After Gawker.com was taken out by the forces of [various redacted factors], Kelly Stout, the site’s then deputy editor, brought her incredible talents to Jezebel. She is by all accounts a sharp, dutiful, irreplaceable editorial force, a dogged editor who’s been indispensable as a coworker, a thinker, friend, a DAD, and the greatest living The Office encyclopedia known to man or woman. She was also one of two Jezebel staffers who bore the burden of using a standing desk in the pod, which makes her a true brave soul and a hero.
Kelly Stout would stop at nothing to tell a mom joke. She would stop at absolutely nothing to tell a dad joke. And she would never pass up an Office reference, even if I was the only person in Slack who would get it. This made her a joy to be around, a disarming, sweet gal (a word she would use) who cared about making people laugh, or better yet snort, and whose brightness helped ease our continuous anxieties amid sinking ships.
As an editor, she gave long reads the magic touch. As a writer, she was relentless. She investigated the sex position of a cookie with the seriousness and sincerity of Matlock. She fire-danced. And she somehow kept repping for the GMG union while being a brilliant dork. We will miss her quick wit, her unsolicited dog photos, and her endless pursuit of the type of great, tedious journalism that has to be toiled at, finessed, and labored over to survive.
The one thing about Kelly that I have always appreciated is her many and bountiful updates about her dog, Louise. Did you know she has one? She does! There’s another dog, Rosie, but Louise is the most active. Hi Louise! The other things I have appreciated about Kelly are as follows: her willingness to think about things that are very stupid with much more seriousness than is required, and her laugh, which is generous. I will miss her, but I’ll ALSO miss Louise.
Kelly, I truly don’t know what I’ll do without your dad jokes and photos of Louise. It is extremely rude of you to leave me. I’ll miss your laugh that makes it sound like you’re choking and your lovely book recommendations. Thanks for encouraging me to write and fighting quite literally day and night for our voices to be heard via the union. See ya later, gator!
Kelly and I have worked closely together since the last days of Gawker. She is one of the most dogged, thorough, thoughtful, and tough editors I’ve ever worked with and my writing was better for it. Without her on my long reads, I am as terrified as a skydiver without a parachute, as clumsy as a 50-lb. hand, as unsteady as a brain without a stem. Will I get over her leaving the site any time in the near future? DOUBT IT.
Kelly Stout was one of my favorite editors to work with and I really wish she could stick around longer for me to keep annoying her with my feature pitches which make no sense. She made me write weird takes about how much I hate alternative milks and once requested I go harder on making fun of French people in a blog. She was always the person that, after you cracked a stupid joke, would say, “That’s a blog,” and you’d be like, “lol ur so crazy,” and she made you feel funny enough to execute it even if you were sure it wouldn’t land. I’m looking forward to ghostwriting Arrival hate takes under her byline when she leaves.
In the weeks between Kelly’s decision to quit her job at The New Yorker and become the deputy editor of Gawker.com and her actual first day on the job, a Pinellas County, Florida, saddled the company with a back-breaking $140 million invasion of privacy judgment that eventually led to bankruptcy and the death of the site she jumped ship for. Also, when I announced her hire on Twitter, I called her “Kelly Scout,” which, though it is a great name, is not her name.
Everything went uphill from there! Kelly, I’m sorry I got your name wrong and I’m sorry I told you that a potential loss in the Hogan trial was “no big deal” since we would “win on appeal” and “the worst case scenario” is that “we have to file for bankruptcy” which “actually isn’t that bad.” I’m thankful that you stuck around through all the chaos that you walked into, and that you were here to lend your colleagues your poise and circumspection and good humor as you helped everyone carry on.
Kelly is a brilliant editor, blog genius, soft heart, union thug, supportive dad, and cherished friend (to me). I could go on about how desperately I’m going to miss her voice and vision, both at Jez and on our bargaining committee, but instead I will say this: I watched Arrival this week, specifically for her. I fell asleep during parts of it because it was late and it felt long. But I think that, if I am understanding the movie correctly, she was like Louise for Jezebel; always interpreting, anticipating, and repeating our dead wives’ last words back to us to help us be our better selves and protect the Heptopod (the Jez pod).
In 2016, Kelly wrote in an intimate letter to me, “There is something about nature that always makes one feel very in nature.” I’ve been thinking about it for two years.
Kelly is a rare combination of brilliant and stupid, wise and hapless, infuriatingly funny, and filled with the best takes on the ’net. She is mother to two beautiful growing woman dogs, and one of the best, most rigorous editors I’ve ever met. I love her very much and look forward to stalking her wherever she goes.
Kelly Stout likes dogs, which is my thing! I hope she burns in hell.
After the shipwreck, once the problem of drowning or not drowning has been settled, the navigator becomes the indispensable person. It is important to be able to catch fish and to collect whatever rainwater may fall on the lifeboats or the rafts of floating debris, but those strategies can’t go on forever, and the important thing is to be moving somewhere, toward something other than immense, helpless desolation.
Kelly never experienced anything of Gawker Media but the shipwreck; the very day she walked up the gangplank was the day the torpedo, fired from the U-boat that had been stalking us, struck home. There was nothing but emergency, disaster, and loss—and then emptiness and survival. But despite having missed out on the normal voyage, Kelly had as clear a sense as anyone for where to point the lifeboat of Special Projects into the unwelcoming waves. She insisted on logic, meaning, and quality, and the crew followed her lead. Even after she’d swum away from us, over to Jezebel, if I found myself alone at the helm, I would check my own bearings against hers. When the charts are useless, all you can do is trust the right people.
Of the very few work-related conversations I had with Kelly Stout during my short stint contributing to Jezebel, I found her to be absolutely intimidating (perhaps it’s a tall person thing) and brilliant (when sitting down.) I will miss pictures of her dog.
Kelly Stout voluntarily left a job at The New Yorker to take a job at Gawker JUST as we were being bankrupted by Hulk Hogan which makes her the hardcorest / most insane person I know. Her actual personality is very modest, but when you get to know her you find out she has a house full of big attack dogs and wants to start an immediate communist revolution via our union. Kelly was the last official Gawker staffer and they ain’t making anymore. I hope that she never gets another “respectable” journalism job so that she can just keep working with people like us.
My only remaining joy in life was the secret, incredibly dumb Slack room where Kelly, me, and one other person talked about lunch every day. Now she’s taken that from me too, but she can’t steal my extremely meaningful memories.
Kelly, if you think I won’t text you at 12:34 every day asking about lunch just because you “don’t work here any more” and “please stop calling me, it’s getting weird,” you are sorely mistaken.
I’ve never told Kelly this (in so many words), but she endlessly inspiring to me for many reasons: She is kind and generous, a brilliant editor, fiercely loyal, a tireless defender of our union and of the work we do, and a raging goofball (perhaps her best quality) with a devastating and encyclopedic knowledge of The Office. But through one small encounter that I’m sure Kelly doesn’t even remember, she also changed my life, teaching me an important lesson I now carry with me always. It took place in a union meeting, one of my firsts on the bargaining committee; I was nervous and probably worried that I took someone’s chair and didn’t say anything the whole time.
As the meeting went on, I watched my colleagues debate the merits of something or the other and things began to get, well, a little tense. And then I heard Kelly—sweet Kelly, expertly gracious Kelly, morally rigorous Kelly—diffuse the situation by saying this: “I don’t have a strong opinion on that either way at the moment.” Reader, a light bulb turned on—a lightbulb that had been floating dimly over my head for god knows how long! I learned, in that instant, something that many of us are never told outright: It’s okay to just not weigh in if you don’t want to yet. You can always shut up! You don’t HAVE to HAVE an OPINION! (Here I was, thinking that I did.) What brilliance, what sense of self—Kelly struck me as the kind of person that companies could pay buttloads of money to, to have her come in and explain the obvious to them. That’s what Kelly did for me, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Kelly, you are wise beyond your years and you will continue to impress us in whatever you do. This shit is sadder than when Michael Scott left The Office, and one million percent less funny. In your absence, I will be left wondering who Jezebel’s Dwight Schrute is and though it’s probably Hazel, I will let you know if that changes.
Although Kelly’s work for Jezebel was mostly behind-the-scenes, she is also a painfully good writer and a satirical genius who makes me laugh every day. Kelly is gifted with an imagination that I am deeply envious of, and she’s able to easily inhabit the gruesome minds of very specifically recognizable made-up people who I will remember forever. “I’ve been going to the same perineum guy for four years now and I swear there is no one better,” Kelly wrote in the classic blog My Vaginal Beauty Self-Care Routine. “I see Ledge at Perinial Wisdom in Soho. Ledge is a total minimalist just like me, and turned me on to the magic of Goji Berry Hydroboost Exfoliator by L’Hotel En Bas. I swear if they ever discontinue it I’ll kill myself!”
Ok, I’d like to point you to one more passage from what is personally my favorite Kelly satire, The Cool Thing About Me:
I guess I’m just different from the rest of my generation. Sometimes I’ll be at a party and everyone will be talking about the latest thing Donald Trump said, and I’ll think to myself, It’s like these people have no idea about the collapse of Haiti’s handicrafts economy.
Kelly is the kind of editor who will sit with you for an hour talking out ideas, instantly pulling you out of a panic or a rut with a few wise, measured off-the-cuff observations. She has painstakingly, thoughtfully helped craft the stories that I feel most proud of, and along the way, she’s helped me become a smarter, more disciplined writer. Once, when I turned in 10,000 words on a fruitarian YouTuber named Freelee the Banana Girl, Kelly completed the emotionally quite challenging but absolutely necessary task of forcing me to cut it in half. Our friendship has somehow survived, and I simply refuse to roast her.
Things I can’t stand about Kelly Stout:
- Her arrival to Jezebel brought our Kelly Kount to 2, and everyone knows there should only be one Kelly per 100 people.
- She’s constantly saying reassuring things like, “It’ll be fine!” and “Don’t worry about it!” when I would prefer to complain.
- One time I went to her house and she immediately offered me a glass of red wine, when what I really wanted was a glass of lambrusco, which she didn’t even have in the house. Then, when I was like, “I have to leave!” She was all, “Aw, don’t go! Stay for another glass!” And I thought, Is this woman seriously just assuming I’m OK with red that isn’t bubbly?
- Her dog has heterochromia, which I’m told is the result of a curse.
- She likes Arrival a little too much? Like, we get it.
- Last week she texted to invite me to an afternoon party and was like, “pls pls come!” Then she never responded when I arrived and asked how to get in:
Imagine missing her! I can’t.
Kelly is the kindest and most patient editor I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. No one has more consistently supported me in pursuing my obsessions, helping to extract narratives from the surpluses of data I manage to accumulate when researching and reporting on the people and institutions who are making this world more hellish by the day. Whether filing two thousand words too many or indulging in one’s most grandiose visions about what the reporting project of their career might add up to, Kelly never blinks—there is no more staunch defender of a writer’s best instincts or a more deft handler of their worst. Any newsroom would be lucky to have her; there is no roast here because I’m going to miss working with her too much.
One time, Kelly invited me to a really fun birthday party that wasn’t super convenient to get to from my apartment. Not only that, but she then gave me cake that I ate too much of and felt sick. Those two things, I’m fairly sure, are the least kind things she’s ever done and neither were on purpose.
I’m selfishly very sad to lose Kelly because I was hoping to learn more from her; she is an excellent editor and so precise with language in a way that I am just not. Once when I was struggling with building an argument for a piece, Kelly advised me to explain it out loud, as if I were trying to convince a stranger. This sounds like such an obvious trick, and yet it had never occurred to me. I went to a phone booth, spoke out loud to no one at all, and then came back with a thesis and a rough outline. On a more personal note, I’m also sad because she was, and remains, Investment Club’s most enthusiastic member and number one fan. My hope for Kelly is that she will infiltrate all the capitalist systems and make millions from their implosions.
I’ve known Kelly since we were 18 years old and randomly paired as freshman college roommates, and I learned so much about her in that first year of our friendship. She was very funny, and very smart, and loyal and principled in a way that made me look up to her. Also, instead of dumping her contact solution into the trash or the sink like a normal person, she dumped it onto my $20 Ikea rug for nine straight months—a fact I learned when I caught her in the act during our ninth month of cohabitation. She didn’t understand that this was a weird thing to do. Please join me in confirming for her that this was a weird thing to do.
Anyway, it will be clear to anyone reading this sendoff that during her time at GMG, Kelly has established herself not only as a tremendous weirdo, but also a gifted editor and a hilarious, conscientious writer. I remain in awe of the piece of writing she was able to put together the day after the 2016 election, when most of us were still walking around in a daze. Her work here has really been a continuation of her legacy at our college newspaper, where she published such classics as “Manbox ineffective” (“Last week’s erection of the so-called manbox in the College Center North Atrium was neither all good nor all bad. As far as erections go, some are wanted, some are not, and this one falls somewhere in between”) and “Costumes that come ‘too soon’ for Halloween 2009" (idea #1, in the midst of the recession, was “Get 12 friends together and dress up as laid-off employees. Trick-or-treat at [college president’s] house. Get a fourteenth friend who’s up for the challenge to dress up as [college president’s] pay cut”). I think it’s sort of strange that Kelly is leaving Jezebel to pick up her collegiate a cappella career where it ended, but I do wish her the best of luck.
Kelly Stout loves dumb jokes. I mean, I thought I loved dumb jokes, but Kelly Stout really loves them. It’s not just dad jokes, but all dad-adjacent jokes, really. The more straightforward, the better. She enjoys Office clips and jokes based on that one picture of Amy Adams in Arrival. It’s so pure! And I am going to miss it so much. I’ve never been so bummed to regain exclusive use of my own name. BUT I AM KELLY F NO MORE, JUST KELLY.
Kelly, it was such a pleasure to hear your very distinct laugh float through our work pod, and I’ll miss you sharing pics that your dog walker sends of Lou. But above all else, I’ll treasure watching Sex and the City for the first time with you. Will treasure our CAPSLOCK Slack conversations about that ridiculous fucking show, especially the pee episode.
[Please sing this to the tune of the Rent-inspired goodbye song to Michael Scott on The Office]
🎶Nine million nine hundred eighty six thousand cli-ips🎶
🎶I actually sat down🎶
🎶And did the math 🎶
🎶Nine million nine hundred eighty six thousand cli-ips🎶
🎶That’s how many Office vids🎶
🎶You and I have sent🎶
🎶In Sla-acck, in te-ext, in meetings, in bars with coffee (Idk)🎶
🎶More Sla-ack, more te-ext🎶
🎶YouTube clips we made everyone watch🎶
🎶Nine million nine hundred eighty six thousand cli-ips🎶
🎶That’s like watching Die Hard eighty thousand times🎶
Hey, Kelly. Text or call or email. Or call. <3
No group of people deserved Kelly’s presence and wisdom less than us. That she came here anyway, and became one of the most important voices of conscience at this company, ought to defy logic. But she did it, and we became better writers and colleagues because of her. I envy the luck of those who will work with Kelly in the future, while counting myself as immensely lucky for being her friend. Oh, Kelly, I am going to miss you!
Kelly Stout is a curious and voracious imbiber of the written word: She reads every book and every article and processes it all in a clear and cogent way. This is an admirable quality and one that I believe she uses to distract from the fact that she has seemingly only ever seen one television show in her life: The Office.
Not only has she ONLY seen The Office, she has seen every episode so many times that at times she seems incapable of framing any given real-life scenario outside the rubric of The Office. Just this week, for instance, the Jezebel staff was casually talking about someone and, apropos of nothing, she called him a Jim. To the uninitiated that might sound random, but we’ve become used to this, and in tandem with her unflagging propensity for making the groaniest, lowest-hanging dad jokes, you might in turn call Kelly Stout a Michael Scott, but without the sexual harassment and casual racism and bad suits. (Also, Kelly would never have gone out with Jan.)
Of all the Michael Scott-y traits that Kelly Stout possesses, one stands out the most: That even though sometimes we might roll our eyes at her Dadness (I lost count of the times I responded to her jokes “god damn it Kelly”), the foundation of that is true love and respect and admiration for someone who we now are lucky enough to call family. So in honor of her Office fanaticism, I’ll finish out this analogy: Kelly Stout, I’m glad to be your kinda Andy Bernard.