May Wilkerson (@shutupmay) on Twitter as an Open Mic

May Wilkerson is a standup comedian and writer living in Brooklyn, originally from outside of Boston. She performs in clubs around the city and co-hosts a weekly Facebook Live web series on Conde Nast’s The Scene where she talks with fellow comic Alyssa Limperis about living with mental illness. She is a staff writer at and her writing has also appeared on The Huffington Post and Salon. This week Wilkerson talked to me about three of her favorite tweets, plus feeling overwhelmed, the president’s Twitter account, and talking to famous strangers online.

Wilkerson: I guess what I’m saying with this tweet is help I have a real problem. Apparently so do a lot of other people, so that’s nice!

What do you think is the most you’ve tweeted in a day?

I think I tweeted the most back when I had like a few hundred followers and I wasn’t a comic. I just used Twitter as a diary. “I love mangoes!” & that kind of thing. Then at some point I started treating it like a place to practice and test out joke writing. I try to keep it under 10 a day for my sanity, unless something horrible is happening like i’m going through a breakup or this election cycle or it’s Monday.

Is there a place or time of day when you do the most of your tweeting?

I usually do most of my tweeting at 9 am when the coffee first kicks in and I feel this rush of inspiration and hope that usually dies around 10 am. I also tweet a lot at night if I’m not out doing comedy. I use it as a kind of open mic.

This is just a true fact that seemed funny to me because of the times we live in. Also the author Aziah King retweeted it, and she’s my favorite stripper/author right now so that was cool.

What are some of your other favorite non-comedy accounts to follow online?

One of the only non-comics I follow is President Obama. I’m excited to see what he starts tweeting once he’s not president anymore and the mask comes off. I hope he gets involved in some beef. I wanna see him really go in on some people.

Do you have a favorite interaction you’ve had on Twitter?

Joss Whedon followed me for some reason and told me via DM he thinks I’m really funny. I nearly peed my pants because I was like the Buffy guy thinks I’m funny!!!!!!! I was obsessed with Buffy in middle school. I guess he’s famous for other stuff too but I only know him as the Buffy guy. It’s weird how famous people just kind of move amongst regular people on Twitter, like there’s no real hierarchy. We’re all just a bunch of nerds who spend too much time online and prefer to talk to strangers because it’s easier than talking to people IRL.

This is a tweet about how a fun thing devolves into an existential crisis. That might be what most of my tweets are about. Don’t worry I take medication!

What emotion would you say most drives you to tweeting?

Usually when I’m feeling angry or overwhelmed about something in the news or something personal I go on Twitter and try to process it. That’s healthy, right? There’s so much going on in the world right now that feels scary and out-of-control. But Twitter pares everything down into these short little quippy observations that are so much easier to digest than reality, and you kind of feel like okay, I’m working through this stuff with all these other people now. I’m not alone with these thoughts and feelings. It’s weirdly comforting. So yeah I tweet most when I feel overwhelmed. That’s often.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to people trying to enjoy being on Twitter?

Get off Twitter! Go take a walk. JK walking is overrated. Follow me @shutupmay!

Photo by Jenni Walkowiak

Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn.

May Wilkerson (@shutupmay) on Twitter as an Open Mic