Jasmine Pierce and Taryn Englehart are great, like really great. They also happen to work for Reductress, which is one of the best places on the internet that just so happens to be the first and only satirical women's magazine. We sat down (well emailed) with Jasmine and Taryn to get some insight into what their process is like.
When did you first start working together?
Taryn: In the womb, when Jasmine threw a mic at me. We are fraternal twins!
Jasmine: About a year ago.
What drew you to Reductress?
Jasmine: A big, beautiful, golden, feminist magnet that will not let me go?
Taryn: That it was a magazine specifically for women.
Is there an article / piece at Reductress that is looked upon as the Holy Grail? The one that all articles should aspire to be like?
Taryn: Maybe 8 Good Tree, by Anna Drezen. It’s a list of 8 good trees written from the perspective of a bird.
Jasmine: Not really. There are some pieces that they use during the workshops that are structured well, but there are a few different styles of Reductress pieces and obviously every piece has different needs.
What was the first article idea you can remember having as a group or an individual?
Jasmine: My first article was “9 Sure Signs You’re Definitely Not Pregnant” and I may or may not have been going through a pregnancy scare at the time.
Taryn: The first article I ever wrote was “5 Shoes That Make Me Wish My Parents Hadn’t Died in That Scaffolding Accident.” I don’t think I really knew what I was doing at the time.
What's your creative process like? How do you generate ideas and keep it fresh?
Taryn: It’s fun for me to adopt the point of view of someone I disagree with and then just see what comes out when I talk from their perspective. I keep a notebook too, and read the news every day. And I text Jasmine a lot.
Jasmine: Usually we text each other about how we don’t have any ideas for a few days and then we actually try to sit down and think about things. But also I pay a lot of attention to stories my friends tell me and if there’s anything they’re dealing with that I’ve dealt with it or heard another person tell the same story, usually there’s something there.
Who are your influences? Who are some of your favorite sketch comedy acts / writer working today? Who has blown your mind?
Jasmine: Hillary Clinton.
Taryn: Hillary Clinton.
Do you have any fun "worst show" or "worst audience member" stories?
Jasmine: I was once doing stand up and not feeling very confident that day and I said “I know I look like shit” and an audience member said “Yup.” But that was kind of on me.
Taryn: I did a stand up show at 1 am for an audience of two people who turned out to be Danish tourists who didn’t speak any English. So no one had any idea what I was saying the whole time.
Do you have any fun "best show" stories?
Jasmine: Never had a good show.
Taryn: Same. Never had one go well yet.
Jasmine: We’re actually not funny at all.
Taryn: Why’d you guys book us?
Are there any ideas / articles / headlines that you've had that you can't seem to make work or convince the rest of the team at Reductress are actually funny.
Taryn: Oh, a ton. I don’t have a specific article that’s my white whale, but a lot of my dumber stuff gets rejected, like "Does Anyone Need to Use the Bathroom Before I Make Eggnog In the Tub?" That would have just been a Thoughts piece from a woman trying to make eggnog in her tub. Rightfully it was rejected.
Jasmine: Oh my god, I have pitched “Man Complaining About Blue Balls Leaves Woman Without Orgasm Every Single Time” many time, so now I just write in on a piece of paper, hold it to my chest, and rock it gently to sleep at night. Because I love it no matter what.
What should people interested in comedy know about performing sketch that you didn't know when you started?
Jasmine: I think it’s that most of the work is in the preparation.
Taryn: I think it’s that most the work is in the preparation.
What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year? What do you have cooking?
Taryn: More writing!
Jasmine: Yeah I think we’re gonna keep writing Reductress articles and shows until they don’t let us anymore.