@BrotiGupta on Humor That Has Heart, and Vice Versa

Broti Gupta is a recent graduate from Wellesley College (“WOO! Go, our mascot!!”). She writes for CollegeHumor, Above Average, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Daily Shouts in The New Yorker. She recently moved to LA, where she is freelancing but hoping to do something bigger, like ghostwriting Melania Trump’s forthcoming book, “‘On the Road by Jack Kerouac’ by Melania Trump”. This week Gupta spoke to me about three of her favorite tweets, plus Emma Watson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and how Twitter affects her anxiety.

Gupta: I graduated from Wellesley College two months ago and have been on the job hunt ever since (what do you MEAN the job market for creative people is tough?!) and everything in my life has been about finding jobs so much so that a literal bird could be flying around inside my house and we would still be able to bring up a job search. Also, I wonder why my dad thought my “there’s a bird in this house, could be a bat, either way I’m going to die” scream could double as a “cool, financial stability” scream. On top of that there was this baseline disappointment of “no, I don’t have a job” that I had to cap off with “also there’s a bird in our house.”

What are your favorite subjects to tweet about?

Favorite things to tweet about are definitely my anxiety (because I have heaps of it!), politics (only sometimes, because now the world is just sad and scary), and honestly a lot of puns. I love tweeting in this absurd character that’s super self-important and super self-unaware (if that’s a thing).

I like to play with words and hold people accountable for very dumb semantic reasons. Am I using semantic right? Anyways, this is a very “on brand” (as my friends insist I stop using to describe myself) tweet because for some reason, I have waged an imaginary war against Emma Watson. I make fun of how many feminist initiatives she’s involved in/champions (which is a lot more than I do) and I like to “challenge” everything she stands for with dumb criticisms like this. That’s literally my entire feud with her. She does something good and I try to ruin it on twitter.

And I like to sometimes add an extra word after a punchline. It messes up the rhythm and just makes it that more dumb. That’s funny to me.

Besides comedy, is there any other kind of writing you especially enjoy doing, and does that influence your joke-writing at all?

My favorite writer of all time is Nora Ephron, and whenever I read her essays I always feel inspired to write personal essays of my own. I think what makes her incredible is that her writing feels like she’s gossiping with you and it’s all at once protected and vulnerable and very train-of-thought oriented. Reading her made me start to love essay writing (which I’ve done on my blog and Medium) and definitely made me realize (as saccharine as it is) that humor can have heart and heart can have humor.

Are there other bits or series you like to do on Twitter?

A few weeks ago, I made a resolution to tweet “good job” at Lin-Manuel Miranda every day for one week. He did not respond to any of them but that, to me, means he just needs to hear it more. He is doing a very good job. If anyone reading this knows him, please tell him “good job” from me.

I am an anxious person and I genuinely get so stressed when there are multiple people in a room where I am their only link because I always want to make sure everyone’s okay and doesn’t feel left out and likes my other friends and still likes me and oh man I am sweating right now just thinking about my birthday when I had to deal with this exact blessing of a fake problem and I’m so glad that I’ll be dead when everyone I know is gathered in a room where I am the link ha ha wow is it hot in here or what

If you had to pick, do you think Twitter makes you more anxious or less anxious?

Less anxious! I like to use Twitter to level out my anxiety. If I’m super stressed about a job or if I’m upset in any way, it calms me to write about it and it grounds me to make a joke about it.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about Twitter?

Favorite: Getting to read hilarious comedians’ tweets, using it to keep up with news, and sometimes even being able to have conversations with people whose work I love. Least favorite: My mom follows me on Twitter (where I’ve used the f word!!!!) as of yesterday. Follow her here, I assure she will not follow back.

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

@BrotiGupta on Humor That Has Heart, and Vice Versa