Many young people who write amusing things on the Internet have a similar goal: to get that precious New Yorker byline or to leave the media world entirely and write for television. Hallie Cantor has done both, with her writing regularly appearing in the venerable magazine’s “Shouts and Murmurs” section and having worked on the writing team on the sketch series Inside Amy Schumer and Maya & Marty. Cantor’s best work pokes fun at the indignities of young womanhood with a refreshingly light touch—envisioning daily anxieties as TV pitches and narrating a drunken venture home through the voice of a GPS system—and, perhaps more impressively, without the typical twee trappings of an early adulthood sense of humor.
Where do you live and how old are you? East Williamsburg, 27
What made you first interested in your profession, and how old were you when that happened?
I was embarrassingly into the show Friends in middle school. I spent a lot of time on a Friends online message board where I lied and said I was older so people would take my theories about Ross and Rachel more seriously. I also got scared a lot as a kid and had trouble sleeping so I would help myself fall asleep by imagining new jams for the Friends to find themselves in. I didn’t realize till years later that I was writing fan fiction, or if you are feeling very generous, spec scripts.
Do you feel Brooklyn is still a viable place for a young person to build a career?
Absolutely! You don’t have to move to LA to write comedy! Unless you want to!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope that in ten years I’m part of a writer’s room doing work that feels honest and challenging. Also I better have at least one dog by then.
Have you ever felt like leaving your career path? Almost every day. Especially when I’m not working on anything full-time, there are ups and downs and self-doubt and victories and rejections constantly. I try to enjoy the ride, like Matthew McConaughey’s character in…any movie.
What’s felt like your biggest professional accomplishment? Being published in the New Yorker was really exciting because I have such strong memories of reading the Shouts & Murmurs at my kitchen table as a tween and being like “Who the F are these urbane assholes?” and now it’s me! I am the urbane asshole!
What’s some advice you’d give to people trying to get a foothold in your industry? Just keep going. You know more than you think you know.
Who are your role models in your industry? Maria Bamford has been my comedy hero since I first heard her standup. She inspires me to keep trying to give voice to the dark places our brains can take us, in a way that’s lighthearted and helps people feel less scared and alone.
To learn about more sub-30 standouts, visit this year’s list of 30 under 30.