“How are your college applications going?” And 4 other questions to never, ever ask your niece at the dinner table

I have always imagined the summer before my senior year of high school would be exactly like Grease. I would spend my days soaking up sun at the beach, at some point falling in love with a beautiful boy from another country, all the while maintaining my perfect hair, body, and makeup. It is now, however, quite clear to me that Sandy did not have a cell phone or a high-powered mom, because my days are mostly tied up with text messages about getting groceries, bringing the car to the car wash, and every rising senior’s favorite questions: How are college applications coming along? Have you emailed the X College rep yet about visiting? When are you going to sign up for your SAT?

I and every other senior do not need the stress acne brought on by the same forced and uncomfortable college conversations with everyone we meet, so I’ve decided to save myself and all others in my position a trip to the dermatologist by writing out all the questions we need blacklisted. To every nosy aunt, well-meaning younger brother, and unrelated adult just trying to “connect with the youth”: Please spare us applicants the unwanted dinner-table small-talk and take a close read here before asking any questions related to college, the application process, and/or our future. (Any questions you want to ask about me that are not on said list may be directed to my secretary, a.k.a. my thirteen-year-old brother who also has no time for your b.s.)

How is the application process going?

There are two types of seniors: those whose tiger parents forced them not to get a job this summer so that they could have more time to sit alone in their dark room tearing their hair out over the 13th supplement about “why X University,” and those who actually have a life. I personally have not made myself a Common App account, and this question is only going to remind people like me that they are losing the college process. The tiger children, on the other hand, see this question as the reason that their eye will never stop twitching. To be safe, stay away from this one at all costs.

What schools are you looking at?

I will personally give $10 to any person who has asked this question out of genuine interest, because every time I’m rattling off my list to someone I can see their eyes glaze over until I name their alma mater. They will then go on a rant about how [insert elitist university here] is such a wonderful community and truly understands the meaning of deep learning. To every person who has subjected me to such a monologue: Your name has been added to a loooong list of people who will not be receiving my holiday card come December.

What school is your first choice?

Based on acceptance rates, every senior knows that by answering this question, they’re most likely setting themselves up for a bunch of “I’m sorry” phone calls around decision time. Instead, I think people should start asking prospective students about the top choice schools of their worst enemies, so then when decisions come out the whole family can have fun basking in the beautiful warmth of karma.

What’s your major going to be?

This one comes mostly from my family members. I used to answer it honestly, telling people that I am interested in a lot of subjects but that I ultimately want to do something related to storytelling, until I realized that the only reason such family members are asking is because they want to ensure that someone will be able to pay their nursing home and medical bills while their own children are off “finding themselves” (read: smoking weed on a beach in Thailand). I now tell them something like finance or econ, which is of course every seventeen-year-old’s dream. Long story short, teenagers are going to tell you whatever they think will end the conversation fastest, so why waste anyone’s time with the chit chat?

I know a girl at X University who is exactly like you! Do you want me to connect you two?

Every time someone’s offered this I end up having an awkward brunch with a four-foot tall pre-med who is so high strung that she tears out bits of her own eyebrows, and the only similarity between us is that we both look vaguely Jewish. So thanks, but no thanks. If I wanted to meet other people of my ethnicity, I’d just call up any Hollywood executive.

Now, you may be wondering, what questions are fair game to ask teens? Pretty much anything else, besides whose alcohol you found in their closet or which suitor you saw sneaking out their bedroom window. But when it comes to college, let us come to you.

Got any college-question horror stories? Tweet us @GOLDComedy!


Kaitlin Goldin is a student, writer, performer, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area.



What kind of class clown are you?

You’re here on this site and you’re part of the Comedy Gold community, so we can safely assume you’re some kind of class clown. But that’s not all there is to the story. Even class clowns have different flavors. Consider this a personality test for people who would never, ever take a personality test. Be sure to keep track of your answers so that you can add up your results at the end. Or, for those of you who are resistant to following directions, don’t keep track of your answers, it’s not allowed.

  1. When you’re not cracking jokes, you can be found …

    1. Scrolling through Instagram
    2. Crushing it in trivia competitions
    3. Coming up with more jokes to crack
    4. Bragging about your sexcapades
    5. Reading in a busy café
  2. Which of these jobs comes closest to being your dream gig?

    1. Social media director
    2. Political commentator
    3. TV show host
    4. Advice columnist
    5. Artist
  3. How would you summarize your sense of humor?

    1. Always on trend
    2. Democratic
    3. Stupid-funny
    4. A lil’ edgy
    5. Insightful and pointed
  4. Who’s your inner celebrity?

    1. Kim Kardashian
    2. Samantha Bee
    3. Amy Poehler
    4. Amy Schumer
    5. Aparna Nancherla
  5. What’s your patronus?

    1. Lion
    2. Elephant
    3. Dog
    4. Cat
    5. Mouse
  6. Which of these TV shows is your favorite?

    1. Rupaul’s Drag Race
    2. Saturday Night Live
    3. The Simpsons
    4. Broad City
    5. 30 Rock
  7. What’s your go-to shoe style?

    1. Booties
    2. Heels
    3. Crocs
    4. Sandals
    5. Converse
  8. What high school clique do you belong to?

    1. The proud crowd
    2. Nerds
    3. Jocks
    4. Stoners
    5. Misfits
  9. Which of these cities would you choose as your home?

    1. New York
    2. Washington, D.C.
    3. Los Angeles
    4. Austin
    5. San Francisco

If You Got Mostly As…

You’re the Meme Queen!

Your sense of humor is all about pop culture and all things current. People flock to you for ultra-relevant jokes on everything from avocado toast to Béyonce’s babies, and you never let them down. There are tons of popular comedians with your brand of funny, and it’s easy to see why. Just listen to the crowd in this show by Leslie Jones.

If You Got Mostly Bs…

You’re the Teacher’s Clown!

Taking notes on the current political climate, you’re able to find the funny in incredibly confusing or stressful national issues. You are able to use your laser-sharp wit not only to mock our nation’s politics, but to critique them, making your jokes as thought-provoking as they are laugh-inducing. Margaret Cho is an absolute master — er, mistress? — of this brand of comedy.

If You Got Mostly Cs…

You’re the Human Whoopie Cushion!

Your sense of humor is 100% classic, able to be adapted to any kind of audience. As much as you’re willing to poke fun at others, though, your best jokes are the ones about yourself and your own experiences. After all, everyone loves comedians who know how to get personal. Take a look at the way Tig Notaro spun her double mastectomy into comedy gold.

If You Got Mostly Ds…

You’re Working Blue!

Your raunchy sense of humor may not be safe for work or school, but it is a safe bet for getting a ton of laughs. Your lack of a filter keeps your jokes real and relatable, which is why you are such a conversation magnet in any situation. Just be sure to tone down the jokes in front of the kids. If you want to get a laugh from someone on your wavelength, behold Ali Wong’s take on everything from porn to marriage to underwear.

If You Got Mostly Es…

You’re a Secret Weapon!

You may be a bit on the shy side, yet your sense of humor is anything but quiet. Your introverted personality allows you to be a skillful observer, pulling comedy from all the people and things going on around you. Performing is where you tend to really come alive, so take your jokes out of your head and onto the stage. Look at this performance by Aparna Nancherla, and be sure to take notes.

KAITLIN GOLDIN is a student, writer, actor, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area.  

So what do you think of your results? Let us know on Twitter at @GOLDcmdy!

How to write a six-word memoir that’s worth a thousand words

Somewhere between waking up at 3 a.m. on a Monday with keyboard marks on my face and getting a C on my latest calculus exam, I’ve learned that I miiight have an issue with time management. Maybe I should cut down on the comedy, I thought to myself.

Haha. Just kidding! I just switched to quicker comedy. And you can, too! All you need is six words and a pen.

What am I referring to? Well, there’s a little (and I really do mean little) writing challenge called the six-word memoir, and the goal of it is to summarize who you are in just six words. Filmmaker Nora Ephron, for example, wrote: “Secret to life: Marry an Italian.”

But Nora Ephron makes clever look so easy. For most of us, putting pen to paper and coming up with this kind of alchemy is … difficult, challenging, frustrating, rage-inducing, and two other adjectives.

To help get that ball point pen a-rollin’, here is a handy step-by-step guide to finding your funny in just six short words, with a little help from some women you know and love.

Think about who you are as a person.

Just take this first step as just an opportunity to get to know yourself a little better and write down who you are. You basically want to barf out everything you think about yourself, and sort it out later. The GOLD goddesses have curated a great list of questions in GOLD’s new online comedy course, which includes helpful prompts like these:

  • What makes me interesting is…      
  • I am/was proud of myself when….    
  • If I could change one thing about myself…
  • I would be so happy if…          
  • I would just like to thank…

You can also try finding ideas by taking these prompts and writing about them, stream-of-consciousness style, for one minute (timed!).

  • Write a rough timeline of your life.
  • Describe what you look like and what stands out in your appearance. How has your look changed over time?
  • Describe your family or your friends.
  • Describe your childhood.
  • What is your typical day like?

The point is to expand how you think about yourself — to fill your mental palette with all the colors you can find inside yourself. You’ll only use six, but you want every option possible.

Find common threads and representative anecdotes.

Look over your brainstorming. Does anything jump out at you? What elements of what you’ve written really represent who you are? Are there any themes that get repeated throughout, or any moments that really encapsulate your persona? Where can you find pieces of who you are that make you laugh? Mark these, and think back to them as you start to draft your memoir. This will help you get your introspective juices flowing so that your personality is really at the heart of what you have to say.

Write, write, write!

Now, set a timer for 10 minutes and write as many six-word memoirs as you can, using the elements of who you are identified in the steps above. Don’t think too hard. Just do a ton of them. When you think you’ve exhausted yourself, do three more. And then one more.

Once you’ve spit out a few, think about structure. Many six-word memoirs read like awkward haikus, with missing words sort of glaring out at you between the lines. Some are just a list of connected words. That can be good, it can even be powerful. But as you get used to packing all this feeling into a tiny container, you can expand your horizons and try applying joke structure.

I know, I know. Six words! But stay with me. Even in this abbreviated format, you can use  “setup … punch!,” the queen of all joke structures, in which you set people up to expect one thing and turn in a completely different direction. Author Amy Sohn does this perfectly in her six-word memoir: “Gave commencement address, became sex columnist.” By initially defining herself through the life event of addressing her own graduation, Sohn leads readers to believe that she’ll go on to a highbrow, cerebral career, which is why her ending about choosing to make a living writing about sex is such an unexpected twist.

Triples can also be easily incorporated into six word memoirs. If the “setup … punch!” is the most basic joke structure, a triple is a “setup, setup … punch!” with the last item a bit of a surprise. Journalist Katie Couric uses a triple in explaining her life story: “Secret of life: Family, friends, bacon.” The last word of the three definitely takes the bacon for its originality and humor in comparison to the two preceding words. If you want even more structure ideas, GOLD founder Lynn Harris has got you covered. You can apply any of these to the six-word form.

Keep these ideas in mind, but also let yourself see what comes out naturally. Some six-word gems don’t follow any structure at all. Like this, from Joan Rivers: “Liars, hysterectomy didn’t improve sex life!” Or see how Amy Schumer handled it: “At least you know he’s circumcised.” When it comes right down to it, the best six-word memoirs come from the heart.

Share away!

Now that you’re equipped with a boatload of six-word memoirs, go forth and release them into the wild!

Don’t forget to send your genius our way at @GOLDcmdy on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and to tag @six.word.memoirs so that your work can really get noticed.

And if you’re really excited to impress everyone with your six words and more, check out the full GOLD Comedy online class to learn how to find your funny and deliver it to the stage!

How To Do Comedy: A Workshop For Girls + Others

An online course that's actually funny!

OMG! Sign me up!

KAITLIN GOLDIN is a student, writer, actress, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area.

5 hilarious musical theater songs—sung by women—that will cure what ails you

Music is one of my deepest passions, and I have always considered myself to be a true connoisseur. My preference is an elegant blend of Aerosmith/Elton John/Spice Girls, with a dash of Beyoncé and Bach if I’m feeling a lil’ crazy. (Side note: I would be honored to DJ your next celebration or family gathering.)

 

But whenever I’m in need of a true catharsis, nothing gets the job done like a good show tune. In fact, singing show tunes always seems to be the best medicine for me, even if singing means tone-deaf-ly belting the soundtrack of Kinky Boots at my car windshield. And like a true alchemist, I have labored over the perfectly blended concoction of emotion, cleverness, and woodwinds to create the ultimate pick-you-up sing-along playlist.

 

At the risk of revealing far too much of my inner self to the Internet, I give you folks this bad boy: 28 of my favorite musical showstoppers, each with its own unique flavor of Broamedy (Broadway comedy; the trademark’s still pending but I swear it’s gonna catch on) to make your day a little more dazzling.

 

Here are five highlights from my list. The rest are similar enough in tone that it’ll become clear why they’re each there about halfway through the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Gowanus Expressway.

1. “Do the Sacred Mass,” Sister Act

A nun walks into a bar, and walks out a musical legend. Playing Deloris Van Cartier in the original (and stacked) Broadway cast is the unstoppably sassy and ultra-talented Patina Miller, whose powerhouse voice makes this version of the number so memorable. But beyond my love for Miller, I am obsessed with the way that the song is able to turn ultra-serious religious references into a boppin’ dance number. Absolutely hilarious.

2. “I’m Breaking Down,” Falsettos

Following a mother whose life is falling apart as her husband leaves her for a man, “I’m Breaking Down” features the top-notch vocals of Stephanie J. Block as Trina. This incredible character number perfectly sums up one of the greatest pressures put on women: keeping it all together. Additionally, it offers an actually realistic representation of women’s inner feelings (I know. I didn’t think it was possible either!).

3. “Getting Married Today” from Company

An oldie but a goodie. On its surface, the song is about a woman getting cold feet on her wedding day, but it’s really about so much more: Women, all of us, asking if marriage should  really be the goal. It moves so fast, like the heartbeat of a hummingbird, that you can’t help getting amped as you skitter frantically through the lyrics. It’s challenging — in the best way.

4. “The Negative,” Waitress

Finally! A depiction of female friendship as being both hilarious and healthy. In this song, the characters Dawn and Becky try to convince Jenna to take a pregnancy test. All their nerves complicate the situation, leading to funny moments of confusion such as the part when Dawn accidentally reads the instructions in Spanish or the way Jenna reacts to finding out that she is, in fact, pregnant. But even faced with this stressful situation, the women come together in beautiful harmonies that give the song a heart-warming feel of unity and cohesion. My friends and I love to belt out this number for car karaoke.

5. “Changing My Major” from Fun Home

I’m still not sure whether I find this song more funny or heart-wrenchingly adorable. Medium Alison — so named because she’s the second version of the show’s creator, Alison Bechdel — beautifully describes being young, experiencing first love, and exploring sexuality. Bonus Fun Fact: Fun Home is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist, so singing along with its soundtrack actually helps smash the heteronormative patriarchy!

 

Like what you hear? Share this article with all your comedy/theater-loving nerds!

KAITLIN GOLDIN is a student, writer, actor, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area.  

12 must read memoirs by hilarious women (and even one teen!)

Confession: I hate reading. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this hatred began (probably somewhere between sitting with that dumbass in kindergarten who took twenty minutes to read the word “cat” and having to lie on my nightly third grade reading log), but I can’t remember the last time I was able to get through a chapter of a book without taking a 40-minute nap, watching two episodes of The Office, painting my nails, and/or creating a Chinese-Italian meal with the leftovers in my fridge. I rarely seem to find a book that can actually hold my itty-bitty attention span.

Exception: funny memoirs. Ever since I was 12 when I found Bossypants on the floor next to an airport garbage can, the genre has been my go-to for not-so-guilty pleasure. Here’s a list of hilarious books by hilarious women—some timeless classics, some brand new—that helped me fall back in love with reading.

1. Earth Hates Me: True Confessions from a Teenage Girl, by Ruby Karp

16-year-old comedian Ruby Karp takes on teen life. Ruby is just getting started, so be sure to check out her brand new book before the rest of the comedy world catches on.

2. Lea’s Book of Rules for the World, by Lea Delaria

Before she was Big Boo on Orange is the New Black, Lea Delaria was (and still is) an amazing stand up comic, jazz singer—and memorist! As Delaria says, you have to learn all the rules before you can break them.

3. Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation, by Aisha Tyler

The Talk host Aisha Tyler gets real about all the embarrassing mistakes she made on her way to the top. I find this REASSURING.

4. Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, by Dolly Parton

No one can combine sass and sentimentality like Dolly Parton, who tells it like it is in this honest, hilarious memoir about her journey to stardom.

5. Seriously…I’m Kidding, by Ellen Degeneres

Ellen Degeneres’ talk show style comedy comes right through in her writing, making this memoir feel more like one long, hysterical monologue than a 200+ page book.

6. Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things), by Abby Sher

GOLD teacher and Second City alum Abby Sher looks back on her music-, love-, comedy-, and OCD-filled past.

7. Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, by Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn opens up about life in Hollywood in this series of incredibly frank essays, featuring pieces such as “What to Do When the Robots Invade (Yes, When!)” and “Thoughts About My First Agent’s Girlfriend’s Vagina.”

8. Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher, who is much funnier than General Leia, gives an intimate account of her unusual childhood growing up Hollywood royalty and becoming a cultural icon at the age of nineteen.

9. The Bedwetter, by Sarah Silverman

No one is able to deliver crude, filthy, pee-your-pants/bed funny comedy quite like Sarah Silverman, and her memoir certainly delivers all the laughs it promises.

10. Happy Accidents, by Jane Lynch

If you’re a diehard Glee fan or need a dose of sage advice, Jane Lynch’s memoir is for you. It’s filled with tons of great stories on navigating success, sexuality, and high school, but its messages are applicable and hilarious for people of all ages.

11. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

I know you guys know Amy Poehler is funny. But LISTEN TO THE AUDIOBOOK. Her PARENTS are in it—and let’s just say, you see where she gets it (the humor and, when she turns it on, the Boston accent).

12.  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling’s debut book is a quick read and an absolute gem, filled with tons of relatable anecdotes from her stint as a Ben Affleck impersonator to her breakout role on The Office.

Got another recommendation? Give us a shout! 


Kaitlin Goldin is a student, writer, actress, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area. She is currently a junior at Marin Academy in San Rafael, and she is credited with such historic events as creating the modern-day internet, finding the cure to polio, and discovering the classic combination of Oreos and peanut butter. She also enjoys long, romantic walks on the beach and monster trucks and all that crap.

The 10 funniest “Saturday Night Live” sketches starring women

Many a super-famous comedian has been launched into the big leagues by the legendary Saturday Night Live. But our favorite SNL *cough* female comedians *cough* don’t always get the recognition they deserve. From Gilda Radner to Cecily Strong, the women of SNL have set themselves apart as the queens of sketch comedy. Break out the popcorn and rosé for what I think are the top ten SNL sketches starring badass women. (If you think I’ve missed one, throw a piece of popcorn at me and tweet it at @GOLDcmdy!)

1. Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna

If only all commencement speeches went something like this…

2. Kate McKinnon in Actress Roundtable

Host Margot Robbie couldn’t even wait until she was off camera to give McKinnon the laughs she so deserved.

3.Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton

There’s no comedy chemistry like best friends playing worst enemies.

4. Kristen Wiig as the Target Lady

Classic Peg!

5. Bronx Beat with Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler

Let’s face it. We all know a few moms like Betty and Jodi.

6. Ana Gasteyer as Martha Stewart

Ana Gasteyer has Martha Stewart’s real recipe for success.

7. Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer

*Cue sad trombone sound effects*

8. Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong in Asian-American Dolls

Vanessa Bayer and Cecily Strong push the envelope in the pushiest way.

9. Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher

Aren’t we all Mary Katherine Gallagher?

10. Jane Curtin on Weekend Update

Aaaaaaaaand the buttons come off!

Tell us what YOU think!Click To Tweet


KAITLIN GOLDIN is a student, writer, actor, and devout McJew based in the Bay Area.  

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