The Penguin Latte Podcast #5: Audrey Hebert On Laughing at The Sliminess of The Human Condition

[A note on audio: this was recorded in my room. I only have one mic. This was the best that I could do given my current equipment and setup. In retrospect, we could have leaned into the mic, but I wasn’t thinking about that. So, pardon that.]

Hey guys, welcome to another episode of The Penguin Latte Podcast! Today I’m joined by my girlfriend, Audrey Hebert. Audrey is a stand-up comedian and visual artist. In 2019, she won the funniest student contest at UC Santa Cruz. She’s one of those comedians that makes us laugh at the sliminess of the human condition. Seeing her perform always reminds me not to take myself too seriously. What I’ve learned from her comedy routine is that we are all just pissing, shitting, slimey, smelly monkeys in space who have no clue about anything.

You can find Audrey Hebert’s art on her Instagram page by clicking here.

“Sometimes you just have to do things that will make you feel like pure shit in order to get to do the things you want, and to get to a place to where you feel comfortable.”

Audrey Hebert

Talking Points:

  • Our favorite passage from The War of Art (3:00)
  • Time slots in stand-up comedy (6:00)
  • Dealing with hecklers (12:00)
  • Being inspired from local comedians (17:00)
  • Why being yourself on stage is important (21:00)
  • Gary Goleman’s gigantic list of tips for comedians (22:00)
  • Leaning into your intuition as a way to find your true fans (24:00)
  • The element of surprise in comedy (and cooking) (25:00)
  • Writing jokes on the day of the show (27:00)
  • The one Google Doc of Jokes (31:00)
  • On writing and drawing (34:00)
  • Cringing at our old work (37:00)
  • Strangest places for comedic inspiration (40:00)
  • Crowdworking (43:00)
  • A comedian who asked her parents to heckle her (45:00)
  • Why certain types of comedy age badly (47:00)
  • The Monty Python Debate (48:00)
  • On Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld (49:00)
  • On the brilliance of Nathan Fielder (50:00)
  • On the brilliance of Niel Cicierega and Nathan Fielder (57:00)
  • Why we need comedy (1:00:00)
  • Audrey’s message for people who want to get started in stand-up comedy… (1:13:00)
  • …and for getting better at performing in front of people (1:15:00)
  • Parting words of encouragement for those who are stuck (1:20:00)

Show Notes

The War of Art

Nathan Fielder

Monty Python

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Niel Cicierega

Gary Goleman’s 366 Tips for Comedians (Much of this applies to more than stand-up comedy. See, The War of Art, Mark Twain quotes, and other names I’m sure you’ll recognize.)

Content as a commodity

is another way to hide.

Another page of motivational book quotes. Another SEO-centric blog of SEO tips for grandma. Another “5 things to do before you’re 30 according to this guy” infograph. Why use your voice when you can hide behind somebody else’s?

Don’t turn other people’s wisdom into a commodity. You can do better than that. Add your voice. Tell a story. Show us how the quote moved you to start a blog about how you lost 30 pounds.

There’s a yin and yang relationship between commodity content and quality content.

When a platform has more commodity content, the quality content is more refreshing. Oh my God, finally, it’s another human being. I was beginning to think that this platform was full of robots.

When a platform has more quality content, creators lose sight of what the platform is for. We start to focus only on what works to boost our metrics. We forget that the purpose of the platform is always to leverage our voices.

There can’t be good content everywhere. Sorry, but that utopia doesn’t exist. I wouldn’t be writing this if it were that easy. Good content requires taste, an eye for quality, and the courage to make an assertion.

If you’re going to make something, consider these tips.

Add story. Information without story is noise.

Add voice. Resist the temptation to join the bureaucracy of motivational quotes pages. Who you are is more important to us than what you post.

Make an assertion. It’s okay to make up your mind. If you don’t see things the way that we see them, let us know. We’re curious to hear what you have to say.

Connect the dots. Ideas build upon other ideas. There’s connections between tennis and chess, and chess and tai chi.

People don’t relate to pages. People relate to stories. People relate to voice. People relate to people.

Don’t hide.