I have the very funny @ramblinma in the Beyond the Bio HoT seat today. She’s hilarious! If you’re not following her, you should be. Check her out!
"Please go play with your brother. That's basically the reason we had him."
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) May 2, 2016
Things to know about @ramblinma
Name: Joanna McClanahan
Living in: Washington state (birthplace of Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and a surprising number of serial killers)
Number of followers: Just over 5,800
Year graduated high school: 2000 (back when the only politics tearing relationships apart was the choice between NSYNC and Backstreet Boys)
Joined Twitter: 2014 (but don’t look at those, they’re terrible)
That terrifying moment when you say "okay" to your kid but have no idea what you just agreed to.
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) March 8, 2016
On to the interview!
Tell us about your family.
I’m married to the nicest guy ever and we have a 2-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter, and two dogs. There’s never a dull moment in our house, or a hygienic one for that matter.
What do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
I work as an Editor at MockMom (@mockmoms), the satirical division of Sammiches & Psych Meds. Working in humor submissions is ridiculously fun and I get to work with two of the smartest, funniest ladies on the planet (@SamPsychMeds and @21stcenturysahm).
Have you always been a writer? Or is this something that came about later, after becoming a mom?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. But having kids definitely inspired me to write more, in that I was desperate to escape them for hours at a time and writing seemed like a good excuse.
Have you had any formal training in writing?
I have a degree in Journalism, but I’ve always loved creative writing. I think anyone can be a writer, regardless of training (although an understanding of the basics is important, because terrible grammar is really distracting). I also believe that the more you read, the better writer you become.
I came, I saw, I remembered I have social anxiety and snuck out before anyone could notice me.
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) July 1, 2016
Why did you join Twitter?
Originally, it was to help promote my blog (ramblinmama.com), but as my kids got older I had less time to write. So I started tweeting more jokes because I still got the shameless validation, but it was quicker and easier than updating my blog.
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
Besides the constant validation that I’m funny? I love Twitter because it has some of the funniest people on the planet. It’s my laugh therapy. And there’s nothing like getting retweeted by people I think are funny. It’s addictive.
Do you ever go through comedy dry spells where you just can’t come up with anything funny to say? If so, how do you overcome that?
I feel unfunny all the time, but I think the best thing you can do is power through the dry spells. It’s hard not to feel dissuaded sometimes, but just remember that it’s impossible to be funny 100% of the time. The more you push yourself to think creatively, the closer you’ll get to that next great idea.
I like what you said about thinking creatively. I find myself just turning on Spider Solitaire to numb my brain. There’s no creativity in that. I should make some effort to just sit and give myself the opportunity to be creative.
I'm not saying I want a divorce, it's just that sometimes 50% custody sounds pretty appealing.
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) August 2, 2016
You have a Facebook page called Ramblin’ Mama with over 54k followers. What’s your page about? What can people expect to see there?
It’s funny because I use a lot of the same jokes from Twitter, but they seem to do better as memes on Facebook. This year I started with 3,000 followers on Facebook and it exploded. So it’s been the best year ever for me, even though it’s been a crappy year as far as the rest of the world is concerned.
You also have a popular Instagram account, @therealramblinma. Are your Facebook and IG pages similar? How are they same, how are they different?
They’re the same in that I post all my memes there. My Facebook page has a little more content variety, including articles and videos that I think are funny.
As your audience has grown on Twitter have your tweets changed?
I like to think they’ve gotten better. At least they don’t have hashtags in them anymore, so that’s progress.
It’s now possible to RT your own tweets on Twitter. What are your thoughts on this? Have you done it? Will you do it?
I’ve done it a few times but it feels dirty. It’s momentary self-gratification, immediately followed by shame and regret…kind of like PornHub.
How did you share your humor before Twitter? Have people always thought you were funny?
People have always told me I was funny. In a way, I was lucky to grow up with just the right amount of dysfunction to make that possible.
I think I started writing jokes back in the MySpace days. I remember filling out surveys, thinking I was SO FUNNY (I wasn’t) and that my friends would LOVE THEM (they didn’t).
"I'm hungry. Except for anything you made. There's no way I'm eating that."
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) April 17, 2016
Have you interacted with any celebrities on Twitter?
I don’t want to brag or anything but Ben Bailey (the host of Cash Cab) follows me. If that doesn’t make me a big deal, I don’t know what does. But seriously, I don’t pay much attention to that kind of stuff. Even if a celebrity did interact with me, I’d probably assume it was a fake account.
Have you ever had a tweet stolen? If so, how’d you feel about that? What went through your head? How about memes? I know you’ve had those stolen.
It’s annoying but I don’t get as upset about it as I used to. I reach out to them and (politely) let them know I wrote it, and they’ll either update the credit or they won’t. But I think it’s important not to waste all your energy chasing after stolen content, or it will make you angry and crazy and depressed and before you know it you’ll have sworn off all of humanity and stop showering and hole yourself up in an underground bunker to rock yourself to sleep. It’s a slippery slope. My advice is to focus on the part that nobody can steal: your ability to create new stuff.
Who are some comedians (or comedy shows/sitcoms) who have influenced you?
I was raised on Monty Python and Mel Brooks movies (like I said, just the right amount of dysfunction) and spent my adolescence watching Daria, The State, and Kids in the Hall reruns. Some of my favorite all-time comedy sitcoms are The Office, Parks & Recreation, Flight of the Conchords, Peep Show, and The IT Crowd.
Some of my favorite comedians/humorists include George Carlin, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Mitch Hedberg, Jon Stewart, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mel Brooks, and Louis CK.
Me: "Today will be great."
Anxiety: "Okay but here are 79,372 worst-case scenarios that need your immediate attention."
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) September 23, 2016
If you could meet anyone in person from Twitter who would it be and why?
I would meet my hilarious friend @mommy_cusses! She doesn’t live that far away and in her Beyond the Bio interview she said she wanted to hang out with meeeee. Who am I to interfere with destiny?
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?
Try to make them original and concise. Don’t try too hard. In my experience, silly, observational humor does best.
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
That I’m actually a nice person. I just play a terrible human on Twitter.
Haha! Name five tweeters whose tweets consistently make you laugh.
Okay, I had a really hard time narrowing this down but, aside from everyone I already mentioned, here are five of the funniest people on Twitter: @TragicAllyHere, @iwearaonesie, @cray_at_home_ma, @TheGladStork, and @amydillon.
The key to happiness is low expectations.
Nope, even lower.
There you go.
— Ramblin' Mama (@ramblinma) March 10, 2016
Thanks for the interview, Joanna! Really enjoyed getting to know you better!
Up next on Beyond the Bio: @CruisinSoozan.
In case you missed it, last time on Beyond the Bio: @HeSlimedMeRay
A butt-load of the funniest parenting tweets all packed into one place! – The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, available on Amazon. Or try the original, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. They make great gifts!