Quarantine with Comedians Taylor Tomlinson and Joel Kim Booster

Quarantine with Comedians Taylor Tomlinson and Joel Kim Booster (Artwork Created by Ajani Torres-Sedillo)

Going stir crazy during quarantine? Then laugh it out with Adult ISH co-hosts Merk Nguyen, Nyge Turner and our featured guests, comedians Taylor Tomlinson & Joel Kim Booster! Learn how to get revenge on your nosy grandma + perfect your 17 dating app traps. Be sure to follow all our socials at @yrAdultISH.

Scroll to the bottom for the full transcript of the episode.

Dating App Dos & Don’ts

Joel Kim Booster sits behind as desk apparently groaning during his visit to BuzzFeed's "AM To DM" on October 30, 2019 in New York City.
“You’re doing nobody favors, especially yourself, if you find some weird-ass angle where you fully know that that is not what you look like.”
(Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Dating in the 21st century = finding the right angle, what to include in your bio, and whether to swipe right or left. Luckily comedian Joel Kim Booster hasn’t been kidnapped yet from being on 17 different dating apps. So who’s better to mentor the Adult ISH fam on dating app dos and don’ts?

Quarter-Life (and COVID-19) Crisis

Taylor is on the big screen on a Zoom meeting where she's joined by senior producer Davey Kim and co-hosts, Merk Nguyen and Nyge Turner.
“To now be living in the middle of a pandemic where things feel like they change so much …
but also don’t change at all? It’s the perfect thing to compare to your twenties!”

Comedian Taylor Tomlinson teaches Merk and Nyge how to navigate being part of the most hated generation by providing dinner table comebacks like “Do you still love Grandpa?” In classic shelter-at-home style, the co-hosts catch up with Tomlinson via webcam to talk about how she has been coping with quarantine and her newest Netflix special, Quarter-Life Crisis.

Episode Transcript

Merk: Okay Nyge, it’s been about two months since quarantine started. We’re now coming into the third quarter of our season. Real talk. How ya doin’?

Nyge: Not good. I stink. My clothes stink. I’m wearing a lot of the same clothes everyday. Yeah, struggling.  What about you?

Merk: Like a cartoon character wearing the same thing everyday.

Nyge: Yeah, I’m like FaceTiming people, praying they don’t notice. What about you?

Merk: Well, I’ve noticed. (laughs) I took your advice from our very first episode this season. So I bought Raid and got rid of those ants in my bathroom. But they’re now in the kitchen because my roommate has a cat who eats wet food. And the food is on the ground so they’ll just randomly swarm onto the food. It is absolutely disgusting. Ughhh…

Nyge: Mmm, looks like you gotta get some more Raid!

Merk: Yeah, it’s getting pretty cray. Anyway, welcome to Adult ISH, a show produced by YR Media where we tell you about how we stink and can’t get rid of ants! I’m Merk. 

Nyge: And I’m Nyge. And today we wanted to give you some reasons to smile and laugh despite COVID-19, so who better to do that than comedians?

Merk: Yeah, being able to laugh away some bad vibes is powerful. The other day I got upset when someone gave me some unsolicited advice on how to brand myself. I got hot, so I told Nyge. And then he turned it all into a joke, made me feel so much better and I told Nyge he should really consider a career in comedy.

Nyge: (laughs) And I told you that I dropped out of the four classes that were comedy college. So yeah, let’s bring on the non-dropouts.

Merk: Alright. So today’s episode is a “special EdISHon” called “Comedians in Quarantine.” It’s a title that’s very loosely inspired by Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” But I can’t do that because in L.A., where I’m at, that’s not allowed. I don’t know about you in the Bay, Nyge.

Nyge: (sings) Locked up, they won’t let me out! (speaks normally) Because of that, we put together two of our favorite convos with comedians because we think everyone could use a good laugh right about now. I know I definitely could. So later, we’ll be talking to comedian Taylor Tomlinson from the Netflix special, “Quarter-Life Crisis.” She stops by and tells us how to talk to older people, like you, Grandma, when they start questioning your life choices at the dinner table.

[Teaser Audio]

Taylor: Have some questions in the back of your brain for them, in case you want to stop talking. How are you doing? Are you happy? Do you need me to get your pills? Do you still love Grandpa?

Merk: But right now we’re about to bring on comedian Joel Kim Booster, who’s been a consulting producer for the show “Big Mouth” and has been all over Comedy Central. Even though this first conversation was taped before quarantine, it’s still pretty relevant.

Nyge: Yup, let’s get this show on the road.

[Music Break]

Merk: Nyge, you ever been in the dating app game?

Nyge: Nah, what about you?

Merk: Uhh, nah also. But I do have a friend who is and she’s got all the ISH, like the full package, but she’s still not getting any fish on the hook. And I’m like, “What? Why not?” 

Nyge: What is all the ISH? What is a full package?

Merk: It’s like the good looks, funny, respectful. Like I would date, but I’m not … I’m taken because I have Samuel! I love my friends!

Nyge: So you have a “friend” who has all the right stuff and really wants to get into the dating app game. 

Merk: No, legit! She exists! 

Nyge: Sounds like you’re trying to get into the dating app game. 

Merk: No!! Samuel, I love you. You know that. You know that too, Nyge.

Nyge: True, because I was fasho texting him under the table right now like, “Yo, you might wanna find somethin’ out.”

Merk: He didn’t leave you on read this time?

Nyge: Okay, that was uncalled for. Anyway … Whether or not that friend of yours exists or not, Merk, thankfully, we do have the master of dating apps with us today. Right, Joel? 

Joel: (laughs) Yeah. I cannot believe I’ve just been introduced as the master of dating apps. I should’ve been murdered several times over. But I am here. 

Merk: It’s okay. You have to put up with my terrible puns along the way. So we’re gonna start off with the question that many of us #peopleofcolor get asked all the time. The “no, where are you really from?” question.

Joel: I am from a southwest suburb of Chicago. That’s where I spent the first 18 years of my life. I was, however, adopted from South Korea.

Nyge: Real quick. What were your adopted parents like?

Joel: So my adoptive parents are very conservative evangelical Christians. And that’s it. That’s all I’ll say … No, they’re great. Here’s the thing. We struggled a lot when I was a kid, especially when I was an adolescent, as I was dealing with being gay and growing up in the church and trying to reconcile all of that. And on top of all of that, I was dealing with being an Asian kid in an all white town and being home schooled. It was rough because they eventually did send me to public school when I was 16 after literally a decade of begging every single year to go to school. Within a month of being at public school, I came out of the closet, drank for the first time and smoked weed for the first time. So truly everything that they were ever worried about sending me to public school came true within just one October. 

Merk: So I haven’t had much exposure to, you said south part of Chicago, right?

Joel: The southwest suburbs. Not the Southside of Chicago. Very big difference. 

Nyge: He did not say Southside of Chicago. (laughs) 

Merk: Well, either way, when I think of that area, I don’t think of it as a place that’s a hot spot for Asians. Places where I’m from, like Seattle? Sure. But there? Not so much. Is that true? 

Joel: I think the first time I met another Asian person my age was when I was like in the eighth grade at church.

Nyge: Eighth grade… 

Joel: There were a lot of other adoptees, actually. But yeah, even in my high school, I just remember being in AP calculus and failing. And every time we would pair up to do something like every girl in the class would be like, “I want Joel as my partner,” cause I was the only Asian person. Or one of the only Asian people in the class. And I would be like, “Bitch, you’ve chosen incorrectly.” I felt like a full bait and switch, because they soon realized that I was terrible, much worse than anybody else in the class. 

Everybody: (laughs)

Merk: Amen to that. I can totally feel you. I actually did bad in math on purpose because I didn’t want people to be like, “Oh, let me partner with Merk!” You know, cause of grades and stuff. So, boom! There’s my C in pre-calc!

Nyge: I did bad in math cause I was just dumb, but… 

Everybody: (laughs)

Joel: Same. Same. 

Merk: Now that we know more about our master supreme, it’s time to get down to business. Some of these questions are ours. Some of these questions come from listeners. Shoutout to my friend. You ready to rumble, Joel?

Joel: Yes, let’s do it. 

Nyge: So the first question is, “What dating apps would you recommend for basic things like not wanting to end up tied up in somebody’s basement?” 

Joel: Well, that’s sort of a tough question because it’s different for everybody, and they’re all sort of their own special hell. Tinder is probably, in terms of every community, the one that is sitting right there at the top. But it’s interesting to me because I find that straight people use Tinder a little bit differently than gay people do. I know gay people really do go to Tinder to find a relationship and they are not there to hook up. They’re like, “Give me the ring. I want it tomorrow.” 

Merk: Now!

Joel: That is what they’re doing, that is what they’re using Tinder for. And from what I hear, from all of my straight friends, Tinder is where they go to hook up. So it is a little bit of a different experience depending on that. But I mean, I am on all of them basically. I think I have 17 different dating apps on my phone.

Merk: PSA everybody!

Joel: Yeah, and here’s my piece of advice. If you want to catch anything, you’ve got to set the traps. You know, you got to set a lot of traps and I have them all out there! 

Merk: What kind of rules should you put into play when you’re making your bio? What cards are you showing? The “love my mama” card? The, you know, “tame on the streets kinky in the sheets” card? 

Joel: I think the most important thing, because with most of these profiles you don’t have a lot of real estate to get down everything, is to list the things that you like. Not the things that you don’t like. And I think that’s where a lot of people get into trouble, listing preferences like “no fats, no femmes, no Asians,” like that kind of shit.

Merk: Boo! 

Joel: It’s like, why would you spend … you have 400 characters on this website, and that’s what you’re using it for? Putting aside any of this sort of aggressive racism or fat shaming or any of it, it just doesn’t seem like a practical use of space. 

Nyge: On the flip side, has anyone ever messaged you, “Hey … You’re pretty cute … For an Asian guy.” 

Joel: Constantly. 

Merk: What do you…? Oh my gosh. 

Nyge: Yeah, what do you do when people say that? 

Joel: Honestly, it depends on a lot of factors. It truly does depend on how hot they are and how horny I am. 

Everybody: (laughs)

Joel: So it is sort of like a graph of, like, if I’m in some town in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I am so horny and desperate, sometimes I’m like, “Listen, this person lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Has seen seven Asian people in their entire life and does just not know how to act! Doesn’t know what they’re doing and doesn’t know they’re, you know … has just not seen the world.” 

Merk: You gotta show them the ways.

Joel: Exactly! I have to make some concessions, some personal concessions that I wouldn’t normally do. If some guy said that to me in New York, I would be like “You should know better.” I hear variations on it a lot, and I think people think they’re being complimentary. But it doesn’t make me feel good at the end of the day to realize that even if it’s like in the affirmative, I am still just sort of “other” to this person. That’s no fun. That’s a real bummer. 

Merk: So you mentioned it’s all about looks. You got to have the perfect profile picture. So what do you show? What matters? Filters? Friends? Cats? Shoe size?

Joel: I mean definitely, this should be sort of a cliché piece of advice at this point, but no group pictures. Crop them out. I’m not here to play Where’s Waldo? I get it. It’s scary to reveal yourself. I don’t always feel good about myself. I don’t have a huge array of photos that I like of myself that look… 

Merk: You’re handsome though!

Joel: Thank you! I appreciate that. That’s what I was fishing for this whole time.

Everybody: (laughs) 

Merk: You got it! 

Joel: But the thing is, you just gotta put out yourself. You’re doing nobody favors, especially yourself, if you find some weird-ass angle where you fully know that that is not what you look like. Because I am not going to lie, I have left apartments. If you do not look like what you are presenting, I will leave. And listen, that sucks. That sucks for me. I don’t like having to do that. But, I can only imagine how shitty that must feel to somebody who’s done that. So don’t set yourself up for failure. Find a picture that looks like you.

Nyge: Personally, for you Joel, what do you go for? What profile do you look at and you’re like, “Oh, this is for me.” 

Joel: This is tough for me, and I think this is why I have such a problem with monogamy because I am not the kind of person that can eat Chipotle every day. You know, I love Chipotle right now. Like, that’s the food that I’m really into. 

Merk: Love that guac!

Joel: Yes, I will eat there every day. But I have a wide taste. Like, I don’t have a specific type. I am a fit person. I take my health and my fitness very seriously, and I guess that is sort of the one thing that I do like. I mean, what a shocker. What a maverick am I to be attracted to a well maintained body. That’s just physicality. 

Merk: So when someone reaches out to you … you match and you start talking with each other, what signs tell you that that person might be a promising partner? Or are you the one that makes the first move? 

Joel: I don’t tend to make a lot of first moves on dating apps just because I get a little nervous sometimes, even though I’m gorgeous. From the conversation, for me, it’s all about humor. If they get the bits that I’m running and there’s a good sort of volley back and forth, then, yeah. I think the thing that you should be sort of internally aware of, no matter what your situation, is how much work does this conversation feel like? That, I think, is the clearest sign that this person can hang or not. If you find yourself sort of like sitting in front of the phone like, “Oh god, what should I ask next?” or, “How can I turn this into a better conversation?,” then that is an immediate sign. Maybe they’re just bad at texting. I’ve met people like that, but sometimes I feel like, “Oh my God. I feel so boring talking to this person!” And I know I’m not a boring person. And if that’s how this person is just making me feel, then that’s an immediate red flag that we’re probably not a match in that way. 

Nyge: That happens to me, though. Some days I have boring days. People text me like, “Oh, hey Nyge.” I’m like, “I’m sad today. Whomp whomp. This is what you’re gonna get.” 

Everybody: (laughs)

Nyge: As you know, Merk disguised her recent journey of dating apps as her friend… 

Merk: Oh, come on Nyge!

Nyge: She said, “Let’s say someone out there already does all these amazing things, they followed all of Joel’s advice and they’re still not finding that match out there. What’s your advice to them?”

Joel: I mean, switch it up. The apps aren’t for everybody. And that’s such shitty advice. But I think our generation, especially because we are so obsessed with our phones at all times, [might think] “This should work for me because I get everything else from my phone! Food and my banking is done on the phone, I talk to my mom…” 

Merk: All your Groupons.

Joel: “All my Groupons, I buy movie tickets. Everything is done on my phone, so why shouldn’t this work?” You gotta switch it up. The only reason I go to birthday parties is to hopefully meet a friend of a friend there who I will connect with. So get out into the world and do that. But here’s the thing. You really do have to be able to live with yourself and that is the most important thing. It’s just like, be okay. Be okay being lonely. Figure yourself out and figure out how you can be happy alone first and then worry about everything else. Because if you are waiting for a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a themfriend to complete your life and you think that is the thing that will make it all fall into place and you will finally find happiness? That’s not it. For me, I have truly found so much joy in sitting alone in my apartment. And I think I’m just better for it. 

Nyge: Exactly.

Joel: God, I hope that wasn’t just the saddest way to end the Q&A.

Nyge: (laughs) I mean, at the end of the day, dogs and cats make amazing pets and they’re great companions. And some of us are just meant to spend our lives with them. 

Joel: Exactly! And jerk off a shit ton!

Everybody: (laughs)

Nyge: Well, you heard it here from the master of dating apps himself. Thank you so much, Joel, for being on the show today. 

Merk: Seriously, thank you for helping out my friend, you know who you are. 

Nyge and Joel: Merk… 

Merk: It’s not me!

Everybody: (laughs)

Nyge: Follow Joel on all socials @ihatejoelkim and listen to him star in a fiction podcast, “Moonface”, which is a Korean-American coming out story. And last but not least, see him on Quibi with Kiki Palmer on their show “Singled Out,” where they help single people date in the digital age. 

[Music Break]

Merk: Alright everybody. Our next guest is comedian Taylor Tomlinson. She started her career at 16, was a top 10 finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” You’ve also seen her perform on Netflix’s comedy lineup, where she’s achieving those Netflix thumbnail dreams for us all. Is it everything you ever hoped for Taylor?

Taylor: Oh my gosh. It really is. I mean, everything you ever hope for sounds a lot grander than it than it actually feels. Mostly it’s just me and my sisters in a group chat sending each other screenshots of like, “Look, it’s a different picture now!” It’s not very glamorous. It’s just kind of you being excited alone. But yeah, it’s so cool. It’s very surreal to see like a thumbnail of yourself on Netflix right next to “Queer Eye.” 

Everybody: (laughs)

Merk: So your career as a comedian started in your mid-teens, the prime time for awkward adolescence. What was it like knowing while everyone else was getting their start on driving cars, you were getting your start on your comedy career? 

Taylor: It’s weird, because looking back on it, I’m very grateful that I started as young as I did. And a lot of people, when they find out, are like, “Oh, that’s so great that you started so soon. I wish I’d done that.” But at the same time, you’re 16. You don’t have anything to talk about. I was literally doing jokes about not going to prom. It’s good for learning how to be onstage and learning how to write jokes, but you do only have the life experience that you have at that point and it’s not very much. I’m 24 now and I’m still like, “I gotta live some life!” 

Merk: Did anyone try to talk you out of doing it?

Taylor: I tried to talk me out of doing it! I’m still trying to talk myself out of doing it. Every day I’m like, “You could just get a desk job. Doesn’t that sound nice knowing…” 

Merk: Ooh, nine to five!

Taylor: Yeah! Honestly, it sounds weird, but when you’re on a different plane every 24 hours, it’s hard to get any sort of rhythm or schedule going. But I know that what I’m doing is like the best thing ever.

Nyge: So why did you even jump into comedy in the first place? 

Taylor: My junior year of high school my dad said he just wanted to hang out before I went to college. So he signed us up for a standup comedy class that was like 45 minutes away from our house. I don’t even think he thought I was very funny. He was just like, “You’re a good writer. You like to write. You can write jokes for me!” So we went and took this class, and weirdly enough, it was at a church. I was taught by a church comedian. I grew up super religious. So I started doing comedy, like opening for that guy, churches, fundraisers, schools and coffee shops. Basically everywhere that wasn’t a club, I was performing in. 

Nyge: Do you remember any of those jokes? 

Taylor: When I was like 16 or 17, I’d say “I’m really sorry that I’m so young and I know there’s going to be some generational differences tonight. For example, you guys probably saw ‘Titanic’ in theaters and I saw ‘Titanic’ on VHS.” I was like, “When you guys saw ‘Titanic’, you cried because Jack died. When I saw ‘Titanic’, I cried because Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t look like that anymore.” So that was my opening joke for like the first maybe two or three years. It was just me going like, “Look, I know I’m super young and I’m sorry about it.” 

Nyge: Well, speaking of being young, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but sometimes it feels like our parents, or like people older than us, hate us. Like, “millennials killed Applebee’s or millennials aren’t buying diamonds. We’re lazy and vain,” which is true sometimes. But, Taylor, how do you gain the respect of those older people? Or should we not even try?

Taylor: The way I gain respect with older people is by hating myself more than they hate me. It’s always very strange to me because sometimes I’m like, “They’re not going to get it. They’re going to think I’m dumb. They’re going to think I don’t have anything to say or I don’t know anything yet. Or I’m ignorant or I haven’t had enough life experience.” I think people who are older than people in their 20s just don’t like arrogance. I think they just hate it when millennials are walking around like they know exactly what they’re doing. And I think more and more, our generation is figuring out that we don’t know what we’re doing. I think a lot of people our age are kind of trying to do everything as far as like, “I’m going to party really hard but I’m also gonna nail this internship and get a full time job at the company I love.”

Merk: That nine to five!

Taylor: Yeah, they’re like, “I’m going to nail it professionally, but I’m also going to go out and drink and hook up and I’m not going to get committed too soon and I’m going to experience life.” You kind of can’t do all of that stuff at once. You can, but it’s very difficult. Even what I don’t respond well to among people my own age is just people who don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that we’re all struggling. We’re trying to get better as quickly as possible. But it’s a process and your twenties are a decade. 

Merk: Let’s pretend you’re at a family gathering where you’re the oldest young person. Everyone else is going through puberty. They’re probably popping pimples in the bathroom … What do you do if your grandma or uncle shows up and hits you with the “What are you doing with your life” question?

Taylor: You just have to accept that you’re gonna have to kind of handhold people through what you do and then get it down, get it concise, maybe practice it in the car on the way over and have some questions in the back of your brain for them in case you want to stop talking about what you do.

Merk: That is good. 

Taylor: You know, “How are you doing? Are you happy? Do you need me to get your pills? Do you still love grandpa?” Just hit them with harder hitting questions. Distract and deflect. 

Nyge: So I have a question about mansplaining. My dad’s done it. My grandpa has done it. I mean, Obama probably does it. But real quick, for those of you who don’t know what mansplaining is, pause this podcast and Google the word. Do whatever you gotta do and then come back. I want to play a little voxpop that two of our high school interns produced here in Oakland.

Merk: Shout out to Olivia Monforte and Vanessa Rasmussen!

Nyge: Aye, shout out! Shout out! So in the clip, they hit the streets and ask people about this hot topic. After this, we’re gonna talk to you real quick about an instance where you were mansplained to. And we’re gonna figure out what your response would be to mansplaining. Sounds good?

Taylor: Cool!

Nyge: Okay, cue it up Davey.  

[Voxpop Audio]

Person 1: Do you know what mansplaining is?

Person 2: Yes!

Person 3: Oh, yes!

Person 4: Do you need me to explain that to you? (laughs) I’m just kidding!

Person 1: Have you ever mansplained?

Person 6: I’m sure I have.

Person 7: Females have done it to me as well.

Person 8: No! What is that? Mansplaining? I don’t know if I ever have. 

Person 9: Always. I feel like everything I say is a mansplain.

Person 10: I don’t know if it’s just him or things get broken down to me a lot more than they need to.

Person 11: Possibly, but I like the fact that I hang around women that will hold me accountable to my bullshit. 

Person 1: Have you ever done that? 

Person 13: About one time. I’m not gonna lie. One time. 

Person 14: One time? Like a specific time? 

Person 13: Today. 

Person 15: I knew that she was in law school. Nevertheless, I thought I knew more about California politics. I quickly realized that I was wrong there and I shouldn’t have assumed that, but it still happened. 

Person 1: Do you know what mansplaining is? 

Person 16: Man who? 

Person 1: Mansplaining. 

Person 16: No, what’s that?

Person 1: It’s kind of like when a man explains something to you in a demeaning way. Like down talking to you. 

Person 16: Yeah, I even have that in intimate relationships. It’s ridiculous. 

[Music Break]

Nyge: So has there ever been an instance where you’ve been mansplained to? 

Taylor: Oh gosh. I mean, of course. My favorite from that clip is the guy who just goes, “Oh, yeah, one time. One time I did it.”

Merk: Yeah, just “once!” 

Taylor: Sure, guy. “Just the one time today.” I think one thing that women in comedy get sometimes is you get guys going, “You can’t wear this on stage because that’s going to make people see you in a certain way,” or “It’s going to be distracting if you dress too sexy.” Or not even sexy, just if you like, “dress up too much” or things like that. Explaining to you how to do comedy is always frustrating. Like all your hairs stand up on your arms like, “Well let’s get out of this before I say something very rude.”

Merk: I feel that. 

Nyge: How do you shut down a mansplain? 

Taylor: What I do is I just kind of nod and smile, get through the conversation and once they stop talking, I immediately cut them out of my life.

Merk: There you go. You don’t need them! 

Taylor: Just a real, clean break. 

Merk: Bye!

Taylor: What’s the point? “You obviously don’t think I’m very intelligent.” So why would I keep someone like that around? If it’s somebody that you’re in a relationship with or something, I think you should bring that up for sure. Just go, “Hey, just so you know, you’re being condescending and there’s a word for it. Let’s pull up Urban Dictionary right now and learn some things about you.” 

Merk: Yeah, learn it together. Well, T-Tom, it’s been real having you on the show. 

Taylor: Thank you so much for having me. What a cool show. 

Merk: Thanks! Y’all can follow Taylor on IG and Twitter @taylortomlinson and catch her in her latest Netflix special, “Quarter-Life Crisis.

[Episode Break]

Merk: Okay, Nyge … other than Taylor’s Netflix specials, what are you watching during quarantine? 

Nyge: So many different things. I’m watching “Normal People.” I’m watching “Insecure”, “The Last Kingdom”, “Working Moms.” Pretty much anything that you could think of, I’m watching it. What about you? 

Merk: I’m watching “Terrace House” on Netflix. It’s a Japanese reality TV show. It’s very normal. It’s the right amount of drama. It’s chill. What about you, Taylor? Are you watching your Netflix specials on repeat?

Taylor: I’m back! So good to see you guys!

Nyge: That’s right everyone, Taylor’s back! That interview that you just heard was taped almost two years ago, and now she’s back on Adult ISH to help us as we get a little closer to our quarter-life quarantine crisis. Taylor Tomlinson, welcome back to the show. 

Taylor: So good to be here. Thank you so much for having me. And that was almost two years ago? That’s crazy! So much has happened since then.

Merk: Time flies, you turned 25… 

Taylor: There’s a pandemic … And no, to answer your question. I am not watching my own special in quarantine. Can you imagine? What a narcissist I would have to be to do that!

Merk: Well, last time we talked to you, you told us you fantasized about having a nine to five desk job where you didn’t have to travel because of your comedy. And now, your dreams came true because we’ve all been ordered to stay at home! (laughs) What have you been up to other than finding the perfect Zoom meeting background? 

Taylor: Oh, my gosh, and I have been looking for the perfect Zoom meeting background. So far, my favorites are stills from The Princess Diaries. But to each their own. I will honestly never complain about traveling ever again, once I’m allowed to do it. I have felt so guilty and I’ve seen other people post things like “I wished I could have a vacation” or “I wished for time off or I wished to slow down.” And now I really regret wishing that because this is not what I meant. I’ve certainly felt that way. Some days I’m like, “I feel very well-rested and well-fed. I’m taking good care of myself.” And that’s a new feeling for me. And then most days I’m like, “I’m going crazy.” 

Merk: That’s true. I mean, you’re straight up chillin’ on your bed as we can see right now. And it’s like, “What do I do with my life?”

Taylor: It really is. If you are a comedian right now, all you can do is social media and online content. The tough thing about that being your job is it’s just this insatiable beast you have to keep feeding every single day. But I started a second podcast. Just doing so many things that I would have never done before because I didn’t have time. I was traveling so much and doing standup on the road. Now a lot of time has opened up, which is good because you can sort of like diversify your ego and get to things that you wouldn’t have normally. But it’s also just so stressful. 

Merk: Is it weird to perform sets when you don’t have any laughter coming from anybody?

Taylor: I wouldn’t know, because I refuse to do them. I refuse to do those Zoom shows. I have talked to a lot of people who are like, “They’re actually good.” And I’m like, “They’re not. You just really miss it.” There’s no way they’re good. Granted, I’m sure I’ll get desperate enough to do it myself. But what I’ve seen some people doing is they will sort of assign a few people, whether they’re friends of theirs or just the people who book the show, as the laughers, and then everybody else gets muted. So there’s like four people laughing at you. There’s still a delay. It’s still awkward, but that’s probably better and a little more controlled I would assume. 

Nyge: I remember you mentioned needing more life experience to develop jokes and things like that. And it seems like a lot’s happened between then, because this is before your recent “Quarter-Life Crisis” Netflix special came out. Or are you still on the hunt for that prime life experience?

Taylor: A lot happened in between that time. I got engaged, I got unengaged. I met my current partner. I filmed the special. I traveled a lot. Like, a lot of stuff happened just in the last two years, which is the great and terrible thing about your 20s. Things change so quickly all the time. And then to now be living in the middle of a pandemic where things feel like they change so much day to day, hour by hour, but also don’t change at all? It’s the perfect thing to compare to your 20s. That’s how your 20s feel anyway, so this is just like, “Oh, my gosh, the cherry on top of an already very hard to swallow sundae.”

Merk: The “quarter-life sundae.” Speaking of which, I’ve been cooking a lot more during quarantine…

Nyge: Same!

Merk: And recently made some Italian wedding soup. 

Taylor: Hey, anything that kills an hour right now is worth doing. Do you know how much banana bread and paleo cookies I’ve made? And they’re fine. They’re fine, but it killed 40 minutes of the day. 

Nyge: Have you been doing anything else? Like going on walks or bike rides or jogs? Staring up at the stars?

Taylor: Been doing walks just to stay sane. I’ve done a couple aimless drives which can help you feel a little normal and then you realize you have nowhere to go. If you’re gonna go for an aimless drive, I would recommend putting something into your GPS even if it’s closed, just so on the way there, you can kind of pretend… 

Merk: Normal life. 

Taylor: Yes, exactly. 

Nyge: Or else every exit you’re like, “Where am I getting off?”

Taylor: Pretty much, yeah. Put in “normal life” and it’ll take you about 18 months to get there. So start driving now.

Nyge: All right. Thanks again for being here, Taylor. I guess we’ll see you next when we’re all about 40 years old and you’ve got your Netflix special called “Over The Hill.” But until then, it’s been real. Thank you so much for coming through. 

Taylor: Thank you!

[Music Break]

Merk: If y’all haven’t watched Taylor’s newest special, check it out on Netflix. It’s called “Quarter-Life Crisis.” And with that, thank you for listening to Adult ISH, produced by YR Media, a national network of young artists and journalists creating content for this generation.

Nyge: Thank yous go out to our Senior Producer Davey Kim, sound engineers Cari Campbell and Galnadgee Joe-Johnson, Executive Producer Rebecca Martin, Adan Barerra for transcribing our web content and all the young people at YR who made the art and music for this episode. We also want to thank YOU, our listeners, and faithful members of the Adult ISH fam for tuning in every week. When we say “Hey Adult ISH fam,” we’re talking about you! Make sure you’re rating and reviewing us on iTunes so we can keep this ISH going!

Merk: Other ways to show your love is to follow us on all the socials @YRadultISH or check out our show at adultishpodcast.com. We’re also proud to be members of Radiotopia by PRX. An independent listener-supported collective of some of the most LOL shows in all of podcasting. LOL stands for “lots of learning” in this case. (laughs) Find them at radiotopia.fm.

Nygel: In our next episode, we invite actor Jason Genao aka Ruby from Netflix’s “On My Block.” We talk about one of my favorite and least favorite things to do during quarantine, cooking.

[Teaser Audio]

Jason: You know, I wanted to be a chef before I wanted to be an actor. I was like, obsessed with Rachel Ray. 

Nyge: That’s how it be!

Merk: 30 minutes … with Rachel Ray. 

Jason: Yeah! I was like, “Damn, I have 30 minutes. What can I make?” 

Nyge: What was your favorite dish to cook back then?

Jason: It was Julia’s boeuf bourguignon.

Nyge and Merk: Mmm!

Merk: So until our next episode, keep on staying safe y’all. Wash your hands, practice social distancing and don’t forget to laugh. 

Nyge: Oh yeah! (fake laughs hysterically) I don’t feel better… 

Merk: Oh… 

[Episode Break]

Merk: One last thing. This is a present that I really, really wanted to give you before you left. It’s a musical freestyle. Are you ready?

Joel: Yes, I am ready. Hit me.

Merk: Okay, I’m gonna go for my own beat. 

Nyge: How are you you just gonna make your own beat? (laughs)

Merk: (Starts beatboxing) Five, six, seven, eight… 

JKB, you know how it be
Don’t mistake him for our homeboy Bruce Lee
He says he’s the hottest agent on the block
It’s because he got a really big
Whatcha gonna do? 
Whatcha gonna do when Booster Boy come for you?
JK, he’s pretty selective
But enough with this nonsense
Let’s get into his life perspective

Joel: (laughs) I need that to play as soon as I come up to every stage. 

Merk: Heck yeah.

Nyge: Oh my God… 

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