If you are one of the million plus viewers of "Try Not Having Kids," you may remember the brownie-haired-large-eyed independent beauty who played the role of "wife." While the internet may know her as wife, I know her as Amanda Giobbi. While living in Washington, D.C., we were coworkers, part of a close-knit monthly dance group called the "FB's," kayak/canoe partners, retreat roomies, and boos of friends. Amanda is now based in New York City where she works as a social worker by day and comedienne on the Punctual Drunks improv group by night. Amanda and I vid-chatted a couple of days ago to discuss response to the parody video, methods for administering "Try Not Having Kids," experiences with its side effects, her winter cactus, and her perspective on fashion. What is your philosophy of comedy? Comedy is healing to those in the audience and to the ones performing. Laughter really is the best medicine. I wear the dramatic symbol around my neck every day and it is a reminder that with every 'tragedy' there is a balance of laughter and comedy.
As actors and comedians, what inspired you to do this video? Jason, Keith, who plays my husband, and I know each other from studying at Upright Citizens Brigade. Jason does videos like these all the time and so when we read this script, I thought it was brilliant and hilarious. I knew I wanted to be part of this.
What has been your friends' responses to your video, especially the ones that do have kids? I think good comedy can offend both sides. If it is offensive to both, then it has hit a good nerve so it's really equal opportunity. Actually, my friends' responses have been really positive. My friends who have kids have said that, "yeah, it's a little offensive...but the list of side effects is hilarious." The negative response that I have received is from people that do not know me. But I think that's just the internet too. I mean, have you read the comments?
As the characters in "Try Not Having Kids," what compelled your characters to do this video, which is essentially you coming out of the closet on your decision to not have kids? I think people have in their minds that we are supposed to go to high school, go to college, get married, have kids, and buy a house. It's almost as if there is this checklist for life and to help them feel like they are a grown up. But I think that path may not be for everybody. We certainly are not demonizing kids or the decision to have them. We think they are great. For my friends that are married, a common question I get is when I am going to have kids. In my friend group, I am one of the only ones that is not married and I think that raises eyebrows for people that know me. But I think there are different paths. Some may have kids. Some may adopt. And some may not have kids at all.
Okay, so let's stick with the characters. If you are a couple in a committed relationship and you decide amongst yourselves that you want to go on this new alternative and not have kids, what methods would you recommend? What methods?! Well, any kind of birth control is said to be effective. For me personally, I work with kids during the day and so I get to have them during the day but they don't sleepover at night. And their daily presence helps remind me that "nope, don't want to have kids." Or you could put on a condom.
If you decide not to have kids, can you reverse this decision? Yes! You can! The couple with us in the video have also decided not to have kids. However if you do want to reverse this decision, there may come a point where it may not be possible or safe to have kids so at that point, I would recommend foster care or adoption.
The narrator is careful to describe the possible side effects from this decision. Have you experienced any side effects? You know the side effects are not really there because they are delayed. It's not like medicine where the side effects may kick in after a few hours. These side effects take years and a lot of time. When you're older you may realize the side effects as friends around you have families that will take care of them. However if you don't have kids, it's you and your spouse so couples have to realize that there might not be someone there to take care of them in older age.
How's the dog working out? You know, a dog is a mini child. You have to take it out, feed it, and base your life around their timelines. At this point, it's not really working out.
Is there any living thing that you and your husband are willing to take care of? We have a winter cactus. It requires very little maintenance.
What dreams have you realized and how has your spirit thrived since making this decision? On Saturdays, we can sleep in. We went on Kayak and booked a trip to anywhere and didn't have to worry about who was going to take care of our kids. Frolicking through the park without worrying about kids falling off rocks or getting poison ivy was great too. Lots of hiking and travel. We can spontaneously join friends for brunch and hang out with friends while being fully present.
Does it ever get eerily quiet in your studio? When you're married to me, it's not quiet at all.
How have you dealt with your fame since hitting over a million hits? Are you on the press circuit now? I'm part of a stand up group called the Punctual Drunks so sometimes Keith and I will walk in late and not try at our lines because you know, we're internet famous now. We're actually doing a mock video sharing our new habits since we became internet famous. Jason is so talented and he has had videos hit big before.
End scene. Thanks for playing the wife character a little longer responding from her perspective. Is there anything else you would like to say about the video from Amanda Giobbi's perspective? Kudos to Jason for it. It's so great. And I hope people can enjoy it and know that it's fun...And that it's okay for people to be different.
Lastly, what is your philosophy of fashion? Everything goes with black! And bright lipstick can make any outfit a little more fancy!
If you haven't watched 'Try Not Having Kids,' it is well worth the minute and 48 seconds. If comedy is both an elusive and golden formula of impeccable timing, delivery and truthiness that elevate and offend all parties involved, then this video is money. Kudos Amanda and may your efforts to share guffaws and the healing powers of laughter with the world continue...