Emily Perper is a freelance editor and reporter, currently completing a service year in Baltimore with the Episcopal Service Corps.
1. “This Wedding Season, Say Yes to Strangers: What I Learned From My Craigslist Date” and “A Brief Addendum to Our Craigslist Wedding Story.” (Lindsey Grad and Nick Hassell, The Hairpin, June 2013)
When a bridezilla demanded that Grad find a date to her wedding, she made the best of the situation—she took to Craigslist.
2. “The Amazing Atheist: The Full Interview.” (David Luna, The Annual, May 2013)
Traditional interviewing with a twist: Luna interviews T.J. Kincaid, better known as YouTube’s The Amazing Atheist. (Full disclosure: I am the editor-at-large for The Annual, a monthly humor magazine founded by my childhood friend and comedy connoisseur, Kevin Cole.)
3. “Jokes Taught Me About Sex.” (Andrew Hudgins, The Rumpus, June 2013)
To everyone who didn’t understand the dirty jokes their friends told in middle school: Hudgins understands you. And he may have had it a bit worse.
4. “And … Scene” + “An Oral History of Upright Citizens’ Brigade Theater Partying and ‘Awkward Sexuality.’” (Brian Raftery, New York magazine and Vulture, 2011 and 2013)
Their former venues include a bloody delicatessen basement and a low-fi burlesque club frequented by Hasidic Jews. Upright Citizens Brigade has produced some of the wildest and funniest folks in comedy today. Here, Raftery compiles the experiences of the early days of Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Bobby Moynihan, Horatio Sanz, Janeane Garofalo and many more.
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Photo: Marcin Wichary
[Not single-page] An oral history of the TV show “Cheers”:
Danson: I’ll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley and Rhea were carrying that week’s episode, and the guys were just, ‘Let’s play hooky.’ We’d never done anything wrong before. John had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 a.m. We all called in sick, and Jimmy caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, ‘You want to try some mushrooms?’ I’d never had them, so I’m handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours. I sat next to George, and every sixty seconds or so he’d poke me and go, ‘Breathe.’ [gasp] And I’d come back to life.
Harrelson: I was a little worried about him. It looked like his face was melting. I think I may have been freaking a little myself, but I had to be cool about it.
Wendt: We got into serious trouble for that. I think we thought Jimmy and Les and Glen would have more of a sense of humor about it. We did it because Ted was doing it. He’s sort of a reluctant leader. He didn’t try to flex his influence. He’s just eminently followable.
Harmon calls his circles embryos—they contain all the elements needed for a satisfying story—and he uses them to map out nearly every turn on, from throwaway gags to entire seasons. If a plot doesn’t follow these steps, the embryo is invalid, and he starts over. To this day, Harmon still studies each film and TV show he watches, searching for his algorithm underneath, checking to see if the theory is airtight. “I can’t not see that circle,” he says. “It’s tattooed on my brain.”
Photo credit: Joe Pugliese