Ginny Hogan (@ginnyhogan_) is a New York City–based stand-up comic and writer. She’s written for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s, and she’s the co-editor of Little Old Lady Comedy.
This week, Hogan talked with me about using Twitter for writing jokes and for receiving immediate updates on the news, among other things.
I wrote this 15 seconds before a third date. It occurred to me that third dates used to have some sort of significance, but I haven’t (for better or worse) paid attention to any dating “rules” in years, so I had completely forgotten. I did think it would be funny if after having slept with the guy twice, I told him I actually didn’t do sex on the third date (he didn’t think it was funny).
Do you prefer topical or evergreen tweets?
I used to only write evergreen tweets, but recently I’ve gotten pretty political. I definitely tweeted about Kavanaugh like nine times per day for a solid two weeks. I find it much harder to make topical content funny, but I also think it can resonate more with people because we all have a common baseline. That said, I would still say the majority of my tweets are evergreen. I’m a stand-up comic, and I’ve gotten in the habit of mostly writing evergreen jokes so I can tell them onstage for months, but my content is slowly drifting towards political humor because that’s what’s on my mind right now.
This was a silly one that I thought of because people were talking about Barbie that day, and people are always talking about voter registration. I think my most interesting political jokes always blend in something else, whether it’s a self-deprecating joke or an absurd link to Barbie.
What do you get out of being on Twitter?
The two main benefits I get are a minute-by-minute idea of what’s important in the world and joke-writing practice. If I visit a news website, I get an overview of the biggest stories but I don’t know what’s making people the angriest. It can backfire, though, because what people care about most on Twitter is often not the news I want to know. In terms of joke-writing practice, it’s by far the most useful tool I have.
I tweeted this right after sending a nonsensical text to a guy at maybe 4:30 p.m. Sometimes, I say something crazy and then immediately break it down into a funny tweet or joke, but I wish I could get to the joke without doing something regrettable. I don’t actually regret texting him because I like this tweet.
What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve had online?
I have my email in my Twitter bio because I want to be as reachable as possible in case anyone wants to hire me (it’s very rare that someone has emailed to hire me from my tweets, and by rare I mean it’s never happened). I have, however, blocked people for making rude comments on my tweets and then received apology emails from them. One person even asked to be unblocked (he claimed he didn’t know it would piss me off to say “for fuck’s sake stop whining about sexism”). It felt nice to know that at least my trolls really get a lot out of my Twitter. I also once got retweeted by Margaret Atwood, and that was a real high for me.
This has happened to me so many times, and I hoped it would be relatable. I wanted to poke fun at men who tell me they love comedy but can’t think of one female comic they like. Eventually, they realize what they’ve done and go on a long tangent about how much they respect Maria Bamford.
What does your newsfeed look like?
Right now it’s like 90 percent anti-Trump stuff and 10 percent comedians practicing their one-liners. This is fun for me because I’ll scroll through depressing tweets about the state of our world and then see a clever short one about macaroni. Also, Twitter is pretty good about putting the content of the people I retweet the most at the top, so I definitely see my friends’ tweets first, and they’re mostly comedians. I follow a ton of humor writers too, so I get hilarious articles in my feed.
How has the way you’ve tweeted changed over time?
I tweet a lot more now than when I started. My only followers used to be people I knew personally so I felt self-conscious unleashing my inner thoughts on them at all hours of the day, but now I feel totally great about it. I also used to have my tweets post automatically to Facebook, and it really limited my scope because my former bosses would see my sex jokes. They might still see them now, but as long as I’ve taken the smallest steps to hide my crudeness, I feel fine. I think my tweets are a pretty accurate reflection of what’s on my mind, so whatever is bothering me comes out the most.
Karen Chee is a Brooklyn-based comedian who writes for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and Shondaland, among other cool websites.