CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
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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