A wedding can be many things, and stressful is often one of them.
The ceremony itself isn’t necessarily an anxious occasion, and maybe the exchanging of the vows is a welcome relief after all the time, money and frayed nerves that are used in preparation for the big day. Getting to that day can be pure hell though.
Jamie Lee, a stand-up comedian who is headlining Raleigh’s Goodnights Comedy Club this weekend, added the task of writing a book about her wedding planning experience to her actual wedding planning experience, and in a weird way, it provided moments of levity during a sometimes overwhelming time in a bride-to-be’s life.
Lee’s book, “Weddiculous,” hits shelves two days after Christmas and along with co-author Jacqueline Novak, Lee shares advice on how she tried to manage pre-wedding stress. While there is a how-to component to the book, Lee and Novak are comedians so “Weddiculous” promises to be as funny as it is practical.
During a Friday afternoon phone interview, Lee explained the fun and frustrating moments she experienced while writing “Weddiculous,” our mutual love of “My Favorite Murder,” a fantastic podcast created and hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, Lee’s first concert and more.
Tony Castleberry: You’re going on stage at Goodnights in a few hours. Do you have a pre-show routine? Exercise? Certain foods or drinks? Meditation? Anything?
Jamie Lee: Before every show, I usually drink a cup of coffee and then I just write down my setlist. Even if I know exactly what it is and it’s gonna be the same every night, I still have to physically put pen to paper because that’s how I commit it to memory.
TC: Did I see on your Twitter feed that you’re going to a “My Favorite Murder” taping?
JL: I’m gonna be in it! I’m gonna be on the show, their live show in New York, and I’m going to be one of the guests.
TC: Whoa! That’s fantastic. How great is that podcast? I love it.
JL: Oh, it’s the best. It’s incredible. They plan in advance so I’m trying to figure out which murder I wanna do right now. I’m not sure if there’s a theme for the show. I’m waiting to find out, but there’s one (murder) in particular that I really wanna do so I’m hoping I get to do it. I’m really excited.
TC: Speaking of exciting things, your book will be on sale this month. Was writing a book harder than you imagined it would be, if you ever imagined such a thing?
JL: You know, it started out pretty easy, and then it ramped up to being pretty time-consuming. I think the thing that is hard about it is that, even when you write a proposal and you say, “This is what the book is gonna be,” watching it grow and take shape in actuality is really interesting. It’s interesting to see what the book actually turns out to be.
It was in so many stages. The beginning of it was just writing, like, raw journal entries. No spellcheck. No grammar check. Just free-thinking entries. I would write those in an email and send those to my co-author, Jacqueline Novak. She would read it and be like, “Oh, I really liked your thing here. Could you elaborate on that?” It really started out as pretty raw clay that we then molded over the course of the year and a half to two years that we were actually writing the book. I think because we had time, we were able to kind of just verbally vomit for a little while before having to narrow down what it was we were trying to say.
TC: Was the overall process fun for you?
JL: It was. … Toward the second half of the process, I think that’s when it started to get really fun. Jacqueline and I would meet up and talk about it and we would do research together. It was really collaborative.
But then of course there were stretches where it was just me staring at a Word document trying to put thoughts on a page and not having anything come out of my head. [interviewer laughs] It’s a roller coaster ride writing a book. I really enjoyed writing parts of it and some parts of it are the most tedious thing you’ve ever done.
TC: Your parents promoted rock concerts when you were a kid. Do you remember the first one you attended?
JL: It was Pearl Jam and they played at Moody Coliseum, which is part of Southern Methodist University, SMU (in Dallas). I brought my friend with me who was not as big of a Pearl Jam fan as I was. I was 10 years old and this is when…I forget the name of the album1 but it’s the one with “Daughter,” the song that was all over the radio.
(Before the show), we went to Cici’s Pizza buffet. She was kind of complaining about how she didn’t feel well, but not (citing) a specific illness. Just kind of like wussing out a little bit and I was like, “You cannot get sick on me before this show. I’m not gonna go to my first concert alone.” I remember wanting to be like, “Buck up, friend. It’s gonna be a fun night. Don’t ruin this for me.” [interviewer laughs]
We got there and we had nosebleed seats. I think they were probably technically good seats because they were box seats, but they were so far away from the band and I remember thinking they were tiny little specks down below. Also, I remember seeing the mosh pit and being really sad that I couldn’t be in it because I was 10 years old.
TC: [laughs] Have crowds seemed different to you since Trump was elected?
JL: That’s interesting. Um, maybe a little bit. I feel like everything needs to be a little lighter right now and a little sillier because I think people need more of an escape. … It doesn’t mean that I’m going to adjust my material, and I don’t do any political material so it’s fine, but I do get a sense that people really just wanna laugh more than ever and laugh at silliness more than anything that reminds them of their daily lives. [Lee, interviewer laugh] Whereas before, I think that’s exactly what people wanted. They wanted to be like, “Oh, what you’re saying, I can relate to that. That’s happened to me or that’s how I feel,” but right now, I feel like there is more of a responsibility to be light.
I want it to swing back the other way because I feel like the deeper you can go and when you can tap into some emotional truth in comedy, I think that’s when it’s at its best. I hope we can get back there comfortably.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find in Five Minutes:
if you don't want to overeat during the holidays drink a glass of water then a gallon of vodka because the world is shit who fucking cares
— Sarah Beattie (@nachosarah) December 9, 2016
- The album is “Vs.” ↩