get our faces painted for football games, and she’d host dinners in our shared dorm dining room. Jocelyn is willowy and half-Asian, and while fitting the bill technically for a model, has no interest in modeling. She’s just that cool. Me, on the other hand, whenever I lose, like, five pounds, I basically start considering if I should “try out” modeling. When the three of us walked down the street together, I looked like the Indian girl who kept them “real.” I don’t care. After all these years with friends who are five ten or taller, I have come to carry myself with the confidence of a tall person. It’s all in the head. It works out.
Jocelyn and Brenda being really adorable at something I don’t remember being invited to.
So I left college feeling like a successful, awesome, tall person. Then, in July of 2001, the three of us moved to New York.
LATE NIGHT DREAMS, QUICKLY EXTINGUISHED
The job I most wanted in the world was to be a writer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I can’t believe that was two Conan shows ago. It seems like yesterday.
I’d been an intern at Late Night three years before and was famously one of the worst interns the program had ever seen. The reason I was bad was because I treated my internship as a free ticket to watch my hero perform live on stage every day, and not as a way to help the show run smoothly by doing errands. My boss, the script coordinator, greatly disliked me. Not only because I was bad at my job, but because hating everything was one of her personality traits. You know those people who legitimize their sarcastic, negative personalities by saying proudly they are “lifelong New Yorkers”? She was one of those. Her favorite catchphrase was “Are you on crack?” On my last day, she shook my hand limply and said a terse “Bye” without looking away from her J.Crew catalogue.
When I arrived in New York, I didn’t even really know how to apply for the job. I had not kept in touch with anyone at Late Night, because even as a nineteen-year-old, I knew that no one wants to keep in touch with the intern. I had placed a lot of faith in Woody Allen’s belief that 80 percent of success is just showing up. I said to myself: Are you serious? 80 percent? Sure, I can just show up. Here I am, New York! Give me a job!
It turns out the other 20 percent is kind of the difficult, nebulous part.
I wrote a letter to NBC asking how I could submit sketches to be considered for Late Night. I got a letter back saying that the network could not even open an envelope that contained creative material that was not submitted by an agent. I thought the phrase “cannot even open the envelope” was a tad dramatic. NBC legal, you drama queens. This initial rejection served as NBC “negging” me, to borrow a phrase from my very favorite book, The Game. It worked. NBC became the sexy guy at the party I needed to be with. When I finally got with him, years later, sure, he was fourth place, kind of fat, balding, and a little worse for the wear, but I still got him.
Here I am, ruining my guest appearance on my hero’s talk show with dorky gesticulation. ( photo credit 7.3 )
HOME IS WHERE THE BED IS
I was jobless, but so were Brenda and Jocelyn. Together we rented a railroad-style apartment in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. The railroad apartment, for those of you who’ve never seen one, is styled after the sleek comfort of a 1930s industrial railroad car. All the rooms are connected in a line, and you have to walk through one room to get to the next. Everything about it is awful, except if you need a set for a play that takes place during the Great Depression. The only people this intimate setup worked for were three female best friends who had no secrets from one another, were comfortable (enough) being walked in on naked, and had no boyfriends (or no boyfriends who were ever invited over). Enter us!
Real estate was our first disappointment in New York: we had set our sights on trendy