Instagram Stories gets ‘quote tweet’-style feed post resharing

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Instagram’s next big Stories feature could let you compliment or trash talk other people’s feed posts, or embed a “see post” button to promote your own. A TechCrunch reader sent us these screenshots of the new feature, which Instagram confirmed to us is appearing to a small subset of users. “We’re always testing ways to make it easier to share any moment with friends on Instagram” a spokesperson wrote. Now those moments can include dunking on people. 

Instagram has never had a true “regram” feature with the feed, just slews of unofficial and sometimes scammy apps, but this is perhaps the closest thing. Users often screenshot feed posts and share them in Stories with overlaid commentary, but this limited the cropping and commentary options. Making an official “reshare could unlock all sorts of new user behaviors, from meme curation to burn book shade throwing to social stars teasing their feed posts in their Stories. Brands might love it for using their Stories to cross-promote a big ad campaign. Employing Stories to drive extra Likes and comments to permanent posts could help them gain more visibility in Instagram’s feed ranking algorithm.

Here’s how the feed post to Instagram Stories sharing feature works. You pick any public, permanent Instagram post and tap a button to embed it in your Story. You can tap to change the design to highlight or downplay the post’s author, move and resize it within your Story post, and add commentary or imagery using Instagram’s creative tools. When people view the story, they can tap on the post embed to bring up a “see post” button which opens the permanent feed post.

Users who don’t want their posts to be “quote-Storied” can turn off the option in their settings, and only public posts can be reshared. Facebook says it doesn’t have details about a wider potential rollout beyond the small percentage of users currently with access. But given the popularity of apps like Repost For Instagram, I expect the feature to be popular and eventually open to everyone.

Quote-Storying could help keep the feed relevant as more users spend their time sharing to the little bubbles that sit above it. And it offers a powerful viral discover mechanism for creators who can now ask fans to quickly reshare their post rather than having to awkwardly screenshot and upload them.

While both Instagram and Snapchat have let people privately send other people’s posts to friends as private messages, Snapchat lacks a way to embed other Stories or Discover content in your Story. Snapchat may have pioneered the Stories format, but Instagram has been rapidly iterating with features like Super Zoom and Highlights to extend its user count lead over the app it cloned.

The move by Instagram further ties together the three parts of its app: the permanent feed, ephemeral Stories, and private Direct messaging. You can imagine someone finding a post in the feed, resharing it their story, then joking about it with friends over Direct. It’s this multi-modal social media usage that turns casual users into loyal, ad revenue-generating ‘Grammers.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Post Here for ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ iOS Invites

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Are you not in the Fortnite Invite Event for iOS yet, and want in? Are you a player with invite codes left to share? This thread is where you can meet. Use the comment section below to post your requests for Fortnite invite codes, and link up with other players to get access to the game. Each invite code can be sent from the game itself, and will offer up the instructions on how to download and sign up for Fortnite on iOS. This invite code will also add the player you invite to your friends list on your Epic Games account.

If you’re out here giving out invite codes, thank you. If you are requesting codes, please be polite, and if you get invite codes, please pass on the love. And be sure to play in some games together and let us know what you think. Invites are still going out while Epic Games adds more server capacity, so be sure you signed up and check your email to see if you got an invite already or not. Or hope some generous player drops an invite code here!

Have fun!


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ZeroLemon introduces Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ models of their industry-leading battery cases [Sponsored Post]

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Just about anyone who has spent much time shopping around for a battery case for their smartphone knows ZeroLemon, one of the category’s top-selling and top-rated companies. With the recent announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, it was only a matter of time before ZeroLemon unveiled their battery case solution for the latest flagships. That time has now come.

Let’s start with the basics. The ZeroLemon S9 and S9+ battery cases come with 4700 mAh and 5200 mAh capacities, respectively, which means you more than double your battery life when using these cases.

Read More

ZeroLemon introduces Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ models of their industry-leading battery cases [Sponsored Post] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Saurik Talks About Electra iOS 11 Jailbreak, Cydia, Substrate And More In New Post

Saurik has once again come out, this time talking about Electra iOS 11 jailbreak, Cydia, Substrate and more in a new detailed post.

[ Continue reading this over at ]

Redmond Pie

Guest Post: Sony Pictures Entertainment CTO Don Eklund on the power of mobile HDR

First off I want to thank Sony Mobile for letting me join Furumi-san on stage at MWC 2018. The XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are incredible devices packed with features, but what really excites me is screen technology, in particular, their HDR displays.

In the 27 years I’ve worked at Sony I have seen dramatic improvements in picture quality, from analog VHS to digital DVD, Standard Definition to High Definition, and now the availability of High Dynamic Range in place of Standard Dynamic Range.

As I mentioned today, when people see HDR for the first time you can see their eyes widen. It’s easy to see why, HDR provides a means of delivering pictures that look “real” because image fidelity has reached a new level.

One of the best things about a company like Sony is that our technology reaches from end to end. Sony products start at the camera lens on the film set and continue all the way to living room. Now, with Xperia smartphones, you can see extraordinary pictures from the camera lens accurately realized in the palm of your hand.

And because they are Sony products it means those pictures really are extraordinary. It’s a mistake to think all HDR is created equal. A given camera can capture an image in an HDR format and a display can decode the HDR picture, but unless the devices are made with adequate quality and precision, the result will be sub-par. You can easily witness this fact in today’s televisions. A 65″ TV can be purchased for five times the cost of a cheaper model of the same size, but the cheaper device will not impress you with HDR.

I know there are doubters out there who wonder if this kind of screen tech is really needed in a mobile device. The reality is that HDR performance is independent of screen size. On a 65” TV in your living room or a 5.7” Xperia XZ2 in your pocket, the difference HDR delivers in terms of quality is unmistakeable.

Of course, it’s not just about watching content, this has implications for capturing quality as well. Mobile devices are great for sharing pictures and video with others. With the ability to shoot in HDR (supported natively by YouTube), you can make your content stand out from the ordinary.

I hope you will enjoy watching and creating cutting edge images with Xperia smartphones that bring a level of realism never seen before – I know I will.

The post Guest Post: Sony Pictures Entertainment CTO Don Eklund on the power of mobile HDR appeared first on Sony Xperia Blog.

Sony Xperia Blog

Get S9 and S9+ cases for every taste and other great accessories from Spigen [Sponsored Post]

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With the release of the new Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, it’s time for the release of must-have accessories for the new flagship. Spigen’s S9 and S9+ collections are available for orders starting today on Amazon, so you can start checking out your options and even get your gear lined up for when your S9/S9+ arrives. Across the entire product line, the cases were designed to show off the new Infinity Screen and have precise camera cutouts to let you use all of the new photography features.

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Get S9 and S9+ cases for every taste and other great accessories from Spigen [Sponsored Post] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Facebook will allow select companies and organizations to post in ‘Community Help’ during a crisis

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Facebook rolled out a special Community Help section last year ago to do some good during a crisis. It’s intended as a way for users to offer assistance to each other including food, shelter, and so on. Now, Facebook is going to let certain businesses and organizations post in Community Help to do the same.

According to Facebook, the first wave of organizations are getting access to the crisis management features now.

Read More

Facebook will allow select companies and organizations to post in ‘Community Help’ during a crisis was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Please Don’t Post Your Hand Dryer Science Experiment on the Internet

DIY science experiments have always been popular. You can spending your weekends blowing up a bottle of Diet Coke with Mentos, or your evenings making handheld fireballs. Sometimes you learn something, sometimes you think you do. But today, unlike in the past, the worst ideas make their way onto the internet, encouraging people to do something stupid, or simply spreading misinformation.

Sometimes, those exploits go viral. But that isn’t always a good thing.

The internet lost its mind over such a post last week. A California mom posted a photo Facebook post that appeared to show what can only be described as bacterial nastiness, growing in a petri dish. Most disturbingly, Nichole Ward noted in the text accompanying the photo that she obtained her specimens from a hand dryer in a public restroom. “[This] is what grew in a Petri dish after just a few days. I stuck the open plate in an enclosed hand dryer […] for a total of 3 minutes. Yes 3 only. DO NOT EVER dry your hands in those things again,” she wrote in her post.

***Alright, Alright, Alright… now i think is a perfect time to tell you a few things. As y'all know how viral this…

Posted by Nichole Ward on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Unsurprisingly, post received 545,373 shares on Facebook. Ward, who says she did the experiment for a microbiology class assignment, also wrote: “This is the several strains of possible pathogenic fungi and bacteria that you’re swirling around your hands, and you think you’re walking out with clean hands. You’re welcome.”

Here’s the thing: if you’ve been paying attention, Ward’s post shouldn’t be telling you anything new.

First of all, microbes like the ones that grew in her petri dish are everywhere, from our countertops and door handles and cell phones, to our bodies themselves. Humans are, by our very nature, walking microbial habitats. Bacteria help us digest our food and protect us from pathogens. And we tend to shed those microbes, both harmless and less so, in the places we occupy. Showing that there is bacteria in the air in a bathroom frequented by people? Hardly deserves a Nobel.

And about that claim that the “strains” of microbes in the petri dish are pathogenic? There’s no proof that’s the case. Ward didn’t send those samples off to be genetically sequenced, nor did she make any attempt to identify the types of microbes that grew on the petri dish. So we don’t even know if they’re the kinds of bugs found normally and harmlessly on our bodies, or, say, the kinds that only emerge when people didn’t wash their hands after touching poop — the ones that can actually get you sick. From the information in the post, we just can’t know how she tested what she incubated in her Petri dish, nor could we replicate it, even if we wanted to.

Yes, Ward explicitly stated, “⚠️this post is simply for awareness, not to instill fear⚠️,” but we also know a gross picture’s worth 1,000 placating words.

Ward’s post may not show us much, but a growing number of scientific studies indicate she might not be too far off — that is, hand dryers do spread bacteria. While some grateful moms might thank Nichole, scientists were already hip to the knowledge.

The jury is still out, however, on whether paper towels are in fact a better bet if you’re not interested in getting sick after a bathroom visit.

Some people seem to be aware that Ward was spreading misleading information, perhaps going too far in the other direction in trying to stand up for the truth. An article published on Vice reads:

The swarm of commenters seemed either vindicated or completely outraged by the post, with some blaming the dryers for making people sick and others claiming that Ward is being deceptive or unscientific. Ward told the [New YorkTimes she’s even received some death threats.

There’s nothing wrong with doing your own science experiments at home. But given how easy it is to spread false information on social media, we’ve got to think about the consequences of what we share online. Most people, as we’ve learned, are ready to believe false information, instead of critically questioning our conclusions.

Maybe we should all go back to posting videos of our homemade bottle rockets.

The post Please Don’t Post Your Hand Dryer Science Experiment on the Internet appeared first on Futurism.


Facebook’s new Lists feature is yet another way to post personal updates

Facebook is introducing a new feature for posting status updates, called Lists, as reported by TechCrunch. The new feature, which begins rolling out today, is yet another way the company is trying to get people to share more personal content to their own pages, following statuses with colored backgrounds, its Did You Know feature, and all sorts of ways to make anyone use Stories.

Lists appears to be a way for users to create a list of, well, anything they choose, such as places they’d like to travel to or a simple to-do for the day, as shown in the examples below. The Lists can then be decorated with gradient backgrounds and assigned an emoji that appears next to the list title.

Image: TechCrunch
Lists feature on…

Continue reading…

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Full transcript: Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri on Recode Decode

Her comedic column, Compost, takes aim at the D.C. scene.

On this episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher with co-host Dick Costolo, Alexandra Petri, who writes the Compost blog for the Washington Post, talks about finding the funny in the tragi-comic world of politics.

You can listen to the entire interview here or in the audio player above. Below, we’ve also provided a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.

If you like this, be sure to subscribe to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kara Swisher: Recode Radio presents Recode Decode, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode. I have no sense of humor, but in my spare time, I talk tech, and you’re listening to Recode Decode, a podcast about tech and media’s key players, big ideas and how they’re changing the world we live in. You can find more episodes of Recode Decode on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, or wherever you listen to you podcasts, or just visit for more.

Today I’m in Washington, D.C., and my co-host for the month of January, Dick Costolo, is in San Francisco. I just had to get away from him, frankly. Dick is the CEO of Chorus and the former CEO of Twitter, and we’ve been talking all this month about comedy with some amazing guests, discussing online comedy, how it’s changed, and all kinds of things. Welcome, Dick.

Dick Costolo: Welcome to you too. It’s weird. Now that you’re not here, they shoved me up on the roof. It’s me and Walt and some pigeons.

KS: Oh, good. That’s where you belong. Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s your last day. We’re going to throw you off of it. Anyway, today in the red chair is someone we both are huge fans of, Alexandra Petri, just one of my favorite people on Twitter too, except for Chrissy Teigen, I have to say.

Alexandra Petri: Oh, she’s amazing.

KS: She’s amazing.

I can’t even do that.

KS: Alexandra … also Dick Costolo. She writes the Compost blog for the Washington Post. Some of Alexandra’s recent columns include “Trump respects women, you disgusting floozy” and “Ladies, let’s be reasonable about #MeToo or nothing will ever be sexy again.” She’s also the author of a book called “A Field Guide to Awkward Silences.” Alexandra, welcome to Recode Decode.

Thanks for having me.

KS: No problem. You know, I’m an alumni of the Washington Post. I don’t know if you know that.

Oh, yeah.

KS: I worked there for 15 years.

DC: What?

In fact, the old building.

KS: Yes. In the old building. I’m an alumni. I started there in the mail room, Dick. You know this story of rags to riches. Anyway, we’re having you on the show because, obviously, Washington is so funny these days, in such a non-funny way.

Yeah, exactly.

KS: So I want to get a little background for you, how you got to writing a humor column. The Post has long had them. Gene Weingarten had one. A whole bunch of people had comedy kind of columns, especially in the Style section or in Sunday’s Style. Talk a little bit about how you got to where you are.

Well, I actually grew up reading the Post, so I would always start from the back with the comics section and the Dave Barry you’d have and on the weekends you’d have on the glossy-style Post magazine … I’m now forgetting the name of it. But you have Dave Barry in there and you have Gene Weingarten, and I was like, “Oh, this a career that it’s possible to have. You can just write jokes about what’s going on.”

And so I also … Growing up I was always a big reader of comedy columns, specifically as a format. So I was sitting there with my big bound compilations and hanging out, which … All the 1920s issues …

KS: Thurber.

Yeah. He’s not so much topical humor as just humor in general.

KS: Right.

Whereas, “I grew up in Columbus and everything was terrible, and my grandfather was a Civil War veteran and he thought the war was still going on.” But I just grew up reading a lot of people who were really funny on the page, and so that, I guess, kind of came out when I started writing myself. It was like, how in the space of 750 words, make jokes that people will hopefully audible laugh at instead of sort of looking at it and going, “Hmmmpf.” Which is also a valid response to …

KS: “Hmmmpf” is always a valid response.

DC: Although, at Second City, whenever people who were performers would watch a show and something was funny, we’d just kind of look at each and go, “That’s funny.” When you’re doing it, you would see something onstage and everyone else is laughing and the people who would also perform would just nod and go, “That was funny.” It’s weird. You lose your …

Oh, that’s the highest compliment though.

DC: I guess. It’s the reaction you get. You get the like, “Huh,” and, “That’s good.” That’s as good as it gets. “Huh.”

KS: Mm-hmm.

At a certain point you’re desensitized to it. If you spend your whole day making shellfish and someone gives you a good shellfish, you’re not going to be like, “Wow. Best thing I’ve ever tasted. I enjoy this.” You’re just like, “I’m around these all day. They’re slimy. They’re disgusting, but I approve of what you’ve done here.”

DC: That’s a good analogy.

KS: All right. So how did you get … It is … How did you get to writing that, writing the column? Were you a regular reporter or what? I don’t know your background.

No. Well I started off as an intern for the Opinions section through the editorials.

KS: Oh, wow. I was an intern.

Yeah. And so I got to write very serious … I’d do all this reporting about things like, “Should we have a stop sign here,” and like, “What’s going on with net neutrality?” back in the day.

KS: So this was the internship? The Post internship?


KS: So you had applied from college, essentially?


KS: And that is where you were doing that?

Yeah. And it was all unsigned, serious voice in the paper type.

KS: Unfunny. It’s been unfunny since Meg Greenfield.

Oh, yeah. No. There’s still a chair of honor being like, “Meg Greenfield.”

KS: She’s in the movie “The Post.” The woman plays her really well, actually, but she was not the funniest person as I recall, working there. So you did that, and then how did you get to the column part?

Well basically, I kept … whenever I wrote stuff under my own name, it would have jokes in it. I would keep trying to sneak jokes into the editorials, and they would be like, “We don’t really need a pun here. We often need puns, but not here, not now.” But they weren’t trying to stifle me.

At first I shared a column with Dana Milbank because they were like, “You both write jokes. Maybe you should have a blog together.” So it was funny because he had this blog called Rough Sketch, and so they had a giant picture … like a regular picture of his head, and then there would just be stuff that I had written underneath this large picture of Dana Milbank’s head, and all the comments would be like, “Dana, why are you writing from the perspective of a 23-year-old woman?” He’d be like, “This isn’t ideal for either of us, I feel.” So eventually we sort of … I got my own blog and he just continued writing op-ed columns.

KS: Where they just handing out blogs? And they all had to have a name, right?

At that time, honestly, they kind of were. No. And every Post blog had Post in the name.

DC: They were handing out blogs like they were candy over there at the Washington Post.

They did though. It’s like, “How hard can it be to write a good blog?” And Ezra Klein would be like, “Actually, somewhat difficult.”

KS: Ezra Klein’s not funny.

It requires …

KS: Mr. Klein is here and he’s not funny. Don’t tell him, but he’s not. He tries to be funny. He’s very not funny, but that’s his thing. That’s his talent.

Yeah. No. As Will Rogers said, “We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”

KS: Right. That’s true. That’s a fair point. So you started writing it as a blog. Is that what you consider it right now?

Well, it’s a blog most of the time, but every weekend it transforms, pumpkin-like, into a column on the print page. But now I’m actually syndicated, so tell newspapers if they want me, they can have me.

KS: Oh, I see. She’s using jazz hands over here, Dick.

Jazz hands are …

DC: Thanks for the visual.

… just assume I’m doing jazz hands unless proven otherwise, basically.

KS: So is it welcome in Washington, the idea of [comedy]? Because Art Buchwald … I guess it really is. Washington politics has a tradition of that kind of stuff.

There’s always this one column where you’re halfway through and you’re like, “Oh, this person, making a familiar case, is actually making it as a joke,” which is a problem you do have especially doing satire-type things as opposed to more obviously like, “Here’s some jokes about the states and why they’re funny places to be.”

They may dispute this, but I was on the radio recently and I had written this, what I thought was relatively, clearly a satirical piece, and they were like, “So, you made this case.” And I’m like, “Oh, I don’t think I made that case. I thought I made the opposite of that case.”

KS: Right, right.

But you will run into the problem where people will think you’re not joking.

KS: Oh, that’s not good.

The Trump White House sent out one of my pieces in their official morning newsletter last January or during the first time his sort of tax idea bill came up. I had written this piece saying, “It will fix everything that’s wrong with the economy by punching it in the face,” and they were like, “The Washington Post loves our new plan.”

KS: Oh, no. Really?

And then in the afternoon they took it down.

KS: Oh, my God. Really? They thought it was serious?

They saw this positive headline, I think, and assumed … It was one of those things where if you’d read the second sentence, you would have probably not shared it, but …

KS: It was an intern, a guy who’s head of drug policy or something like that, who’s 22 years old. That story you guys are writing about the 24-year-old who’s running the Office of Drug Policy is disturbing in the extreme. You can’t even joke about it. It’s really depressing.

No. That’s the trouble with a lot of this is it’s … you laugh, but then you’re like, “People’s lives are being destroyed.”

KS: Right. Absolutely. Well, that’s comedy.

So talk a little bit about sort of the atmosphere right now in Washington. It just yields yourself, like you were saying. That’s a really good point. It’s like, this is such heavy comedic … Dick, I think you’ve talked that about like this is such a heavy comedic time and so dire at the same time.

Yeah. It’s sort of … I feel like there’s a lot of humor in situations where you just need to … you know you’re going to see something awful every day and you just have to cope with it in some way. I’ve never been a surgeon, but I assume they’re constantly joking with one another to keep their spirits up. And I feel like it’s similar where because every day the news is so dire and every day you hear, “A 24-year-old has just pushed some people down the stairs in wheelchairs and also Donald Trump has like six hamburgers in every hand.” Just this weird cocktail of absurdity, and so you have to remember, this is wild, this is happening every day, but it’s still completely not a thing that should be happening.

KS: Right.

And sometimes jokes can be useful for getting through that by just making eye contact across the room with someone and saying, “Oh, are you seeing this? I’m seeing this. This is not normal.”

KS: Right, right. Well, is it hard to write comedy about that? It’s interesting because I think about everyone does joke … I was talking to a bunch of people, actually in Europe oddly enough, just yesterday, and they were like, “It’s not funny, Kara,” and I was like, “Well it’s a little funny. It’s slightly funny.” And at the same time I realize they’re absolutely correct. It’s not funny, that kind of stuff. So why don’t you talk about your process of how you do this and writing. Dick, have you written … have you done columns?

DC: I’ve never interned nor written for a paper.

KS: No, but writing … have you written …

DC: No. I don’t use the written word. I prefer …

KS: And have you been a standup, Alexandra?

I did in college. I did a little bit.

DC: Yeah. I did the same thing. I did standup in college. That was it for me.

HC Sucks, because we had the acronym SUCS, the Standup Comics Society and there was a whole network across …

KS: Where’d you go to college?


DC: You were roommates with Megan Amram.

Yes, I was.

DC: Who’s a big-time writer now out in Hollywood.

Oh, yeah. No. She’s the biggest timest. She gave us all unreasonable expectations of what would happen, which was you would graduate from college, people would instantly recognize your immense merit and suddenly you would be a wildly successful comedy writer beloved by all.

KS: All right. Where is she working? So you two insiders.

DC: She was on “Silicon Valley” Season Three when I was there, and she’s the head writer for another show now.

KS: Oh, okay. Which show is that?

DC: I don’t know what she moved on to.

Well she’s on “Good Place.”

DC: That’s right. That’s right. Of course.

KS: Yeah. “Good Place.”

So you guys, you were comics together.


KS: So you did what? Did you work for the Crimson?

DC: Yeah. How did you end up being roommates, because that’s sort of an odd coincidence that you and Megan ending up rooming together. Or not an odd coincidence and you two were like, “You’re doing this. I’m doing this. We should get a place.”

Freshman year we co-wrote the freshman musical because they had a lot of opportunities to write musicals.

DC: Only Harvard would have a freshman musical.

Specifically for freshman only. Yeah. So we discovered we had a mutual affection for puns that bordered on sort of torture to those around us.

DC: Megan is very punny. She’s big on the puns.

Oh, man. Literally like every day or so we’re just texting back puns to one another, be like, “Hey, I thought of a pun for you.” And they’re bad, but they’re plentiful. And so then we went on to write the Hasty Pudding show, which is another pun-rich drag musical, so we did that for two years. It’s just like, “It’ll be easier if we live together so I can come and knock on your door and throw puns at you,” which was nice because I was never like, “Oh, are women funny?” I’m like, “Only women are very funny.”

KS: We’re going to get to women funny in a little bit, but so you …

DC: By the way, can I just say you two sound like you’re in a hurry. It really sounds like things are a little bit sped up there in Washington.

KS: No, it’s not.

DC: In San Francisco things are very calm and relaxed.

KS: No.

We’re each drinking 300 coffees.

KS: Yeah. No, no, no. It is true. When you do get to Washington, it changes, the mood changes and everything’s sort of frantic. We’re going to get to the topics of the day, obviously, too, because of the government shutdown and the non-shutdown and the caving and things like that. Like I said, lots of material for you. So you just start doing this, essentially, just start writing, and the Post …

Well because people started reading it and that was nice to see and also made them feel like, “Oh, maybe people want to hear this sort of thing.” And then … especially during the election. It sort of … doing a recap on the page of what was going on.

One of the things I love most about watching regular television is after you’ve watched it, you can go and sit down and read on Vulture or somewhere what someone else who watched it thought of it. And I feel like getting to do that for the debates and things like that was sort of how a lot of people discovered me and was a lot of fun to do.

KS: Right, right. Which is a tradition of online, a lot of the recaps. Recaps have been some of the best and most comedic things going, rather than watching the actual shows.

No. You don’t need to watch the whole show. You just to need to know like, “Here’s the three takeaway lines and also what the writer thought about the throughline.”

KS: Right. And so in … Washington still, though, is a place of great … they think a lot of themselves here. How would you put that, Dick?

DC: I would say they think a lot of themselves there and they all wear suits. It’s a very serious town.

KS: Right. It is.

DC: It’s very, “We are doing the important work.” It’s like the Davos of Washington. We are doing …

KS: Davos of the country, you mean.

DC: Yes. I’m kidding. They …

KS: Dick, why aren’t you in Davos? Curious.

DC: Is that happening now? I think it is happening now.

KS: Yes!


KS: Is that happening now? Of course it is. You used to go.

DC: Oh, wow. That’s why there’s no one here in San Francisco. That’s why the streets are empty.

KS: Did you used to go?

DC: No. I never went.

KS: Really?

DC: Not even one time. Not even one time.

KS: Wow.

DC: It’s so far.

First-world problem.

KS: I know.

DC: No. It’s a long ways away.

KS: Yeah. That’s true. That’s true. But it would seem a place for a Twitter CEO to go to.


KS: It would seem a place they would love to discuss you, the implications of Twitter on the global economy.

DC: There he is.

KS: Stuff like that.

All right, Alexandra, let’s get back to-

DC: I don’t do well in the mountains.

KS: You don’t do well in the mountains?

DC: No. I prefer to be down here by the water.

KS: By the ocean. At sea level. Dick does better at sea level.

So walk us through your process of doing this. Whatever you feel like writing, you just pick a topic? Or how do you think about it?

Mostly I’ll read the news. I sort of constantly have Twitter open, which is terrible for my sort of … I mean, I love Twitter. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be like, “Ah, Twitter. It’s terrible for my general feelings and opinions.”

KS: That’s okay. You can tell him. Dick has ruined American democracy. He knows it.

But I love how it’s like, “Oh, it’s where all the journalists are making jokes to one another about the news that’s happened.” Because usually you’ll find out about a breaking news event because someone will have made a joke referencing that event obliquely … Somebody was joking, I forget who on Twitter, that’s like, “When a meteor comes eventually, they’ll just say, ‘Oh, can’t wait for that big rock to hit us all.’”

KS: Yeah. Right. Exactly.

It’s like, finally something the rock won’t be … And you’re like, “Oh, it’s because a meteor’s coming,” and you have to reverse engineer it from the joke. So I will just be reading or watching the news and I will become incensed by something, and usually that’s the trigger for whatever the column turned out to be, whatever enrages me, and then I guess sort of …

KS: What’s the trigger of it? Just any of that? Is there any particular … it’s mostly politics.

Yeah. It’s mostly politics because that’s sort of … The D.C. of it is that I’m this sort of person who if left unattended would still read articles about Ted Cruz and what he’s up to and how he’s feeling, and I feel like that sort of sets D.C. apart from the rest of the population. People here are genuinely excited that C-SPAN’s on the radio. You’re driving along, you’re like, “Oh, boy. C-SPAN Radio! I’m at home!” So I think that feeling of like, “This is what I’m watching and this is what I’m nerding out about,” and sort of then also, “This is where everything is going horribly wrong.” And those things combine.

DC: I feel like when Trump is no longer president, it’s gonna … we just won’t be able to get enraged about anything anymore. Everything else will be like, “Oh, that seems … that’s fine.” You know?

No. I look forward to the challenge.

DC: It will be hard to get to the next … the next person won’t be able to do anything that will make people go, “That’s insane.” We’ll just be … stuff’s been so far over the edge.

KS: Unless it’s President Kardashian.

We’ll be like, “Kim wore a tan suit today. It was unpardonable.”

KS: So I want to get to process, and then I do want to talk about Trump pretty much the whole time. So you sit down, you pick the topic, it’s often Trump, at this point it’s often … or something like that. And then how do you decide to it? And who edits these things?

I have an editor and I’ll send it in, and then they’ll sort of … I’ll say … usually I will write double the column that I need to have written and I’ll put some brackets around it being like, “This paragraph is probably not necessary, but tell me if you like this joke,” and then we’ll go back and forth on it. And then when it’s okay, they’ll check it and make certain all my links go to actual pages and not to weird non-pages.

KS: Porn sites.

Yeah. Remember Man.

DC: I do. I remember that. I get it. Yeah. That was a whole thing,

KS: Yeah. It was a thing.

But then it’ll go up, and I’ll be looking around and something else will have risen, so every day there’s 18 things I want to be writing.

KS: And you do once a day?

But usually just one emerges. Yeah.

KS: One emerges a day.

Or some days three emerge and the previous day nothing emerged because I was typing in three windows like some sort of weird “Pacific Rim” character.

KS: And how does it … it is coming back. There’s a new one.

I’m so excited.

KS: Are you? Really?


KS: Terrible movie. Okay.

Yes, but I loved it.

KS: Yeah. Okay. Comedic in its own way. And then you … Is there stuff that they don’t want you to cover? Or you have whatever you want to cover?

I think, for the most part, they’ve been very good about letting me cover things. I think one time I tried to write a piece about Liberace that had no basis in the news, but that was years ago, and they were like, “Why are you writing about Liberace?” and I’m like, “Because Liberace’s great!” But that was not what they called for.

KS: But generally you can pick what you want. And nothing’s off limits.

I sort of have my own sense of what’s off limits, but I don’t … no one’s ever come down on me and been like, “How dare you?” etc., and like, “We don’t do this here.”

KS: And any complaints? Have you gotten complaints?

DC: How often does Bezos call you and go, “That was nice work, Alexandra.”

Zero times.

DC: “Keep it up.” Does he ever come storming … I want to … He should go storming through the newsroom.

KS: Really?

DC: Yeah. Just once, storming through the newsroom and like, “This is what we’re doing here!”

KS: Right. Exactly. Can you see him doing that?

DC: A little bit.

KS: Really? Do you know him?

DC: Yeah. C’mon.

KS: No?

DC: Yeah.

KS: No.

DC: Of course.

My favorite thing is now he’s on every awards show. There’s a certain point during every awards show when the camera just pans over and there’s Jeff Bezos. And I’m like, “Oh, because Amazon also makes everything.”

KS: Everything. Exactly. Are you allowed to make fun of Jeff Bezos?

I think I have to disclose … I mean, I’m sure I am, though.

KS: Because I have a lot of material for you.

I could be like, “Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon also owns the Post,” so you have to do this little disclaimery thing. But I could be just like whatever.

KS: Because he’s comic gold. There’s so much going on, with the headquarters, you could make fun of that quite a bit.

Oh, I am. I’m literally writing about the headquarters, so …

KS: Good.

It’s mostly just me realizing that I don’t have a lot of information about what makes for a good headquarters, but …

KS: Yeah. Yeah. Well it’s kind of a ridiculous sideshow at this point, but that’s all right. As long it’s keeping cities excited about Amazon.

DC: It’s down to 20. It’s down to 20. We’re in the quarter finals.

It’s down to … Three of 20 of those are D.C. I mean, loosely speaking. Montgomery County and also Northern Virginia and also D.C., three separate places that don’t share any resources.

KS: Right. You know what’s interesting … He’ll pick where he wants to live, actually, where he wants to live next. Could be here. Could be New York. I think it’s New York. So to wrap up this section. You just write it, it goes in. That’s it. That’s it. And if someone … Have you gotten complaints from people that don’t like being made fun of? Do you find … Washington’s not the most …

Oh, yeah. One time I got something from … someone had told … Newt Gingrich had told a fellow reporter, and he actually enjoyed the piece, and it was like Donald Trump turning into a bat, and he was like, “Hey. Not bad.”

KS: Oh, so you think there’s a sense of humor here?

I think some people have senses of humor and other people become enraged. And it really varies by the person and the thing you’re writing about, but people do take themselves very seriously and what they’re doing very seriously, but some people don’t take one of those things seriously.

KS: Right. Right. It’s sort of a similar thing in … the only person who actually would laugh at things … two people, Dick, in Silicon Valley, it’s you and Arianna Huffington, pretty much that laugh at themselves. Everyone else that we make jokes about or are really hard on really gets offended.

DC: “Why did you say that about me? Why did you say that about me?”

KS: Yeah. Exactly. “That was really mean, Kara. That was really mean.” Actually, third one, Jerry Yang, when we had the whole series on “Raise the Yangtanic.”

Why do you think that is in Silicon Valley?

KS: Oh, God. That’s a whole nother show. Dick, do you want to take that one?

DC: There’s a lot of earnestness here.

KS: Ugh, earnestness.

DC: It’s all very earnest.

KS: It’s not pompousness, it’s earnestness.

DC: When Megan and I were, a couple year ago, working on “Silicon Valley” — I say “Megan and I” like it was our show. We were in the room together. I remember at one point I asked just the folks in the writers room like, “What is it as you’ve been back and forth up to Silicon Valley that strikes you as funny, strikes you as just odd?” And they all immediately said, “Oh, listen. Man, it doesn’t matter what company you’re talking to, they all say, ‘You know. We’re changing the world. We’re making the world a better place.’” And these guys in the writers room were like, “You know, the guys next door say that and the guys upstairs say that and the guys downstairs who are virtually putting mustaches on people also say that.” There’s just a lot of that here.

KS: Yeah. Earnestness. But earnestness mixed with a sort of little bit of arrogance.

DC: Yes. I think that’s fair.

KS: Complete obtuseness. Obtuseness, and self-regard that is in the higher ranges.

Because if you think you’re capable of changing the world, that already puts you on a level above. Some people in D.C. are like …

DC: Self-regard that’s in the not-visible frequency.

KS: Yes, yes.

You have to draw a separate chart for that.

KS: It was. You laughed at my “three Peters and a Dick” joke. I thought that was great, about the board of Twitter. He thought it was funny.

DC: Yeah. That was …

KS: That was a good joke. C’mon. That was good.

DC: Yeah. No, it was. It got to the point where we even had two … there were two of them were Peter C., Peter Chernin and Peter Curry, so it was a whole problem.

KS: Yeah. Exactly. You’re ruining my joke now.

DC: Sorry.

KS: And then Arianna was … When I wrote a very eviscerating column about her, she called up and I thought she was going to yell at me and I was like, “I don’t want to hear it, Arianna.” And she goes, “Oh, one of your …” I’m not going to do her accent. She goes, “You have a grammatical error in the third paragraph. I thought you’d like to know. Thank you. Have a good day.” And she hung up, which I liked.

Some could perceive that as shade.

KS: Everybody else, not at all. They’re very furious about when you go after them.

All right. We’re here with Alexandra Petri. She has a column called Compost blog at the Washington Post, and she’s very, very funny. We’re going to talk about the Trump administration and the comedy goldness of it, and we’re here with my co-host Dick Costolo in his last show.

DC: Before I ride off into the sunset.

KS: Before you ride off and get your own podcast. He’s the former CEO of Twitter, and he does other things …

DC: I’ll show you. I’ll get my own podcast.

KS: You should get one. I really think that’s true. It’s an actual compliment I’m paying you. Anyway, when we get back, we’ll talk more.


We’re here in the studio in Washington, D.C., with Alexandra Petri. She has a comedy column at the Washington Post called Compost. It’s a blog and it also appears as a column on Sundays. We’re also here with my co-host for this month, Dick Costolo, and we’ve been talking about comedy online and all kinds of comedy issues and topically. Alexandra, the Trump administration. It’s fantastic for someone who’s writing funny stuff.

I mean, it kind of is, but it also isn’t.

KS: Talk about that.

… to the extent that Donald Trump has been playing himself on television for … since before I was born. And when somebody is already sort of flattened in certain dimensions so they appear more realistic on television, it’s harder to really add anything by just doing a straight-up parody of somebody like that. So he’s a better Trump impersonator than any Trump impersonator will ever be. But I do like this sort of cast of characters that have assembled around him.

DC: It’s a real cast of characters he’s got around.

KS: That’s a good way to put it.

You’ve got …

KS: It’s like “Cheers,” except worse.

Except you don’t want to go there every week, but you have to. You turn on the television, there’s only one channel and it’s just George Papadopoulos or that wonderful gentleman who arrived for 10 days and then vanished.

DC: Miller? Stephen Miller? Oh, yeah. That guy. Scaramucci. The Mooch.

Scaramucci. The Mooch. Yeah.

DC: Kara loves the … Kara … listen. What you don’t know is Kara loves the Mooch.

KS: I do love the Mooch.

DC: She loves him.

KS: We’ve been … I’m having lunch with him.

DC: Oh, I knew if. Of course you are! You’re having lunch with the Mooch.

KS: We keep talking about it. We’ll see. We’ll see if he comes through. I gotta go to New York. I gotta go have lunch. Are you kidding? I’m going to his restaurant. We’re going to have a giant steak. I’m going to wear my silk tie. It’s going to be great, the whole thing.

That sounds fantastic.

KS: I know. I’m looking forward to it, sadly, for myself. That’s the problem, is I can’t believe I’m participating with this horror show.

But it’s like, self-care is important and if your form of self-care is having lunch with the Mooch, then …

KS: Yes. Exactly. So talk about the characters of the Trump administration. Because Washington’s always been funny, has always had characters here.

But some people you really have to work at … and you almost entirely give them a personality of your own choosing, whereas these people come preassembled. It’s sort of like the kit. And if you look at …

KS: Well, go through them. So you got Trump, who’s at the center.

You got Trump.

KS: Who’s the Archie Bunker of it all.

You’ve got this weird community production of “The Lion in Winter” that is his family. Like who’s Jeffrey? You could just have a full, “It’s always been me, Father.”

KS: It’s his second son. What’s his name?


KS: Eric. Yeah, Eric.

DC: Yeah, Eric.

Oh, man. Eric, his birthday card … I like that they send out an email being like, “Hey, don’t forget to wish Eric a happy birthday.” And I’m like, “Doesn’t he have three other people we should be wishing happy birthday to?” But it’s good that they all have love for one another.

KS: And Tiffany. I mean, Tiffany.

Oh, yeah.

KS: You keep forgetting her.

The unknown soldier.

KS: So she’s got this family around her, and Ivanka, presumably. What is she to you, comedically?

Well my favorite thing is Jared and Ivanka … all the Washington publications have taken it on themselves to be as specifically as like the D.C. social scene. Republicans are like, “They are not fitting in well and they arrive at brunch, and people turn and walk away.” And all these sort of unnamed sources being like, “They are miserable and we saw them at brunch and we didn’t even acknowledge them.” And their friends back in New York are like, “Oh, yes. It’s a very difficult time for them. They did not recently go to a gala because they knew they would not be well received, which is a tragedy because their brands have been so successful so far.” And so there’s this very specific tragedy playing out for them.

KS: Right. Socially.

And also, my other … not my favorite thing about the “Fire and Fury” book that took us all by storm, was they were trying to make Jarvanka happen, which I’ve never heard. Jarvanka?

KS: Right. It’s Javanka! Yeah.

It’s like, get your portmanteaus right, you’re making me question the whole veracity of this tome.

KS: Yeah. Maybe they call it Jarvanka at the White House.

Or maybe Steve Bannon calls it Jarvanka. The book was … most of it was like … by the time you got to the end of it, it was Steve Bannon has also lost 20 pounds and will be president soon, which is … that’s certainly a take that you would get, but I assume only by sitting next to Steve Bannon and just having him talk to you for long periods of time.

KS: Right. Exactly. How do you look at him as comedic material?

His vision of the world is terrifying and his whole sort of, “No, no, no. It’s economic nationalism, which is not white supremacy. That’s a very different thing.” It’s ridiculous how many people are like, “Oh, sure. Probably. We buy that.” No. All the forces that he’s activated are evil, bad.

KS: What are the things you use comedically with him? I mean, his looks, obviously.

Well, I don’t like going after people’s looks because that’s such a Trump strategy. On the one hand, some people’s exteriors and interiors match nicely. But pointing that out when there’s so many other things that they’re doing … like his sort of grandiose, “I’m a chess master playing on 18 levels” to me is funnier than like, “Oh, I’ve made some choices.”

KS: He looks like an unmade bed.


KS: Yeah. I’ve made some sartorial choices that are poor.

Yeah. The inside of his liver and the outside of his … no.

KS: Oh, you’re going there. Funny.

No. I’m not. I apologize.

DC: That’s everyone, and my favorite supporting actor is the Miller guy.

KS: Miller. Yeah.

DC: That Stephen Miller guy.

Oh, yeah.

DC: I mean, that look that he’s got on his face is … You can’t beat that priceless, self-serious look.

KS: How do you treat him? Yeah. How would you describe him?

I mean, I’ve described him mostly in the context of, he’ll show up at the press briefing and rant about how the Statue of Liberty … “In fact, the poem was added later.” So it’s more like someone-

DC: “They painted on the gold flame. It wasn’t a light. It wasn’t meant to light the way for you.”

Yeah. No. She was shooing them away. It was a torch. “Get back! Get back, you unwashed masses yearning to be free.” So I think all of these people …

DC: “It was originally laid down sideways to block the harbor.”

Yeah. “The French sent it and we sent it back! But then we woke in the night and it appeared in the harbor.” I think his views are much more to be made fun of.

DC: No, it’s great, that the poem was added later. The poem was added later makes it irrelevant.

And it’s also … that’s a talking point of people who are creepy and wrong.

DC: It’s totally a talking point of people who are creepy and wrong. That’s totally a Miller comment.


KS: Every time I go *gasp* when I see him. That’s how I would react as a reporter.

He appears in the mirror behind you when you whisper something.

DC: That’s right. That’s right that he’s that guy. Yep.

KS: Don’t say it three times. Stephen Miller, Stephen Miller, Stephen … If you say it, you die, right?

Or he arrives and becomes a presence in your life, which is even worse.

KS: That’s insidious for something like that.

No. This whole administration is insidious.

KS: Miller to me is the funniest one there at this point, at this moment in time.

I think he’s easy to make fun of, but everything he advocates for is so terrifying and he’s being listened to and given a platform by this … So I mostly try to make fun of what he’s advocating for, and being like, “This is bad. Don’t say this.”

KS: Later I want to talk about whether you can actually kill these people through comedy, which is a way … it’s been done before over … historically, there’s all kinds of ways to …

When? When was it done? I want to know.

KS: I need to do it. But I want to get through this administration. Melania.

Oh, Melania. I sort of … My favorite Melania piece ever was in the New York Times magazine, Chimamanda Adichie wrote this incredible Mrs. Dalloway parody that was … What if inside Melania is this? And I just thought that was … that’s my head canon for what Melania’s life is like.

KS: Right. Right. But that was sad. That was so sad. It was beautiful. It was a beautiful piece, and I thought, “Exactly. This is her life.”

I feel like a lot of this … if you laugh at gothic horror, this is a great administration to find comedy in because sometimes you just describe it and it’s like, “Oh, no. This is a Bronte novel, and it’s a less beloved Bronte novel.”

KS: That you didn’t want to read. But then again, when she does the Christmas thing, it’s like comedy gold.

Oh, that. Just the visuals from that. And our Eric Thomas wrote this really hilarious thing where we went through and captioned all of them, where it’s like, “I think the White Witch from Narnia would like to speak to your manager.” And it was like, yes, this is everything. So the Pottery Barn nightmare of everything that was going on is like, “What if we didn’t have non-white decorations? What would that look like? Oh! Here’s what it would look like.”

KS: Right, right, right. Exactly. And then you stay away from …

And ballerinas. Oh, my God, the ballerinas.

KS: Did you go to that event?


KS: There’s just ballerinas.

It was just Melania and ballerinas.

KS: My favorite was Melania by herself and ballerinas, that picture.

I mean, I know there were photographers documenting it, but I like to picture it was just …

KS: I feel captions aren’t used enough. Spy magazine used to, if you … Dick, do you remember those captions?

DC: Yeah. Of course. Yep.

KS: The captioning was amazing. if you go back and look at old issues, they’d just have pictures with captions and the captions were literally the funniest things. They make you laugh for days and days the way they captioned them. And it was often Donald Trump.

The short-fingered vulgarian? Yes.

KS: Vulgarian. Yes.

DC: I think Graydon coined that term in Spy magazine.

KS: Graydon. He did.

He did.

KS: He did indeed. And what about the side players? Ryan, Lindsey Graham, there’s so many …

Oh, those I love because they keep sort of making these bold statements, and then you look at what they’re actually doing on the page or in action and it’s completely different. So I like … And they’re always like, “Oh, we’ve gotta have a legislative achievement. It doesn’t matter what that is or how destructive it is to lives. Let’s just have this accomplishment.”

KS: Which one’s the funniest to use? Which one do you like writing about?

Honestly, I really enjoy writing about Ted Cruz and I’m sad he’s faded into the background.

KS: He has. He has. Eddie Munster.

It’s a real referendum on this administration that Ted Cruz, who otherwise would be a captivating and mesmerizing figure, is just a nobody.

KS: He is. Yeah. Who else do you like in Congress?

DC: One of my favorite things about McConnell and Ryan now is there’s … In Silicon Valley there’s this sort of goofy tradition of you’ll put a fake PowerPoint presentation in front of somebody. It’s just for fun, and it’s full of nonsense slides and you have to present it as if it’s an actual presentation.

Ooh, like karaoke.

DC: I feel like that’s the way … Like karaoke for PowerPoint. It’s really not that good at all. But I feel like that’s what McConnell and Ryan have to do to Trump’s tweets. They are presented with this nonsense thing that just happened. He may’ve just … like the morning he tweeted that the legislation he actually wanted passed on FISA was actually something they shouldn’t pass. And then they ask Ryan and McConnell about it, and they have to sort of pretend like it’s a real thing they’re responding to, and they give it this sort of gravitas that everyone on the planet knows doesn’t exist. It’s just sort of like, “C’mon.” You want to look at them and go, “C’mon. C’mon.”

Yeah. No. And the sort of soberness with which they make speeches that are palpably absurd.

KS: And they know they’re absurd, that you know they know they’re absurd.

Well, you hope they know that they’re absurd.

KS: Yeah. Presumably. And are any Democrats funny whatsoever?

Oh, yeah.

KS: Such as?

One of my favorite things on “SNL” recently was they had this parody of how hip and cool we’re trying to be, and like, “Look. I’m Chuck Schumer. I’m standing in a field in a button-down. See, voters from the middle of the country will relate to this.” It’s like, “We are the ones who aren’t racist, but then again, we are very mad about the economy.” Sort of like … And they did a very funny “SNL” parody of Dianne Feinstein, which I didn’t realize you could do a Dianne Feinstein impression until Cecily Strong did this amazing one. And I’m like, “That is Dianne Feinstein.”

KS: I didn’t see that one.

Oh, you’ve got to watch it. It’s a very hip, cool video.

KS: Yeah. She’s all hot and bothered because she’s got people running against her. Yeah.

Oh, yeah.

KS: Yeah. Yeah. Which is why she’s running again, which is kind of funny.

But I do think the warfare amongst the Democrats is very funny.

DC: “I wasn’t going to run again, but now people are running against me.”

KS: I’m telling you. I was with a bunch of Californians lately, force my hand. They said if they had just been quiet, she would have gone. She would have …

DC: I was going to retire, but …

KS: I was going to retire, but not now. I don’t find any of the Democrats funny, even from a parody point of view. They’re not … I guess because they pale in comparison to the Republican panoply of idiots.

Well, I think it sort of depends if you’re making fun of people qua people, it’s easier to be like, “Ugh, look at these people Donald Trump has dredged up from under whatever strange rock,” but if you’re making fun of the issues and these sort of very easily parodyable corners that people keep backing themselves into, I feel like the Democrats have their share of easily parodyable corners.

KS: What would you have done if it was a Clinton administration?

Made lots of jokes about … I mean, can you imagine sitting through a Clinton administration?

KS: Yes. I can.

But half of the media would just be like, “We need to light her on fire now. Here’s a bucket of pitch. And here’s 16 things that are wrong.”

KS: Did you say the word “pitch”? I like that. Go ahead.

DC: Yeah. I was going to say, Kara, have you noticed that Alexandra’s vocabulary is a little bit better than ours?

KS: I know. It is. She went to Harvard, though.

DC: Yeah, well, I know. I’m going to use “portmanteau” this afternoon.

KS: Dick, where did you go to college?

DC: Don’t worry. I’m just trying to … Don’t worry. I’m thinking about how I’m going to use “portmanteau” in a sentence.

KS: Portmanteau. Manteau.

DC: Portmanteau.

KS: Where did you go to college, Dick Costolo?

DC: It’s Kathmandu in Portmanteau. All right.

KS: You’re not telling me where you went to college.

DC: I went to University of Michigan, public school.

KS: Oh, right. Public school. I went to Georgetown.

[To Dick] Is that the one where you say, “Go blue” or the one where you don’t?

DC: It is the one where you say, “Go blue.”

Go blue!

KS: Go blue. So is that the one in trouble right now because of gymnastics?

DC: It’s not in any trouble. No, that’s Michigan State.

KS: Oh, all right.

DC: They’re in so much trouble.

They’re not blue.

KS: They’re in so much the trouble. And that’s nothing we joke about today.

DC: No, it’s not.

KS: But you think … Democrats, Hillary Clinton would have been just as funny as a …

I think we would have been able to have comedic arguments about policy, which would have been nice instead of jokes about, “Oh, nuclear war! Hahaha!”

KS: Right. And also other things. So do you write outside of Washington? In the next section we’re going to talk about sort of what parts.

DC: Yeah. I was going to ask if you have any inclination to go join your friend Megan out in sunny Los Angeles and write for Hollywood.

Yeah. No. I think that would be fun. I think …

DC: I like how I said Hollywood like it’s a company. Go write for Hollywood.


DC: It’s like “Barton Fink.”

There’s one elevator. You make all the pitches in the one elevator. That was how I pictured Hollywood for a long time, where you would go and just find an elevator and just stand in there being like, “No. But so there’s a Supreme Court justice and she needs to go on a date. We’ll find her a date.”

KS: All right. On that note, when we get back, we’re going to talk about that and more. We’re here with Alexandra Petri. She’s a very funny columnist for the Washington Post and Dick is trying to get her to move to Hollywood right now. And some of our favorite columns include — which we’re going to talk about, the MeToo movement — “Ladies, let’s be reasonable about #MeToo or nothing will be sexy again.” That was a particularly good column, by the way.

Oh, thank you.

KS: And we’re here also with my co-host Dick Costolo. When we get back we’re going to talk more about comedy and politics.


KS: I’m here in Washington, D.C., with my co-host for the month of January, Dick Costolo, who is in San Francisco. We’re talking to Alexandra Petri, a comedy columnist for the Washington Post, and she’s got lots of material here in Washington.

But there’s a couple things we want to talk about. One is, why don’t you go to Hollywood? It’s kind of an old-school thing to do a comedy column, a politics column. There’s been tons of them over the years, but there weren’t as many as there had been. There was Art Buchwald. There was, I guess Maureen Dowd is considered that. Who do you look back at when you think about that? And then I want to talk about going to Hollywood and doing other things where comedy is.

Well, I really like … I actually think we’re sort of in a boom for online comedy writing because if you think about it as a traditional column … the print newspaper on the one hand is getting thinner and thinner and fading away, especially local newspapers are having difficulties, but the internet is having this resurgence of comedy writing like never before, I think. Because as a bad millennial, I’m not enjoying this whole pivot to video that everyone’s doing where suddenly it’s all a video and you have to watch it for four minutes even with the subtitles, and I like just reading something to get my whatever it is.

So there’s late-night comedy shows doing great work, but it’s all in video format, but if you like your jokes on the page, then this is a great time to be writing jokes on a page. And I feel like the internet — R.I.P. The Awl and R.I.P. The Toast — but there were many great places for comedy writing online, and especially for female voices, like Lindy West, like Mallory Ortberg. They weren’t often political, and now Lindy West writes a column where it’s not all caps and it’s a thoughtful, well-researched and still full of amazing lines, but it’s not just like, “TITANIC WAS BAD,” and it’s in all capital letters. But I think it’s both the vintage thing to be doing, and actually a very of-the-now thing to be doing.

KS: Mm-hmm. What do you think is … The Awl did close. The Awl was very funny. The Toast was the same thing. How do you … Dick and I have been talking this week about various places people are doing comedy, and some of it is … some people have said it’s really hard to make money at, it’s very hard, but there’s obviously … Twitter is funny. There’s tons of stuff that’s great on Twitter. Where do you like to … Where do you think some of the more interesting stuff is happening?

Well, yeah. I do enjoy Twitter. I enjoyed the aforementioned Awl and Toast, although they’re gone now. McSweeney’s has a lot of good stuff. Oh, and ClickHole.

DC: I like how, Kara … I like how when I’m on people feel compelled to say, “I do like Twitter,” whenever you have me on.

KS: No, Twitter is funny. Twitter has gotten …

DC: My grandmother used to say about somebody, “You know I happen to like Alex,” and that meant Alex was just about to get thrown right under the … that was it for Alex. No more. We won’t be seeing him again.

KS: No. I think Twitter is very funny, and has gotten …

DC: 100 percent.

KS: I find it extraordinarily funny lately and it’s helpful.

DC: Agreed. Agreed.

KS: Finally. It’s hateful, but it’s very …

DC: C’mon. It’s always been funny. There’s always been tons of great stuff on there.

KS: Not as much as … it feels better now because it …

But I feel it’s like saying a restaurant is funny because they do comedy there every Wednesday. Twitter’s just a place where the conversation happens. There’s a certain type of funny that happens only on Twitter, and I do enjoy weird Twitter humor, all of that.

KS: Yeah. Was it funnier at 140 characters or 280?

People complained about 280, but I think everyone secretly doesn’t mind.

KS: Right. A little more time to … Where else do you find things that are going on that you find interesting comedically?

The Onion, ClickHole, PatriotHole, Breitbart … no, I’m kidding. Not Breitbart.

KS: Is there anything funny on Breitbart? I don’t know.

I started watching Alex Jones, partially because …

DC: Watching Alex Jones if fantastic. The Amazon Echo piece video with Alex Jones, you have to watch it. You have to see it. He talks to the Amazon Echo and basically infers, from the way it communicates back to him, that it’s listening at all times and Jeff Bezos is spying on all of us.

KS: Oh, wow.

I mean, it is listening at all times. You have to have the wake word.

DC: He manages to make the Echo look sentient, which is remarkable.

KS: Oh, wow.

Alex and Alexa in conversation.

KS: All right. Wow. Where else do you two like to eat? Where else do you think is really great?

Sam Bee, I think, is really great. “The Daily Show,” Colbert. Everyone is stepping up their game now these days. “SNL.” When they hit it, they really hit it.

KS: Yeah, yeah. Did you like it this week? I haven’t seen it this week.

I haven’t seen all of it.

KS: It’s so funny that everyone doesn’t see it. They just see it later.

I see the live clips on the internet weeks after.

KS: Do you imagine, as Dick asked, going elsewhere? Or can you see a career writing political humor?

The gig economy millennial in me is like, “Can I not do both of those things?” But I would like to write something sort of bigger that gets to stay when the news of the day has evaporated, because as much as I love writing a column every day, it’s sort of like writing in water. You can put all kinds of craftsmanship or whatnot into it or you can just type it really fast. But either way, once the news cycle moves on, no one’s like, “Oh, I really want to go back to three months ago when you wrote that piece about Ted Cruz.”

KS: You love Ted Cruz.

For some reason Ted Cruz is just coming up.

KS: Man. You have a strange crush on Ted Cruz.


DC: By the way, we get done with this, you know you’re going to have a couple emails from the producers about, “So tell me more about the Supreme Court justice who wants to go on a date. Do you have a couple pages you could shoot me?” You know that’s happening.

I could write it really quick. Yeah.

KS: That would actually be a very good show.

No. But think of it … It would be like a movie, I feel, because you’d have a middle-aged Supreme Court justice sort of like a Kagan, and …

KS: Woman or not?

Oh, woman. 100 percent. Then maybe it started where a crusty old Scalia type will like wingman with her, and go on hunting trips.

DC: Right, right, right, right.

And dates. And then …

DC: I’m loving this. C’mon.

KS: And then they’ll fall in love.

Oh, no. I wasn’t even thinking they would fall in love.

DC: No. They don’t fall in love.

Of course, they …

KS: They could. That happened on “Cheers.”

DC: Oh, geez. That’s the side … He’s in love with her, but she doesn’t want to be with him. She wants to be with the guy who’s nothing like a Supreme Court justice.

KS: Yeah.

The highest courtship in the land.

DC: C’mon. You’re 90 percent of the way there.

KS: You are. I hate to say it, but Alexandra, we might have just launched your new career. All right. I want to finish up. Dick only has a few more minutes before he has something more important.

DC: Kara wants a credit on that, by the way.

KS: I do.

DC: She just wants a writer’s credit.

KS: Executive producer. Because there’s like 90 of them. We have only a few more minutes with Dick Costolo. It’s his Cinderella time and Recode Decode is winding down.

He’s going to turn into a pumpkin.

KS: Let’s finish up talking about MeToo, because your last column on the MeToo movement was tremendous. And I think a lot people did actually, initially, take it seriously. “Now c’mon ladies, feet up on the desk.” Several people were like, “Oh, this guy’s a jerk.” I’m like, “It’s a comedy column.”

She’s a lady.

KS: She’s a lady. Yeah.

I think part of it is there’s just a trope that people start embracing without intentionally realizing they’re doing it that is an inch from parody. We’re sort of living in Poe’s law heaven where a very earnest version of the thing itself is indistinguishable from a parody of the thing. And so a lot of these like, “Ugh. We’ve gone too far. And how … I won’t be able to hug women at the office. I won’t be able to go up to my subordinates and ask them to bear my child any longer. How will the office culture survive?” These are not things that should be happening.

KS: Right, right, right, right. And on the other side, women don’t say, “That’s not fair. You can’t joke about it.” Because I’m very nervous to make a MeToo joke online. I am, because I feel like … oddly enough, I saw Rose McGowan yesterday in person at an event, and I was like, “I’m not making any jokes.” You know what I mean? There’s certain things you feel like you can’t joke about, but I really enjoyed you joking about it finally because there is some humor to be found in every, even the most dire of stories.

I think it was mostly a joke about the backlash to it, because this idea that, “Oh, it’s gone far enough. We’ve had, I guess, two, three months of it and it’s done now because now we’re uncomfortable, and some people have kind of suffered some consequences in a specific area, and that’s enough. I’m uncomfortable now.” That whole response has been fascinating, and so I was trying to poke fun at that, not be like, “This movement should be over.” Which I feel like you can make fun of the things that’s ridiculous in any circumstances.

KS: Right, right. Is there any other topics that you think you’re going towards? The government shutdown, was that funny in any way?

I love … well, now we’ve gotten the most valuable concession you can possibly get from anyone, which is the word of honor of Mitch McConnell that something will probably be discussed.

KS: “I intend.”

As Merrick Garland knows so well, this is a badge that can be trusted and it’s worth whatever concession he made.

KS: Oh, my God. You made Mitch McConnell funny for two seconds, but I’m not sure … I want to finish up. Dick, do you have any other closing questions?

DC: No. I’m all good. I think we’ve gone through all my agenda here.

KS: When you think about all this, it is a dire time and it’s really nice when people do laugh about it, even though it feels dire at the same time. That’s what’s nice about doing that. But do you … would you imagine ever becoming a serious news reporter after this or not? You’re just sticking with this?

Well, I think I’ve had so many opinions out there in the public sphere that I’m not sure I could go and be like, “Just kidding. I don’t have any opinions anymore. I’m just a human being. I’m an eye and a microphone recording the news.” But everyone says, “Well, opinion journalists can break news,” and I’m like … the kind of opinion journalist that I am, I’m not sure what news I’d be breaking. I want to kind of pitch I’ll just go and hang out at Mar-a-lago for six weeks and people will probably just say stuff around me, and I’ll be able to have a lot of scoops.

KS: Between that and your Supreme Court show, I think you’ve got … That would be amazing. Six weeks at … David Fahrenthold is there right now, but he’s not particularly funny.

Oh, he’s great though.

KS: I love him. He’s wonderful. Oh, I love David.

He’s like a national treasure.

DC: Kara, everyone you’ve mentioned at the Post you’ve said is not particularly funny, every single …

KS: But Dave is not funny. He’s not funny, but he’s lovely. He’s fantastic. He’s an amazing journalist, but not funny.

DC: He’s a remarkably wonderful journalist, who happens to also be not funny.

KS: He’s a wonderful journalist, but he’s literally at Mar-a-lago and not making jokes.

Just hanging out.

KS: Hanging out and talking about charity balls. Although, whoever covered the Stormy Daniels thing for you guys was brilliant, I have to say.

Oh, man.

KS: That’s a whole nother show.

I also love that we’re kind of not even paying attention to that.

KS: To Stormy Daniels.

It’s a conversation that is happening, but it’s not … But there’s so many things that are going on right now that we’re kind of not paying attention to.

KS: Yeah. The fact that we’re not paying attention to Stormy Daniels is really kind of something else. Anyway, Alexandra, it was great talking to you. Thanks for coming on the show. And thanks again, Dick.

DC: Thanks for having me.

KS: Thank you so much for co-hosting this month.

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