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All the Fame, None of the Money

January 16th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend Eliza is the bee’s knees, the wasp’s nipples, the delicately tapered neck of a praying mantis. She was one of the first friends I had my first semester in college, and we’ve been buds ever since. Now she’s a standup and improv comedian here in New York — she’s taught improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, she’s one half of the comedy musical improv duo I Eat Pandas, and she’s had a one-woman show at the UCB Theater.

The following video is a clip from her one-woman show “Shameless.” (audio NSFW):

You can see a lot more of her videos here.This video has been tracking very well on “Funny or Die”, hit the front page of College Humor yesterday, and made the front page of Digg this afternoon. It is safe to guess that a million people have seen her work in the past few days, and I’m glad for her — she’s worked really hard for a really long time to get her name out, and this kind of trafiic could be the key to some well-deserved success.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as ardent a fan of hers as I am. Just because people online look at you a lot doesn’t mean they’re nice to you AT ALL. Check out some of the comments, lifted from Digg and College Humor:

“i vote to ethniclly cleanse all woman like that, btw her face is shot.”
“she was uglyyy, this is when the brown paper bag comes into play.”
“not a good tooth to gum ratio …”
“not a good face to blemish ratio”

I know, I know, everyone’s an asshole on the Internet. It’s true. We’ve all seen — and maybe written — things that are kind harsh. But man, this really drives it home, seeing a friend get crapped on by a bunch of fifteen year-olds like this. What really sucks is that this isn’t even true — this is written by a bunch of 15-25 year-olds who are comparing a real human being on a tight production budget to hundreds of professionally retouched Jessica Alba photos.

We chatted about it online a little, Eliza and I. Here’s her take:

they keep saying i have bad acne. I have no zits in that video. must be my moles. awesome

the thing that sucks is, nobody looks at a Jonah Hill clip and says
OMG he is so fat!!!11!! When Will (former comedy partner) and I both blew up on funny or die at the same time
all his negative comments were like “you’re lame” and mine bordered on “I’m gonna rape you, uggo”

all this attention is nice, but it’s sort of like being in a frat party. not in a cool way. in a very rapey vibe way.

I mean, I know to picture them all sad and angry and furiously masturbating to the smell of their mom’s hairbrushes but it’s still tough when tons of strangers picks at weird ways I’m ugly to them.

honestly, I am understanding why celebrities get plastic surgery much better now.

Again, this is not news, but comedy is hard on women, man. It’s not enough to be funny. You’ve got to be pretty — and fight the dominant stereotype that pretty women arent’ funny — or be unattractive, and get called fat all the time. Dane Cook’s a good-looking idiot and nobody expected Mitch Hedberg to have abs of steel.

I don’t really have an answer for this or anything. All I’m saying is that I wish that my old friends’ sudden Internet fame didn’t carry such an immediately bitter taste. On the one hand, it’s awesome that one can become an immediate celebrity, literally overnight. On the other, it really sucks that that celebrity comes with all the tabloid pressure and none of the money.

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