Michelle Buteau Mindy Tucker / Provided by artist Hide caption
Mindy Tucker / Provided by the artist
Mindy Tucker / Provided by the artist
On New Years Day 2020, Netflix released the first season of the socially distant reality series The Circle, hosted by Ask Me Another, comedian Michelle Buteau. In The Circle, participants live in isolation and can only communicate via the Internet: a premise that became a reality for everyone about two months later.
Buteau confessed that initially she wasn’t on board the concept, “A competition and you can fish people? Absolutely not, sir! Rude!”
She said she got the idea after looking at the UK version, which is about why people misrepresent themselves online. “They think people don’t like the real ones,” said Buteau. “And that’s so sad and important to talk about.”
By comparison, Buteau has built her career on apologizing to herself. Her new book of personal essays is called Survival of the Thickest. She said the book was six years old and was originally called “Grooming Chunky: A Fat Girl’s Guide to Not Getting Fat … or Skinny”. But Buteau tried to tell this story. “I just felt like a very lazy Jillian Michaels where I just like ‘Work out! If you want! But also, who cares?’ And I couldn’t get past 20 pages. “
But she credits her work as the host of the WNYC podcast Late at night whenever and co-hosting Grow up with Jordan Carlos, who gave her the impetus to move the book’s message inward: “I only told those crazy stories that didn’t fit into the stand-up world. Simon and Schu Schu said:” We love the podcast, we can You just write a few essays? “I said” I can do it … “
In the old days Buteau was an avid traveler, and she and her Dutch husband made frequent trips to Holland. So for her Ask Me Another Challenge Jonathan Coulton led her in a music parody game that combines Van Halen’s music with things about the Netherlands.
Highlights of the interview:
About balancing a new motherhood and writing a book
I thought, “I’ll take the twins home and write while they sleep.” WHAT?! And then I said, “I’m going to take the twins to Mallorca with a nanny and then write in the cool Mediterranean breeze while I have a paella in between.” WHAT?! Cut to me on the subway with a finger trying to type … girl it was a mess.
Why their babies aren’t baptized
My uncle is the Archbishop of Jamaica and I had to get [my kids] Baptized because I’m the only child and my mom says, “Don’t let me down,” and I still fold like a beach chair when she brings it up. I’ve chosen really good friends as godparents, and both godmothers are gay. When I told my mother and they met the family, they said, “You are great, but you cannot stand at the altar because the church does not recognize homosexuality.” And I said, “It’s legal” and they said, “But not in church.” And I think “but they were just when I met them 20 years ago, is there a gap?” I just said, “You guys, come on, this is my friends, this is my chosen family.” And so it was such a big moment for me, in my forties, working so hard to be a parent, finally lowering my nine and a half foot and saying, “I can’t get these kids baptized because My friends are enough and they are always enough, no matter who they are or what they are, and I cannot be the role model for my children. “
As the host of The circle
We have just shot the second season safely in England. The great thing about the show is that we can film it safely because we are in quarantine. But I also just thought it was that important because whether you like social media or not, you have to sort of deal with it. What does your profile picture say about you? Are you giving out too much information or not enough?
Owned by Michelle Buteau: ‘The Circle’ and Van Halen.