Jordan Mendoza (@jordypizza) is an Asian-American writer and comedian who works as a digital creator at Comedy Central. He writes under the mentorship of Tom Scharpling at the WGAE Made in NY Writers Room. He also co-hosts Drunk Science at Littlefield and has appeared on Radiolab.
This week, Jordan and I talked TikToks as a career, getting absolutely wrecked on shrooms, and lying to your parents.
How did you get into doing comedy?
I originally wanted to do video art, but really didn’t know how to “get in” on that world. I remember living at home in Boston, super bummed out, and my friend Michael Wolf sent me some comedy podcasts, and they talked about UCB a lot on them. So one day, I kind of insanely lied to my parents and said I had a job in New York, signed up for UCB classes, and moved to Brooklyn. For a while, I made videos for a sculptor named Barry X Ball and then did advertising, before I went into comedy full time.
I made this when I just started getting into TikTok for my job. I do the TikTok creative for Comedy Central, which I truly love. It’s weird seeing teenage humor, but they are so funny. For sure my favorite platform. The audience is SO much kinder than, say, YouTube. The views are better there too. (My priest Tok got 1.2M views, my VMAs interviews got 2.1M, and my “sexy Pennywise” video got 6.4M views.) Would be cool if Tom Hanks saw this.
Do you feel that social media has helped your career in any way? Do you think that writing jokes for Twitter has changed the way you write jokes IRL?
For sure. Very practically, TikTok has helped my job at Comedy Central, because no one really wanted to do it, and I liked it. So now a big part of my job is Tok-ing. Outside of that, I think YouTube has definitely helped, because traditional live performance isn’t my favorite thing, but I can make a good video, which I think helps set me apart a little. As for Twitter, writing tweets really helps with my wordiness, which gets in the way of a lot of jokes.
What was the motivation behind starting your show Drunk Science? Do you have any particularly memorable moments from hosting the show?
Mainly, I wanted to create something with my friends Shannon Odell and Joanna Rothkopf, and loving science was something we all had in common. Joanna writes at Last Week Tonight and has a Master’s in science journalism, and Shannon is, as of a month ago, now a doctor of neuroscience in addition to being a comedian. And then we got to add our friend Ernest to the show, who for no reason whatsoever plays the character of “Igor” on the show. (It isn’t a character show.)
Anyway, Drunk Science is nice because now we are all sort of forced to hang out every couple months even if we’re all pretty busy. As for favorite memories: We’ve had a comedian fall asleep onstage in the same show that a scientist bit into a beer can like vampire bat. Also, anytime we have a climate scientist on, they without fail tell us that we’re pretty much fucked.
Not very funny but I hold this one dear to my heart because I tweeted it the first time I did shrooms in 2015. My buds and I were on our way to fully tripping when I thought, I bet those Toy Story dudes are super jealous of Minions. Then, we all huddled around my phone to find the right words to tweet before we lost touch with reality. We sent it, and then I tripped so hard I couldn’t speak, left this world, and thought I would never return. But then I checked my phone and the tweet had done pretty well.
What do you think the future of comedy looks like?
I think comedy will continue to get more and more hyperspecific. I’m super in awe of people with Über-distinct comedic voices. Like, I just got into a director named Kristoffer Borgli, who makes some of the funniest, most beautiful, mind-blowing shorts I’ve ever seen. It’s super cool you can have a career right now making such specific things like TikToks or dumb game shows. Like right now, my job is to make a game show where whoever cries the most wins, which is crazy. It’s called Cry Battle, and here’s the first episode.
If you’re feeling down, I suggest doing this! I work alone a lot, and I find talking to things makes it fun. I actually wrote a pilot about talking to inanimate objects called Tidying, and it’s a dramedy about a Marie Kondo–esque organizational consultant who — suffering from an illness that makes her believe objects have feelings — falls in love with a client and his lamp.
What’s the best object you’ve ever checked in on in your fridge/cabinet? Any wild cards?
Great question. Best objects: All my little shroomie friends in my drug drawer at home. Whenever I check in, I do a lil microdose snackie. Or maybe my modafinil buds. Those guys are nuts.
Two wild cards:
1. I opened my fridge recently, and all my food was in a different spot! My first thought was, Guess those lil brudders wanted to mix things up. Second thought, Prob more likely my roommate wanted to mix things up.
2. I checked in my drawer at work and there was a Hawaiian shirt hanging out in there! I was like, What’re you doin in there lil brudder? I’ve never owned a Hawaiian shirt! But I think it made him feel very other-ed, so I apologized. Still a mystery as to whose shirt it is, and why they put it in my drawer.
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