Condoms, Cleaning Supplies & Crap: A Q&A With Sarah Haskins

Illustration for article titled Condoms, Cleaning Supplies & Crap: A Q&A With Sarah Haskins

If you've seen her videos mocking birth control, cleaning products, or products that make you poop, then you already know that Current TV star Sarah Haskins is very, very funny. But did you also know that the Harvard grad and self-described nerd loves both Gossip Girl and Joan Didion? Or that she wouldn't mind being the President Of France? I conducted an internet chat with the breakout star of Current TV's infoMania; the fun begins after the jump.DODAI: OK, I have a lot of questions, so let me just fire away: Where did you get the idea of Target: Women? Did you see something stupid one day and just snap? SARAH HASKINS: Yes — Target Women is part of a show on Current TV called infoMania. I was writing for that show and I wanted to do something on-air as well. In my search for ideas I saw a ton of yogurt commercials and I was reminded of how ridiculous they always seemed to me. So, that started it. We built Target Women around that idea. DODAI: And since then, you've been able to riff on a lot of companies which "target" women: In regards to ad campaigns, why do you think they have such a tough time making ads for women that make sense? SARAH HASKINS: I think they're trying to toe a very fine line between seeming "with it" in terms of modern female roles and responsibilities while trying to do the tricky dance of selling us products that are related to much more traditional things: cleaning, cooking for your family, being a wifey… Hard to do both and not seem insane or ridiculous. DODAI: Of the Target Women eps that you have done — yogurt, brides, pasta commercials, cleaning supplies, etc - do you have a favorite? (I know it's like asking your fave color in a beautiful rainbow, but just curious!) SARAH HASKINS: Hrrrm. I have a soft spot for birth control (the piece) (and the idea, sure, why not?) and cleaning products. Cleaning products was just so fun to shoot and be goofy in. DODAI: God, those needy, needy mops. SARAH HASKINS: They just hunger for some company. DODAI: Is there a topic you'd love to do but can't because it's maybe vulgar or, I don't know, sexual? I am not coming on to you. SARAH HASKINS: Ha! We're pretty free- most of the time we can't do pieces because we just don't have media to play and make it interesting. I'd say one of the things I find hilarious and awful is when dudes have decorated condoms. Seriously? DODAI: Ew. SARAH HASKINS: So, that's probably too vulgar and would shock my Mom. And she'd write me a stern e-mail. Were you thinking of something? DODAI: Nope! Just wondering. SARAH HASKINS: Now I'm going to think of vulgar ideas. Not as many douche commercials these days. DODAI: What were you like as a kid, did you sit in front of the TV critiquing commercials then? SARAH HASKINS: I wasn't allowed to watch much TV when I was little. It's definitely something I did with my friends in high school and college. Not as like, a structured activity, but I think we all make fun of commercials. And I have funny friends. DODAI: How and when did you decide to make comedy a career? SARAH HASKINS: My freshman year in college. I started doing improv and I just loved it. I probably never grew out of playing make believe, or wishing a door to a magical universe would open and transport me in. Besides books, improv was the closest thing to an adventure. And then I saw a Second City show that winter break and that sealed the deal. I am a nerd. DODAI: Nerds are cool! SARAH HASKINS: Woo! (drinks whiskey) DODAI: What about high school? What were you like back then? Any mean girls?? SARAH HASKINS: I was fairly serious - not that I didn't have a sense of humor, I just took the world seriously. I wasn't super popular, but my classmates liked and respected me. I did student government, sports, plays. Our school was very small - most of the mean girl shit went down in middle school and I don't think anyone escapes from that unscathed. DODAI: But you said you liked to read, which is cool, and an escape — what are some of your fave books or authors? SARAH HASKINS: Good question! Favorite books: Wild Swans by Jung Chang. All the King's Men, Middlemarch, For Kings and Planets, Ender's Game, Angle of Repose. I love Joan Didion, especially her essay "Goodbye to All That." Now I am worried I am going to forget something and then I'll feel guilty like the Book Gods are watching over me. DODAI: Oh no, well, you can always amend the list! SARAH HASKINS: Phew. I hate being smote. Smited? DODAI: Smoteth? SARAH HASKINS: Yes. Smoteth. DODAI: Do you ever get recognized, and what do people say to you, if so? SARAH HASKINS: My favorite exchange was this - Drunk Guy With Glitter In Beard At Bar: You make internet videos. That are funny. Way to go. Then I got a thumbs up. DODAI: Charming! SARAH HASKINS: I liked him. DODAI: What do you think you would be doing if there were no internet? (Scary thought, I know.) SARAH HASKINS: Well, Current is technically a TV I guess I'd be writing for the show and grousing about how to get people to watch it. Or maybe I'd still be acting. Or being a pioneer. Or running for vice president. Whatevs. I meant acting...ON THE STAGE. TROD THE BOARDS! HARK! DODAI: Yes! Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I were a cro-mag or something, and I usually feel like it would be the same thing: telling stories around the campfire. SARAH HASKINS: Did you ever wonder when you were younger about what people did when they got up at dawn and went to bed at sunset? Yes — It was stories. DODAI: Yeah, the immortal human narrative. Where is Joe Campbell when you need him? SARAH HASKINS: Bathroom. That dude. DODAI: UGH. SARAH HASKINS: Put the milk down, Campbell. DODAI: Hey, so if you could live in another era, when would it be? Would you be a saucy Victorian governess? Prohibition floozy? SARAH HASKINS: I like the saucy governess - but of course we all want to live in the exciting fictionalized version of that era, when Young Master rips off our bodice on the boat to Shanghai but then you have true love....and not being thrown overboard for having unchristian thoughts and deeds. You? DODAI: I'm all for some kind of rococo France Dangerous Liaisons jam, with heaving cleavage and 3 lovers and small dogs and cake. SARAH HASKINS: Ha! Great. Giant wigs, lice underneath and a predilection for foreign ambassadors. DODAI: But a life lived with poetry! Champagne! Beheadings! SARAH HASKINS: Cake! I would write "lol" to your answer but I feel weird and fifteen when I do that. DODAI: Haha. I hear ya. Do you have any comedy heroes/heroines? SARAH HASKINS: Yes... I mean, Tina Fey. Can you get more awesome? No. And Amy Poehler. And, generally, I've always been pretty inspired by the ladies and gents I've worked with in the Chicago comedy scene. I totally ripped off Carol Burnett's portrayal of Ms. Hannigan in Annie when I was in eighth grade. DODAI: OMG I loved Annie. When she sang "Easy Street"? That was pretty great. SARAH HASKINS: It's great! I was Ms. Hannigan in the play and had so much fun. Also, my little sister and I used to sing "Easy Street" when we had the hiccups because it made us laugh. DODAI: So what TV shows do you like? And if you had to pick a reality show to be on, which one would it be? SARAH HASKINS: TV shows: 30 Rock, Battlestar Galactica, Gossip Girl (I am ashamed, but it's so great), Colbert, Daily Show. My roommate and I are completely obsessed with Mad Men. Completely. If I HAD to be on a reality show, Amazing Race. I am good with maps. DODAI: Amazing Race would be fun. Are you pro Blair/Chuck on Gossip Girl? SARAH HASKINS: Yes. I haven't seen last night's episode yet, but I love how evil Chuck Bass is. DODAI: He's fantastic. I am not ashamed that I read 8 of the books. But I used to work at a teen mag, that is my excuse. SARAH HASKINS: No excuse needed. The New Yorker writer loved the books. High brow alert! DODAI: Totes. So is there any person whose job you'd love to have, even for just one day? SARAH HASKINS: Do I get to have the qualifications to do it? Like, I don't want to say "astronaut" and then have this be a trick where I die in space. DODAI: You will not die! You will totally be awesome at it, for one day. SARAH HASKINS: Oooh! So hard. DODAI: Well, would it be easier if you could pick three? SARAH HASKINS: Mebbe. Something way outside of my comfort zone for one day - mathematician, President of France or fighter pilot. Being a well-respected novelist would be cool. Ann Curry has a cool job. Those Today show people go everywhere! DODAI: True, true! Travel is good. My last question is really just what is next for you? What do you see yourself getting into in, say, the next 3 years? SARAH HASKINS: First — thanks. This is fun. I'll see where all this takes me. I want to keep doing comedy, and writing - so, I find my anxiety is lessened when I keep my focus on the projects in front of me... Also, hard drugs. DODAI: Definitely, that was the kind of question it's easy for me to ask you but I would NEVER answer, who knows what tomorrow brings? Forget about the next three years. Drugs, on the other hand… But thank you SO MUCH. SARAH HASKINS: Thank you - I feel like interviews are so rude because I just blather on, but I appreciate it and I think Jezebel is the bees knees. So, thanks. infoMania is new every Thursday night at 10pm infoMania [Current TV] Earlier: Sarah Haskins Takes On The Disney Princesses Sarah Haskins: Fiber Is Secret Code For Making You Poop Sarah Haskins: Cleaning Is Not A Substitute For Sex Sarah Haskins Wishes You Happy Period Control Sarah Haskins Is A Sucker For RomComs Sarah Haskins On Sarah Palin: Proud Americans Need Token Hillary Estrogen Replacement Sarah Haskins Has A Problem With Marketing Family Meals To Moms Brides, Botox & Yogurt: Sarah Haskins Targets Those Who Target Women


liz.lemonade: She is beyond good and evil.

Okay, I was already fluttery when she said that two of her favorite books are Wild Swans and Middlemarch — I loooooved those back in college! And then her list of favorite shows (identical to mine) cemented that we are so totally destined to be OMGBFF.