In our new miniseries, Ivy’s Real Talk for Fake Life, comedy writer Ivy Johnson offers advice to some well-loved or much-hated characters.
Hey Ivy, what’s up?
Yo, Drake here. Straight up, like, Imma level with you right now. Girl, I don’t know how to play basketball. I’m not talking, like, I’m no good at dribbling or some shit. What I’m saying is I don’t understand, like, the rules of the game. Those guys, man, like Lowry and DeRozan, those are my brothers, man, and I love them, like actually. But when the one guy in the stripy shirt blows his whistle, or when the ball goes through the basketball ring but then the numbers don’t go up, I’m just like, “What is that about?” I’m so sick of having to look around at everyone else so I know when to jump up or when to make an angry face. I for real wish someone would explain the whole thing, but man, it’s way too late for me to ask now, you know?
Let’s try a visualization exercise: imagine that your friends Lowry and DeRozan are at one of your concerts. There they are, crouching to fit under the lights at the Rogers Centre, their gigantic hands grazing the tops of the regular-sized audience members. They smile at you and wave, maybe giving you an encouraging thumbs up with their terrifyingly massive thumbs. As you’re rapping about how much you love and respect women, you notice that they’re confused, trying desperately to keep up with the lyrics, disoriented by your rapid rhymes and a-melodic hooks. Maybe Lowry turns to DeRozan and says, “I know it’s music, but parts of it sound a lot like talking.” It looks like your buddies from “the 6ix” don’t understand hip-hop music.
Now tell me, are you angry? Or is your heart warmed by the fact that they’ve shown up to support you, even though they can’t possibly be enjoying themselves? I bet it’s the latter, and I also bet that if these guys love you as much as you love them, they’ll teach you all about basketball, starting from the bottom. Take care, and you can thank me later.
Your help is politely requested. I worry that you’ll find me superficial or petty, but the source of my problem is my red riding hood, which I have worn so often and for so long that it has become something of a moniker. In truth I’ve always liked this fact, given that my first name is Griswolda. But it now presents a problem, as I am desirous of doffing this immature garb, in keeping with my advanced age.
Soon I shall be married and will tend house for one of the local woodcutters (I’m the only single eleven-year-old in the village!) so why must I continue to costume myself as a child? I know, I know, seventeenth century feudal problems. But really, if I do change my “look,” how will people know me? Would I have to change my epithet to Little Burgundy Cowl? I do wish my nickname had referred to some intrinsic part of me, like my flaxen hair, or my speed when deboning sparrows.
Little Red Riding Hood
I completely agree with you. I think it’s dangerous for us, as a society, to define people by the clothes they wear. For instance, not every person dressed in a black trenchcoat is a goth; not every person with a mustache is a hipster; not every creature who is wearing your grandmother’s PJs is your grandmother. Keep that in mind.
I say go ahead and rock that burgundy cowl if it speaks to you, and the next time someone refers to you as the coat-thing you’re wearing (rude!) you just say, “It’s Griswolda, actually.” Or maybe just Grizzy! THE GRIZZLER? The point is that it’s your call.
It’s me, Buffy. I’ve been mostly vegging out since I destroyed The Hellmouth and all the demons living within it, and it’s been great. My husband Craig and I met at the grocery store when I made a pretty funny pun about stakes/steaks, and we’ve been together ever since. No more vampire boyfriends for Buffy! Here’s the issue though, and don’t laugh: I think my mother-in-law is a demon. She’s always criticizing everything I do, she’s all gnarled and wrinkly like a demon, and she’s creepily similar to my husband, but has only his worst traits. I want to say she’s like a Craig-Demon? Anyway, I’m all set to slay her, but what am I going to tell Craig?
Maybe your mother-in-law is a demon. Maybe all mothers-in-law are demons. But they’re not some run-of-the-mill Scrofflax demon or whatever that you can just chop at with a fancy silver axe or something. (Full disclosure: I don’t totally understand what you do.)
To vanquish this demon, try brewing up a potion of avoiding-sensitive-conversational-topics root and treating-her-with-kindness-and-respect-even-when-it’s-difficult flower. Then add some eye of complaining-later-to-your-girlfriends, and you’re done! Don’t worry too much about the injustice of the situation. Even if she’s in the wrong, she’s paying for it in other ways, like for example the fact that she’s so gnarled and wrinkly.
Ivy Johnson is a comedy writer living in Toronto. She recently returned from Halifax, where she was writing for This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Ivy is currently a staff writer for The Beaverton, and has contributed articles to Punchline and The Globe and Mail.