Jamie Lee on Weddiculous, Writers' Rooms and Dogs

Jamie Lee is coming to Comedy Works Downtown.
Jamie Lee is coming to Comedy Works Downtown. Courtesy of Jamie Lee
Jamie Lee, a natural crowd-pleaser,  is a writer and standup comedian who's performed on late-night staples such as Conan, The Late Late Show With James Corden and Chelsea Lately; been a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing; and can currently be seen on MTV's Girl Code and TruTV's Ten Things. She also hosts the podcast Jamie Lee's Best of the Worst, a weekly celebration of flaws and failures available from Headgum. Her new book, Weddiculous, which deftly mines the absurdity of the bridal experience for laughs, was recently published by Harper Collins.

Lee will be at the Comedy Works Downtown for a headlining gig January 19 through January 21; we caught up with her before her trip to Denver to discuss the challenges of writing narrative TV, the questions she's tired of hearing and her hopes for Weddiculous.

Westword: Do you know what lies in store for Girl Code and 10 Things? Will you be doing another season of either show?

Jamie Lee: To be determined!

What sort of interview questions are you most tired of hearing?

"What's it like being a woman in comedy?" — mostly because I want it to not even be a thing. I wish it weren't something we had to talk about and focus on, like it's a phenomenon, a birthmark splotch that must be addressed. Women can do everything men can do. Women are men; men are women. Gender is a drag. Done. Bye.

How does the experience of co-authoring a book compare to being in a writers' room?

A writers' room is basically an organized hangout. You're shooting the shit, occasionally writing stuff down. Writing a book is more serious. You have to hit a certain word count. You have to make sure you're phrasing things in an interesting way. It gets intense. But Jacqueline Novak was and is the best co-author you could ask for. Smart, driven, focused. Just the best.

Now that you have some perspective and distance from the big day, have you changed any of the conclusions from the book or discovered concerns that ended up being unfounded?

Nah, I stand by the book pretty hard. I was writing the book in real time as I was planning the wedding, having the experiences I talk about in the book. The emotions in the book are very specific to how I felt while I was wedding planning. Now I've calmed down a bit.... If I could do it all over, I'd be down to elope. But I say that because I did have the if I eloped, the curiosity about having a wedding would be hanging over me.

What's your ultimate hope for Weddiculous, aside from being a super-easy gift for bridal showers?

That people other than brides read it. I think it's a great book for anyone who has been to weddings and had cynical, sarcastic thoughts about them that they couldn't express. I think the book tells people, "You're not alone. I've had these thoughts, too, and it's okay."

Crashing is due to premiere on HBO soon. After writing for late-night, joke-driven shows, how have you managed to shift to narrative?

Narrative is big-picture thinking. You focus on a story and characters, and then later on worry about jokes. Jokes are the last step in the process. Late night is all about jokes. They're the first step.

What's the status of Best of the Worst? It appears to be on hiatus.

We're back! Just took a break for the holidays.

Do you have anything else you'd like to mention before we wrap up the interview?

Yes. I want to quickly plug dogs. Have you heard of these things? They're amazing animals. If you don't have one, get one. Highly recommend. Five stars.

Visit the Comedy Works' events calendar for Jamie Lee showtimes and to buy tickets. Copies of Weddiculous can be purchased along with tickets, and Lee will be available for signings after the shows.

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham