@LeahTiscione on Joke Tweets that Get Serious Replies
Leah Tiscione is a graphic artist from New York but lives everywhere because her job is remote and Airbnb is great. She’s currently illustrating Dino Stamatopoulos’ upcoming musical graphic novel, TRENT, an excerpt of which is available here. This week I spoke with Tiscione about three of her favorite tweets she’s written, plus shower ideas, the serious @-replies she gets when writing joke tweets, and the topics she avoids writing about.
Tiscione: I guess I should explain that I’m an illustrator and have no business attempting to write funny things, but I love comedy very much and trying to create it is my favorite hobby. I gave stand-up a 3 month shot 6 years ago but I didn’t want to embarrass myself or the audience further. So I get my jollies drawing for comedic clients and writing on Twitter.
they call me chernobyl not because I'll melt your heart but because no one's been in me since 1986 :(
— Leah Tiscione (@LeahTiscione) August 20, 2015
I realize if this one were true there would be hard jail time involved because I was 5. It’s a spin off of an earlier tweet of mine, “They call me the one-man party not because I’m so fun but because I eat alone at restaurants :(.” The comparison of a nice sentiment vs. sad actuality is funny to me and most of the time these jokes are true. Shut up.
Do you often do spin-off tweets or tweet as part of a series? If so what are some of your favorites that you’ve done?
Nah, those were the only two, but a lot of people strictly write in joke formats (i.e. lists or conversations… Him: yadayada Her: Blablah Him: fart). I like to throw one in every now and then but my tweets are always random, according to the thing happening at the time. Could very well be farting.
What, if anything, are the go-to topics you always like to tweet about?
There are topics I like to AVOID like sex and dating because I don’t like alluding to specific people, and it usually comes off as complaining or obvious.
DATING IS HARD LOL
SEX AM I RITE LOL
So I try to stay creative with subject matter which encourages originality. Also I fucking love Guinness so any time I can squeeze that in. Sometimes I’d really love to switch from humor to political tweets but also don’t like inciting anger so I stay away from it. :/
Beds are envelopes that mail you to your nightmares
— Leah Tiscione (@LeahTiscione) August 19, 2015
The throw away tweets that surprise you with success are the best. I was falling asleep one night and the bedding was fitted perfectly, feeling like a stuffed envelope. I think that a good joke is having an abstract view of the mundane, everyday things in our lives. The worst part of any Twitter joke are the serious replies they receive, or turning them into a positive… “or dreams” were a few of the replies. If dreams replaced nightmares, this would be a shitty, humorless tweet.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about tweeting?
Favorite? I’ve made lots of amazing really real reality friends through Twitter, this by far is the best part. It’s a place where like-minded weirdos find each other, grab a drink in the real world outside, and decide if they’d like to grab another drink and continue being weird together. It’s made traveling especially fun because I’ve been meeting Twitter people in every city I visit, which is a lot of cities… even stayed in Seattle for a month because of a Twitter buddy.
Least favorite? It’s such a distraction. I can’t even hug my mom without thinking of how to tweet about her frail bird bones.
Kid: I wanna be an astronaut Dad: Sky's the limit, son! Kid: WHAT A DICK
— Leah Tiscione (@LeahTiscione) May 20, 2015
A lot of my ideas happen in the shower. I was rapping “Sky’s The Limit” by Notorious B.I.G. while washing my right foot and this one happened. Are we ever mentally present in the shower, paying attention to what we’re doing?? Our minds wander to our work, how much we hate Brenda, or Twitter. At least mine does.
Is there any place or time of day that you find yourself thinking up tweets the most? If so, is that time or place the same as where you think of other creative ideas?
The shower, walking, working etc. Whatever information is being pulled in at whatever time or place, it’s shit out into the form of a tweet.
Do your tweets ever inspire illustrations, or vice versa?
I had a daily comic strip in college, pre-twitter. I would write and illustrated it, which I wish I had time to continue doing with tweets, but I’ll get back to it someday after the hullabaloo of earning a living is out of the way.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brookyln and works at Funny Or Die.