Eudora Peterson (@Pjetey) on Twitter’s Character Limit and Not Overthinking Jokes

eudora petersonEudora Peterson is a New York City-based comedian whose work has appeared on The Hairpin, The Toast, and more. She currently runs Fashion What Ifs, a fashion advice video series on Jezebel’s beauty and style site Millihelen. Recently I asked Peterson to share and talk about three of her favorite tweets, and our conversation covered topics including writing in different personas, the strengths of Twitter’s character limit, and some of her material that’s made the jump from tweets to other media.

Peterson: Tweets written in character voices make me laugh, especially if the characters have an uncompromising and/or aggressive point of view. Alexis Wilkinson does it really well. People getting out of hammocks makes me laugh, too.

Do you have a particular voice or type of voice that’s your favorite to do tweets from?

I don’t have a favorite, but if I’m using a voice or persona, I usually hover somewhere between “Person With a Twitter Account Who Gives Terrible Advice No One Needs” and “Person With a Twitter Account Who’s Looking for Mozzarella Sticks Where There Are None.”

Are there any other formats for tweets that you especially like?

I like it when people use line breaks. It’s like reading little screenplays and poems! I’m glad that Twitter didn’t waive the character limit for line breaks though, because I like screenwriting and poetry but within reason.

The best feeling in the world is when you find a joke that’s hidden in plain sight, but that only happens if you don’t overthink. Right now I’m in a miserable place where I overthink EVERYTHING but I’m going out this weekend and I’ll probably get drunk, so check back with me in a week.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about Twitter?

I love that character limit. It forces you to edit, and most of my jokes need editing. I guess my least favorite thing is all the unfollowing. I don’t like to unfollow people, and I don’t like it when people unfollow me.

Do you ever use tweets as a jumping off point for other writing?

I do! I don’t test material when I tweet, but if I feel that a joke has a life beyond 140 characters, I’ll take it somewhere else. One of my Hairpin vids started as a series of tweets; I had at least 30 one liners in my drafts before I realized that I should get off Twitter and make a video instead.

Sometimes I’m just startled by how dumb I look.

Do you have a preference for first person tweets about stuff actually happening to you vs hypothetical or fictional ones?

No preference, but I think a lot of hypothetical/fictional tweets are grounded in an emotional truth. Like, I can be petty and unreasonable, so that’s probably where most of my petty and unreasonable personas come from. I have to tweet my truth.

Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny or Die.

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