Each week in Give A Little Bit, we talk to funny people — comics, writers, cartoonists, senators — about the first time they got a laugh and a bunch of other things about their life.
This week, writer and performer Emily Bradshaw discusses her first taste of fame, sitting in an empty office and scrolling through her internet history.
Your first bit…
When I was in the second grade, Mrs. Darcy assigned the class a deliberately vague project on the solar system. The parameters of the project were open to interpretation so long as the second graders demonstrated their knowledge of the space unit.
Naturally, I chose to rewrite the lyrics to my favorite show tunes and fill the songs with space facts. I called it “Songs of Space” and it was a big hit at St. James Elementary. I even recorded the songs with my family’s boom box and attached a cassette of my acapella stylings. Oh, the 90s! My favorite track is probably “Venus is Alive with the Sound of Thunder”, a planet-centric re-interpretation of The Sound of Music’s titular song. Just to give you a taste:
“Venus is alive with the sound of thunder
It’s made of yellow poison
And you can melt lead on its surface!”
If you’re wondering what the recording sounded like, just know I was 7 years old and it was very clear I had never had lessons. I definitely held on to that first syllable of ‘Venus” for way, way too long. Like, way too long. However, once you hear the song, I bet you’ll never forget that Venus is made of yellow poison (and you can melt lead on its surface).
Your writing process is…
Well, right now I am temping at a random corporate office in midtown. I’m alone in a reception area. I have a computer, internet access, and very little responsibility. It’s a writer’s dream! Seriously, though, it’s amazing how effective sitting in a work environment is at getting me to actually work. If I were at my apartment, this would take a lot longer to complete. (See “How you keep it all together…” section).
I have a note in my phone appropriately titled “IDEAS”. Sometimes I look at what I have written down and have no idea what I’m referring to. Other times, I’ll be prompted to embark on a piece I’ve been meaning to execute for a while. Office workers walk by and depending on the layout of the office, I can become incredibly self-conscious. They probably don’t care but I swear one time a guy totally saw that the document I had open was titled “SASQUATCH SKETCH”.
Your influences are…
Everything. Disney, Broadway, and the basic white girl. I suppose that last part is kind of redundant.
“Songs of Space” was actually oddly prophetic. I like to draw on what I already know and what I already love. I attempt to embark on more explicitly original work but the process is just so much easier when I am pulling from something I already know and love.
How you keep it all together…
I don’t! It took me an embarrassingly long time just to fill out this questionnaire. I kept turning on figure skating videos, makeup tutorials, interviews with Star Wars cast members, a behind-the-scenes look at Muppet Christmas Carol, reruns of The Next Food Network Star, pictures of my friends’ wittle babies, and the video montage of Andrew Rannells in Falsettos on Broadway.
And then when all that was done, I scrolled through my internet history to find a clever answer to this question….and I got sidetracked.
You wish you wrote…
Matt & Ben by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. I finally had the opportunity to play the role of Ben Affleck in a small production of the play earlier this year. It was the third time I had auditioned for the role! The play is hilarious and yet so simple. The play challenges and plays with gender dynamics in such an original, lighthearted way. Two women play the roles of a couple of the whitest, straightest males in recent memory. At the offset, it can seem like a simple Type A/Type B personality mashup but the dialog is just so damn clever! I wish I had written it. I wish I was Mindy Kaling.
A new bit…
A spoof of the children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…” called “If Emily Puts on Mascara…”