May 15 2018

The Suite Life of Samantha Irby

Los Angeles-The Standard Interview
The hilarious author of "Meaty" and "We Are Never Meeting in Real Life" gives Standard Culture a peek into her hotel life while passing through LA on her book tour.
THE STANDARD: You're just setting out on a book tour with the re-release of your first book, Meaty, and going to stay in a lot of hotel rooms. What's your typical room service situation (and don't you dare lie).
SAMANTHA IRBY: OK, so this answer is gonna tell you basically everything you need to know about me as a person. I never order room service. Not because I wouldn’t love to have a lavish cheese tray delivered to me in bed (actually, I probably wouldn’t because do I have to put a bra on for that transaction?), but because I never asked anyone at Vintage (my publisher) whether or not I’m allowed to order a fancy room salad. What if that conversation is awkward and someone has to explain to me, an adult, in their most kindergarten teacher voice that I’m not allowed to charge them for my pajama pizza? And I definitely don’t want to just assume that it’s cool and then have to explain to the exasperated travel coordinator why I thought I, a person who writes about butts, was worthy of a $19 plate of eggrolls in Seattle?!
 
What do you do in hotel rooms when the "Do Not Disturb" sign is on the door?
Sweat silently in an anxiety-induced panic every time I hear someone in the hall because I’m afraid someone will hear me shuffling around the room and knock anyway to see if I need my towels swapped or whatever. I leave the DND on the door for the entirety of my stay whenever I’m in a hotel. I don’t want to risk awkwardly confronting the person tasked with disposing of my Q-tips when I come barging in after going to the closest drugstore, so I’m not tempted to drink a $7 water or $9 Diet Coke. I can turn down my own bed.
 
Inside pant or hotel robe or both or neither?
Inside pants, but the fancy ones I pack for traveling in case the fire alarm goes off and I’m forced to loiter on the corner with a bunch of strangers in the middle of the night while hoping my phone doesn’t burn up. Also, every hotel robe I’ve ever encountered has been fitted for someone with Barbie doll measurements, so I don’t even take it off the hanger. I can feel bad about myself in my own actual clothes, I don’t need to be humiliated by a major hotel chain.
 
Any funny stories from your last book tour? 
I got sunstroke in Austin and, because I’m a vampire who never goes outside, I thought that I was actively dying the entire time I was there. In a flash of desperation, I went to urgent care and the nurse there was like, “Do you ever drink water?” so I immediately left burning with shame, got Gatorade, and refused to even glance outdoors for the entirety of the trip.
 
What'd you learn from your last tour that you're applying to this one?
Try to be early. It’s one thing to run late for a gig in a city I know the shortcuts to, but I can’t be showing up to these readings with my stomach in knots because I hit the snooze button a bunch of times and then couldn’t find a cab. So now I just get there early and stand awkwardly around hoping I’m not weirding anyone out.
 
Do your cats show any emotion when you get home?
NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT. When I walked in the door at the end of the first leg of this tour, the cats were looking at me like, “Ugh, we thought you died.” I’m not even sure where all of this animosity comes from since all I want to do is take boomerang videos of them fighting and buy them top shelf treats. At least they don’t pee in my suitcase!
 
I read Meaty's now going to be a show on FX with Jessi Klein co-writing and Abbi Jacobson producing. In an ideal world, who would play you and your love interest?
Meaty is still looking for a television home (FX was kind of a trial foster situation, so we’re back at the shelter trying to wag our tails and look cute and land a forever home), but in my fantasyland we’d get someone brooding and serious like Forest Whitaker to play me, and I’m not picky when it comes to romance, so it could be whoever he’s into, TBH. He and Oprah had good chemistry in The Butler, right? I could get with Oprah.
 
Is there anyone in particular from your past that you hope sees you thriving because it feels like sweet, sweet justice?
I hope every ex-boyfriend of mine who said something along the lines of “Wow, I just don’t get why people find you funny” is literally choking on their regret at this very second. Little did they know those jokes were gonna make me a hundred-aire with unrelenting knee pain who gets tagged at least twice a day in a photo of a free library copy of her book on Instagram. She who laughs last, etc., etc., etc.