Risking Delight: Jessi Klein

7 years ago by

Photos Lou Mora

Jessi Klein is so much fun. She took me on a tour of her neighborhood in LA after we recorded this podcast and her honesty and humor is so great to be around. She is just like you and me but with that extra little something that makes her a wonderful TV writer and a New York Times best selling author. In her book, You’ll Grow Out of It she manages to be real, unapologetic and hilarious. I hope you’ll love the conversation we had over a glass of wine in one of her favorite spots in LA, Little Dom’s.

[podcast_episode episode=”247347″ ]

pmf jessi klein garance dore photo

pmf jessi klein garance dore photo

On whether she Googles herself…
Of course I do it! I’m a monster, yes of course. Not as much as I used to, though.

On getting a job in the Development Department at Comedy Central…
I was going to temp for someone because they’d fired their assistant. I was cool enough, could Xerox and send FedEx, and they were like, you’re amazing! The bar was very low.

On her ability to be so honest and open…
Pretty early on, I realized when you’re sharing in a one-on-one conversation and are talking in a very genuine way, the minute you reveal the thing that feels very embarrassing or genuine, there’s so much relief on the part of the other person because everyone is suffering with their secret or the thing they feel like, I’m the only one who has this thing. And pretty much, you’re just never the only one. People are just dying to feel less alone.

On letting yourself be selfish…
I remember I was reading the poet Rumi, and there was this one line, “You must risk delight.” Take a risk to have delight. Risk is fear. I felt this tremendous sense of obligation to my parents who had sacrificed so much. I had to get past the obligation of feeling I should do something where I know I’ll have a career or be a professor or whatever, and do something that feels selfish.

On her husband’s reaction to her book…
He read the book before I turned it in. There are some things about him, some details, where I was actually surprised he signed off. It made me think that maybe he didn’t read it as closely as he was supposed to!

pmf jessi klein garance dore photo

pmf jessi klein garance dore photo

pmf jessi klein garance dore photo


pmf jessi klein garance dore photo

On being able to call herself a writer…
I still can’t say I’m a writer! When my husband and I are at a party, which is almost never, and someone asks what I do, I’ll kind of start with, well, I kind of do, a little, you know, well…, and my husband’s like, she’s a writer. He’s always like, you’re a fucking writer, just fucking say it!

On having a girl vs. a boy…
As a narcissist, when I got pregnant, I was like, I feel like I’m having a girl. Of course I’m having a version of me! Based on nothing, just like, it’s gonna be me. I thought, I’m going to be such an amazing teacher about self-esteem and make her feel incredible about herself because women naturally don’t. And then as soon as I found out I was having a boy, I was like, oh, he’s gonna be fine!

On the importance of showing up…
Women need to feel like showing up, to march, in your own life, in a really honest, brave way make a huge difference. It really does.

On forgiving herself…
I’m so far past a size eight at this point. I feel good and I look at women who are heavier than me and think they look beautiful and think, screw the patriarchy! But, I also have to forgive myself for being a human who was raised in the patriarchy and will occasionally look at pictures of Kate Moss and other models and absolutely, I’d be lying if say I didn’t want that or feel bad about it sometimes. But I think at 41, I can forgive myself for having that feeling and I don’t feel guilty.

On how having a child changed the way she felt about herself…
I wore two skirts for a year. That’s not an exaggeration. Two skirts from Splendid, maxi skirts with elastic and a t-shirt. And I was like, I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks because I created a person and I’m keeping them alive and this is the most I can do, and fuck if anyone cares. I’ve bought some other clothes now. It’s annoying sometimes because I weigh more than normally, but it’s a nice feeling I’ve carried with me, you know, like fuck it. Why was I so worried about it? I feel ok about what I’m doing and I’m proud to be a mom. If men had to do this, there would be two people in the world!

pmf jessi klein garance dore photo

Other things we discussed…
Tiny Beautiful Things
Groucho Marx
Comedy Central
UCB Comedy

A special thank you to Little Dom’s! You can purchase Jessi’s hilarious book here!

Find more episodes of Pardon My French here, and subscribe on iTunes to catch up with Garance every Thursday!


Add yours
  • Copenhagen Dreaming February, 9 2017, 11:06 / Reply

    I read her book on your recommendation and enjoyed it very much, so I am looking forward to this. However, one thing in the book surprised me and I concluded it must be a very American thing (I am not American!): A whole chapter is devoted to how hard it was to get her lovely boyfriend to finally propose to her. As if there was no alternative! As if she was completely powerless in this one particular area – as if it was out of the question that SHE should ask HIM to marry HER. She seemed such a progressive, intelligent, independent person in the book, which is why it seemed so incongruent to me that marriage was ultimately still a question of when the boyfriend was finally ready to pop the question. Anyway, just a thought that I would be curious to know if other readers had had too. I absolutely recommend the book, by the way, it is very entertaining.

  • Mamavalveeta03 February, 11 2017, 4:49

    I think that the world is full of grey areas, and people are full of grey areas. Yes. One can be a hugely successful writer, a creative person, a feminist, and still have pieces of grey where we don’t live out what we know to be true! Reread “On her ability to be so open and honest…”

    “You’re just never the only one.”

  • What a wonderful conversation–thanks for letting us eavesdrop. And for introducing me to Jessi Klein–not living in the U.S. makes me lose touch sometimes. I’m eager to read her book!

  • Très bel échange, j’adore cette femme qui s’assume pleinement et qui se fiche de ce que peuvent penser les gens! J’aime sa façon d’être c’est inspirant.

  • I am surprised that you guys always share your point of view on many political subjects decide to go silent on muslim ban. Your muslim readers and fans would love to feel a little support from you i.e. favorite web site.

  • Hi Mima. Your voice is our voice. We oppose discrimination and wholly love and support you, the muslim community and our readers of all backgrounds. We’ll work on some ways to make sure you feel that support and we’re so glad you love the site!

  • Voila…moi c’est CA que j’attends de voir et vraie vie quoi…jolie femme!

  • Can I tell you what a deep, deep delight it brings to come on this site and see the faces and hear the voices of women who are not 25? I am 39, and it is so beautiful to find so many women my age and older here. So much of the web is owned by young women, who are lovely and magic, but having grown past that, I have so little interest in going back. I appreciate getting to see the broader, more real range here. THANK YOU for allowing us to grow with you…

  • Agh! The sheer delight I felt when opening this page today. Seriously brightened my day. Two of my favorite women just chatting! As a 40 year old woman, you both are inspiring to me in so many ways. Just have Jessi join your team, Garance!

  • Just absolutely love the fact that she wore 2 skirts for an entire year!! As a busy mother of 2 lovely boys, I cant relate to that necessity.. Thank you for the inspiring post!!

  • This conversation was what I needed to read! I love her openness, her authenticity. She is also a very beatiful woman, I was surprised by her mentioning her weight etc. She is beautiful and feminine and smart, lots of great upbeat energy is in this interview. Thank you for sharing, I am going to check the book!

  • Very inspiring. I adore your podcasts (and her white Valentino shoes ;)

  • Lovely post! QUESTION: Who makes that lovely brown leather bucket bag on the table to the right of Garance??!!!! It looks beautiful!!!!

  • Is it only me or does anybody else find it utterly saddening that two women, who are by all means wildly accomplished and successful, feel compelled to address some kind of issue related to their body weight? I cannot help but wonder, in which world would that be a case if it was a conversation between men. Urgh. I wish we were much further on as a society.

    Great work by the way!

  • Mamavalveeta03 February, 11 2017, 4:43 / Reply

    Jessi, “If men had to do this…” YES! And screw your size! What does that have to do with anything? (You’ve got tiny forearms, btw…that makes you look slim) You’re a f*cking writer! Your husband is right.

  • Ana Leonor (from Lisbon) February, 14 2017, 12:59 / Reply

    OMG one of the best podcasts ever! Loved her, her honesty and sense of humour, totally identified with jessi!
    Thank you so much for bringing her to us Garance!

  • Looking forward to listening to the interview especially because I love the book and it made me lol like a crazy woman.

  • I haven’t even gone through the podcast yet (only the snippets written) but dang, I want her book already! Seems like such a lovely lady. :)

  • This is my favourite guest PMF!! She is amazing and full of laughs. What an inspiration :)

  • Hi I’m a big fan of jessi klein I love her book her stand up performance and her character on big mouth. I would love to get her autograph she’s brilliant. Greetings from Irelandd.

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