Category Archives: Around L.A. and in My Head

Strangers Bearing Gifts

I think I don’t understand the concept of a wedding registry. Obviously, I do understand it. I invite people to my wedding, they wonder what to buy me for a gift, they log on to certain stores where I’ve registered and pick out gifts.

But I can’t wait for the wedding. I want the gifts now. And some are not that expensive. Shouldn’t I just buy them now or can I not have a pitcher or a really cool wine opener until August of 2009?

I’ve been announcing on stage to audiences where I’m registered – as a joke. I say, “You don’t have to be invited to get a gift.” The people that frequent the shows I do around Los Angeles are pretty fun and it wouldn’t seem unlikely that they might take me up on it.


And I have to confess…every morning I log on to the registry and…nothing. I know the economy sucks and my ‘fans’ do enough for me by laughing and following what I do. I just had to admit somewhere that what started out as a joke on stage – has turned into at terrible obsession.


Don’t Ever Read Emails You Wrote at Age 25

When my nana passed away this past spring – my immediate and extended family promptly ransacked her house for goodies. I found a drawer – in her really ornate 1970’s side table – a bunch of “Jen Kirkman” memorabilia…horribly embarassing headshots, newspaper clippings of me on a pony in my childhood and various emails that I had sent my mom, who apparantly printed them and shared with nana.

One such email that I wrote in 2000 caused me to cringe so much I had to be removed from my floor by the jaws of life. My injuries are minor except I have a slight film of douche-bag on me that I’m not sure can be removed anytime soon.

I had a job in the year 2000 that was pretty sweet. I was hired to travel the country in a van but sleep in nice hotels and eat in nice restaurants when not driving in said van. I was with a few producers and other writers. We ate oysters and drank cocktails on Miami Beach, staged a parade in New Orleans and ended up spending 2 weeks in all parts of California, from podunk military towns that wouldn’t let us go to their karaoke nights – to a wild week on the Sunset Strip.

What the hell kind of job is this? It was one of those internet start-up companies. Our bosses, who were not wrong – just too early, knew that the next phase of the internet was watching video. I thought that was absurd since I had a crap laptop and it took so long to download email, I just called people. But I realized that these guys were millionaires for a reason and I was not…for a reason.

We had a web-TV show that was like Road Rules meets The Real World. We pulled stunts and pranks around America while revealing our personal selves and interactions with each other via short web videos and blogs – before they were called blogs.

Obviously, my bosses were right. People do this shit now. But they didn’t then. And after our first round of investments, no one else would sink their money into us and we were all let go over a case of beer one Friday afternoon. I had trouble understanding. When were we let go? Right now? Like, right this second? But, I thought you guys had millions? Oh, you personally do but can’t bankrupt yourselves on a business model that is ahead of it’s time? Should I have been paying attention to all of the news coming out of Wall Street, considering I worked…at a dot-com, on fucking Wall Street????

So, week one of this job – we were all flying high. Promises were being made and smarter people were hoping the promises were real but knowing how business works. I didn’t know how anything worked. So I wrote this email to my mom…(I included only the most cringe parts, which is most of it.) Oh, and the email is titled, “For Those Who Doubt…”

“Hey, well, it turns out the two 27 year olds who run the company are worth three HUNDRED million, not thirty million as previously thought. They are extremely well-known in the web world so their connections are helping out our press. We are pretty sure we are going to get written up (I don’t know if it will be an article or a blurb) in Time Magazine.

For our trip we are getting equipped with cell-phones, laptop computers and a little device, which I guess is a mini laptop but it’s as small as a phone and you can type on it – from even a mountaintop! The GAP is totally going to sponsor us, so we will get free clothes.

Also, it looks pretty good that a better website or even a TV “network” on the web will buy us, which would mean a lot of $$$ for us, as in retiring early. It’s business stuff that I’m not too sure about except that it will mean BIGGER paychecks.

I am not in any way saying this will become a hit web and TV show but this is all about connections, if the show fails we have made definite TV connections so we are totally safe.  I am writing this so you can tell your friends when they say, “Well…I never heard of it.”

If this company were to fail, it would be nearly impossible and only due to a literal disaster like an earthquake or flood…or something else that I don’t even know what. It’s as solid as anything else.

Love, Jen”


Dreading My Tofurkey Purchase

Originally published on Funny or

It’s that time of year again. I will buy my Tofurkey at Trader Joe’s. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t want to get into it. Please, don’t make fun of me. I’ve heard it all before. “You know plants are technically alive…” You might think it’s sad that I lug a log of fake turkey to the host’s house but I try to do it quietly and without attention being drawn to me. It usually works out.

The problems began for me last year when I rolled up to the register at Trader Joe’s. The cashier rang up my items and it was uneventful at first. And then he spotted my box of Tofurkey. He grabbed it and said, “I’m not ringing this up. You can’t eat turkey just one day of the year?”

I then had the world’s most boring conversation about being a vegetarian for 20 years and if I did cheat one day – why would I risk having digestion problems on Thanksgiving? I’m already going to have a hangover the next day. That’s enough excitment for one long weekend.

He opened my box of Tofurkey and said “Heads up!” to the cashier next to him and tossed my loaf like a football. The other cashier fumbled and my Tofurkey was on the floor. We stood over the dead tofu and he said, “I used to be a vegetarian. I had a girlfriend who was one and she convinced me to be one. Then we broke up. And I got a new girlfriend. A meat-eater.”

On the word meat eater – he flexed his bicep. He said, “She was good in bed. So I started eating meat again. I had forgotten what I was missing.”

Then he mimed sex with his arms and hips. You know the move.

The manager came over and said, “Can I get you another one?” I wanted to tell on this cashier who told me about his meat-eating sex life but before I could – the manager said, “You tell her you used to be a vegetarian?” The cashier laughed, “Yeah. I told her the story.”

What manager sees that their cashier dismantled a Thanksgiving dinner, talked about his sex life and acts like the only abnormal thing is the vegetarian who is just trying to get the hell out of there?

Everytime I go to Trader Joe’s something like this, but not as bad happens. The cashiers are too friendly and nosey. I’m met with question after question. One time I was interrogated about why I don’t have an outdoor BBQ grill. Another time I was told by an older cashier that I looked too young to be buying wine. Then he proceeded to tell me that I must have good genes to be 34 but appear to be in my 20’s. He told me his ex-wife had good genes but her mother had better ones and he still wants to take his ex-mother-in-law on a date because she is beautiful for her age, but she won’t return his phone calls.

I’m not saying people should ring up my order in silence but do we have to talk about meat or sex? I’m glad the employees only have to wear Hawaiian print nametags as opposed to shirts but let’s keep progressing, and maybe we’ll get to the point where cashiers can just go back to talking about the weather, or else I’m taking my complaint to Trader Joe himself. He’ll probably rape me.

I Am Not On Fire

Dear East Coast,

I am fine. I am not in the fires in California. I think it’s very nice of you, my friends and family, to email me and check in to see if I am safe or if I’m burning up like a dried leaf. I do want to point out, and I hope this doesn’t sound too critical, but for my friends and family who have visited my apartment in West Hollywood, California, do you remember a forest in my neighborhood? There isn’t one. There is a Starbucks and an Urban Outfitters in my neck of the woods (shout out to Al Roker!) and although I imagine paper holiday coffee cups and extra long scarves are quite flammable – I think should those buildings go up in smoke it would be relatively contained.

I don’t mean to make fun of you. I know when the news reports that “California Wildfires are raging,” the natural assumption is that my cement front stoop is on fire. (Which, it could be. My neighbor tosses her cigarette butts on the third step.) But a quick Google search will let you know that the fires are raging in some Santa Barbara counties as well as Orange County. I am many, many, many miles and several highways away from these areas. I’m also about $10 million short of being able to afford living in these areas as well.

Do I ask you folks in Massachusetts if you got caught in the crossfire at Lexington and Concord? What, that was 1776-ish? Oh, I didn’t know. I heard something went down in Massachusetts and I just assumed that you were directly involved.

I’m flattered that when you think “house” with “acres of land” near where Oprah Winfrey has a mansion that you think of me. I suppose it would be rude to not ask me if I’m okay. But if I was on fire – I’m probably not at home responding to emails.

I will say this. I have been affected by the fires. It is very hot in Los Angeles right now but it’s not the normal hot that summer or Global Warming brings. I went to Kmart today. Let me tell you, it’s freaky to be terribly hot while you watch animated reindeer covered in Christmas lights nodding their heads to “The Little Drummer Boy.” It feels like I’m in an episode of Amazing Stories (remember that show?) I feel like I’m the only one who notices the Apocalypse and everyone else is acting like its normal for an animatronic reindeer to be moving around under a pink sky and oppressive heat.

I do think the air quality is challenged and while it’s not bad enough to activate my asthma it is bad enough to make me cranky. I treated myself to a pedicure today and I had no patience for the up selling-in-broken-English that pervaded my relaxing afternoon. “You want deluxe?” No, I don’t. I’m ticklish. I want to get out of here. “You want neck massage?” No. I don’t want a neck massage. I’m trying to read Bill Clinton’s book, Giving. I don’t want to be touched. I want to read about the culture of giving globally and I reserve the right to be distant and rude while doing it. Los Angeles (County) is burning and I’m cranky, damn it.

The Planet X Panic Attack

I got some hair highlights today. I seem to be going blonde again. I was overtired, under-hydrated and drinking crappy coffee when my hairdresser and I started having a conversation about things that terrify us.

I mention the tired-ness and caffeine buzz because combine those elements with the thought of a global disaster and my untimely death and I’ll have a panic attack – even with the knowledge that in ten minutes the foil on my head will produce beautiful golden highlights.

So, we talk about our usual favorite topics – ghosts, exorcisms, evil spirits, her friend that sees dead people sitting at the end of her bed, my various family members who have experienced the supernatural. That’s a warm-up. Those things don’t scare me. I mean, they terrify me. If I start thinking that there’s a dead person I can’t see staring at me and Neil’s not home, I’ll run and hide under the covers. But I won’t panic.

A panic attack is more out of control and feels like you’re dying – not that I know what dying feels like. But I imagine it involves some light-headedness and difficulty breathing.

Anyway – so we move on to is there life after death? She’s an atheist who wishes she wasn’t and she’s more concerned with being sad and bored post-death. We both decided that since she can’t define what God isn’t and I can’t define what God is, we agreed that we’re all just energy and when we die – because our brains have stopped that is the end of our emotions and awareness. From there, it’s just one big happy ball of fun that shoots around in a blissful energy stream and our consciousness cannot tell that we’re dead or missing out or getting bored in that dreadful never-ending afterlife, whatever that is.

Then we talk about nuclear war – never my favorite topic, unless I’m safely tucked in bed and it’s part of a bedtime story with a happy ending.

Then she drops some conspiracy Planet X theory mixed with a dash of The Mayan Calendar ends in 2012 spice.

I’m sure you’ve heard your own campfire version of this story. There is an unidentified planet in the solar system that’s getting closer to Earth, it’s moving fast and it’s coming! It used to exist sort of behind Pluto and now that Pluto is not a planet and not holding it’s own – here comes Planet X. It’s coming for us so fast that by 2012, it’s going to be so close to Earth that it’s going to stop our gravitational pull for a few days. And of course, this is what the Mayans were trying to convey!

What happens then? We theorized. “I think it means you lose gravity and fly up in the air.” That’s been my biggest fear my entire life, just losing control and flying away. Probably too much church growing up where people always seemed to be going to an afterlife situation full body. It’s like going to sleep in your jeans. It just seems uncomfortable at best.

Then we thought, “Maybe the pull is so strong you just get stuck to the floor and can’t move and the oceans drown us.”

Either way, all of these not-so-choice-options started to get me dizzy and realizing my lack of control and I had to wipe my sweaty palms on the hair-salon full-body bib. She got nervous too. I said, “I’m having a panic attack.” Then we laughed.

Then we went on to talk about voter fraud.

I went home and googled Planet X and it’s been disproven so many ways. The only people who have strong opinions on it also have websites with black backgrounds and their text is white and flourescent green, never a color combination that says, “expert.”

I can’t believe how easily I’ll panic just by tossing around stupid theories about global destruction. I used to be so much more easy going as of late. I know next time I get my hair done, I’ll be better prepared so I can handle what I might learn about my fate without shortness of breath.

The IRS Are VERY Friendly

First of all, don’t fear the IRS – even if you owe them. They are nice, nice people. They actually were retrained over the last few years due to the amount of suicides committed over tax debts. So, the people on the other end of the phone are delightful. A woman I talked to yesterday was a little too delightful. The transcript is below:

Me: Hi. I’m calling to make a payment on my 2006 account.

IRS Operator 482397582: Sure. What was your place of employment in 2006?

Me: Lifetime Television.

IRS Operator 482397582: Life and Time? What?

Me: Lifetime Television…for women.

IRS Operator 482397582’s tone of voice changes and I’m not being treated as though I’m Meredith Baxter Birney herself.

IRS Operator 482397582: (squeals) Ohhh! Lifetime? You make movies at Lifetime? I love those movies.

I don’t bother explaining that when I did work there I did not make movies – yet just updated their website.

Me: Yup. That Lifetime. I don’t work there anymore.

IRS Operator 482397582: Aww, you don’t? On to something better? What could be better than those movies?

Me: Anyway, just wanted to know if I can make a payment over the phone?

IRS Operator 482397582: (giggling to herself) I love curling up and watching those movies with my tissues. Damn, those movies are sad!

Me: Oh. Yes. They are. So, what’s my balance?

IRS Operator 482397582: You know, sometimes I don’t even wait for a rainy day to lay on the couch and watch them.

Me: I know. I know. Listen, can we just forgive this tax debt?

IRS Operator 482397582: If you can get me an autographed headshot of Tracey Gold, post-anorexic that is, I’ll wipe this clean.

That last part did not happen. But I have to tell you even male operators have gushed to me about Lifetime. I can never get off the phone with these people because they want to know all about the made-for-TV-movie making process. Like a parent who does not want you to be a mime, the operators always refused to accept that I worked on the website, far away from the sets and had no inside information on Markie Post.

What Does a Sick Jen Do on a Saturday Night?

It’s me, Jen. It’s Saturday night and I’m still recovering from the flu and from the medication TamiFlu which I think I’m going to compare to chemo – I’ve never had chemo but my sister has.

So, what do I do on a Saturday night? I let my boyfriend go to his friend’s birthday party. I didn’t let him. He doesn’t have to ask me but I would like credit for not insisting he stay home.

Let’s see, I’ve seen the same fifteen minutes of Failure to Launch over and over – the dreaded paintball sequence with lots of Matthew Mc acting cool/childish and SJP screaming and other unknowns having fun to montage music with paintballs. I can’t explain how I’ve seen the same fifteen minutes over and over. It has to do with it being on every channel, with me constantly getting up to get something, sometimes earnestly trying to watch this – hitting pause, changing my mind, letting it run in the background.

I’m thinking that SJP is really skinny and I’m not going to lie to you – I wish I was that skinny. It’s the only way to fit into couture clothing. However, in her forties, that kind of skinny can start to look haggard as our skin loses moisture and elasticity. I should be that kind of skinny now – while my skin is still good. I don’t think I’m going to get my shit together in time. Plus, once I’m thin enough for couture – how will I afford it? I think, like joining Scientology, once I’m in it/thin enough – the couture will come. But I don’t have the will to do either.

I’m realizing that even when I’m home alone and in sweatpants, I still have to wear an awesome big costume jewelry ring that matches what I’m wearing. I’ll always do this. It makes me happy. I wonder if someone did a documentary on me like Grey Gardens or Crazy Love would this detail go unnoticed? If I felt it was going unnoticed how long before I threw it in the face of the documentarian who probably did notice but didn’t think it was film worthy until I started acting insane about it?

I’m still trying to figure out how stressful it must be to have a job where you help men by pretending to date them. I had to mute for a while so I’m not sure if Matthew Mc’s mother played by Kathy Bates is in on the SJP helping her son or not. Who hires the woman to help the man who has failed to launch?

I love Netflix and I love my list and I love ordering movies and then they come and I never want to watch them. And then I mail them back a lot. Just to clarify, Failure to Launch is on TV now. That was not on my Netflix list.

I have some movie about how different cultures interpret religion but I’m not huge on religion right now. I’m not mature enough for it, I’ve decided. I think of God as this all-loving being that also directly pays attention to me and then I get angry when he/she/it doesn’t pay the right kind of attention as in giving me everything that I want or rewarding me for acting more compassionate than others. So right now, I believe in electricity. It’s there if you plug in. That’s as far as I can go.

Maybe, I’ll watch that Molly Shannon movie Year of the Dog. I don’t care if it’s good or bad, my hip joints are burning and my back aches from medication. I’m going to be laying on a hot water bottle soon. Is that what it’s called? I like those more than heating pads. I know I’m not going to watch that movie tonight.

I just took two hits off my inhaler. That’s not code. I have asthma. Let’s see…what else can I do? I made a few lists of good ideas for things to write when I’m better. I’m going to worry about money another time so what else can I do right now…….?

I’m going to sit on the couch – I’m so sick of the couch. I’ve run into my neighbor a total of three times in the last three months. Each time I’ve seen her it’s been on one of the last days of whatever flu I have that week. She seemed to notice that I never seem sick but always say that I am. I know I must seem like ‘that person’ which is why I want to carry around a copy of my doctor’s records just to PROVE to people. I’m not making this up. I’m not a hypochondriac – not even close. It takes me a long time to admit I’m sick.

“Nothing is clear to me. How can I be so blind?” That’s the lyric of the music playing now in Failure to Launch and it’s raining. What did Matthew do wrong? He’s talking to a kid now – no doubt that kid is going to lay down some serious logic and steal our hearts.

I’m headed to the couch. I think I’m going to watch some History Channel. Then I might play a round of Bejeweled on my phone. Maybe I’ll call Neil and remind him to keep his immune system up and not drink too much at the party.