20 QUESTIONS with CECE PLEASANTS
Twenty things you (probably) didn’t know about comedy writer/producer, CeCe Pleasants.
1. My first job was… as an “usherette” at the Mason Dixon Music Hall at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA. I was 15, and I got to wear a puffy-sleeved, long pink and white dress with white Keds!
2. If I wasn’t a writer, I would likely be… homeless? Seriously, I have very few marketable skills. Maybe a sign spinner.
3. I collect… cat hair. I only have one cat, but his hair is all over me, all the time. Help!
4. My favorite word is… chicken. Chickens are funny, and the word for them is funny. Chicken, chicken, chicken!
5. I’m a big fan of… reading. I love to watch TV, obviously, but if I don’t also have a book going, I don’t feel whole.
6. The single best piece of (writing related) advice I have ever gotten… is: “Do the show.” If you work in TV, the quicker you learn to let go of your ego and do the show you were hired to do, the happier you’ll be. You can have your ego and your own brilliant sensibilities back when you get to do your own show!
7. I have always wanted to… write a novel. Someday I’m going to have/make the time to do it. No kidding.
8. The best thing I have ever read, (but did not write) is… Pride and Prejudice. I read it once a year. Jane Austen was a satirist. In her polite, Regency way, she was one of our earliest funny lady writers. I read her when I need to feel warm and inspired.
9. People often tell me that I… look like someone they know. I have a condition I call, “generic white girl face,” so I look like everyone’s friend from college.
10. I really think that my best work (published or not) is… this one-act play I wrote called “Uncle Steve Touched My Woo Woo.” It’s not the greatest play ever. I know I can do better, but it’s crazy, dark, funny and really weird. It represents a time in my life when I just wrote exactly what I wanted with no one else in mind. That’s something I want to do again… and again.
11. I find inspiration in… my family, my friends, my dog, my cat, music, and BOOKS! If I’m stuck, a couple of chapters of a great book can help me “get my words back.” Kurt Vonnegut’s work is the best for this — thank you Kurt!!
12. The best thing about being a professional writer is… getting paid to write stuff! Are you kidding? Like any job, there are bad days. But on those days, I sit myself down and say, “CeCe, people are paying you to write jokes. That’s what you do for a LIVING, get grateful, dummy!” It’s all about perspective.
13. I spend way too much time… on the Internet. Damn you, Internet! I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you! Another writer told me about an app called, “Freedom.” It’s timed Internet-blocking software. I don’t like that I have to use it, because it means I have no willpower. But I don’t. So this is great: https://macfreedom.com/
14. The funniest person in my cell phone is… before she passed away it would have been my Mom, Carol Bock. She was the funniest person I’ve ever known. A close second is my husband, Brandon Adams. People don’t realize how hilarious he is because he’s a quiet gentleman. But you should get to know him. He’s SO FUNNY.
15. It really bothers me when… people say, “You’re really funny for a girl.” Sometimes these people are kidding, sometimes they aren’t. Either way, it completely undercuts everything I do — my whole career — in one neat, little statement. I hope someday soon, in this industry and others, people start seeing beyond color, age, sexual orientation and penises and vaginas… because discriminating based on those things is so, SO dumb.
16. The worst thing about being a professional writer is… sexism. Not to harp on this, but it’s the only thing that really bums me out about what I do. Hollywood is still a very white, male town. And comedy is the whitest, male-ist part of it. People like to work with people they know, and white guys know a lot of other white guys – that’s who they get high with. I get that. But only hiring white guys means your show only has one perspective. It’s up to head writers and show runners to make diversity a priority and it’s up to women and minorities in hiring positions to hire more women and minorities. As it stands now, most comedy writing staffs are less diverse than the Supreme Court.
17. One mistake that most aspiring writers make is… thinking writing is a sprint, not a marathon. The first draft of your first screenplay/novel/short story/sketch/joke isn’t going to be genius. Neither is the second and maybe not even the third. In fact, you will probably throw the whole thing out. But that’s OK, because you learn something with everything you write. Write more! Get notes! Write more! Repeat! That’s how you get good.
18. If I knew the apocalypse was coming in 24 hours, I’d… see if Bruce Willis was available to drill a hole in the asteroid and save the world!
19. The three websites I visit most often are… I’m not proud, but… Twitter, Jezebel and Newser (short, simple headlines for expedient topical joke writing!)
20. You’d be surprised to know that I… love action movies, good or bad. Give me some “Bang! Bang!” big explosions and cheesy one-liners, and I’m in hog heaven.
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