In the Green Room

Writer Jeanne Darst

Mandarin Ruined My English

Jeanne Darst

Jeanne Darst is a writer and performer and author of the memoir Fiction Ruined My Family. Before participating in a panel on whether women can be funny, she sold out Silver Lake, bemoaned unitard shopping, and hated on running companions and people with bad voices in the Zócalo green room.


Q:
If you could speak another language, which would you choose?

A:
Mandarin. I just got back from China, where I was trying to learn it with my 5-year-old son. It didn’t go very well. I think my English is actually worse than when we left. I’ll take Mandarin, because we didn’t learn any.

Q:
What was the best thing you ate in China?

A:
A lot of good Peking duck. Lots of shrimp with the head and tail and shell on. A lot of good, spicy Hunan food. I did pass on some more adventurous dishes—I didn’t eat donkey and bullfrog, or scorpions.

Q:
What’s your go-to karaoke song?

A:
I don’t like karaoke. I’m going to say it right here, right now. I’m not into it. Maybe that’s because I don’t drink anymore. Those two things might go together. How many people are doing karaoke sober? Nobody.

Q:
Where do you go to be alone?

A:
I work alone, so I go to work to be alone. I go for runs to be alone. I can’t stand when somebody wants to go for a run with me. That’s why I go running, to get away from people.

Q:
Where do you like to run in L.A.?

A:
In Elysian Park and around the reservoir, because I live in Silver Lake.

Q:
What stereotype about Silver Lake is not true?

A:
That it’s cool. There’s nothing cool about Silver Lake. Or maybe I’m just over coolness in general. I feel like if it were cool there would be people doing impromptu theater in the streets.

Q:
What item would you bid for on eBay?

A:
Joyce DeWitt’s phone number. I am currently trying to get ahold of Joyce DeWitt of Three’s Company fame.

Q:
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A:
A lot of great books from my dad, in particular the Oxford English Dictionary. A funny, cumbersome, unwieldy gift to walk home with.

Q:
What do you find to be the most difficult item of clothing to shop for?

A:
Unitard.

Q:
What sound do you find most annoying?

A:
Anybody with a bad voice. Any kind of bad voice—I will move tables in a restaurant if I’m next to somebody who has a really bad voice.


*Photo by Aaron Salcido.
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