Meet Ophira Eisenberg. Standup comic, NPR trivia-show host, author, and all-around inspiring lady. We got the chance to meet her at a live taping of her show,
Ask Me Another, and chat about, well, pretty much everything that popped into our heads.
First and foremost, how strong is the temptation to interject with the answers when you’re hosting a trivia show?
What percentage of answers do you think you know? You know, without looking.
Interesting. Has there been a celeb guest that you’ve been like, Whoa, I’m blown away by how many of these you're getting right?
Which celeb has come on and told the best stories? Like to the point where you want to stop the game and just make the entire show and interview?
So, to switch gears a bit, you've found a lot of success as a female comedian. And, there has been a lot of talk, for as long as anyone can remember, about how women aren't as funny as men. And, every time it starts to feel like we must be past that BS by now, somebody makes another demeaning comment to reignite the discussion. It never ends, right?
So, what's your personal reaction to that? How do you find the confidence to overlook the naysayers and put yourself out there, especially since doing standup comedy is so personal — and I imagine, terrifying — to begin with?
How do you deal with that?
"It’s terrible. I even dealt with a booker once who was a woman who said she didn’t like booking female comics because she didn’t think they had a broad enough appeal. And it’s just like, there has been a lot talk around how women are really brutal to women — and I really hate that because it’s the exact opposite of what this world needs right now."
Photos: Courtesy of Steve McFarland/NPR
Did you have to convince NPR to take a chance on giving a trivia show to a woman? Did you feel like you had to make a stronger case for yourself?
So, what's your advice for women trying to break into industries where they don't feel entirely welcome — or where they see additional barriers to entry, based on gender?
That's really great advice. Do you have any advice like that that you've been given — that lives in your heart and that you always rely on?
"I think it's mostly about not feeding on the demons in your head. Basically, I was told by a friend ‘You know what Judy Garland used to do before she went on stage?’ And I don't know if it's true, but supposedly she would be behind the velvet curtain and ready to go on stage and she would clutch part of the curtain in each hand and she would go 'Fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em, fuck ‘em!' and then she would go and open up the curtain and go “Hello everybody!'"
Now, in your book, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way To Monogamy, you talk about this trajectory of saying yes and accepting all these adventures that come your way, small or large. What’s the most trouble that’s gotten you into?
So, what was it about monogamy that was so actively unappealing to you, at that time?
In this place where you’re settled in your career and you’ve found success and have your own show, do you feel some of that sense of being trapped and itching for the next step?