I’m Comedian Nicole Drespel and This Is How I Work

There are maybe ten things in the world that deserve the title of “best kept secret,” and one of them is comedian Nicole Drespel. A legendary improvisation trainer and instructor at Upright Citizens Brigade, Nicole has appeared in Broad City and 30 Rock and wrote the script for Chris Guetard ‘s TruTV Show and Wet Hot American Summer on Netflix. Currently, she is a podcast InBox , where she and co-host Matt Stroup delve into e-mail and chat rooms your guests.

We asked her how she manages her mailbox and all other aspects of her comedy career.

Location: New York, NY. Current live activities : Host of the InBox podcast, author of The Chris Gethard Show , teacher at UCB. One word that best describes how you work: Lists Current mobile device: iPhone 5S Current computer: Macbook Air

First of all, tell me a little about your past and how you became who you are today.

I graduated from a women’s college with a degree in English literature and medieval history. Then I returned to New York, where I spent a year in my parents’ basement reading Harry Potter and the Collected Works of William Shakespeare. I started wandering around the UCB theater where I took a very privileged path from student to performer, teacher, freelancer, paid writer, part-time writer, back-paid writer, and podcast host.

Tell us about a recent work day.

I’ll wake up and maybe spend half an hour on a boring stationary bike ride in the gym. Then I’ll try to get some work done, which means sending my co-host, Matt Stroup, dramatic text messages demanding that he respond to my emails. If it’s Chris Gethard’s show day, I’ll go a little afternoon, go to our production meeting, then we do all the work that needs to be done before rehearsal, then rehearsals, then lunch break where we do at the last minute. behind our online rep, Bethany Hall, around the studio, filming Instagram snippets on her phone, then an 11pm LIVE show, then a few meetings and back home!

In addition to your writing and performing career, you are a renowned teacher and coach at UCB. How did one tell the other?

I think that in order to do a good improvisation lesson, you need to be able to measure the emotional temperature in a room and then adjust accordingly so that everyone feels supported and optimistic. This approach raises objections from the “tougher” coaches, but I think that in such conditions, the work is better. Even if I’m wrong, we will all die one day, so damn it, we can enjoy the process. Room reading is equally valuable on set and in the writing room.

Does comedy work “ruin” comedy viewing?

Yes. If something is really good, I think, “Lord, why bother?” And if something is wrong, I think: “Lord, this whole system is falsified.” Or I’ll worry that I’m not working hard enough, fast enough, or enough.

What apps, gadgets or tools can’t you live without?

Pocket is the most amazing app ever invented. This makes it easy to keep track of the articles I want to read. And it syncs across all your devices.

When I write, I use Diptic to create collages to convey the essence of a script or story.

I also swear by Google Docs, especially spreadsheets. For all. We have a carefully maintained shared document that tracks every prospective InBox guest and every request we receive.

Then Instagram for fun and Starbucks when needed.

How is your workplace arranged?

Minimalist. MacBook, headphones, laptop. When I’m not on a show, I usually write in a cafe because I feel invisible and detached from other life’s problems. I also love coffee and treats.

What’s your best time-saver or life hack?

Mobile order! My heart hurts from the lack of human interaction and the realization that we can all eventually be replaced by computers. But it calms my other heart because it saves time. I have two hearts. I am the Lady of the Time.

How do you keep track of what you need to do?

I have a lovely Moleskine notebook in which I jot down my daily to-do list. When I’m at work, I leave short posters all over my desk. They are dropped when I complete assignments. And I am aiming for a zero mailbox so that when I open my email the only thing I see is something that needs to be resolved. A cluttered inbox makes me very quick to make some assumptions about our podcast guests.

What are some of your best everyday activities? What’s your secret?

I usually edit my emails aggressively, so they only contain important information and take care of other people’s time. At least I try. Spending hours reading other people’s emails for a podcast can inspire me to leave a more effective digital footprint.

How do you replenish? What do you do when you want to forget about work?

I clean my apartment to recharge. I’m not a super neat person, but if I clean up, I feel like I’m capable, strong, virtuous and in control of my life.

I will be re-watching Once Upon a Time episodes for the tenth or eleventh time. I also love, love, love watching YouTube videos “Get Unready With Me” . They feature ambitious, ambitious, entrepreneurial vloggers who take off their makeup and light candles to show how they calm down at the end of the day. I can’t believe this is a video genre and I love every one of them.

What’s your favorite side project?

Book club! For the past three years, I’ve been at a book club that meets monthly and discusses a book in a very disciplined manner, and THEN gets drunk and plays games that destroy relationships.

Fill in the blank: I would like _________ to answer these same questions.

Zadie Smith, Emma Thompson, Lin-Manuel Miranda

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

You cannot control other people, you can only control how you react to them. When I think other people are misbehaving, I overreact and it can make me become a real rude guy with a bad attitude. I have to work to keep this under control.

What are you reading now or what do you recommend?

Currently reading Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull (with Amy Wallace) and George Eliot’s Veil Raised. I was supposed to read Stephen King ‘s Lot of Salem for a book club, but I haven’t started it yet and will be in big trouble.

I have recommended everything I have never told you from Celeste Ng over the past year. It’s heartbreaking and exquisite. Also, everything written by Helen Oyemi, but especially White, is intended for witchcraft . See also On Beauty by Zadie Smith and her collection of essays Changing My Mind . “After Midnight ” Irmgard Keun may have an unpleasant relevance now. And finally, everything written by Joseph Ellis for popular science literature. But not in the end, because also Bartleby the Writer by Herman Melville and the TV series King of the Past and the Future by T. White, which immediately hit my list of all-time favorites as soon as I read them. And Paul Beatty’s sale . I’m done. And ” Pale Fire” by Vladimir Nabokov.


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