Taylor Kay Phillips (@TayKayPhillips) on Double Standards, Musical Theater, and Wings

taylor-kay-philipsTaylor Kay Phillips is a writer and comedian living in New York City. She contributes pieces to Reductress and writes for Night Late at UCB. She recently discovered both everything bagels and sparkling water and is kind of dealing with that right now.

This week, Taylor talked to me about her issues with women’s magazines and her thoughts on the new 280 character limit, among other things:

I write a lot of jokes about tampons. I just recently got an IUD and it’s been causing me some problems, so I’m forced to think a lot about how I acquire and transport feminine hygiene products. So I use it for art. The likes dull the pain of the cramps. 

What are some other painful or serious topics that you joke about?

I “joke” about the double standards placed on women a lot. Particularly women in the media. There was some dumbshit article a while back that was literally titled “Why are all of Brie Larson’s characters so sad?” and that really set me off so I just retweeted it like 6 times with different captions about all sorts of different dudes that play the same part every time (which Brie Larson DOESN’T omg have you SEEN 22JumpStreet!?!) like Woody Allen, Cumberbatch, etc. I also take a lot of shots at stupid, counterproductive headlines in women’s magazines. I’m hesitant to bash all things feminine as inherently “dumbed down” because I don’t think being well liked by women makes something lesser, but I think some of the content coming out of women’s publications is truly ridiculous. I keep seeing these things on HelloGiggles that are like “THIS PERSON WHO PLAYED AN UGLY PERSON IS ACTUALLY SUPER HOT” or “PEOPLE ARE MAD ABOUT THIS THING THIS WOMAN SAID ABOUT HER OWN BODY!”

My Twitter has a lot of niche musical theater #content that comes to me while I listen to obscure soundtracks for the 2nd or 3rd millionth time. But sometimes it happens with popular songs that the cool kids like, too! My boyfriend and I were going through our Spotify “You listened to this when you were younger be nostalgic/embarrassed” playlists and “Stacy’s Mom” came on. When the horny singer kid asks Stacy if her mom is back from her business trip I was like — oh cool, she’s a working single mom. Like you go Stacy’s mom! You really do have got it going on! 

Do you have any favorite subjects that you tweet about?

Um. Myself? Haha. I mostly tweet about my general antics and failures and thoughts. That’s a lie. They’re about food and running into things. Also I always get delayed at the airport so I use a hashtag #slaythedelay every time it happens, and it actually has a pretty strong fanbase*.

*it does not have a pretty strong fanbase

Have your tweets changed at all with 280 characters now? Do you like having 280 characters?

I just found out that I have 280 like 2 days ago. I hate it. It is the exact opposite of what I need. But also I got to set the record STRAIGHT about the scene in Les Miserables where Valjean reveals himself to save that innocent man. So I can’t say I haven’t gotten something meaningful from it. 

I came up with this tweet in my heart. It is my true self. 

How would you describe your Twitter voice or comedy voice to someone who hasn’t read/heard you before?

I asked my boyfriend how I should answer this question and he said “Midwestern nice with feminist spice” and now I have hired him to be my manager because OH MY GOSH how great is that! Along those lines, I would say: “A wholesome refusal to deal with your bullshit — but also I trip up the stairs 3 times a week.” 

How do your tweets differ from other comedic writing you do?

I love writing patter dialogue. My writing background was in poems and plays before I turned to sketches, so I like comedy that takes place between two people. Even as an improvisor, I’m a much better responder than initiator, so Twitter has been a great exercise in just STARTING something. My pieces for Reductress are the closest I get to “tweet practice” because they’re standalone jokes, but even then I get to go on a little longer, pack stuff in, and take advantage of the satire/parody format. I’ve always been wordy, so Twitter is a way to sort of beat that out of myself. I think my writing and my standup have gotten better because of it. 

Karen Chee is a is a writer/performer who contributes regularly to The New Yorker and McSweeney’s.

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