Jun 1, 2016
Brooklyn’s 50 Funniest People: Erin Gloria Ryan
Erin Gloria Ryan
Wisconsin native and East Williamsburg resident Erin Gloria Ryan is the current deputy editor at Vocativ, and formerly worked at Jezebel and VH1’s Best Week Ever. But beyond all of that, Ryan is insanely good on Twitter. Proof? On Mother’s Day Ryan tweeted “Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet sweet girl” and attached a picture of a pink IUD. Yes, Ryan is here to remind us that some of the best jokes do not come from traditional venues like standup or late night TV, but via the sharp, aberrational brains that the Internet has now given us the pleasure of knowing.
When was the first time you remember making someone laugh? What happened?
I don’t have a specific first memory of making people laugh, but I do remember when I realized that trying to make everything into a joke is a great way to not feel feelings. I was a junior in high school and was a late bloomer and the first guy who ever kissed me—a senior named, let’s say for the sake of retelling the story, Tom—had sort of blown me off after the Y2K party where the kiss had happened. And during my school’s winter homecoming week, two weeks into him ignoring me, he and I were our respective grades’ representatives in a pie eating contest at a pep rally. I was seething. We were supposed to eat our pies with our mouths only, hands clasped behind our backs while sitting in chairs in front of the whole school, as our grades cheered us on. But, when the contest started, instead of eating the pie, I unclasped my hands from behind my back, picked my pie up, and slammed my pie into the back of Tom’s unsuspecting head, smashing his face deep into his pie and covering the back of his head with mine. He sat up and looked at me, pie all over his clothes. The sophomore and freshman pie eaters also threw their pies at Tom. The whole school lost its shit. I think I fake curtseyed. That’s when I realized that slapstick was the purest form of comedy. The only thing that could have made that moment more perfect would have been the principal stalking in to discipline me only to slip on a banana peel.
What is the toughest part about being on the comedy scene in Brooklyn today? What is the best?
The comedy glut has gotten so severe in Brooklyn that they’ve had to institute a one in, one out policy, so if I had to pick one tough thing about the Brooklyn scene, it would probably be deciding which comedian to kill and eat at the conclusion of our monthly death panel meetings. It’s also been incredibly rewarding to be around so many white men in plaid; doing so has made me feel like I’m really honing my facial hair and warby parker frame recognition skills. Even if I leave New York to become a wild woman in the Himalayas (The Plan) I will always have a near-supernatural ability to tell white people apart.
Who do you find funny?
My family’s pretty funny, but they haven’t done any open mics so I’m not sure if they count (I have also never done an open mic). I reliably laugh at Maria Bamford, Charles Pierce, Jon Dore, Samantha Bee, Nick Mullen, Matt Koff, Rachel Bloom, Kurt Metzger, Sherrod Small, Milwaukee Brewers player Carlos Gomez, Christine Nangle, Kate Berlant, Rory Scovel, Leslie Jones, Kyle Dunnigan, Julio Torres, John Early, Hayley Karl, Samantha Irby, Madeleine Davies, the Very Concerned And Sexy Moms of Fox & Friends, and, believe it or not, Ann Coulter, who is very funny in her special Coulter-y way.
What was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I have an embarrassing tendency to utterly lose my shit at absurd nonsense and have to run out of meetings to compose myself in bathroom stalls. My coworkers at Vocativ, and specifically sports editor Tomás Rios, have honed in on this and abuse it mercilessly. Usually, though, the moments I remember as the funniest are the ones that happen when I’ve been crying so hard that I laugh. After my last breakup, I went to his apartment to get my stuff back and right as I was about to leave realized that I couldn’t find my leather jacket. I looked around for it, couldn’t find it, couldn’t find it, and then it dawned on me that he’d probably stashed it away so that he could sell it on eBay. I flung the door of his closet open and there it was, hanging there, segregated from his clothing by space he’d made like he was afraid my clothes would give his clothes cooties. I’d been sobbing intermittently all day, but when I saw that, I started laughing hysterically. What a fuckin’ baby.
What are your goals for your comedy career?
To make the right people mad on as regular a basis as I can muster. I really admire Nell Scovell’s career, how multifaceted she is and how she still hustles after everything she’s accomplished and continues to accomplish. I admire Jo Miller, former Daily Show writer and Samantha Bee’s current showrunner, so much that I’m pretty sure I’ve embarrassed myself every time I’ve hung out with her. The long-term plan, besides going totally feral at some point, is to eventually leave “hard” journalism for the right TV or web project. I’m not in a hurry; I’m not going to go through Comedy Menopause when I hit my early 40’s. I’ll keep being kinda funny unless I get too rich or religious.
What is your favorite knock-knock (or otherwise goofy) joke?
My dad’s a big fan of Mel Brooks (like everybody) and specifically The Producers, and, even more specifically, the song “Springtime For Hitler.” In that vein, these are two of his favorites, always delivered in a saccharine falsetto:
How did Hitler tie his shoesies?
In little Nazis.
Where did Hitler keep his armies?
In his sleevies.
To see 49 more of Brooklyn’s funniest people, click here.
Photo by Nicolas Maloof.
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