An interview with Anna David, Betabrand model, NY Times bestselling author and CEO/Founder of AfterPartyChat.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What about your career are you most proud of so far?
I’m a writer, have been a professional writer for over 20 years (I, um, started at 5—really) but the only writing I’m interested in doing myself or reading is funny writing. i started off doing celebrity profiles for magazines like People and Us Weekly, which weren’t funny at all, and then moved into doing dating and relationship stories for places like Playboy, Details and The New York Times. That’s when I truly started to find my voice and my passion, which is essentially to share as honestly as possible what I feel, occasionally venturing into fairly dark terrain, but do it in a way where the reader has almost been tricked into learning something. When I started writing books (have published six so far—no wonder I’m exhausted), I employed the same philosophy. My first novel, Party Girl, which is about my own addiction and recovery, opens with a menage a trois where the protagonist wonders why she had to end up in bed with two nerds while most people’s stories about threesomes tend to be about hooking up with like two members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Hook ‘em in the beginning and let them stay till they learn some things, I say (and no, alas, I never had a menage with members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers). Last year, my 13th year of sobriety, I founded a website all about addiction and recovery called AfterPartyChat, which I sold it this year but continue to run it as we build and monetize. I also host the site’s podcast, AfterPartyPod, where I interview a different sober actor, writer, musician or comedian each week — so far, I’ve interviewed Marc Maron, Jerry Stahl and Moby, among many others. AfterParty is definitely the work I’m the most proud of; we get emails from people who say they were only willing to consider sobriety over suicide when they read something on the site or heard something on the podcast.
When did you first know you were funny? Can you recall the moment and how it made you feel? Why did you choose to pursue comedy as your career?
I theorized I was funny because I had a fairly easy time making people laugh but I didn’t know I could be professionally funny until I wrote my first story for Playboy. I wasn’t going for jokes but just writing about what had happened to me over a week that I spent in New York dating men that another writer had set me up with. I was writing what happened the same way I would tell a friend what had happened. People thought it was funny. And voila, I was a comedic writer!
What does it mean to be a funny woman in your personal life? and in show business?
Alas, what it means for me is that as soon as someone laughs at something I said, I think, “Can I use that in a story? If not, I need to tweet it.” Not proud of this!
What advice would you give to anyone seeking to find their own path – career, or otherwise?
Be patient. Building a real career takes an ungodly amount of time. Stay focused. The people I know who have made it as writers are not necessarily the most talented but the ones who stayed in the game. In terms of finding your own path in life: as Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” This isn’t easy, of course; for me, it’s an ongoing process that often involves only going on Facebook when I’m in the healthiest possible frame of mind and constantly reminding myself that if I compare, I will despair.
Tell us how you really feel about Rubber Chickens.
I’m still a little worried I caught something from the one on the shoot.
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