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  • Writer's pictureStand-Up Comedy Historian

Ten Fun Facts about SUCH

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Since this is my first holiday meal completely alone, I thought it would be fun to tell you all some facts about me and my life.



In my 41 years on this planet, I have had my ups (winning English awards at Lafayette College, having my article published in Villanova University's graduate journal) and my downs (breaking my left leg and shattering my ankle in 2015, divorce after being together for 21 years).


My two Gilbert Prizes for excellence in English


My article about the English language in Jonathan Swift's and Samuel Johnson's texts, which you can read in its entirety here


But during all those decades, I have also had some pretty cool experiences that I wanted to share.


These are all 100 percent TRUE even though I have lost a lot of verifying photos to the sands of time (especially because of my decision to straight-up delete my personal social media, particularly Facebook, which I had been a member of since 2004).


Let's go!


1) I won a GAMES Magazine t-shirt for pointing out an error in one of their puzzles in 2000


I have always been good at spotting problems, and I have loved puzzles since I was a little girl.


As a result of these two facets of my personality, I noticed that "Iran" and "Iraq" were mixed up in the answer page for a geography puzzle.


Obviously Iraq is nowhere NEAR that large in size!


I sent in a punny poem to the editors (including Will Shortz at the time), and my letter was published in the "Laundry" section of the February 2001 issue. I still have the t-shirt to this day!


A copy of what I sent to the editors (excuse the scribble at the top...I was probably checking to see if a pen worked or not)


Iraq to the east and Iran to the west,
If this puzzle were a cartographer's quiz,
You would have failed the test.
Now here is my message,
Of which I shall be curt.
Your puzzle needs laundering,
And please send me a GAMES t-shirt!

My acceptance letter and news I would be receiving a t-shirt. Woo-hoo!


The famous NYT Crossword Puzzles Editor was a Contributing Editor for my favorite magazine at the time. You can read more about Will Shortz here. And Judy Weightman is included as well, whom you can read about in fact eight! I had no idea until now lol


Still in great condition after 23 years, but it's way too small for me now lol


2) My first kiss (on the cheek) was from ESPN's Dave McMenamin in first grade


This was the last kiss I received from a boy until I met my ex-husband at Lafayette College in 2002, so I remember it quite well. I also had an enormous crush on Dave when we were in high school, so I've ruminated on our interactions too many times haha.


My first grade school picture—the cutest I've ever been apparently


Dave and I went through all of our school years together (we are three months apart in age), and we both worked on the Radnorite, the school newspaper.


Me (second photo on the top left) and Dave (guy in the baseball cap in the fourth row) when we were juniors in high school


While I had interned at a local newspaper—the Wayne Suburban—for my senior project, I never went through with my aspirations of becoming a newspaper editor. I found that I really hated having to interview people in person, and being crammed into a tiny room with computers and other journalists typing loudly was so overwhelming for my highly sensitive nature.


This was not the type of work that fits my introverted personality


Dave, however, was determined to follow his dream of a career in journalism, and he is currently a popular NBA reporter who mainly covers the L.A. Lakers (and yes, he knows LeBron really well!).



Another famous alum from Radnor High School (our alma mater) is none other than Back to the Future's Biff Tannen, Coach Fredricks on Freaks and Geeks, and Zach Stone's father himself, Tom F. Wilson!



Fun fact: Tom is a stand-up comedian as well as an actor. You can check out one of his sets about his daughters here!


3) I was the inaugural Francis March Research Intern for the Oxford University Press in 2004


While I was a junior in college, I was selected to be the first research intern from Lafayette to help complete the Historical Dictionary of American Slang.


The OUP press release about my internship


My college's press release with a few quotes from me about my love of lexicography (still totally true!)


A pic from 2004 and one from this past February when I had visited the OUP building before going to see Kate (and Bo!) for the third time later that night


Unfortunately, my work during the summer on the letter P and newer slang terms for A–O was never used because the entire project was canceled and the volume was never published (despite what Amazon may say)—and who really BUYS dictionaries anymore?


All of the citations I had compiled during my internship and a nice note that came attached to some candy from Erin McKean about my work on the thesaurus (see fact number four for more!)


Jessica—
Thank you for being so "sweet" & helping with the thesaurus!
Erin

The March Plaza plaque at Lafayette College in 2005 and 2019—he was the subject of my honors thesis


I had also discovered a document signed by James A. H. Murray in Lafayette's Special Collections, but they moved locations and it got lost in the shuffle. My thesis is the only evidence of its existence!


There's no image available because it never existed haha


4) I was a professionally published proofreader at the age of 22


While HDAS didn't pan out, I did work with some amazing lexicographers at OUP, including my mentor of sorts Erin McKean (later on, she became the founder of Wordnik, a wonderful online dictionary you should definitely use!).



I adopted the word "comedy" on the website—woot!


All of my stickers and a thank you note that I got in the mail—SO freakin' cool


Erin showed me the ropes and had me help proofread the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus.


Dear Jessica,
Thank you so much for all your hard work on this project—you should be very proud, because we are!
Yours,
Erin

This was my first (and only) credit in a reference book, and I still have this EXCELLENT thesaurus at the ready if I need a better synonym or can't think of a good word for my writing!


5) I saw Eminem film the "Not Afraid" music video from my second floor apartment in Newark, NJ in May of 2010


I remember walking home from my work at McGraw-Hill Education on Cinco de Mayo and seeing the street closed off and BRIGHT lights set up. I went up to my apartment and, from my bedroom window, I could see all the commotion below.


I recall searching on Twitter for goings-on in Newark that day, and that's how we found out Eminem was filming a new music video.


I captured some shots of him in a Jesus pose (gone now because of Facebook), and I definitely remember him lying on the ground with glass placed carefully around him.


It's still a pretty cool video to watch, and it reminds me of my time living in New Jersey for 3 years!



6) I was an Executive Producer on the Manos: The Hands of Fate restoration project—and came up with the simple but effective hashtag #KeepManosFree


I helped out with this project when I could since I love Manos (particularly the MST3K version with Mike Nelson as Torgo).



It was especially thrilling to be listed as an EP, and this is my only film credit to this day!



7) I know James Rolfe (the Angry Video Game Nerd) through my ex-husband


One night, Ian was out at the Wayne movie theater with his friends, and he texted me a pic of him and another guy. I believe my response was "No shit!" because we had watched the Angry Nintendo Nerd in college together.



I also had taken a photo with James at that same location as Ian, but it's gone now (the picture and the movie theater).


We were invited to a Halloween party, and James had attended as well. He's a really sweet guy but, like Bo, very quiet and introverted in real life!


James dressed up as the Phantom of the Opera


In addition to those interactions, I had been invited to James' home on several occasions (I've met his wife April, and our older daughters Darcy and Amelia were friends pre-Pandemic). I even got to see where his videos were filmed, which was really cool for a pop culture nerd like myself haha.


8) I wrote three articles for Broad Street Review as well as proofread from 2014–2016



While I lived in Merion Station, I had the opportunity to help out then-Editor-in-Chief Judy Weightman with proofreading her Philadelphia arts newspaper. I had met Judy as a temp at my previous job at Apex Learning, and we had built up a friendship over that time (I was also so impressed that she had been on Jeopardy!—and had won her game and 2 more!).



In addition to proofreading all of the articles published for those two years, I wrote a few of my own about my favorite television series at the time:


(Season One)



(Season Three)



(Season One)



9) I have collaborated with ravenhpltc24 on two separate videos (my son and I even appear in one!)


These videos are all incredibly meaningful to me because Alicia was able to incorporate some of my ideas into her final products—and I'm so very proud of how they've turned out!


Logan with a sock on his hand and me in my Socko merch


Currently at 10K views—woo-hoo!


10) I have seen ALL of my Top 5 comics in person (only Bo didn't perform)


This was a personal goal of mine coming out of the pandemic, and I finally accomplished it in November 2022!


Bo Burnham (Rothaniel, Kate)


Not my photo, sadly...but a pic of Bo after directing one of the tapings for Jerrod's Emmy-winning special


James Acaster (Hecklers Welcome)



John Mulaney (From Scratch, which turned into Baby J)



Flight of the Conchords (Town Hall and the Mann Center)



Demetri Martin (Spiral Bound—he might have skateboarded past us waiting in line in front of the UCB Theatre!—and Wandering Mind right before the pandemic)


I love how literal Demetri's merch is


Well, now you know a bit more about the person behind this website. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and keep it here for more comedy fun! ✌🏼🐔


My cat Jemima and me


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