In ‘Wow, No Thank You,’ Comedian Samantha Irby Grapples With Growing Up

Samantha Irby
Samantha Irby
Samantha Irby
Samantha Irby

In ‘Wow, No Thank You,’ Comedian Samantha Irby Grapples With Growing Up

Getting older isn’t always easy — but if you’re anything like comedian and writer Samantha Irby, that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting.

In her new essay collection, Wow, No Thank You, the former Chicagoan examines the complications that come with growing up — homeownership, making new friends, clubbing after 40 — in painstakingly hilarious detail. She caught up with Reset to share a few highlights.

On leaving Chicago — and buying a house

Samantha Irby: There is no Thai food in [Kalamazoo, Mich.], which is hard, and no good pizza. I mean, people will tell you Detroit pizza is good, but like no. … The thing that’s good is that the mortgage on our house is cheaper than a studio apartment in Rogers Park, which I don’t want to shame my old neighborhood, but that is one thing that’s delightful about it. You can have some space and not have people living on top of you and not go broke. So that’s great. But … I miss living in Chicago every day.

On making adult friends

Irby: It’s like dating. So if you aren’t currently dating, it feels like plunging yourself back into the nightmare of trying to convince someone that you are worthy of their love and attention. I also think … the older you get, the harder it is to kind of cram 40 years of history into a new relationship with the person, because I want all my friendships to feel like we know each other and … there is no seamless way to download your entire life onto a new person, especially one who isn’t sure that they like you yet. It truly is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do, so I made like two friends and then stopped.

On clubbing after 40

Irby: I feel like we’re in that sweet spot of being able to remember when we were young and cool, yet not being so removed from it that it feels unachievable. And so I’m like, ‘Oh, I remember when I used to be out until 3:00 in the morning and put on pants with a zipper and pay $20 to get into someplace. I could do that again.’ [But] my requirements have changed. Like clubs don’t really have chairs the way I feel like in my memory they used to. Now I walk into a place and I’m like, ‘It’s too loud in here and I need a seat’ — and everyone is looking at me like, who let your mom in?

On developing a new Comedy Central show

Irby: I wrote the pilot, so it is absolutely disgusting. But it’s also very funny and I don’t think it’s like anything that has been on TV before. I’m not saying I’m revolutionizing television. I’m just saying that I’m revolutionizing television. We were supposed to shoot the pilot in Chicago this summer, but … everything is just shut down [due to the coronavirus]. So I imagine that when we’re all vaccinated and we get to go outside again that I’m going to come home and shoot the pilot and get everyone I know to be an extra.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to hear the entire conversation.