wonderful) things around us are. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to cultivate a voice on Twitter, but I think I’ve established that by following me you’re gonna get the gamut of human emotions, which includes self-indulgent dad jokes and also soapbox speeches about the dangers of limiting abortion access.
I have a collection of screenshotted sentences/blurbs/titles on my computer. This was one of them. This sentence can only exist in 2016.
What do you usually do with the screenshots?
I mostly just save them on my computer. I have an album of some of them on Facebook and I’ll tweet some out occasionally. Maybe one day they’ll be a coffee table book.
I guess I collect them because it taps into that dilemma I mentioned that we all face of conveying the correct emotion. But the people writing these headlines/sentences are further limited by needing them to be clickbait-y. This morning I screenshotted a headline that read, “Meet The GynePunks Pushing The Boundaries of DIY Gynecology.” Like uh, no, I actually don’t want to meet these GynePunks.
How does Twitter compare to other social networks for you? Do you like it more or less than others?
All social networks have their benefits and limits. (Feel free to use that line if you’re presenting a powerpoint on social media to your law firm.) My favorite thing about Twitter is live-tweeting television events. No other platform is able to build on an IRL momentum like that, and I absolutely love that a person I’ve never met can just tweet “NO.FUCKING.WAY” at the right moment in a presidential debate or the MTV Music Awards or WHATEVER and it is relatable/funny/meaningful without having to provide more context.
This is that same manic and earnest woman freaking out that Malala is in her Uber pool. Malala is the only non-TV celebrity she knows.
Do you have any other characters you do on Twitter?
What are your favorite subjects to tweet about?
Right now I think there is this very fun gap between the endlessly complex feelings humans have been feeling for 200,000 years and the 9 ways social media platforms are letting us express those feelings. Also, I love tweeting about anything to do with women and especially the failures of marketing to women. I’ll happily be laid to rest under a gravestone that reads, “She Just Wanted To Do What Sarah Haskins Does.”
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.