People, Not Profiles: Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula on Comedy, Dating, and the Internet

Alli and Jen find inspiration in the inherent absurdity of the internet. Photo by Lindsay May Cook. 

Alli and Jen find inspiration in the inherent absurdity of the internet. Photo by Lindsay May Cook. 

Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula find comedy inspiration in a space many of us take for granted — the internet. Their comedy show Blogologues, where they turn real-world internet weirdness into hilarious stage productions, led Time Out New York to name them among the 10 funniest women in New York City. Now they have a brand new show called How To Break Up By Text, where they analyze real audience text messages to comedic—and therapeutic—effect. 

We caught up with Alli and Jen and asked them some questions in advance of the next performance of How To Break Up By Text this Friday, January 13, at the Peoples Improv Theater. (Find tickets here.) Enjoy!

 

Tell us your story. How did the two of you start working together, and how did you decide to make performing the internet your passion?

We were classmates at Yale, but reconnected a few years after graduation. We were both fascinated with how technology and new media were completely changing the way stories were being told, and we were simultaneously disillusioned with the acting roles available for women. At a certain point, it seemed obvious to us to turn online and start performing the wealth of stories there!

We started Blogologues — our show where we perform internet text -- a few years ago. In the process, we became particularly fascinated and frustrated with how texting is changing communication. Hence our brand new show: How To Break Up By Text.

 

Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie got broken up with on a Post-It? Back then, it seemed so inconsiderate, but at least she didn't get ghosted!

Funny you should mention that — we actually reference that episode in the show! And yes, ghosting is the worst. 

 

How have our standards fallen so far in such a short period of time? Do you think the internet has truly made us worse people, or do you think it has simply amplified behavior patterns that were already there? 

Our standards have definitely fallen far, and very quickly. Texting in particular allows us to take the easy route. Telling someone you’re no longer interested is awkward and difficult; texting — or worse, ignoring them completely — is so much easier. And so that’s what people do nowadays. But that doesn’t make it okay. The easiest route is not necessarily the correct one.

In our show, we use humor — alongside real screenshots of text break ups! — to point out these behaviors. Very occasionally, we think it’s okay to text, or even to ghost — but only extremely early on in the relationship, and when you really feel in your heart of hearts that the recipient would agree with the tactic. Otherwise, we need to remember that people are more than just profiles.

Has the internet made us worse people? It depends on your interpretation of the question. Are we inherently worse? No. But if we judge ourselves by our actions, then yes, we’re worse.

"We need to remember that people are more than just profiles." [Tweet this]

 

In How To Break Up By Text, you analyze real text exchanges by audience members. Is there anything you've learned by doing the show that might be helpful advice for people who are currently navigating the world of online dating?

WHERE TO START?! Here are a few general guidelines, though there are exceptions to the rules, of course:

  • If you’ve only been on one or two online dates, and haven’t even made out, ghost away.
  • If you have a mutual friend, do not ghost.
  • If you’ve been on 1-3 dates, maybe made out — bottom line, if you know the other person is expecting to hear from you — send a text letting them know that you aren’t feeling it after all (as nicely as possible!). This early on, it’s kind of okay; no one wants to be broken up with to their face that early on. So a text can actually be kinder, without leaving the person hanging. 
  • If you’ve been on a few more dates than that, make a damn phone call.
  • If you’ve been seeing each other for, y’know, some time now and are sleeping together, DO NOT BREAK UP BY TEXT. Man/woman/person up. Do it face-to-face.

We have some other rules, including a break-up formula, but you’ll have to see the show for that. :)

 

Those are excellent rules! If everyone followed them, the internet would be a much kinder place. On a lighter note, what's the funniest thing you've ever seen on the internet? 

Oh god, it’s way too inappropriate to mention here. Let’s just say it’s a fan fiction piece.

 

Internet aside, what (or who) inspires you? 

Entrepreneurs! We work out of a tech coworking space, and we joke that techies are the new artists. They’re the ones who look at the world and see something that should exist, and then they create it.

"Techies are the new artists. They see something that should exist, and then create it." [Tweet this] 

 

Visit Blogologues.org to learn more about Alli and Jen's performances and download Siren for iPhone/iPad orAndroid now to read and respond to their questions.