MARRIES BOTH COMEDY AND WEDDINGS
After becoming a household name as a star of the hit MTV show Girl Code, Jamie Lee has proved she is a force be reckoned with in comedy. Her latest project combines her love for telling jokes and material inspired by her recent wedding. Weddiculous, her newest book, gives unfiltered advice to brides to-be on everything from wedding planning to the uncomfortable talks about merging finances.
The Sentry talked with Lee about her book, her start in stand-up, and her upcoming return to the Comedy Works stage.
Sentry: What can you tell us about your experience on Girl Code?
JL: Being on Girl Code was great because it was the first time that I was on television known for my point of view. Each girl in the cast brought something different to the table. Everyone had their own unique take on whatever the topic was. I was allowed to be myself, which is exciting because when people come see me live they say, “Oh, it’s the girl from Girl Code!” It’s not like I catch them off guard with a new personality, because I’m not on TV playing a character—I’m just me.
S: What inspired you to write Weddiculous?
JL: When I got engaged, I felt like all material available for new brides were very serious and very fear-based. Every article I ever read was, “Four Centerpieces nobody’s ever had at a wedding” and “Five appetizers that will blow your guests’ mind” and it felt like all the pressure was on wowing your guests and showing off this event planner side of you, which may not exist in every bride. I wanted to write a book about more of the emotional side of wedding planning as well as the vendors, food, and décor.
There’s no real feminist take on weddings. There was no book that talked about merging your finances. At the time of the wedding planning, I was the breadwinner in my relationship, and how that impacted who pays for what and all these uncomfortable conversations that people steer clear of in the wedding world because they are too real. That’s not helpful to anyone. We should be saying “yes to the dress” as well as “yes to uncomfortable money conversations.”
This is a book for brides, but anyone can enjoy it, because ultimately it’s a comedy book with what I find to be sound advice. I think people will enjoy it no matter what they are going through. I think that weddings are something people can relate to because everyone has gone to them and everyone has many feelings about them. They are high stakes occasion, so they elicit a lot of feelings in people, whether those feelings are pure joy for the couple or oh my God, this is the worst party I’ve ever been to. Reading the book is like you’re in on the shit talk about weddings.
S: What advice do you have for young writers and comedians?
JL: My biggest advice is if you’re a young writer, actually write stuff. There are a lot of people who say they are a writer and they don’t have any proof of the concept. Also, when you write something, say a pilot and you don’t know if this is good, get a group of friends together, and have them read the different parts aloud and have them do a table read and then have the say afterwards what they liked and what needed improvement. I wrote a pilot recently and that was the most helpful thing for me.
S: What made you want to get into comedy?
JL: It started with my friends and I being obsessed with Wayne’s World. Every movie I saw, I wanted it to be a comedy. Right before I went to college, I started going to see comedy shows in Dallas that moved into watching HBO specials with my mom. At the end of college, I wanted to work at Comedy Central. I didn’t know what I wanted to do there; I just knew I wanted to be in with Comedy Central. I got a job in publicity, which at the time I didn’t even know what publicity was. I was just excited to have that label. I had to watch all of these stand-up comedians for work and I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment one day sitting at my desk, and I thought ‘oh I think I want to try that.’