Zoo Worker, Comedian, And Straw Hater Brianna Williams

INJ 16 | Zoo Worker Comedian


Zoo Worker. Comedian. Writer. Goblin. These are just a few of apt descriptions that barely capture Brianna Williams’ comedic brilliance – on and off the stage. Popularly known as one of the hosts for Channel Ten’s The Bachelor Unpacked, Brianna is also dedicated to her incredible profession as a zoo worker. Hailing from Perth, she left her full-time high school teaching role to come to a town filled with lattes and lemurs. She can be seen regularly as part of The Big Hoo-Haa! on Friday nights at the Butterfly Club; has performed as part of Melbourne Fringe, Perth Fringe World and the Melbourne Comedy Festival; and is now passionate in her mission of telling people in bars not to use straws. Brianna explores the hidden depths behind comedy and its important role in society, now more than ever.

Listen to Episode #16 here


Zoo Worker, Comedian, And Straw Hater Brianna Williams

Our guest is Brianna Williams. Brianna is a zoo worker and a comedian. She has performed as part of Melbourne Fringe, Perth Fringe World, and the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Nowadays, she’s seen regularly as part of The Big HOO-HAA! at the Butterfly Club in Melbourne. She is one of the hosts of The Bachelor Unpacked for Channel Ten. Welcome, Brianna. Suppose you couldn’t be working on The Big HOO-HAA!, working as a comedian or working at the zoo, what would you be doing?

I already had another life. I used to be a high school drama and English teacher. I like a lot of kids. I did have quite a dream of being a paleontologist, so Jurassic Park is my favorite film in the world. Paleontologist or a marine biologist would have been my other two. Like a lot of people who left high school, I tried journalism, tried regular arts and writing, and I ended up in this sweet spot. I’ve got these two sweet gigs. I’m in this weird zone where I’m like, “I don’t want anything about my life to change.”

I’m making you change it, so you’ll go back to being a high school teacher?

There’s a lot of joy to be found in that. I would follow that up with saying, “I don’t regret leaving it whatsoever.” I miss the relationships you have with the school, the teachers, your faculty, and the kids. Even things like knowing the kids’ families, that’s pretty beautiful. I was lucky because I taught at my high school. I graduated from this school and then I went back to teach there ten years later. There’s no better way of having empathy for the kids than knowing that you stood in the same spot in that uniform.

You know how tough their life is having been there before.

Knowing what it’s like to be a high school student in that green and white uniform, so much anxiety, so much stress, so much social pressure and so many changes all the time. You add into it the obvious anxiety that any child would feel now is amplified by the fact that they have access to all this information. Kids get traumatized before breakfast these days. I’ve stopped looking at my phone for the first hour that I’m awake because it’s a good way of avoiding the latest horrible thing until I’m feeling a little more able to be resilient toward it.

You said being a paleontologist. I was having a conversation with one of my friends. We were out for White Night and went to the Melbourne museum, which featured dinosaurs heavily and I shared an unpopular opinion. I’m like, “Dinosaurs?”

You find them boring?

I don’t have the same passion and excitement about them.

This opinion is unacceptable.

It’s an unpopular opinion. It led us to having a conversation about unpopular opinions and I was like, “That’s a great question for the pod.” What unpopular opinion do you have?

I’m proud of where I come from because I’m one of seven children. I’m from Perth. I’m not necessarily proud of Perth. I’m proud of our weird little family, our strange upbringing, and us parenting each other because our parents had too many children. I’m proud of the fact now this group of seven, quite extraordinary adults. We’ve got two doctors in the family, an occupational therapist, my brother’s a biomedical engineer and a programmer, my sister’s studying engineering and my other brother is a librarian. I’m me. I’m constantly stressed about that but we all love each other so much and it’s lovely. As a result, we do have this weird little tight knit group that validates each other’s opinions. People need to be tougher. That is so unpopular. It’s good that this is being said now. I’d never be able to write this down and put it on the internet. Within reason, people need to be tougher.

That’s interesting to me for two reasons. One is I thought you were going to say we should have bigger families. I bet you were going to make a case for like, “No, this one, two child family thing.”

No, I also think that. Conversely, we can’t have any more people. If anything, stop having families. Grow up with your friends and live in a commune with all your mates as you get older. What a great family is that? This incessant need to breed is unfortunately part of being a mammal or any animal I think. We’re great at it. Having said that, only children, they’re weird. I’ve got several “close friends” who have no siblings and I’m like, “You know you’re strange. You’re weird to me.”

Getting back to the be tougher thing, do you think having siblings makes you tougher?

INJ 16 | Zoo Worker Comedian
Zoo Worker Comedian: The British Office is great. The American office is also great, but the clarity of this character who’s such a turd, but at the same time being intensely likable that you want them to succeed even though he’s an absolute poo, he’s a moron.

I don’t know if it’s the siblings. I suppose I should place a caveat on that, which I know that people are tough in lots ways. There’s items where people are like, “I need to have the aircon on,” and I’m like, “Just deal with the hot weather,” whereas they’re probably tough in ways that I’m not. I do think people need to be tougher, but there’s also the caveat that I know that people probably have a struggle of their own that they’re being as tough as they can with. I’ve run camps for kids where they get a fright and they burst into tears and there’s no consoling them after that. Looking back on my childhood, it’s so different. There’s a lot more access to the available trauma to children. No wonder resilience is an issue. We talk about resilience in schools a lot, where it’s like, “How can we make our kids more resilient?”What are we making them more resilient to? That’s the other question. Are we setting them up for life? I’ve had to tie eleven-year-old shoe laces before.

There are all these gurus, life hackers, and folks who are trying to do self-help books and there’s too many. That’s not to say that some of them don’t have quite good insights. There’s this American named Jocko. He’s a former Navy SEAL. If you want to point out a group of people who are tough, that’s a pretty good one at least physically and mentally.

That’s a very traditional view of what tough is.

It’s obscene what those guys go through, but he has a saying and it’s just, “Be tougher.” It’s funny because sometimes I say it to myself. There are a moments in time where that’s the only solution.

Maybe by be tougher, what I am saying is be tougher about the thing that you are not resilient toward, absorb that, be bigger than that. For me at the moment, being tougher is doing things like scaling back my social media use. It has given me such a bloody anxiety disorder that I’m like, “I’m going to get rid of this thing I don’t need.” This thing I didn’t have up until twelve years ago, but now seems to consume much of life. Everyone’s lives, not just mine. Social media can be super fun and connects people. My thing at the moment is like, “Don’t go on it. Don’t do it. Don’t go on there,” and that’s surprisingly tough. I’d rather walk into that, do that, and be hard on myself if I slip up than not change that habit, which has become unfortunately quite destructive for me.

I’ve been weaning myself in various ways from social media, where the benefits no longer justify the costs. This whole be tougher idea is interesting. There are times where I find myself worried, ruminating, reluctant and when I recognize that I’m doing it, then I commit to doing that thing. It has to be the case that it’s not going to be as bad as my monkey mind is making it. I used to do this yoga class at this gym and some of my mates in the class would stay. The earlier class was called Dance Jams. They’re all women. These two women, “You should do Dance Jams with us. It’s so much fun. It’s great.” For weeks I was like, “No, thanks.” I realized the reason why I didn’t want to do Dance Jams was not because I didn’t want to dance, it was because I was scared to do Dance Jams because it was going to be embarrassing and I wasn’t going to be good at it.

You’re the only dude in a class of all women. That can be confronting for men. My challenge to men is be tougher, but not in the traditional, masculine way like Jocko. Be tougher about the things that scare you, be emotional, be upset and that is tough for men. It’s tough for women, too. My friends and I have been talking a lot lately about how society has just served men such a raw deal in many ways in terms of the fact that, I don’t know many men who have sat down with their male friends and had a conversation about masculinity. How they’re limited by it or how they’re frustrated by it? Women have many avenues in which to discuss these things and even to analyze things like dates. There are many stories that are coming out about the questionable actions of men on dates, like Aziz Ansari is such a good example. I bet you anything, he’s never had a chat to his friends where he’s been like, “I was on a date with this girl last night and she seemed uncomfortable. Should I have done this thing differently? Should I have tried this differently?”

What do you do in that situation? Ask their advice, opinions and figure out what’s going on?

I feel I’m fortunate. I’m often told I’m quite direct, whether or not that may or may not be the truth in comparison to other people. I’m sure Jocko’s a lot more direct than I am. I am told I’m quite direct and that’s cool. I like being able to be direct because I know that being direct is something that scares me. The fact that I’m being told I’m direct means that I’m at least doing something that is tougher than I previously have been.

[bctt tweet=”I do think that people need to be tougher. I know that is so unpopular.” via=”no”]

What you’re describing is counterintuitive. I went to Dance Jams and I had a fabulous time. It was great. It was fun, we laughed, and I basically played it. What happened was I realized that I couldn’t do both the arm movements and the leg movements, so I had to choose. I ended up doing more like a river dance kind of Dance Jams, but it was still fun. What you’re highlighting is this notion of vulnerability. I’m noticing there is starting to become a conversation around vulnerability and masculinity. Those are not mutually exclusive. They are collinear. If you truly want to be masculine, you have to be willing to express what it is that you want, how you feel and risk being rejected. For instance, in a dating situation.

This is our litmus test for the things that scare us the most. We don’t have bears chasing us anymore, you might in Colorado. We don’t have prehistoric megafauna chasing us anymore. The thing that seems to terrify people the most are relationships that the fact is in and around them, starting them, ending them, the middle of them, expanding them. The countless stories I have of my brilliant, inexpressibly beautiful female friends who were like, “This dude dogged me,” and it’s because he was scared. That’s almost always the root of the issue. There’s this thing we’re both set up to fail. My friend described it once as men are shitheads and women are stupid.

We’re all told to get into relationships. You know what happens once you’re in them? Once you’re in them, there is this labor that a lot of women are programmed to perform for men. They stop challenging themselves. Then a new challenge for them is staying in this relationship, which is so scary. The companionship of a beautiful woman for the rest of my life, who’s going to take care of me, be a surrogate mother and sex partner? No, it shouldn’t be as scary as that. It’s a pretty sweet deal. There’s this challenge that women have where they have to absorb, they have to be bigger than this thing. These are all quite traditional struts and I’m surprised at always finding they still exist in various ways.

Part of the problem with what’s happening within the relationship is that people haven’t done the work in terms of the starting it. The reason that men get called shitheads, we could take it out of traditional gender roles. We can say you meet some beautiful, smart, appealing person and you’re drawn to that person and all the wonderful things to the companionship, to the sex and so on. If the person isn’t willing to be vulnerable and say the things that might scare that other person off, that’s what happens.

A lot of the time, people obscure the truth, what they truly want, desire, their preferences, what they believe because they were worried that this person will hear that and go, “See you later.”That’s unfortunate. What you want is that person to say, “See you later,” if indeed that that belief, that want doesn’t match. If you hide it, you’re trying to make this thing that may not be a great match to begin with work. To get what you want, you have to risk losing. That’s the idea of being tougher.

If you have to bend out of shape to make it fit, it isn’t right.

The issue is that people aren’t doing is not bending out of shape. They’re hiding that shape, and then you have to deal with it later.

That’s a good way of putting it. Obscuring the truth, we’re so programmed to do that.

In this case, it ends up being seen as lying, because it has the same effect.

Do you think it’s a herd mentality? A lot of animals when they’re weak, sick or injured, they hide their injury, they hide their pain so that the predator that’s waiting nearby doesn’t pick them off. We do that, too. We hide this sad or scary thing about us because it might be too.

Sometimes it isn’t right and sometimes it is. You don’t have a foundation to navigate some of these things. That’s tough.

Every person in the entire world should go into therapy for a bit. Is that an unpopular opinion? I don’t know if that is.

I definitely believe that if you’re willing to spend money on a doctor for an injury, to pay someone to help you improve your nutrition, a trainer to help you work out harder, a tutor to help you speak the language better, then why not pay a professional to help. You might only speak that language every so often, you only workout your thoughts and feelings.

I can’t imagine it not helping anyone.

To me the issue is about fit. It’s easy to find a general practitioner who can help you with your ear infection. It’s difficult to find a therapist that is a good fit for personality, problems, and so on. There’s a bit more of a search that goes into it.

Mine’s great. Her name is Sharon. She’s amazing.

[bctt tweet=”There’s something quite clever about that ability to make the world love you even though you’re the worst.” via=”no”]

I’m sure she comes up in your conversations with people.

I saw her for the first time in a while. She has talked about her husband and I was like, “Is it more clues to put together the picture of this person who knows my deepest, darkest secrets who I know so little about.”

The thought experiment about how difficult it is to be vulnerable is if you find yourself not willing to be honest with your therapist. That shows how hard it is to be vulnerable, the one person who has your best interest, 100%.

You’re paying them to do that.

The code of ethics and all these things, if there’s anyone you can trust, it has to be this person. It shouldn’t be this person.

Have you ever lied to your therapist?

No, I’ve never outright lied to my therapist. I have definitely found times where I was reluctant to be fully honest about my beliefs. It’s easier to omit than it is to commit. My therapist, I call him The Poet. You know when people say, “I got a guy for that.” My financial person, her name is Money Amy.

I would love her to dress in money-themed outfits, like The Riddler or something. She’s got green, dollar bills hanging off her.

I’m like, “You need to see Money Amy,” and they’re like, “Who’s Money Amy?”

She’s who she sounds like.

He’s The Poet. He’s in some lineage of the poet Yeats, hence the nickname. It fits, too, in some ways. In the terms of you think about poets have some insight.

No better therapy than writing it down. I totally believe in people expressing themselves in as much as I am a celebrator of vulnerability and being vulnerable. I will also not necessarily go and see a stand-up show that I can see is clearly therapy for that person. That’s a different thing. When we’re taught to tell stories in a professional sense, if we talk about you at storytelling nights, which is a big thing here, I’m sure in America as well. You want to tell the audience something that you’re over. You want to tell the audience something that you’ve processed. The audience doesn’t want to see you working it out necessarily, because it’s uncomfortable. It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s definitely okay to be uncomfortable in comedy, but it shouldn’t be for your benefit. It should be for their benefit.

When you watch a film and a filmmaker is going to create discomfort, they’re also going to resolve that discomfort. When someone’s doing a bit about the problem they’re having, there’s not going to be resolution. This has happened and it’s worked out in some way. By virtue of that it has created some distance and some closure.

It does need to be that palatable distance between the performer and the audience, unfortunately.

I like the idea that this is art and commerce.

INJ 16 | Zoo Worker Comedian
Zoo Worker Comedian: Be tougher. Do the thing that you’re scared to do because the reason you’re not successful yet is because you need to try harder.

I was saying this like doing a Fringe Festival now. The people that are doing these shows are some of the most talented people in the world. Not only have they written and often directed their own shows, they’ve then gone on to promote it, produce it, publicize it and then now, an expectation is to sell merchandise on top of that. People are selling pins with their faces on it or bags and stuff. It’s the most incredible small business model, literally the smallest business because it’s usually one person. It’s impossible the pressures that people are putting on themselves in order to participate in these festivals.

I have a very close friend, comedian Shane Mauss. You would like Shane because Shane’s thing is if I find myself reluctant to write about it, think about it or talk about it, I have to work on it as part of a bit. He’s like, “That’s the most real,” and it’s the thing that’s going to be most interesting and compelling. I’ve noticed you’re scaling back. You’ve scaled back on your social media use. You’ve scaled back your lifestyle. You’ve downsized from a big place to a smaller place, from more roommates to fewer or no roommates.

If only I could live on my own. You guys are both great housemates. They are lovely. I don’t think the world is made for single people and living on your own is quite financially impossible for a single woman who works casually at a zoo and in comedy. I don’t think the world is made for single people. Servings come in ginormous plates that I can’t possibly consume. Single apartments do not exist for one person. They exist for a couple. The narrative around romance is that if you don’t have it, you’re doing something wrong, which is not true.

I’m trying hard to rewrite that at the moment. It’s something that is deeply programmed and I don’t know if it’s programmed as deeply in men as it is in women. I can speak from my experience. I’m a lady. It’s present, it’s there, constantly. The idea that your soul mate is just there. There’s going to be this person for you, male or female. You have to end up with them or you’ve somehow failed, or if your ex-partner moves onto someone else, there’s a failure there. You did something wrong there. It’s the wrongness that you feel trying to absorb the idea.

You were saying the world is made for couples, not for singles.

The world is made for couples and families. Being single, choosing to be single or celebrating being single is wrongness and that’s weird. I’m somehow hiding some deep, dark anxiety and I spend my days drinking wine and giving myself manicures to hide the pain, when maybe I just enjoy doing those things.

Your point with regard to downsizing but yet still having roommates is about the economics of being single. To use economic speak, we all have fixed costs in the world. Couples can take more advantage because they share almost the same fixed cost as a single person. Each member of a couple pays less in the world than a single does. That’s an economic truism.

I’ll go buy groceries and inevitably, I’ll end up wasting some of them because I simply can’t get through it all, but a couple will buy groceries and they’ll share it together.

The classic is hotel rooms. You need a place to stay at night. You’re on the road, it cost you $200. A couple needs a place to stay at night. It costs $100 each. That’s the math associated with it. You’d be interested in this perhaps. There’s a researcher at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her first name is Bella. She does research on what she calls Singlism.

That’s such a weird coincidence, also is a weird coincidence is that I was also at the museum. That’s two coincidences, that’s cool. I was literally reading this and I sent a link to my friend Sophie. She’s a Ph.D., Bella DePaulo.

Why are you scaling back? Is it because I want to have less pain in my life? The pain of paying, the pain of conflict of having five roommates, the pain of hearing about school shootings. Why the scaling back?

I want to do less. I want to be a sewer. Working at the zoo, one of the questions that I get the lot is, “Why is that animal just sitting there?”I feel I constantly have to explain it, like, “We’re the only animal that wastes energy for no reason because our food sources are so abundant. We don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. We can afford to do Dance Jams recreationally, but a leopard can’t. A Tasmanian Devil can’t.” As people look at these animals in stillness, at rest and assume there’s something wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with resting. There’s nothing wrong with recuperating. There’s nothing wrong with being still for a bit, but humans, if we’re not constantly active, constantly searching for a partner, constantly at play, there’s something wrong there, which is incorrect. It’s okay to downsize and it’s okay to recharge and be okay with it. Not see it as like, “I’m doing stuff for me. I want to recharge and downsize so that I can come back at the world and keep fixing it in the way that I want to fix it.” I want to resolve the issues that I see.

I was at a conference. There’s not a good word for you. You, in terms of your lifestyle choice, the best word, which is a bad word, is spinster. If you were a man, you would say bachelor. That has some negative connotations, but it has some positive connotations to it and it’s clarifying. The question is what is that word and why does that word not exist?

The word is legend.

[bctt tweet=”It’s okay to downsize and it’s okay to recharge and be okay with it. ” via=”no”]

She pointed her thumb at herself too when she said that.

I’ve mourned the end of a relationship that ended last year and kicked the can down the road. We kicked the can down the road a bit longer than we should have with that relationship after it ended. I mourned that but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy that this person and I who aren’t right for each other are not together. I hate to quote Louis C.K. but, “There’s no such thing as an unhappy divorce,” because it’s good that you have ended things with that person who isn’t your guy or girl. You should end it, be away from them. Don’t let them sap your life force for whatever reason. Be cool. You’re allowed to downsize, you’re allowed to not have that pain. You don’t have to absorb it all the time. The same is true for any relationship ending. I’m not putting things down to fate because people make mistakes in relationships and you can look back at things and go, “I regret.” Most of the time it’s not your fault, a lot of it is timing.

I was in search of the right word. The reason the word probably doesn’t exist is this hasn’t been worked out yet. There’s not a good exemplar prototype way to think about a woman who’s not in search of a mate.

Not passively aligning weights either, this is something that we get a lot from art. I was discussing this with a group of one of my many girl gangs, but we consume a lot of images of women passively. They’re lying back. They can be naked sometimes but if they’re naked they’re hairless. There’s nothing animal or passionate about them. It’s this passive, pale, often quite soft looking, in recline awaiting.

Where men are at worse seated somewhat below, even the postman, it’s one of these abstract French impressionist painters who started painting real people, not just royal people. Even this postman had a sense of action and a sense of urgency.

Women, we wait.

I’ve never thought of it that way.

That’s the idea. We are told to wait. I was even again ranting. It’s my automatic state. If I was programmed to do anything, it would be rant. I was ranting to a friend about people go like, “There are right guys out there,” and I’m like, “No, where is this right guy?” A lot of my partners and a lot of the men I’ve dated have been deeply average. That’s okay, too, but I don’t think I’m average. They might think that about me, but I don’t think I am. Stand down men, here comes Brianna Williams and she’s excellent. There is this thing where it’s like, “The right guy will come along.”How and why? What’s the point of this right guy? Who is he?

That is that waiting in recline. For him, he has to come along in his horse.

What makes him not as average as my other partners? They’ve all been awesome in their ways and in some ways, they’ve been terrible, annoying, frustrating but also fantastic and sometimes supportive. They’re not the right guy clearly because I haven’t ended up with them. There’s no end until I die, hopefully at the age of 100. That’s the end is when I die. What is this right guy? All of these guys at one time have been the right guy for me because I was with him. I spent time with him. I chose to spend my days with him.

The success from a relationship standpoint is how you’re doing on the day that one of the two people die. You don’t do this with almost anything else.

None of my ex-boyfriends have died. One of them does my taxes for me.

Money Amy does my taxes, too.

Is she your ex-girlfriend?

No, she’s not.

You’d have to call her Money Ex-Amy.

INJ 16 | Zoo Worker Comedian
Zoo Worker Comedian: Do the thing that is tough for you. Do that thing. It’s hard.

You work in a zoo and you’re a former high school teacher. Which one better informed your comedy? Which one helps make you a better comedian?

Probably the teaching because as I know more and more about the climactic terror that we’re hurdling towards as human beings, environmentally, I become more and more humorless.

It was too much. The zoo work makes that more salient?

Yes, and I’m very humorless about the animals. People will be like, “Cute,” and I’m like, “That’s a normal behavior and adaptation that they’ve done to survive.” I should be more fun, but I’m not fun. I don’t feel I’m fun at all.

That feels like a sketch.

I was talking again to the same friend who I was ranting to about and I was like, “I don’t feel I’ve got any chat with guys because I’m like, “Do you want to talk about how we’re about to run out of drinking water?” They’re like, “No, I don’t. I want to talk about my cousins or whatever.” I feel I’m not fun because you should know that every straw you’ve ever used still exists and it’s probably gone on to hurt a penguin. No one wants to hear that. I’m not fun.

You’re the person in the pub who tells people to stop drinking from a straw.

I feel I’m there to ruin the world one animal fact at a time. People e, “Why is the animal doing that?”I’m like, “It’s a horrible reason.”

Brianna, thank you for your service. I do appreciate it. What have you changed your mind about?

Cheating on people. Not that I’ve done it, I still haven’t. I would say that I guess there’s definitely been some emotional cheating on my behalf. I’ve been cheated on and it’s not nice, but that person’s not the devil. They’re not unforgivable. I used to think back in the day, I’d be like, “That’s a deal breaker,” and I know now that it isn’t. I don’t know if it would be for me, it would depend on the person and the situation that it occurred. I see a lot of couples that in which one or maybe both of them cheat and then they come back together.

You can be supportive of that relationship?

Absolutely, yes.

What are you best at? Besides telling people not to drink out of straws, but what do you think you’re best at? Be vulnerable and tell the world what you’re best at.

I’m good at remembering names and birthdays. I’m excellent at it.

That’s a tough thing. That’s something we’re not evolutionarily programmed to do. We’re good at faces, but we’re bad with names. I’m bad with names, but everybody, except a few people in the world, are bad with names.

No, I’m good at names. I’m probably a bit worse with faces. I went on a date on this app, Bumble. The guy was running late. We were going to a wine bar across the road from my now former house. I’m getting ready and he’s messaging me and he’s like, “I’m running late but I’m going to catch an Uber in.” I’m like, “Great, no worries.” I’m always late for everything. He messages me and he’s like, “I’m here. I’m the only single person at the bar,” so I go up the stairs, I go to the bar. There’s one single man there. The guy I’m meeting is named Ian. I swiped right on him because he’s 40 and there’s something about a 27-year-old man that doesn’t persuade me anymore as I age. Not to say that I can’t be convinced. He also was a confectioner.

A confectioner makes pastries or they make candy?

Candy. One thing about having a job at the zoo is that it’s an interesting job. Often these people end up being like, “No, my job is boring compared,” and I’m like, “Tell me more about being an accountant or being Money Amy because that’s interesting to me because I don’t do it,” but a lot of people see working with animals as it’s like, “It’s bloody brilliant.” Everyone should have passion with their job. I was like, “Confectioner, what a fun job.” This will be a thing where we can both talk about how fun our jobs are. I tried on this 40-year-old named Ian who’s a confectioner. I go to the bar, there’s one single guy there.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t be hard on yourself, but hold yourself accountable. ” via=”no”]

I go in and say, “Hi, I’m Brie.” He says, “Hi, I’m Sven,” and I go, “Good one,” because I guess I assumed he was making a joke rather than realizing he wasn’t the person I was meant to be meeting. I sat down, we got a glass of wine together and he keeps dropping clues that indicate that he is not, in fact, the confectioner. At no point do I look at his face and go, “This can’t be the person,” because I’m like, “He’s a guy. He’s got curly hair and a beard. They all do.”

We’re having wine and I was like, “I’ve done some exercise,” and I was like, “Sorry, I’m still running a bit hot from exercising,” and he was like, “I’m running a bit hot too from walking here,” and I was like, “Didn’t you Uber?”He’s like, “No.”Instead of being like, “No, this isn’t the person,” I was like, “I guess I must have read that wrong.” I’m talking about because I am an actor, one of the most boring. I’m talking about something that happened on my acting page. I got trolled in my professional Facebook page. I was talking about it and he’s like, “Yes, because you’re an actor.” I’m like, “Yes,” and he’s like, “You don’t work at cars in sales?”I’m like, “No, why do you think I do?”

Is there another couple somewhere else in the bar talking and she’s figuring out that, “You’re a confectioner?”

This confectioner is nowhere to be seen because he’s the only single guy at the bar and it has to be him. He stops and he goes, “Brie, we’re meant to be meeting other people.”

Did you like him at this point?

I did. He’s fun and friendly but I was like, “Sven, why didn’t you say something?”He’s like, “You were telling a really interesting story.” I’ve had half a glass of Rosé with this guy and I’m like, “Where’s my guy?”He’s like, “What do you mean?”He was the only single guy alone at the bar and he goes, “There’s two bars in this place,” so he’s been sitting there waiting for twenty minutes. I’m like, “Where’s your date?”He’s like, “She’s running late,” and I was like, “Fuck.” We’re both laughing hysterically. I’m like, “Okay.” He’s like, “Good luck,” and I grabbed my half-drunk glass of wine.

I go to the other bar and there’s Ian. He’s sitting there and I’m like, “That’s definitely the guy. That’s definitely him. Sit down and don’t say anything about why I’m late. Don’t say anything about my half a glass of wine.”I’m like, “Ian,” and he’s like, “Yes.” That’s what I should’ve said at first. He’s almost finished his beer that he’s having and I’m like, “This is going to be great. It’s going to be fine. I don’t say anything about why I’m late.”The waiter comes up and he’s like, “Can I get you another drink?” He goes, “Yes.” I’ve got a serious case if anybody makes eye contact with me, not having a Martini-itis. I was like, “All right.” The worst thing is he wasn’t even a confectioner. He was a web designer. He put confectioner there to sound more interesting.

This is exactly the thing about unable to be vulnerable.

There’s nothing wrong with being a web designer, I want to make that clear. He was lovely, he was, as was Sven, but he’d lied. We had a lovely evening. We chatted about lots of things and then I went home and never saw him again.

What are you reading, watching or listening to that’s good? Not just what are you reading, watching, listening to that stands out.

This is going to be such a banal answer, but they put up all of the American Office, which a series I’ve always liked. I’m re-watching at the moment and the characterization of the central character of Michael Scott, the equivalent of David Brent for anyone who doesn’t know the American Office. A lot of people want to find the American Office inferior, but they’re not. They’re completely different shows. The British Office is great. The American Office is also great, but the clarity of this character who’s such a turd, but at the same time being intensely likable that you want them to succeed even though he’s an absolute poo, he’s a moron. There’s something quite clever about that, that ability to make the world love you even though you’re the worst.

He’s a well-crafted character. Although his actions sometimes are malicious or negative, they’re not intended to be. They come from wanting to acceptance, they come from love, from loneliness, and from these places that we can identify with.

It’s such a good reminder that we do tend to reject those people who were clearly eager for love as Michael Scott is. Looking back on it with this 32-year-old, within feminism but postmodern feminism lens, looking back on it, I’m like, “This is a great show and character. This is good.” It’s well-written, it’s subtle, and the Jim and Pam romance holds up quite a bit.

It does. It is nice. I re-watched it too. It takes a little while to get going. There are times with that show, even re-watching it, that I’m alone watching it laughing out loud, that’s unusual. Last question, the secrets of success. Everybody knows but can’t seem to do.

Be tougher. Do the thing that you’re scared to do because the reason you’re not successful yet is because you need to try harder. Is that awful?

That’s an unpopular opinion. It’s okay to have an unpopular opinion.

It is, yes. Do the thing that is tough for you. For me, the toughest thing is being on time. I can’t stop doing the twelve million things that I want to do. That’s what I’m working on. That’s why I’ve started seeing my therapist again because she’s going to help me break this habit. It’s tough and I need to be tougher, I need to be harder on myself. I need to hold myself more accountable. That’s a big one, too, hold yourself accountable. Don’t be hard on yourself, but hold yourself accountable. Be compassionate in doing that. That’s scary to do because the last person you want telling yourself off is yourself.

In the same time you have to be your biggest fan. You’d also have to be your biggest advocate.

Yes, and being an advocate sometimes is being like, “You can do this better for you.”

Brianna, this is fun. Thank you for doing it.

It was fun. Thank you so much. Thanks for saying I’m fun. I do feel I’m fun.

Thank you.

Resources mentioned:

About Brianna Williams

INJ 16 | Zoo Worker ComedianBrianna Williams is a comedian and zoo worker. Hailing from Perth, she left her full-time high school teaching role to come to a town filled with lattes and lemurs. She can be seen regularly as part of The Big Hoo-Haa! on Friday nights at the Butterfly Club, as one of the hosts of The Bachelor Unpacked for Channel 10, and frequently telling people in bars not to use straws.



Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the I’m Not Joking community today:

As seen on The Today Show

Learn more about the Solo Movement