Giggle Goddess: Emma Tattenbaum-Fine

Welcome to our weekly Giggle Goddess question and answer session with a comediva out in the world spreading giggles like wildfire. This week, we present you with a funnygirl that’s one half of the fabulous team ariANDemma: Emma Tattenbaum-Fine. This Q & A will take you deep within the depths of her soul… sorta.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @EmmaTattenbaum

What’s your favourite cupcake flavor?

Red velvet with cream cheese frosting or chocolate everything.

What or whom inspired you to pursue a career in comedy?

My family, best friends and the girls with whom I studied ballet as a pre-teen and teenager.  Also, watching Murphy Brown with my parents when I was 4 years old.  Then later, Murphy Brown followed by Cybil.  Monday nights.  9pm.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever heard/seen?

A sketch where two acquaintances of mine, dressed in trench coats and wielding hammers, threatened the audience into silence while a track of fart sounds played.  If you laughed, you were threatened with a hammer.  It was performed at an informal salon, but should be performed everywhere, every day, on every stage.

If Chuck Norris were to corner you in an alley and challenge you to a duel, what would be your weapon of choice?

My elbow.

What are some challenges you’ve faced since going down the comedy track?

Envy.  I’m always looking at who has it better.  Also, leadership.  I’m a great collaborator, but sometimes I’m a real coward with leadership stuff and I’m sooo over my being that way.

What are some things that have made all of those obstacles worth overcoming?

When an audience laughs at a joke in a sketch or monologue I’ve written, that very first time I perform it…  It’s amazing, the transition from writing something and laughing at it alone, and then seeing it actually work in front of an audience.  That first time a joke works onstage makes me feel like I know the secrets of the universe. POWER.

Which comedienne, dead or alive, would you love to work with/meet?

Gilda Radner, Kristen Wiig.  Rita Wilson.  Leslie Mann.  Tina Fey.  I’ve met Tina Fey briefly.  I don’t actually need to meet Leslie Mann, but I appreciate her existence.  Kristen Wiig I’d be truly curious to meet… yeah… she and Tina Fey I’d like to work with.  Ok, Gilda too.  I’d like to watch Rita Wilson rehearse?  Why would I want that?  These questions, as it turns out, are harder to answer than expected.

In what ways do you think you’ve improved or evolved since your first comedy venture?

I’m more confident, better at timing, and more willing to throw things away that don’t work.  I’m less precious with my writing.

What long-term/short-term goals do you have for your career?

To put together and submit an SNL packet.

To get into the “Just for Laughs” festival in Montreal.

To get ad money attached to our videos and to book college tours for my group, Political Subversities.

To get a stronger internet following with and see where that takes us.  To continue to get better at making outrageous music videos.

To produce more film sketches that I have written.

To get more freelance gigs with the company where I’m currently doing a comedy writing/directing/voiceover gig that I’m stoked about.

To cement my relationship with the company where I freelance for commercial auditions, but where they don’t reeeally understand how cool I am, probably ’cause I so rarely book things.

Do you have a specific audience to whom you play/would like to play?  Describe that audience, and why/how you’re playing to them.


I’m just gonna tell a story that is fun but doesn’t answer that question.  (I’m a little buzzed.)

When I was 17 or 18, I performed for an entirely African-American audience, doing stand-up as this ambiguously Eastern European character.  Only white girl in the room.  The audience laughed so hard.  Up until then I had previously thought I could only make kids at my private high school laugh.  That was a magical night of surprises.  Laughter transcends boundaries.  Israel and Palestine should just laugh together.

What’s your weirdest insecurity?

I constantly worry that my nose is running, that I have snot that I can’t feel, but everyone can see it dripping out my nose.  This comes from fourth grade when I had a year-long cold (allergy?) and my nose just ran… all year.  I had no control over my face.  It was bad.

Which character are you most like from The Divas?

OMG.  Great question.  I just worked some shit out by answering this for myself.  Answer:  I am Betty and Katharine at war within my one self.  Katharine because I want to write off vibrators as a business expense, and Betty because I want to intimidate and control people while running a business and looking fly/frigid.  (Sigh.)  I am a Katharine… who strives to be a Betty.

Guiltiest pleasure?

Accepting money for hooking up.

When you’re not writing/performing comedy, you’re…

Sending emails about shows and rehearsals, hunched over my computer, straining my eyes, wishing I owned a dog and was in better shape.

What’s the difference between appealing to women and appealing to men when it comes to comedy?

Well, if Bridesmaids is any indication: Writing fascinating women and making mens’ roles totally peripheral, except the love interest, who is so stupidly perfect and exactly what women want.

As opposed to writing relatively three dimensional men, with 2D women who say dumb unrealistic things.

Tina Fey says it’s robots and stuff like robots vs. feelings and behavioral stuff… like feelings, but I’m sure you read that article too.  There is definitely a difference, though… and a meaty intersection as well, wherein both men and women are laughing, then ultimately hooking up.  #goals

What’s your favorite comedy movie of all time?

Romi and Michelle’s High School Reunion.  I haven’t watched it in years though.  I wonder what I’d think of it now.

Bridesmaids and Mean Girls.  Annie Hall?  I can’t believe I can’t answer this question more deliberately… or more originally….  #failing #self-doubt #goddess?
The title of your autobiography?

Big Ego, Then You Die.


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